Mining accident book put on display in Newtongrange

Pauline Davie, British Heart Foundation and David Bell, National Mining Museum Scotland.
Pauline Davie, British Heart Foundation and David Bell, National Mining Museum Scotland.

A Lothian Coal Company accident report book, dating back to 1914, has gone on display in the foyer at National Mining Museum Scotland.

The book lists all the accidents ever to have occurred in the Lothian pits between 1914 and 1933, from minor cuts and sprains through to fatalities.

The accident report book was discovered by two volunteers in the British Heart Foundation shop in Leith whilst they sorted through bags of donations.

The volunteers, realising the importance of their find, brought the book out to the mining museum in Newtongrange to show the curatorial team. David Bell, assistant curator at the museum, said: “We’re absolutely delighted that this book has found its way to the museum.

“It’s a real treasure for people wishing to research their Lothian mining ancestors. Work has already begun to present the information in a spreadsheet, making it easy to search for specific people within book.”

Lauren Hill, shop manager at the British Heart Foundation store in Leith, said: “It definitely isn’t the kind of book we usually find in there so it created quite a lot of interest in the sorting room!

“Given that it wasn’t in the best condition and is a record of very niche, local subject matter we knew it wouldn’t have much financial value for us but that it may have much more historical value.

“Knowing that we had the museum locally, we got in touch to see if it would be of interest to them. We hope the book proves a valuable asset to the museum and the local community.”

The handwritten details recorded in the book include the names and ages of the casualties, home addresses and the nature of their injuries. Even the name of the doctor who treated them and the compensation the miner received is listed.

The book, with accompanying children’s activity, will be on display in the museum’s foyer until June.