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Burngrange - West Calder, Midlothian. 10th January, 1947 - Page 6 - Emails

An Incident Attended By Jimmy Simpson - Coatbridge Mines Rescue Station
Nos.1 and 2 (Oil Shale) Mine - 15 Died in This Tradgedy - The Inquiry - Emails

Chris Michaels - Burngrange Mine Disaster
Barry Robertson - Looking For Photos - Burngrange Pit Disaster, 1947
Brian Ross - BBC - My Grandfather Hugh Wilson Died in a Mining Accident at Burngrange About 1940 - Any information
Margaret Foster - Burngrange West Calder Midlothian - My Dad was on a different shift. He was among the rescue squad
Gwen Brown - My Grandfather Hugh Wilson Died in a Mining Accident at Burngrange About 1940 - Any information
Dougie Gair - Re Alex W Duncan's question Re Burngrange, Midlothian or West Lothian
Alex W Duncan
- Re Burngrange, Midlothian or West Lothian

Chris Michaels
13 Apr 2017
Burngrange Mine Disaster
Hello Fionn,

I found a copy of the original 1947 report of the above including a separate map, amongst my late fathers belongings, he was a miner in the south Wales coalfield where he used to set explosives underground. I believe they studied the Burngrange report to learn what they could from that experience. It makes sad reading.  

Do you know anyone who would like to have it?  I can pop it in the post if someone is interested in having it.


Bilsthorpe Mining Museum have asked for the report and map.

It is encouraging to learn that there are people out there who are keen to preserve history and remind us of the hard lives people had. But they had a great sense of comradeship. I would never have binned it out of solidarity with miners everywhere . . . it has already moved house with me twice!


Barry Robertson
20 Feb 2016
Looking For Photos - Burngrange Pit Disaster, 1947

Hi my name is Barry Robertson I’m doing a project about the Burngrange Pit Disaster I’m looking for pictures of the pit and also the miners and the equipment and clothing they wore.

Gwen Brown
18 February 2013
My Grandfather Hugh Wilson Died in a Mining Accident at Burngrange About 1940 - Any information

I wondered if you could give any information about my grandfather Hugh Wilson who was killed in a mining accident at Burngrange about 1940? My parents both lived in West Calder in Back Street.

My mother was 14 when her father died and has never spoken about her Dad. She is in a care home now and is unable to give me any information. She was always very upset at Christmas.

I met someone from West Calder recently who knew my father- George Peat Morris.
If you could point me in the right direction.

Best wishes

Gwen Brown

Sent from my iPad

From:   Tom Wilson
Sent:    20 March 2013

My cousin Gwen Brown recently enquired about our Grandfather Hugh Wilson who was killed in a shale mining accident in the 1940's

Could you let her know that I found details at Scottish Mining Site  which states Hugh Wilson aged 49, a shale miner, died 24 Dec 1943 at the Fraser Pit, West Calder, Lothian. He was struck by material from shot.

Many thanks
Tom Wilson

Fraser Pit in production, 1950's. (BP Archives 19801-002)

Sent from my iPad

Brian Ross
28 Nov 2015
Burngrange shale mining disaster


I’m making a documentary for BBC Scotland about the History/Social History of the Shale Oil industry in West Lothian.

I’m trying to find people with a link to the Burngrange disaster and I see on your site there is a Margaret Foster who posted a poem about the disaster on 11 Jan 2012.  She also says she heard the alarm and that her dad helped with the rescue.

Would it be possible for you to put me in touch with Margaret – either by supplying me with her email or by supplying her with mine/

Best Wishes


Margaret Foster
11 January 2012
Burngrange West Calder Midlothian - My Dad was on a different shift. He was among the rescue squad

Burngrange 1947

The siren blared and fear took hold
As families quake in terror
Beneath the ground the men are trapped
Within a living horror

Explosion, fire and poison gas
Is the hell that holds them
The coal that gives their daily bread
Has turned its back against them

Fifty made it to the shaft
Out of the living hell
How they did we can but wonder
God alone can tell

The fires quelled, gas expelled
The search does not abate
They reach the fall and breach the wall
The men are found...To late

Sixty years on down the track
The pit is closed
The miners gone
Fifteen names on a dull bronze plaque
Time moves on

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Margaret Foster January 1007 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Burngrange Scotland
Jan 1947 - I heard the siren go off but I was only three and I of course was to young to understand what was happening. My Dad was on a different shift but he went immediately to the pit head where the rescue teams were organised.  He never talked much about it except to say it was one of the saddest experiences of his life.

The plaque stands in the main street in West Calder.

Alex W Duncan
11 January 2012
Re Burngrange, Midlothian or West Lothian

Dear Fionn,
In the intro to the Burngrange Disaster web site, it states the locus of the Colliery as being within Midlothian. Being 10 years old at that time in 1947, I would have placed Burngrange in West Lothian, I realise that Midlothian has shrunk over the years, but I cannot remember it going as far West to include the West Calder area.

Within 6 years of this Disaster we saw the first of the Shale Mine workers arriving into the Coal Mines of Midlothian, in particular Lingerwood Colliery in Newtongrange, and they all claimed to have worked in West Lothian. This may seem to be a trivia question, but these little details trigger my curiosity.

Alex W Duncan.

Ex Assitant Chief Electrical Engineer Bilston Glen Colliery.

See Dougie Gair's Explanation Below

Dougie Gair
28 February 2012
Re Alex W Duncan's question Re Burngrange, Midlothian or West Lothian

Dear Fionn

Tarbrax No. 4 c.1920
With regards to Alex’s question as to whether Burngrange was in Midlothian or West Lothian. (See above)

At the time of the Burngrange Disaster, 1947, West Calder was within Midlothian with that County stretching to nearly Shotts in the west and Cobbinshaw to the south. West Calder did not become part of West Lothian until 1975 at the time of Local Government reorganisation.

Most of the shale pits were within West Lothian but a few were in Midlothian and even one just inside Lanarkshire.

I would be more than happy to answer any questions about the shale pits and mines of West Lothian, Midlothian and Lanarkshire.

My Grandfather, Father and Uncles worked in a few and my maternal Grandfather worked in a coal pit which served the shale pit and oil works at Tarbrax which is the one which was slightly within Lanarkshire.

Dougie Gair

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