Fatality at Scotswood

Like many of us, I only half listened when my grandma told me tales of her childhood, but I do remember her telling me that one of her siblings died at the age of 14.

James Robson was born on 16th April 1891 in Newburn, Northumberland. According to the family bible, he died on 29th May 1905 after an accident at the Montague Fire and Clay Pit. He had been working there for one week.

From the Durham Mining Museum website  I was able to find more details of James’ death. This was sourced from the mine inspector’s report into the accident.

His duties had been to fasten the full coal tubs together prior to them being hauled out of the mine. On the day in question, he had forgotten to take his sandwiches with him and rode on the haulage rope behind the last tub of a set of 22 out of the mine to go and get them. He was spotted and instructed to get off, which he duly did. Shortly thereafter, the link between the first and second tubs broke, and 21 tubs started to roll backwards. James tried to get out of the way, but there being no refuge, he could not get off the track, and the tunnel was too low for him to climb on top. He was run over. See Colliery Accident 1905.

Using the links in the Reference Library on Family Tree Forum, I found that there was a death notice in the Newcastle Evening Chronicle on 31st May, 1905.

When I posted for advice on Rootschat as to how to find out details of the notice, one of the members kindly went to Newcastle library to look up the relevant article for me.

The death notice from the Evening Chronicle on Wednesday, 31 May 1905 read:-

“Robson_ Tile Sheds, Scotswood, from injuries received in mine 29th inst., aged 14, James, beloved son of John and Annie Robson. Interment at Newburn Thursday; cortege leaving 3pm. All friends kindly invited.”

The same person also kindly found the following report for me from Tuesday 30th May 1905:-See Newcastle Evening Chronicle Death Notice.


An accident whereby a youth named James Robson was fatally injured occurred at Scotswood on Monday. Robson, who had started work a week ago, was employed at what is locally known as ‘Carr’s Pit’, the owners of which are Messrs. Walter Scott. He was busy coupling tubs down the mine when it is stated, the set unexpectedly came away, and caught him. When extricated he was found to have been very seriously hurt, both his legs being crushed, one of them severely, while his head was also injured. On being brought to bank he was immediately taken to his home at Tile Sheds, Scotswood, where he was attended by Dr. Dewar, assistant to Dr. Bunting. He was afterwards removed to the Newcastle Infirmary, and there he succumbed to his injuries on Monday night. Deceased was 14 years of age, and was the son of John Robson, who is engaged as a deputy overman at Carr’s Pit.

A very sad death for a young man at the start of life.

Barbara Dodds