WHILE fixing a rhone pipe, 19-year-old Alexander Terry, an apprentice plumber at the Candleriggs Brewery in Alloa, fell around 50 feet to his death from the roof of the brewery in August 1898.

A few weeks later a Fatal Accident Inquiry was held. On Wednesday September 7, 1898, Sheriff Tyndall B. Johnstone was in the chair at the County Buildings along with a jury to hear evidence of what had happened to the young man.

James Hall was the first witness called. He worked for Robert Willison, a brass and iron founder in Bank Street in Alloa. On the day of the incident, Friday, August 19, Hall was with Terry as they set up the rhones on the edge of the roof of new buildings being erected by the brewery, owned by George Younger & Son Ltd, that housed new automatic malting machinery.

A third storey had been added to the original two and the building was finished except for the fitting of the pipes. They were standing on a platform raised 18 inches from the roof and measured 19 inches wide.

It was secured in place by wood and Hall was fitting the rhone head with one leg on the platform and one on the wall head. Terry was standing behind him. When he last saw him, he too had the same firm foothold of the platform.

He was assisting Hall, handing him tools he asked for. Hall happened to turn round, and not seeing him, he looked over onto the street.

He was horrified to see him lying there. No-one else was on the roof. He never saw Terry fall and did not know until he had looked down.

The incident happened around 8.45am, just two hours after work had begun.

The next witness was Herbert Harrison of Mar Place, Alloa. He worked for James Grant, a plasterer and slater. That morning, he was working on the roof of the malt house, on the south side close to the mill and was aware of Terry and Hall working on the north side.

He did not see them from where he was as the roof was not yet slated. Although he had not spoken to Terry, he had seen him working on the roof and he was just going about his work as usual.

Hall then came over and told him what had happened. He also looked over and saw Terry lying on the street. He had heard nothing.

Alexander Fyfe of Primrose Place in Alloa was next. He worked as a cellarman for Youngers and on that morning, he was working in the cellar, opposite the new building.

At around nine o'clock he heard some shouting and rushed out. It was then he saw the body "huddled up" on the street. It was clear he had fallen from the roof above.

He lifted him up, but he was dead, his left jaw smashed. The body was then taken into the brewery.

Dr Milne of Mar Street in Alloa got word there had been an accident at around nine o'clock. One man to be in the area at the time was Provost James Grant.

He later said the boy's head had hit the kerb of the path with great force and proceeded to get medical assistance from Dr Milne and Dr MacLeod Munro.

Dr Milne had arrived at the Candleriggs around ten minutes later and was shown to the body which by this time had been laid in the malt barns. He examined him, but knew he was dead.

He told the court there was a double fracture to the jaw and a fracture at the base of the skull. There were no marks on any other part of the body, just the head.

John Johnstone, a police officer with the Burgh Police then gave his testimony. On hearing of the incident, he went to the malt house where he found Dr Milne carrying out his examination.

The policeman then drew up a sketch plan of the scene of the incident. This was shown as evidence to the sheriff and the jury. Johnstone was the final witness.

The jury then retired but after only quarter of an hour returned with their verdict. Alexander Scott, a manufacturer in Tillicoultry and the foreman of the jury, gave the verdict corresponding with the evidence, that Terry had died due to concussion of the brain.

The sheriff thanked the jury for their attendance and dismissed them as the court rose.

Terry had lived at the Garlet, Kilbagie by Kincardine. A good worker, it was surmised he may have fainted and fallen to his death, therefore no screams were heard.

It is possible he never knew anything about it. He had not shown any signs of illness and was acting the way he usually did.

At the shed, Terry had been dressed and placed in a coffin then just before two o'clock that fateful day, he was taken by hearse to his parent's house at Kilbagie.