HAIGH. Whitehaven, Cumberland, 5th. September, 1922.

The Whitehaven Collieries were situated on the outskirts of Whitehaven and close to the seashore. They were the property of the Whitehaven Collieries Company, Limited who acquired the property in 1913. The Collieries comprised four mines, Wellington, William, Ladysmith and Haigh Pits.

Owing to the distance of the working from the shafts, about 4 miles, a scheme was formulated to reorganize the ventilation of the Wellington Pit and the Haigh Pits. The Haigh Pits were sunk with the intention that should eventually replace the Wellington shafts and drifts connected to the Wellington workings were in the course of being driven. The sinking of Haigh No.5 was started in August 1914 and completed in May 1916. The No.4 pit was started in October 1916 and completed in March 1918. They were 40 yards apart. No.5 pit was 21 feet and No.4, 18 feet in diameter, and both were walled throughout, The shafts were 720 yards southwest of the Wellington Pits and 300 yards above the high watermark.

To avoid the old workings in the Six Quarters Seam, which were driven from the old Salton Pit, which contained water, the Haigh shafts were sunk to a depth of 40 fathoms below the Six Quarters Seam, which made the total depth of the No.5 shaft, 200 fathoms and the No.4 Pit 191 fathoms. The winding level was at 189 fathoms and the shafts were designed to raise 3,000 tons of coal per day, though the quantity that was raised at the present stage of development was about 250 tons per day.

All the mines were under the supervision of an agent and works manager, Mr. R. Steel. Separate managers were appointed for the Ladysmith and William Pits, but the Wellington and Haigh Pits were under the charge of one manager, Mr. A. Kirkpatrick. There were also undermanagers with 2nd. Class Certificates at each pit, Mr. A. Millar being the manager of the Haigh pit.

Before the explosion, 245 persons were employed at the Haigh Pit including 192 underground and 53 on the surface. The mine was worked in three shifts. The night shift went down between 9.45 to 10 p.m. and came up between 5 and 5.15 p.m., the day shift went down between 5 and 5.15 a.m., and came up between 12.15 and 12.30 p.m. and the back shift descended between 12.15 and 12.30 and ascended between 7.30 and 7.45 p.m. and workmen were underground from 7.30 to 7.45 p.m. to 9.45 to 10 p.m.

The deputies shifts were arranged as follows, the night shift descended between 8.30 and 9 p.m. and ascended at 4.30 a.m., the day shift deputies went down at 4.30 a.m. and came up between 11.30 a.m. and 12 noon and the back shift deputies went down between 11.30 a.m. and 12 noon and ascended between 6.30 and 7.30 p.m. The Haigh Pit was divided into two deputies districts called the North District and the South West District and for the purpose of inspection, the drifts which were being driven formed a separate district. For the North and South West Districts there were six deputies, two on each shift, and in the North District, there was in addition an authorized shotfirer who descended at 7 a.m. and generally ascended at 3 p.m., so overlapping the day shift and the backshift.

On the 24th of August, one of the deputies in the North District went on holiday and from that date up to the morning of the explosion, the two remaining deputies worked his shift between them. These men were working 12-hour shifts and not the eight hours fixed by the normal order under the Coal Mines Regulation Act, 1908, and the Coal Mines Act, 1919.

The total number of men underground on the morning of the 5th September when the accident occurred was 82, of who 39 were in the North District to which the explosion was confined.

The winding engine was fixed at No.4 shaft which was used for coal drawing. At No.5 shaft the engine was almost completed but the engine used for sinking that shaft formed an emergency winding engine. The steel headgears at both shafts were completed and a small screening plant was in temporary use.

Until the completion of the ventilation scheme the Haigh and Wellington Pits, Haigh No.4 shaft was used as the downcast and No 5 shaft was temporarily converted to an upcast. A 60-inch single inlet Sirocco fan, electrically driven was erected at the surface. Its drawing power w as 48,555 cubic feet per minute at a water gauge of 2.4 inches through the workings of the Haigh Pit. The fan was fitted with arrangements for reversing the current.

An ambulance and a lamp room, stores, offices were provided but were only temporary at the time of the disaster pending the completion of permanent structures.

Each workman was provided with a numbered token and unless he produced this, no lamp was issued to him without written authority from the manager. Each man, when he started work, handed in his token at the lamp cabin and a lamp bearing the same number was issued to him. When they came to the surface after completing the shift they handed the lamps back and the tokens were given to them.

No special system to search the men for prohibited articles before they went underground had been approved by the Inspector and so all persons had to e be searched by the onsetter but he had to search about 80 men in 15 minutes and there were grave doubts as to the thoroughness of the search. During the course of the inquiry, it merged that a cigarette had been found underground and the jury thought it fit to recommend a stricter method of searching.

From the winding levels, drifts were being driven due west and practically parallel with the Wellington main haulage road for 27 yards from each shaft, these drifts were the width of the shaft, 15 feet and arched. They then tapered down to 13 feet wide and 9 feet high and were supported by brick side walls and girders. The drifts were being driven seaward in order to connect the Haigh shafts with the workings in the Saltom area of the Wellington Pit. The drift from No.5 pit holed at a distance of 1,400 yards into a similar drift driven towards the land from the Wellington Pit workings on the 19th July 1922. The drift from No.4 pit was still under construction and had not yet holed through.

On the Wellington side, winnings were being driven both towards the land to hole into Haigh Pit and also seaward to win an area of the Main Band Seam. The total distance to the face after holing was 3,900 yards in a direct line from Haigh Pit. As the winnings advanced, it was intended to make connections to the more remote districts of the Wellington Pit. In driving towards the land in the Main Band Seam, a series of faults were passed through, and eventually the Six Quarters Seam was cut in December 1921 at 830 yards from the shafts and on the south side of a large fault which ran on the north side of the drifts and almost parallel with them. The drifts were continued in the Six Quarters Seam for a further 570 yards when they holed into the drift driven from the Wellington workings

A small area to the south in the Six Quarters Seam, known as the South West District, was opened from the main drifts and was being worked at the time of the explosion. Three hundred and fifty yards from the Haigh Pits, a pair of drifts were driven northwards through the fault mentioned, and the Six Quarters Seam was cut in December 1919 and was subsequently opened out; this was the only area affected by the explosion.

At a further 180 yards, a similar pair of drifts were driven and the Little Main Seam, lying 12 fathoms above the Six Quarters was cut in April 1920. This seam was 2 feet 3 inches thick, and a small longwall area was worked by compressed air coal cuttings machines but was suspended on 11th March 1922 because of a shortage of men.

The section of the Six Quarters Seam in the inbye area was a roof of Black Shale, the Upper coal 1 foot 4 inches to 1 foot 10 inches thick, 2 feet of Black Shale and the portion worked was 3 feet 5 inches to 3 feet seven inches of coal, three-quarters of an inch to ten inches of Band and coal 2 feet to 2 feet four inches.

In the area outbye of the district, which was to the rise, the band was so thick that only the upper portion of the seam was worked by the longwall method. The gateways were 13 yards apart and height for the tub roads was made in the roof. Where the band was thinner, in the inbye area, the whole of the seam was extracted by the bord and pillar method. The workings were 4 yards wide and the pillars were 40 to 50 yards square. The seam had a general dip to the northwest of 1 in 9 but owing to local variations, roadways which had been set on the level, dipped near the face. The district made a certain amount of water and there were three compressed air pumps and the management stated that the workmen at the face were encouraged to fill water into tubs with the coal.

The floor of the haulage plane was wet from below the No.1 air crossing to the face of the dip and there were pools of water in some places. The floor of No.1 level was also wet and water stood for several yards at various points. It is also possible that leakage of water from filled tubs tended to keep the floor of the roadways damp, if not wet, except some of the roads to the rise of the longwall area.

No coal cutting machines were in use. The coal was undercut by hand to a depth of 2 feet to 2 feet 6 inches but it was clear that the holing was not always made to that depth. The undercutting was done in the shale band where it was of sufficient thickness but in one or two places in the bord and pillar and the longwall face, the holing was done in the upper section of the seam. The coal was then got down by blasting, usually, three shots fired in the upper section and three in the lower section. The dirt from the holing in the band was thrown back to the sides of the workings, the tub road being in the centre.

The roof of the seam was of a friable black shale intersected by a large number of slippery partings, which necessitated the use of props and bars. The timbering distances were fixed by the manager in accordance with the Coal Mines Act, 1911. Four feet between each row of props, five feet between adjacent props in the same row, four and a half feet between the front row of props and the face, and six feet between the holing props or sprags. The timber at the face was set by the hewers, while the backbye timber was set by the shifters.

The engine plane had brick side walls which carried steel girders for a distance of 230 yards and for the remaining distance, steel girders and wooden bars supported by props. The plane averaged 11 feet wide by 6 feet 6 inches high.

The men worked together in each working place and got, filled, and trailed or hauled their own tubs to the haulage plane. There were no putters flats or siding in the district. No horses were employed at any of the Whitehaven Pits. This necessitated the use of jack rolls in the dip places and small compressed air hauliers (windy putters). In the rise places, self-acting inclines of dillies were used. The main haulage plane was worked by an endless rope which extended to the bottom level, the return wheel being situated just below the level and placed horizontally on the floor. Two sets of rails were laid nearly to the bottom of the dip, but the empty road was being extended to form a double track over the entire distance.

Before the holing to the Wellington Pit was completed in the previous June, the total quantity of air passing down the downcast shaft was 40,800 cubic feet per minute. Of this quantity 16,800 cubic feet passed into the North District of the Six Quarters Seam, the measurement within 100 yards of the first working place was 6,000 cubic feet while 9,250 cubic feet went into the Little Main Seam and 13,600 cubic feet into the Drift District.

After the holing, the total quantity of air passing through the downcast shaft was 76,635 cubic feet per minute with 20,240 cubic feet passing into the North District of the Six Quarters Seam with the measurement within 100 yards of the first working place being 7,300 cubic feet, 5,000 cubic feet into the Little Main Seam, 9,120 cubic feet into the South West District of the Six Quarters Seam and the remainder travelled through the Wellington Pit.

Up to July 1922, the North District of the Six Quarters Seam was ventilated by one continuous split of 16,800 cubic feet per minute passing down the main engine plane, round the workings, and over the No.1 air crossing. After the holing, it was found that the pull exerted by the Wellington fan interfered with the ventilation of the Six Quarters Seam in the Haigh Pit to some extent. a second overcast was constructed and the air was then taken down the main engine plane and after passing around the lower bord and pillar workings, 10,395 cubic feet per minute of air were allowed to pass over the No.2 air crossings, the remainder passing into the longwall workings joined by the leakage along with No.1 level and after coursing around the longwall workings, passed over the overcast into the return. A canvas regulator was placed in the drift leading to the Wellington Pit and the quantity of air passing after these alterations showed an increase of 3,080 cubic feet per minute passing into the North District which made a total quantity of 223,320 according to the notes made by the manager at the time of the alterations. The barometer and hygrometer were read and recorded in the prescribed book as required by General Regulations 104 and 105.

No naked lights were allowed in the mine, even in the downcast shaft. Oldham electric safety lamps, Type C, fitted with magnetic locks were issued to the workmen. The only flame lamps in use were those carried by the officials making inspections. These were Patterson E1 types fitted with lead rivet locks. The lamp station was on the surface and on the date of the explosion there were 243 electric lamps and 8 flame lamps were issued.

No spare lamps were issued to the workmen but each deputy carried both a flame lamp and an electric lamp. The lamps were examined at the shaft bottom by the onsetter and also at the compressed air house which was the meeting station under Section 63 of the Coal Mines Act, 1911 by the deputies before the men were permitted to go inbye. The lamps of men not forming the shift were examined by the onsetter and a record of damaged lamps was kept.

The management claimed that the mine was worked by a succession of shifts, commencing for the purpose of inspection with the night shift. The deputy in each district descended, made his inspection, and reported on all the working places prior to the night shift commencing work at 10 p.m. He made the inspection during the shift and also the inspection and report before the morning shift and then passed in the incoming shift.  The same procedure was used for the succeeding shifts. Despite the view of the management that the mine was worked in successive shifts, the deputies shifts were so organised that inspections could be commenced and completed within two hours of the start of work in a shift. The evidence showed that the inspection before the start of work on the day shift was sometimes begun at least three hours before the miners on the shift actually started work at the faces.

A previously mentioned, the shotfirer overlapped the day and the back shifts and while his duties wee solely in connection with shotfiring, the Manager instructed him to make a report in the prescribed firemen’s report book at the end of his shift. This did not interfere in any way with the statutory duties of the deputy in charge of the district but was solely for the information of the manager.

An examination of the deputies report books for the 12 months ending 5th September 1922 showed that gas had been reported on 28 days in one or more places. The withdrawal of the workmen report book revealed the fact that no men had been withdrawn on account of gas and there were only three entries in the book showing the withdrawals that were due to the state of the roof.

It was stated by the officials, that when gas was found in any working place during the deputies examination prior to the entry of the workers, that place was “laid idle” and the men were sent to work elsewhere. Consequently, there were no withdrawals to put on record. no mention was made of the percentage of firedamp found but it was understood that when any indication of gas, however slight, was seen, the place was fenced off until it was found to be clear.

It appeared from the reports that the detection of gas was not recorded for a long interval until 20th July and subsequent dates, when gas was reported in the last two working places on the return side of the district. Later reports showed that gas was found in Pattinson’s, Lanery’s and Goulding’s places which were the ones furthest outbye. The main dip and its companions had not been worked for some weeks.

Electrical power for the Haigh Pits came from the Company’s generating station at the Ladysmith Pit. Three-phase alternating current at 3,300 volts was sent by an underground cable to a substation at the surface and from there it was carried down the No.4 downcast shaft by an armoured cable to a distributing station 150 yards from the shaft bottom. This station contained the transformers used for the lighting of the shaft siding as far as the Six Quarters junction and motor rooms. A 100 h.p. endless rope haulage engine was placed 45 yards from the shaft and a 160 h.p. air compressor 350 yards from the shaft. A centrifugal pump driven by a 195 h.p. motor moving 500 gallons per minute was in the Six Quarters inset in the shaft, 158 fathoms from the surface and delivered the water to an adit 30 fathoms from the surface.

An underground telephone system was installed as far as the Six Quarters junction and motor rooms. The haulage signalling extended to the No.7 level. The signalling was done by short-circuiting the wires and no special pushes were provided. The bell and relay that were used had been tested and found incapable of producing a spark that could ignite firedamp even when 15 Leclanch Ž cells were used. The relay and bell were fixed at the junction to the main haulage road opposite the compressor house.

There was a considerable amount of blasting in the mine and only “Permitted” explosives were used. Viking Powder No. 2 was generally used for shots in coal and Dynobel No.3 for brushing shots which were fired with No.6 Low Tension Detonators. During June, 2,727 shots were fired in coal which gave an average of 105 shots per day over a period of 26 working days. In drifts and coal together, 4,242 shots were fired and the explosives issued during the month amounted to 2,035lbs.

It was the usual practice to hole or undercut the coal in the middle band of shale to a depth of 2 feet or 2 feet 6 inches and to fire three shots in the top coal each shot being charged with 4 to 6oz. of explosive. Each shift prepared just as much coal as they were wee able to send out during their shift and there was no “marrowing” with the next shift. This system led to far more blasting than was really necessary to get the 200 to 220 tons of coal per day. The stemming used was of surface clay which was sent down in pit tubs and taken to the workings by the trailers from the sidings when required.

Stone dusting had been carried out in the pits except where the workings were considered to be naturally wet. Six months before, a stone crushing machine had been erected at the Haigh Pit and no stone dusting had been carried out in the North District beyond the point where the roadways were considered to be wet.

On the morning of 5th September, 82 men and boys descended the mine at 5 a.m. Thirty-eight went into the Six Quarters North District, fourteen to the South West District and nineteen into the drifts. The remainder were engaged on the main haulage road and at the shaft bottom. The deputy in charge of the North District was W. Weightman and the deputy of the South West District and drifts, D. McKenzie. The shotfirer, C. Brewster, descended at 7 a.m. and went to the North District. The undermanager, Alexander Millar also went down the pit. The manager, Mr. Kilpatrick, was on holiday from the previous day and Weightman was staying for part of an extra shift.

A few minutes before 9 a.m. the banksman saw a cloud of dust coming from the downcast shaft. The agent, Mr. Steel, who was at the William Pit, was immediately informed by telephone and he and Mr. Brodie, the manager of the William Pit, went at once to the Haigh pit. On his way, Mr. Steel telephoned the Rescue Station at Brigham and Mr. Cook, H.M. Inspector of mines, who lived in Whitehaven. These men at once made their way to the pit and when Messrs. Brodie and Steel arrived at the pit, they found that the engineer. Mr. Parker and the storekeeper, Mr. Rothery, who was an old undermanager, had already gone underground and they caught them up at the compressor house. The downcast shaft was not damaged in any way but the light wooden planks covering the upcast shaft were displaced. This caused an overload on the fan motor which tripped the switch.

They found no damage had been done to the shaft siding as far as the compressor house and on meeting the engineer, Mr. Steel instructed him to go to the surface and make preparations to start the fan. The air was then travelling along the drifts to the Wellington Pit.

At the time of the disaster, Mr. Millar the undermanager, and the rope splicer, Travaskis, were standing near the compressor house when they felt the blast coming from the North District of the Six Quarters Seam, and both were blown off their feet. Mr. Millar was not inured but Travaskis had some ribs broken and shortly after had to go to the surface. The undermanager went towards the junction and found Telford, a boy, lying dead between some tuns and the sidewall of the drifts. He made his way into the North District and found that the first air crossing was blown down but he continued further inbye.

In the meantime, Messrs Steel, Brodie, and a deputy named Thompson who had been at the shaft top and was to have relieved Weightmen, had reached the air crossing and heard Millar call for help. They went to his assistance and found him unconscious 120 yards further down the dip. They carried him out to the junction and afterwards he was taken to the Infirmary.

The men in the South West District and drifts, having felt the blast, made their way outbye and several were called upon to give assistance. A hewer, W. Carter, was found badly injured and unconscious under some empty tubs that had been derailed under the No.21 air crossing. he was taken out of the pit but died on his way to the Infirmary.

Mr. Cook by this time had reached the Six Quarters junction and after consultation with Mr. Steel and an inspection of the return airway at the No.1 crossing which showed that there was no apparent danger of fire, it was decided to re-start the fan. This was done about 10.30 a.m. They found the return airway full of afterdamp and a white vapour, which destroyed any hope that men could live in that atmosphere.

After the fan was re-started, an attempt was made to go down the main engine plane, when it was found that the No.2 air crossing and the stoppings to the left-hand side of the plane between the two air crossings were also blown out.

On reaching the No.2 air crossing the air was found to be so foul that no progress could be made. The Rescue Team had arrived by this time and they were sent forward to investigate the engine plane beyond this point. After proceeding a short distance, they returned to report that there were large falls that had prevented them from going further.

The air was short circuiting at the air crossing and stopping and it was impossible to continue with the exploration until these had been repaired. The party was then withdrawn, and with the additional help that was available, a start was made to restore the air crossings. While this work was in progress, the agent, Mr. Steel, was overcome by afterdamp and had to be carried out and taken to the Infirmary and Mr. Brodie was affected and taken to the surface.

In the meantime, the undermanager of Wellington Pit had travelled through from this pit and reported that all was right on his way. By the early afternoon, the air crossings had been completed and a stopping erected in place of the one that had been blown out while a further stopping was put in place of the wooden door which had been blown out of the No.1 level. Stoppings were also erected in the drift to Wellington Pit and at the Little Main Drift to put more ventilation pressure on the Six Quarters section.

The air then began to take its normal course. This enabled a party to get further down the main engine plane where they found a number of bodies and many large falls but were still unable to reach the faces until further stoppings were put in on other levels to the right. While this work was going on, a party attempted to get along the No.1 level and reach the men in the longwall district. The afterdamp impeded progress and stoppings had to be put in the openings on the right-hand side. Eventually, the ventilation was restored sufficiently to enable rescue parties to enter the working where they found no one alive. The Rescue Brigades were used to explore the dead ends where they found several bodies. Between 2 and 3 a.m. on the 6th, all twenty-five bodies who were not buried in falls had been recovered. It was Sunday, 10th September before all the bodies were recovered and brought to the surface owing to the heavy falls which made their location very difficult.

Those who lost their lives were:

  • Thomas Parker Telford aged 19 years, shift hand of 7, Low Harras Moor,
  • Robert Routledge McCreadie aged 19 years, coal hewer of 4, Thwaite Ville,
  • Robert Denwood aged 21 years, coal hewer of 13, Quay Street,
  • Joseph Moore aged 29 years, shift hand of 22. Thwaite Ville,
  • Albert Powe aged 19 years, shift hand of Low Harras Moor,
  • James Greaves aged 46 years, shift hand of Goosebutts, Hensingham,
  • Moses Huddleston Tyson aged 24 years, coal hewer of Birley Court, Duke Street,
  • John Kirkpatrick aged 32 years, coal hewer of 1, Hills Place, Church Street,
  • Gordon McCreadie aged 17 years, coal hewer of 4, Thwaite Ville,
  • William Hope aged 25 years, 10 School House Lane,
  • John Moore aged 25 years, of 10, Bransty Road,
  • George McCreadie aged 47 years, of 4, Thwaite Ville,
  • Robert McDowell aged 44 years of High Hensington,
  • Thomas Moore aged 29 years, coal hewer of 3, Garden Villas, Hensingham,
  • Thomas Gilhooly aged 39 years, coal hewer of 40, Keekle Terrace, Hensingham,
  • Leonard Ixon Hellon  aged 27 years of 3, Thwaite Ville,
  • Bernard Murphey aged 24 years, coal hewer of 56, Bowthorn Road, Cleator Moor,
  • Sylvester McAvoy aged 34 years of 29, Thwaite Ville,
  • Thomas Haig aged 37 years of 2, Cooks Court, Scotch Street,
  • Albert Shepherd aged 39 years, coal hewer of 135, Main Street, Parton,
  • William Weightman aged 32 years, deputy and shotfirer of 16, Thwaite Ville,
  • Samuel Coulter aged 28 years, coal hewer of Main Street, Hensingham,
  • George Stevenson Parkinson aged 26 years, coal hewer of Low Harras Moor,
  • William Carter aged 26 years, coal hewer of 30. Thwaite Ville,
  • Thomas McDowell aged 19 years, trailer of Streetons Terrace,
  • Hensingham, Jackson Sparks aged 19 years, coal hewer of 4, Williamsons Lane, Hensingham,
  • John Pattison aged 36 years, coal hewer of 13, Williamsons Lane, Hensingham,
  • William John Sparks aged 23 years of Williamsons Lane, Hensingham,
  • Thomas Robinson aged 29 years, coal hewer of 53, Main Street, Hensingham,
  • John Carson Brewster aged 39 years, shotfirer of 17, Lonsdale Place, Whitehaven,
  • John Bennett aged 26 years, coal hewer of 28, Arrowthwaite,
  • Thomas Henry Cooper aged 28 years, coal hewer of 28, Auction Yard, New Town,
  • Henry Goulding aged 32 years, coal hewer of 2, Ravenhill,
  • Richard Denver aged 58 years, shift hand of 2, Low Road, Whitehaven,
  • Isaac Osborne aged 26 years, coal hewer of Crookdale, Brayton,
  • Douglas James Michael Fell aged 20 years, mining student of Holy Trinity Vicarage, Whitehaven,
  • John Casson aged 37 years, coal hewer of Low Harras Moor,
  • George Watson aged 37 years, coal hewer of 5, Brookbank, Hensingham.

The inquiry was held concurrently with the inquest and the proceedings were opened at 10 a.m. on Monday, 9th. October in the Congregational School Room, Scotch Street, Whitehaven for six days when all interested parties were represented.

The explosion area had been examined by Mr. Thomas Mottram, H.M. Chief Inspector of mines who made the official report on the disaster.

The only two flame lamps which were used in the affected area, that of Weightmen, the deputy and Brewster, the shotfirer were recovered and examined. Brewster’s lamp was found to have been damaged by a fall of roof but both lamps were found to be in good condition as were all electric lamps and the signalling apparatus and incapable of igniting the gas. The match and cigarette which had been discovered in clothing was also ruled out as a source of ignition.

Blasting was being carried out at the time of the disaster and Mr. Mottram came to the conclusion that:

The evidence was so overwhelming that I have no hesitation in coming to the conclusion that the explosion originated at the flame of a shot fired at the face of Moore’s heading.

The shot was fired in the bottom coal which had been previously holed in the shale practically to the full length of the shothole.

Mr. Steel gave the Inspectors an assurance that blasting would be suspended in the Six Quarters Seam and would substitute holing and shearing machines and the question of producing a flameless explosive was being looked at by a committee appointed by the Secretary for Mines on the recommendation of the Safety in Mines Research Board.

At the inquest, the jury made several recommendations on which Mr. Mottram commented in the report. They recommended that the term “wet throughout”  relating to stone dusting should be defined and the Inspector thought the point should be referred to the Safety in Mines Research Board. The jury did not feel justified in making a recommendation about safety lamps but the report commented:

The question of installing safety lamps in places where electric lamps are in use has been the subject of much controversy among mining men. The problem was some time ago referred to the Miners Lamps Committee who have taken much evidence on the point and will shortly issue their report.

The jury also recommended that there should be a spare deputy on each shift, that no deputy should be allowed to work overtime and that there should be greater inducements to men to take up deputies positions. The last two recommendations of the jury concerned a more careful method of searching and that as far as the Haigh Pit was concerned, no explosive should be used to get coal.


Report on the causes and circumstances attending the explosion which occurred at the Haig Pit, Whitehaven Collieries, Cumberland on the 5th September 1922 by Thomas H. Mottram, C.B.E., H.M. Chief Inspector of Mines. CD. 1796.
Colliery Guardian, 16th February 1923, p. 403, 23rd February p.453.

Information supplied by Ian Winstanley and the Coal Mining History Resource Centre.

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