WHINNY HILL. Cleator Moor. Cumberland. 28th. October, 1848.

The colliery was the property of the Haematite Mining Company and thirty men and boys were killed in an explosion. At the inquest into the men’s deaths, evidence was given that the colliery was in a very dangerous state and the atmosphere, foul to within thirty-five yards of the shaft. The accident took place when a workman took the top off his lamp to light his pipe.

The married men who died were:

  • James Thompson aged 26 years of Goose Butts, left a wife and four children.
  • Thomas Aitken aged 39 years of Goose Butts, left five children.
  • Richard Lawson aged 46 years of Hensingham, left seven children.
  • James Milby aged 26 years of Goose Butts, left two children.
  • John Cummins aged 24 years of Hensingham, left two children.
  • George Vetch aged 47 years of Hensingham, left nine children. Body not found.
  • Daniel Loebery aged 32 years of Whitehaven, left a child.
  • William Lish aged 23 years of Cleator Moor, left two children.
  • John Barwise aged 28 years of Hensingham, left two children.
  • John Atkinson aged 32 years of Padstow, left two children.
  • John MacDougall aged 46 years, left four children. Body not found.
  • Dennis Savage aged 26 years of Whitehaven, left a child. Body not found.
  • Patrick Kelly aged 23 years of Low Harris.
  • John Hall aged 30 years of Mill Hill, left three children.
  • Patrick Monaghan aged 41 years of Whitehaven, left seven children. Body not found.
  • Thomas Fitzsimmons aged 25 years of The Moor. Body not found.
  • Alexander Davidson aged 23 years of Goose Butts, left one child.

The unmarried were:

  • William Dryden of Whitehaven aged 23 years.
  • John Lawson of Hensingham aged 16 years.
  • Robert Lawson of Hensingham aged 12 years.
  • Charles Loebrey of Whitehaven aged 21 years.
  • James Dowie aged 18 years of Whitehaven.
  • John Aikin aged 17 years of Goose Butts.
  • Robert Clark aged 13 years of The Moor.
  • Henry Waged 19 years of Goose Butts.
  • John Milby aged 18 years of Mill Hill.
  • James Harrison aged 29 years of Goose Butts.
  • George Watson a stranger. Body not found.
  • John Ward aged 18 years of Bragg’s Cottages. Escaped but died later.
  • John Disley aged 22 years of Hensingham. Body not found.
  • Edward Bradley,
  • Thompson Piper, the furnaceman, escaped.

The inquest into the disaster was held before Mr. Bragg, Coroner. Robert Foster, the head overman at the colliery said that on the day of the explosion he was at home but went to the pit as soon as he was told of the disaster. He, and a party of explorers, managed to get about halfway down the shaft but had to return because of the “stythe”.


Annals of Coal Mining. Galloway. Vol.2, p.130.
Mining Journal. Vol. xviii, p.510, 554, 570.
Prevention of Accidents. Richardson, 1884.
The Cumberland Pacquet.

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

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