BANK. Little Hulton, Lancashire. 10th. December, 1866.

The colliery was the property of John Wright and eight men lost their lives as a result of an explosion in the west workings of the Cannel Mine. Twenty-two men and boys were burnt or injured by the blast and all of them were brought out of the pit alive. The eight died later from their injuries.

They were brought out of the pit by Adam Eckersley, a fireman in another part of the pit who promptly went into the workings and rescued many men before he became unconscious from the afterdamp. When others came they got him out but found that all in the mine were suffering from the effects of the gas.

The Cannel Mine was known to give off gas, but the workings were small and the ventilation very strong and no firedamp appeared in the workings before the explosion, nor was any found the following day by the Inspector, Mr. Joseph Dickinson. The underlooker and fireman had just left the place seeing everything was all right. The miners did not find them there and opened two lamps which ignited the gas and burnt everyone who was in the mine but those who were in the intake near the bottom of the shaft escaped unhurt.

Those who died were:

  • Peter Swindells aged 27, miner.
  • John Swindells aged 21 years, miner.
  • James Grundy aged 21 years, miner.
  • Levi Rushton aged 20 years, miner.
  • John Glynn aged 15 years, wagoner.
  • Thomas Robert Nuttall aged 21 years, miner.
  • William Swindells aged 30 years, miner.
  • Samuel Councill aged 12 years, wagoner.

The explosion was clearly the result of a sudden outburst of gas which came as a result of a roof fall. The air became fouled and was carried by the ventilating current into the return airway and would have passed harmlessly up the shaft had not the safety lamps been unlocked and opened.


Colliery Guardian. 15th December 1866. p.469.

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

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