MESNE LEA. Worsley, Lancashire. 30th. May, 1867.

The colliery was the property of Peter Nightingale and Company and an explosion occurred in the Rams Seven Feet Mine. A new cut-through had been made the evening before. This was small and the flexible tubing which was used instead of bratticing, to make the cut through, was stowed in the previous cut through. During the night there was not enough ventilation and of the fireman and miners, who went in the morning, one man went in before the fireman and the gas ignited.

The shaft was 180 yards deep to the Seven Feet Mine. There were 140 men in part of the colliery who started work at 6 a.m. It was the duty of the fireman to examine the workings before the men went in. On the morning of the disaster, the fireman, Enoch Yates, went down the shaft and a number of men followed him. It was customary for the men to wait at the pit bottom while the fireman carried out his inspection. It was supposed that the men followed the fireman in with naked lights and at 6.30 there was an explosion at the far end of the jig brow.

Those who died were:

  • Enock Yates, aged 38 years, fireman.
  • John Johnson aged 38 years, miner.
  • Thomas Houghton aged 47 years, miner.
  • John Seddon aged 57 years, miner.
  • Thomas Brundrett aged 26 years, miner.
  • James Seddon aged 18 years, miner.
  • James Johnson aged 19 years, miner.

The accident was caused by the man going in before the fireman had made his regulation inspection. The Inspector, Joseph Dickinson thought it was possible that a door had been left open during the night.

The inquest was held by Mr. Rutter the County Coroner at the Swan with Two Necks public house. After due consideration the jury returned the verdict that:

One or more of the deceased entered the mine with naked lights and the fireman had not performed his daily examination thereby an explosion was caused and the men came to their deaths. We recommend that a proper time should elapse before the men are allowed to descend so that the fireman could complete his work.


The Mines Inspectors Report, 1866. Mr. Joseph Dickenson.
The Colliery Guardian. 1st June 1867. p.507. 8th June, 1867, p.531.

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

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