NELSON. Tyldesley, Lancashire. 2nd. October, 1883.

The colliery was the property of Mr. William Ramsden of Shackerley and six men lost their lives when the rope to the cage broke sending them down the shaft and into the sump. The pit was 280 yards deep to the Trencherbone seam and over 100 men had been lowered to their work when the accident happened. James Horridge, a fireman saw the rope break and James Ashton, the hooker-on at the bottom heard a scream and then the rumbling of the cage in the shaft. He ran away and when he returned he saw that the cage had gone into the sump. There were four men in the cage and two in the sump.

The men who had made safe descents were waiting at the shaft bottom for their tools. They heard the cage strike the scaffolding at the pit bottom. Two men John Edwards and Robert Evans heard the cried of their ill-fated comrades. The men at the bottom were wound out of No.2 Wellington pit to which they had to travel 8 to 900 yards downbrow.

Prompt attempts were made to recover the bodies and James Beswick, the manager, Alexander Almond, John Kay and Joseph Hayes, deputy underlookers were among the first to put the operations into effect that would recover their dead comrades. By eight p.m. the disfigured bodies of Thomas Aldred alias “Herritt” of Chowbent and Edwin Wild. By 9.50 p.m. another body had been recovered and the bodies were laid out in the engine house for identification. Liversage was the last to be brought put and his widow had waited for almost three hours

Those who lost their lives were:

  • Thomas Aldred alias Herritt,
  • Edwin Wild,
  • William Liversage, married with a child,
  • Ashton Hayes,
  • Patrick McGuire,
  • Jonathan Williams aged about 19 years.

At the inquest into the disaster conducted by Mr. J.B. Edge, Coroner, at the George and Dragon, Tyldesley, James Gerrard the engineer said that the day before the accident there was no jump or jerk from the engine and no slipping of the rope. He had no idea what caused the accident.

James Horridge, the fireman at the pit, said he went to work about 4.45 a.m. on the morning of the disaster. The engine tenter, George Pent, was at the pit but the banksman had not yet arrived. He made his inspection and saw the cage make several windings of men and none of them made any complaint. The first he heard of the accident was a sort of scream in the shaft as the cage rushed past. He supposed the rope had broken and he looked for the chain attached to the rope.

Mr. C.M. Percy, of Wigan, consulting engineer to the colliery, had made a careful examination of the ring that attached the rope to the cage and told the court that there was more clearance between the cages and the landings than was usual in any colliery. The iron that formed the ring was of good quality but there was some crystalline structure round the break which could have been caused by repeated shocks. John Collins, Fellow of the Chemical Society, made a detailed examination of the broken link and the iron from which it had been made appeared to be sound. He told the Coroner that he could not have expected the link to have been made from better quality materials. There was evidence that the engineman did not jerk the cage.

The Coroner summed up and the jury returned a verdict of “Accidental Death” on the men and the failure had been caused by repeated shocks which caused a weakness that could not have been detected.


The Colliery Guardian, 19th October 18813, p.627.
The Farnworth Journal.

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

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