TOWNHOUSE. Burnley, Lancashire. 13th. November, 1856.

The colliery was owned by Spencer Wilson and Co. and the colliery was worked with locked lamps but blasting by gunpowder was allowed under the close supervision of an underlooker or fireman. A new man came to the pit and he was not given the Special Rules and tried to fire his own shot with a “german” which was a squib filled with gunpowder. When he lit it, it jumped into the goaf and ignited some firedamp which had collected there when a fall of roof occurred a little time before. Ten men were burnt and five died at their homes during the next few days.

Those who lost their lives were:

  • William Johnson. Died 15th November,
  • John Craven. Died 17th November,
  • M. Bannister. Died 22nd November,
  • John Ellis. Died 10th December,
  • William Higson. Died 12th December.


Mines Inspectors Report, 1856.

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

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