LLANERCH. Pontypool, Monmouthshire. 6th. February, 1890.

Llanerch Colliery was the property of Partridge, Jones and Company, Limited and the explosion claimed 176 lives. The shafts at the colliery were 253 yards deep and passed through a seam of coal that was not named at 74 yards 2 feet, the Big Vein at 155 yards 2 feet and the Three Quarters Vein at 167 yards 1 foot, the Yard Vein at 174 yards 1 foot and the Rock or Black vein at 188 yards 1 foot, the Meadow Vein at 237 yards, the Old Coal at 245 yards, The Farewell Rock was reached at 258 yards 1 foot. The Three Quarters, Rock and Meadow Vein were being worked at the colliery and were cut in the tunnel or stone drift from the bottom of the shafts at 517 yards, 363 yards and 44 yards respectively. The workings on the Three Quarters and Yard Veins were to the rise of the tunnel and were not extensive. The Meadow Vein had been exhausted above this level and the whole of the workings at this time were in the dip.

The Long Straight Slope was driven to the south-west to the north side of the shaft and 110 yards from the downcast shaft Cook’s slope branched off to the west and extended for 1,000 yards. There were four levels driven from Cook’s slope and from the cross headings and working stalls were driven.

Blasting was allowed in the mine but was not often used as the coal seemed to work well without it except in a few narrow leading places. There was no indication that a shot had been fired in any part of the workings and from the start of the investigation, there was no thought that it was caused by a shot. The workings were not strictly defined a dry and dusty but there was coal dust in the mine and the Inspector thought that it was coal dust that spread the devastation through the mine.

The district in which the explosion took place was known as Cook’s slope and was in the Meadow vein. Their working had been only opened three yards before and was being extended. Naked lights were used throughout the mine with the exception of the examiner or fireman. It was known that firedamp was given off but the ventilation which amounted to 20,000 cubic feet per minute in this district appeared to have prevented any danger.

When the explosion occurred the blast was heard two miles away and the blast devastated the headgears. Immediate efforts were made to effect repairs and at about 10.30 a cage was sent down the downcast shaft. One of the first men to be brought to the surface was Mr. Joseph Morgan the certificated manager of the mine. He was in the mine at the time of the explosion and on feeling the concussion he went to see what had happened and immediately found three or four men overcome by the afterdamp which he sent to fresh air and saved their lives. He also got the cage at the bottom of the shaft onto the guides which were broken and the survivors were sent to the surface. As soon as the disaster was known willing hands came from neighbouring and distant mines but there were few survivors. Of the men working in the district only ten escaped and they were injured and the remainder lost their lives. The ventilation was severely damaged and there were large falls that impeded the rescuers.

Those who died were:

  • Edward Jones aged 60 years, undermanager.

Colliers or persons engaged at the face:

  • James Adams aged 36 years.
  • Thomas Ashman aged 21 years.
  • William Ashman aged 17 years.
  • George Ashman aged 19 years.
  • William John Bayliss aged 21 years.
  • Lewis Bridges aged 29 years.
  • William Brimble aged 17 years.
  • Oliver Brimble aged 15 years.
  • William Bridges aged 19 years.
  • Joseph Bevan aged 37 years.
  • Mark Bridges aged 55 years.
  • David Brimble aged 12 years.
  • James Bright aged 14 years.
  • Arthur W. Bingham aged 15 years.
  • Frederick Bridges aged 17 years.
  • Samuel Francis Bright aged 12 years.
  • John Cook aged 37 years.
  • James Cook aged 31 years.
  • John Carey aged 31 years.
  • Gabriel Carpenter aged 47 years.
  • Jesse Carpenter aged 15 years.
  • Daniel Davies aged 24 years.
  • George Davies aged 37 years.
  • William Dobbs aged 24 years.
  • John Davies aged 34 years.
  • Edward Davies aged 54 years.
  • Edward Charles Davies aged 14 years.
  • William Davies aged 45 years.
  • Edward Roberts aged 15 years.
  • John Edwards aged 20 years.
  • John Evans aged 12 years.
  • William Finn aged 17 years.
  • James Greasley aged 23 years.
  • William George aged 34 years.
  • Joseph George aged 13 years.
  • John Gauntlett aged 55 years.
  • Richard Gough aged 60 years.
  • William, J. Godwin aged 13 years.
  • Samuel Greasley aged 37 years.
  • Thomas Greasley aged 19 years.
  • William Gullick aged 25 years.
  • Henry Hillier aged 31 years.
  • William Harper aged 28 years.
  • William Hayes aged 19 years.
  • Joseph Howells aged 35 years.
  • Henry Howells aged 15 years.
  • John Hoskins aged 39 years.
  • David Hughes aged 14 years.
  • David Howell aged 13 years.
  • Joseph Howells aged 12 years.
  • John Howells aged 17 years.
  • Henry Hoare aged 17 years.
  • Robert Ivory aged 26 years.
  • Daniel Ivory aged 21 years.
  • Albert Jones aged 14 years.
  • William Jones aged 17 years.
  • Samuel Jones aged 19 years.
  • Thomas James aged 14 years.
  • James James aged 13 years.
  • Edward Jones aged 33 years.
  • James Jones aged 31 years.
  • John Jones aged 20 years.
  • John James aged 44 years.
  • David Jones aged 14 years.
  • Thomas James aged 20 years.
  • John Jones aged 41 years.
  • William John Jones aged 41 years.
  • Joseph Lewis aged 24 years.
  • Alfred Langley aged 15 years.
  • Thomas Lewis aged 36 years.
  • Thomas Lewis aged 15 years.
  • Elias Lewis aged 13 years.
  • Lewis Lewis aged 25 years.
  • Thomas Lewis aged 36 years.
  • James Meadows aged 31 years.
  • Frederick Martin aged 20 years.
  • William Morris aged 15 years.
  • Benjamin Meadows aged 58 years.
  • Henry Morgan aged 49 years.
  • William John Morgan aged 21 years.
  • Edwin Matthew aged 42 years.
  • John Morgan aged 17 years.
  • Thomas Morgan aged 24 years.
  • Thomas Oram aged 18 years.
  • Edmund Price aged 15 years.
  • Mark Parfitt aged 21 years.
  • William Plenty aged 35 years.
  • Frederick Parfitt aged 41 years.
  • George Parfitt aged 13 years.
  • Albert Powell aged 14 years.
  • Phillip Powell aged 29 years.
  • Thomas Phillips aged 24 years.
  • Rosser Pritchard aged 37 years.
  • James Pritchard aged 13 years.
  • Ebenezer Phelps aged 22 years.
  • David Rees aged 19 years.
  • William Regan aged 14 years.
  • George Rossetter aged 31 years.
  • Lewis Rogers aged 29 years.
  • John Regan aged 16 years.
  • Thomas Ruck aged 21 years.
  • Joseph Rees aged 13 years.
  • William Reed aged 32 years.
  • Edgar Robertson aged 14 years.
  • Leonard Silcock aged 32 years.
  • Alfred Shaw aged 13 years.
  • Charles Shaw aged 14 years.
  • Matthew Smith aged 29 years.
  • John Samuel aged 22 years.
  • Jeremiah Sullivan aged 14 years.
  • James Thomas aged 39 years.
  • Alfred Thomas aged 21 years.
  • Joseph Tudgay aged 22 years.
  • James Tudgay aged 46 years.
  • Charles Thomas aged 26 years.
  • Frank Trollope aged 40 years.
  • William Thomas aged 18 years.
  • George Trollope aged 29 years.
  • David Vater aged 61 years.
  • Thomas Williams aged 34 years.
  • William Williams aged 16 years.
  • William Williams aged 64 years.
  • William Woods aged 15 years.
  • James Webb aged 22 years.
  • Samuel Wilcox aged 21 years.
  • Charles Wilcox aged 17 years.
  • John Wilcox aged 54 years.
  • John Williams aged 16 years.
  • Daniel Webb aged 21 years.
  • William Williams aged 15 years.
  • William Williams aged 35 years.
  • William Williams aged 12 years.
  • William Henry Williams aged 18 years.
  • Albert Weaver aged 18 years.
  • John Webber aged 19 years.
  • John Lewis aged 17 years.
  • Oliver Langley aged 41 years.
  • Thomas Lacey aged 19 years.
  • Nephi Loveridge aged 27 years.
  • James Llewellyn aged 36 years.
  • James Lewis aged 31 years.

The hauliers who died:

  • Albert Bryant aged 34 years,
  • James Driscoll aged 52 years,
  • Thomas Filer aged 28 years,
  • Samuel Jones aged 43 years,
  • Edwin Jones aged 34 years,
  • Thomas Morgan aged 27 years,
  • Joseph Pritchard aged 19 years,
  • George Rudge aged 27 years,
  • David Rees aged 25 years,
  • Sydney Shaw aged 37 years,
  • John Thomas aged 24 years,
  • Joseph Thomas aged 29 years,
  • Thomas Walbey aged 28 years.

The repairers who died:

  • Robart Furber aged 18 years,
  • John Giles Jones aged 64 years,
  • Azariah Jeremiah aged 57 years,
  • James “Largo” James aged 60 years,
  • George James aged 53 years,
  • Thomas Morgan aged 41 years,
  • Richard Skye aged 28 years,
  • John White aged 28 years,
  • Thomas Williams aged 63 years.

The door-boys who died:

  • William Bailey aged 15 years,
  • Charles Gwillym aged 14 years,
  • Thomas Pritchard aged 12 years,
  • William Davies aged 14 years,
  • John Price aged 13 years.

The others who died:

  • John Beard aged 63 years, hitcher,
  • Watkin Rogers aged 36 years, glandman,
  • William Tudgay aged 32 years, hitchers,
  • John Downas aged 32 years, engineman,
  • William Wiliams aged 34 years bratticeman,
  • William Rogers aged 13 years knocker-boy.

The inquest into the disaster was conducted at the Pontypool Town Hall by Coroner Mr. J.B. Walford and extended over seven days. There was no difficulty in fixing the point of the explosion. It was in the horse windway of No.4 Level and the gas was ignited by the naked lights of the men who were working there. The examiner reported that he had not found gas on the morning of the explosion but admitted that there were some finished stalls on the No.1 Level that he did not examine and he had not examined these for some days before as he thought they did not require examination.

The day before the explosion there was a fault in the ventilation which was put right and these old stalls were found to be clear and the examiner said that he could not examine the cavity as it was so large. The cavity seemed the place where the gas accumulated and fired at the naked light of one of the men.

The jury added a rider that there should be stricter compliance with the 4th General Rule and the 8th and 23rd Special Rules and further strong recommendations as to the use of safety lamps.


The Mines Inspectors Report.
The Colliery Guardian, 7th February 1890, p. 220, 14th February, p.260, 21st February, p.293, 28th February, p.331.

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

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