ANNESLEY. Annesley, Nottinghamshire. 27th. June, 1877.

The colliery was owned by the Annesley Coal Company. On the 16th May, a fire was discovered in the main intake, airway, not far from the downcast shaft and when Henry Lewis, the manager, went down the pit short time later, he diverted the air that was passing down the heading. After a short time, and without danger to those who were still working, the fire was cut off and an airtight stopping constructed.

At the end of June, the manager thought it desirable to get to the seat of the fire and remove it. An inspection was made and the work was progressing well but on the 26th June, soon after the day shift had got to the fire, they did not feel well. Instead of leaving the place at once, they remained and the men were killed by fumes as they were unable to get to fresh air.

The Inspectors Report says that six lives were lost but there are seven listed in the appendix.

Those who died were:

  • William Waplington aged 37 years, deputy,
  • Thomas Ward aged 36 years, dataller,
  • Samuel Abbot aged 24 years, dataller,
  • Joseph Pickard aged 29 years, dataller,
  • Thomas Webster aged 50 years, dataller,
  • George Rye aged 27 years, dataller,
  • J. Bradbury aged 17 years, driver.

The underground haulage was by compressed air engine and the air was taken from compressors at the surface down the shaft in cast iron pipes along the heading in which was the fire. The joints of the pipes were made of rubber which burnt and the fumes were taken in by the air current to the men. Mr. Evans, the Inspector commented:

It is easy enough to see how the accident could have been prevented, that it would have been better not to have used air pipes passing through the heading, but this danger was ever thought of by the manager or by any of the officials and probably the same mistake would have been made by most people.


Mines Inspectors Report, 1877.

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

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