METHYL JUNCTION. Normanton, Yorkshire. 9th. December, 1875.

The colliery was the property of Messrs. H. Briggs and Son, and the explosion claimed the lives of six people. There were two shafts, a downcast eleven feet in diameter and an upcast nine feet six inched in diameter. The accident occurred in the Haigh Moor seam at the colliery at a depth of 135 yards. The colliery was ventilated by a fan 35 feet in diameter and the Report Book indicated that 55,000 cubic feet of air per minute were passing through the mine when it was last measured before the disaster. It was the practice at the colliery that the men went down with safety lamps but substituted candles later in the shift.

The explosion happened in a part of the colliery called the No.4 South Ending where five benks were being worked by 26 men and boys. The Inspector was of the opinion that the gas was ignited at the face of the No.5 bank and the effects of the explosion affected only a limited area. The deputy visited the place shortly before the disaster and at that time there was no evidence of weighting of the roof but immediately afterwards there were unmistakable signs that this had taken place. The gas from the resulting fall was thought to have been ignited at an open candle.

The man nearest to the No. 5 benk was working with a lamp and this was found to be locked and in perfect order. A very short time elapsed before the bodies were recovered from the mine and the ventilation was restored.

Those who died were:

  • Thomas Thompson
  • Alfred Anson
  • James Inman
  • James Husson
  • Samuel Stirland
  • Thomas Smethurst

Mr Wardell, the Inspector, examined the scene of the explosion and he came to the conclusion that it was caused by a fall of roof and as naked lights were used in the mine, it was difficult to find the cause of the ignition. He recommended that the mine should be lit only by safety lamps.

The jury deliberated for a quarter of an hour before returning a verdict of “Accidental Death”.

Mines Inspector Report, 1875. Mr. Wardell.
Colliery Guardian, 17th. December, p.913.

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

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