NEWMARKET. Wakefield, Yorkshire. 11th. November, 1854.

The colliery was owned by Messrs. Charlesworth and six men were killed in an explosion which took place in the Lofthouse Coal Bed which, in the past, had been known to give off large quantities of gas suddenly, from the floor and roof. The gas came from strata about two feet above and below the floor and roof.

On the day of the accident, an unusual volume of gas burst up the “wide bank” in the north eastern district of the Farm Pit and the ventilation could not dilute the gas. The men were working with naked candles and in the resulting explosion, six men lost their lives.

Those who died were:

  • J. Chadwick
  • W. Chadwick
  • R. Chadwick
  • J. Runder
  • P. Palmer
  • W. Blackburn

When the Inspector inspected the workings after the explosion he found that only 3,000 cubic feet of air per minute were passing through this part of the workings although the manager, Mr. Goodinson, assumed that 5,000 cubic feet were passing as it was the duty of his underground steward to see that the actual supply was never less than this. On the day of the disaster, the steward had not visited the north east district and had not measured the air currents in any part of the mine.

The ventilating furnace was attended day and night and it was seen that the total amount of air entering the mine was sufficient but the part where the explosion took place did not receive sufficient air. The Inspector recommended that the size of the airways to this district should be increased from thirty square feet to forty square feet and the airways that led to the “bank faces” should also be enlarged. It was also advised that the places should be examined every day and the air currents, measured at least once a week.

The Inspector suggested that the bottom coal should be removed to lessen the risk of sudden outbursts and give more room to transport the coal along the roads and that safety lamps should be used in the mine. Messrs. Charlesworth assured the Inspector that no expense would be spared to put his recommendations into effect.

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

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