WESTWOOD. Sheffield, Yorkshire. c.10th. April, 1862.

The colliery was the property of Messrs Newton, Chambers and Company and was a very large one. On the day of the explosion there were about 200 men and boys in the workings when, at about 8 a.m., a loud report was heard in the extremity of the south side workings. Adjoining the workings there was a large area of goaf where falls of the roof were common. The mine was “fiery” and there was gas in the waste. Even so, the colliers were allowed to use naked lights. It was supposed that a large fall of roof drove out gas into the workings and was ignited at the light of one of the men. Six colliers lost their lives.

They were:

  • Thomas Clitheroe,
  • John Clitheroe, his son,
  • William Morton,
  • Walter Roger,
  • Thomas Laycock, trammer
  • A. Hemingway.

At the inquest, the assistant viewer admitted that the men were allowed to take in naked candles but on the morning of the disaster, he examined the workings before the men went in and found that there was gas present. Mr. Morton told the court that the air was so bad at the colliery that an anemometer would not turn. The agent for the colliery, Mr. Edward Beachar admitted that there was no ventilation at the far ends of the workings. The Coroner said that this conduct was disgraceful and recommend that he should be charged.

The jury returned a verdict of “Accidental Death” and expressed the opinion that it was not safe to work the mine with naked lights near the large goaf.


Colliery Guardian, 19th. April, 1862, p.307.

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

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