Dreadful Colliery Explosion at Ince
Twelve lives lost
On Tuesday morning last a terrible explosion took place in the Middle Patricroft Colliery, belonging to the Ince Hall Coal and Cannel Company, situated halfway between Wigan and Hindley. The hands about 25 in number, went down about 6am and very shortly afterwards the explosion occurred. The result of the accident as far as could be learnt up to yesterday, was 12 dead and 2 seriously injured. Of the twelve dead one was missing, and supposed dead in the mine, another died a short time after being brought to the surface, and ten were dead when discovered.
At this colliery there appear to be two seams working, the 5ft and the 4ft, the former [in which the accident occurred] being from 190 to 200yds deep at the pit mouth, and the latter about 20yds deeper in the shafts, the two shafts being only from 20 to 30yds asunder, and each serving the purpose of working one seam only, but both communicating for the purpose of ventilating the pits. The shaft "down cast" in which the air descends is at the 4ft mine, and the "up cast shaft" at the 5ft, through which the air, after transversing the various workings, ascends with the smoke from the furnace at the foot of the 5ft shaft. At this shaft the men descend to and ascend from their work. Almost immediately after the report of the explosion was heard, every effort was made to ascertain the extent of the injury, and the managers of the colliery along with Mr James LANCASTER, one of the firm, were amongst the first to ascend the pit.
12 or 13 persons, men and boys, came out uninjured, and some of them declared that in the part of the mine where they were working the explosion was little felt, and no injury or inconvenience was sustained. In a little time the other parts of the workings were examined, and by 11 o' clock, eight persons were taken out dead. An old man John LEWIS, who lost three sons by the explosion, was so dreadfully burnt, he died in an hour afterwards, and two were seriously injured, About 12 o' clock two others were brought up dead, it was then though all were out. In a few minutes, however, a poor woman named PEDAR came in search of her husband, who, she said was in the pit. Renewed search was then made, but without effect for some time, and up to our report being despatched we had only obtained information of the discovery of PEDAR'S hat. There was little doubt, however, that the workings at that time, being much clearer and free of foul air, that the body, if it is in the pit, would be discovered early in the afternoon.
The accident occurred about 300yds from the shaft, in one of the up drift from a working termed a "dig-brow" but how or by whom caused was said to be a mystery. ELLISON the underlooker, and the fireman who attends the furnace, had, it is said, previously to the men entering the workings examined the whole of them, and reported all safe, and several of the hands taken out uninjured report also, that where they were engaged the air was strong and pure, and the mine in every respect, as far as they could judge in good working order.
The following is a list of the sufferers :-
Absalom MATHER, William AFFLICK, John BENNETT, George BENNETT, John SWANTON, Thomas TONGUE, George TAYLOR, George LEWIS, Thomas LEWIS, Matthew LEWIS [the last three brothers] were all taken out dead. John LEWIS father of the above who died the same morning, PEDAR, said to be in the pit believed dead, Stephen YATES and John SHARPLES badly burnt.
March 10th 1849
Colliery explosion at Ince near Wigan 12 lives lost
One Tuesday morning a terrible explosion of fire damp occurred at one of the colliers of Ince Hall Coal and Cannel Co called "The Middle Patricroft Colliery" situated a short distance from the cotton mill of Messers GIDLOW on the road from Wigan to Hindley, 26 men had descended to work at 6am, many had not commenced work, as some brought out dead had clothes in clean condition. There are 12 dead and two injured, many managers descended the pit to rescue including Mr James LANCASTER on of the firm.
Those taken out dead, Absalom MATHER, William AFFLECK, John BENNETT, George BENNETT, John SWANTON, Thomas TONGUE, George TAYLOR, George LEWIS, Thomas LEWIS, Matthew LEWIS, John LEWIS, PEDLAR. Stephen YATES and John SHARPLES are badly burnt.