Town House mine

Southport Visiter, April, 20th, 1850.

An inquest was held on Saturday last, on six men who died the previous day, from an explosion of fire damp in a coal mine belonging to Jas Sagar SPENCER and Co, Marsden.

Evidence of principal witness, Laurence BROTHERTON :-

I am employed at the Town House Mine, Marsden, belonging to [above].

I knew 3 of the deceased, the others by name only.

I arrived at the pit yesterday morning at a quarter before six, and found all six men there.

We descended the pit, and myself and Thomas STEER [an onlooker], went to the levels for the purpose of ascertaining whether the mine was free of impure air, I took a safety lamp with me.

When STEER and I set out from the bottom of the shaft, we left there John CHADWICK [deceased] and his father. They ought to have stopped there till STEER and I returned.

There is a rule, all colliers are aware of, forbidding them to leave the bottom of the shaft until the mine has been examined.

I had gone 300yds and met with no impure air, when I heard a loud report, as if an explosion had taken place, I felt the shock of it.

I returned to the shaft and found the elder CHADWICK alone.

We went to the bank where we found a number of people who had given an alarm.

In about a quarter of an hour a collier named HANDFORTH and I went down.

About 250yds from the shaft we found the body of SHARPLES, and that of Joseph BUNTON, at about 8yds distant.

Some 30yds from the last, we came to the dead body of Robert HAWORTH, near which lay the body of John CHADWICK.

I assisted into getting the bodies into tubs, and taking them to the top.

They were generally burned on the head and neck, some more severely than others.

Each collier carried a safety lamp, most understand the use of the lamps, but some are in the habit of removing the tops to light their pipes. Which has most likely been the case in this instance as near the body of Joseph BRUNTON, I discovered a lamp with the top taken off, all the other lamps except one have been found, and all are right.

We fequently find impure air in the place where the explosion occurred, I remember 2 explosions before in the same mine.

The most effectual mode of preventing an occurrence of this kind in the future, is to lock the tops of the lamps, several colliers have been discharged for taking the tops off their lamps.

The bodies identified are those of:-

John CHADWICK, aged 24, leaves a widow and one child.

Joseph BRUNTON, aged 28, leaves a widow and two children.

William BRUNTON, aged 19, unmarried.

Thomas WILSON, aged 28, leaves a widow and four children.

Robert HAWORTH, aged 26, leaves a widow and one child.

Thomas STEER, aged 50, widower.

The Coroner, fines to be imposed on colliers who remove the tops off their safety lamps, fines to be given to informers, Accidental death.

Copyright 2002 / To date