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1880-82 Colliery Explosions

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1880-82 Colliery Explosions

Post by Karen on Sun 1 Aug 2010 - 12:45

The following are news accounts of colliery explosions from 1880-1882, any of which may have been the one in which Mary Jane Kelly's husband, Davies, was killed:

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1880 COLLIERY EXPLOSIONS
-----------------------------------------

1. NEWPORT, WALES COLLIERY EXPLOSION - JULY 15, 1880

TERRIBLE COLLIERY EXPLOSION.

119 MEN KILLED.

REUTER'S TELEGRAMS.

LONDON, 15th July.

A terrible colliery explosion took place at an early hour this morning in a mine near Newport, in Wales.
A large number of men were at work at the time, and at present it has been ascertained that 119 of these were killed from the effects of the explosion.
It is not known whether any lives have been saved.

Source: The Herald, Friday Evening, July 16, 1880

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TERRIBLE COLLIERY EXPLOSION.

A London journal of July 15 says: - An explosion occurred this morning in the London and South Wales Colliery Company's new black vein pit at Risca, six miles from Newport. The shock was very violent. It is supposed that 119 men were in the pit at the time, and there is scarcely a probability that any will be saved. One body has been found at the bottom of the shaft. The ventilation has been restored in the mine with the view of exploring for bodies. At five o'clock only three bodies had been recovered. The pit is 280 yards deep. All the machinery is new. The black vein seam is an old one, and well known in connection with previous explosions, one of which, in 1860, killed 145 persons. An examination of the Company's books shows that 120 men descended the pit for the night shift. At about eight o'clock the bodies of three miners were found near the bottom of the shaft, but they have not yet been brought up. The force of the explosion was terrific, blowing to atoms the ventilating fan in the up-cast air blast. There is no hope that the men may escape. While the men were at work yesterday evening the atmosphere was noticed to be heavy and overcharged. At midnight, however, it was as cool as a November day. The scenes about the mine are reported as heartrending. There is a large throng of people present, composed chiefly of the relations and friends of the imprisoned miners, and among them are many women who are bewailing the fate of their husbands and sons, while little children are asking anxiously concerning their fathers. Everything is being done to expedite the rescue of the men, but scarcely anyone hopes to find one of the miners alive.
A later despatch concerning the colliery explosion, says: - At present all is excitement, horror, and confusion, and it is almost impossible to procure a trustworthy account of the calamity. The gas in the pit, which is very deep and winding, became ignited, causing an explosion, which jarred the earth and was heard for miles around. As soon as the dreadful tidings reached the cabins of the miners, the whole above-ground population rushed pell-mell to the mouth of the pit. Nothing could be seen, however, save the dull smoke which issued slowly from the mine. The wives and relatives of the men known to be in the black vein rent the air with their lamentations, but no help could be offered to them to save the sympathy of the bystanders. Many denounced the owners of the mine for not providing better ventilation, and measures were at once set on foot to rescue the imprisoned miners. The explosion had blown to atoms the ventilating fan, in the up-cast air-blast, and there was little hope that any of the men had escaped, or, if not killed by the shock, that they would live till air could reach them. By 8 o'clock means of ventilation had been partly restored, and arrangements were made for sending down an exploring party. This was a most hazardous service, as it was feared that exposive gas might still exist in the workings in dangerous quantities; but volunteers offered freely, and a party was at once organised. At about 8 o'clock the bodies of the three unfortunate miners were found near the bottom shaft. Their faces bore evidence of the horrible deal they had suffered. As the search progressed, it became evident that few, if any, of the miners had escaped. It is regarded as fortunate that the mine did not take fire, as some men who may have escaped the explosion must have perished in the flames. The search goes on slowly, and it is believed at this hour (4 p.m.) that all 120 miners are lost. Nothing can be surely known respecting their fate until the return of the exploring party. Old miners at the mouth of the pit, who are familiar with its workings, galleries, and passages, say that the chances are all against the hope that any of the miners will be found alive; and those who were not killed outright have probably been imprisoned hopelessly by masses of fallen rock and coal, or suffocated by foul air. The crowd around the mouth of the pit is very large, and the excitement throughout the neighbourhood is intense. The constabulary are at hand to prevent any violent outbreak. If speculations as to the number who have perished shall prove only approximately true, the Black Vein disaster must be set down as among the worst that have recently darkened the annals of coal mining in England.

Source: Star, Issue 3861, 1 September 1880, Page 3

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APPALLING COLLIERY EXPLOSION.
119 LIVES LOST.
[REUTER'S TELEGRAM.]

LONDON, 15th July.

A terrible explosion occurred today, in one of the collieries near Newport, in Monmouthshire, by which 119 miners met with their death.

Source: Evening Post, Volume XX, Issue 164, 16 July 1880, Page 2

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BRITISH AND FOREIGN.
TERRIBLE COLLIERY EXPLOSION IN WALES.
Associated Press Despatch to the Daily Times.
GREAT BRITAIN.

A Terrible Explosion.

An explosion occurred at 1:20 this morning in the London and South Wales Colliery Company's new black vein pit at Risca, six miles from Newport. The shock was very violent. It is supposed that one hundred and nineteen men were in the pit at the time, and it is scarcely probable that any will be saved. One body has been found at the bottom of the shaft. Ventilation has been restored in the mine with a view to exploring for bodies.
A despatch from Cardiff says that 128 men were in the pit of London and South Wales Colliery Co.'s mine at the time of explosion.
It is believed that all perished.

Source: Winnipeg Daily Times, Thursday Morning, July 16, 1880

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Terrible Colliery Explosion.

The Times of July 16 reports that on the morning of July 15 a colliery explosion occurred at the London and South Wales Colliery Company's pit at Risca, about six miles from Newport, Monmouthshire. It is stated that there are 800 men employed at this pit, working in two shafts - one commencing at 6 a.m. and working until 2, the other commencing at 2 and working until 10. At 10 o'clock the second shaft were brought up, and what may be called a repairing shift descended to attend to the falls, props, &c. At half past 10 all were reported as safe by Allsop, the night foreman. At about half past 1, however, the report of the explosion was heard, the usual vibrations occurred, followed by a cloud of sulphurous smoke. The engine-driver was in the office at the mouth of the pit immediately before the explosion, but had left, and thus saved himself, as the explosion spent itself mainly at the up-cast shaft. The roof of the office was blown away and was greatly injured. This, however, was nothing to the great loss of life occasioned by the explosion. Altogether 120 lamps were taken down at 10 o'clock, when the shift went down. The pit and the ventilation were so broken down that it was 8 o'clock before anybody could descend the pit. Then the manager, accompanied by a number of sturdy colliers, descended, and found at the bottom of the shaft the hitcher's body.
Further on other bodies were discovered, and it was evident that all the men who went down on that shift, numbering 119, were killed by the explosion and after-damp that followed. In fact the hopes of saving any lives had been abandoned. In the afternoon, the bodies of the hitcher and three others were brought to bank. The scene at the mouth of the pit was very heartrendering - men, women, and children making inquiries and bemoaning their loss. The colliery is situated in the Sirhowy Valley, and the vein that was being worked was the highly gaseous black veins, and it is stated that as many as 1000 tons per day have of late been brought up. Messrs. Watts, Milburn, and Co. are the agents. Mr. Watts is the managing director of the company, and the coal is shipped at both Newport and Cardiff, and sent extensively by train. Last evening all hopes of saving life had been abandoned, and men were employed in clearing the roadways of the falls, and propping the pits, so as to enable them to get at the bodies of the poor fellows who have perished.

Source: The Maitland Mercury & Hunter River General Advertisor (New South Wales), Tuesday 31 August, 1880, Page 8

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2. PRYGRAIG COLLIERY EXPLOSION (RHANDDA VALLEY)- DECEMBER 10, 1880

ANOTHER COLLIERY EXPLOSION.

LONDON, 10th December.

News has been received of another terrible colliery explosion, attended by great loss of life. The accident took place in a mine at Prygraig, and 90 men perished in the explosion of fire-damp.

Source: The Herald, Saturday Evening, December 11, 1880

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


FOREIGN NEWS.

Another Coal Mine Horror.
Associated Press Despatch to the Daily Times.
GREAT BRITAIN.

Another Mine Horror.

An explosion at the Penggrif colliery occured at 1:40 this morning. The shock was so violent that it was felt for miles around, and the damage was so great that explorers were not able to descend into the mine for hours. One shaft is choked. There is not the slightest hope of saving any of the eighty men and women and eighteen horses still in the pit. Four men have been brought up alive.

LATER - It is now ascertained that 86 of the persons who were in the pit at the time of the explosion are dead. Seven corpses have been brought up thus far, but many others have been discovered and will be raised this evening.

Source: Winnipeg Daily Times, Saturday Morning, December 11, 1880

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England.

Cardiff, 10, - A great explosion occurred this morning at Penygrieg New Colliery, in the Rhandda Valley. It is believed that 87 persons have perished.

Source: The Two Republics, Saturday December 25, 1880

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TERRIBLE COLLIERY EXPLOSION.

The following telegrams which appear in San Francisco papers, contain fuller particulars of the terrible explosion at Penygrieg, news of which was cabled at the time: -

CARDIFF, Dec. 10.

A great explosion occurred this morning at Penygrieg, a new colliery in the Rhonda Valley. It is believed that eighty-seven persons perished. An exploring party discovered sixteen corpses. Search is impeded by after-damp and the debris. The pit is about one mile from the great explosion in the Dinas Colliery, in the same valley, on January 13th, 1878, when about sixty persons lost their lives.

LONDON, Dec. 10.

The explosion at the Penygreig Colliery occurred at 1:40 this morning. The shock was so violent that it was felt for miles around, and the damage was so great that the explorers were not able to descend into the mine for some hours. The shaft is choked. There is not the slightest hope of saving any of the eighty men and eighteen horses still in the pit. Four men have been brought up alive.

NEW YORK, Dec. 10.

A London despatch says of the disastrous colliery explosion: - Hundreds were in the colliery at the time. The shock was felt for miles around. There were also fifteen horses in the pit, which was 450 yards in depth. The most intense excitement prevails throughout the district. All the roads and approaches to the colliery are thronged with wailing men, women, and children; the cries of the poor people whose relatives are imprisoned are heartrendering. Many volunteers offered to join the exploring party, but up to 9 o'clock no attempt was made to descend the shaft. The colliery is owned by Messrs. Rowland and Morgans, Penygreig.

LONDON, Dec. 10, 5 p.m.

It is now ascertained that 86 of the persons who were in the pit at the time of the explosion are dead. Seven corpses have been brought up thus far, but many others have been discovered, and will be raised this evening.

Source: Timaru Herald, Volume 1979, Issue 1979, 25 January 1881, Page 3

----------------------------------------------------------------------

SATURDAY EXTRACTS.
RESTORED TO HIS FAMILY.

In connection with the colliery explosion at Peny-Graig (South Wales), in which over 80 miners lost their lives, a curious incident occurred on the 11th December. About 30 hours after the explosion a searching party in the mine heard a voice speaking to them, although they could not recognise what was said. The news was immediately communicated to those on the surface, and as the name of the survivor did not transpire, intense excitement prevailed, and many and fervent were the prayers that the voice might prove to be that of a missing relative. Fresh bodies of men then went down, and after a lapse of about half-an-hour succeeded in bringing the rescued man to bank, amidst the most intense excitement. John Morgan is a man apparently of about forty-two years of age, and has a wife and eight children. He was brought up in the cage, and was supported on either side by a fellow workman. He was immediately attended to by a medical man who was summoned to the spot, was placed in a chair, and conveyed to his home, followed by a crowd numbering some thousands. The poor man had been in the pit exactly thirty-six hours since the explosion took place, and was lying under a large heap of rubbish and planking. He was lying for the better portion of a day and a half beside the mangled remains of another workman. When the crowd carrying Morgan arrived at his home, the scene which took place was pathetic in the extreme. On the doorstep stood his youngest son, about seven years of age, and down many cheeks the tears streamed as he clapped his hands, danced about, and cried, "Dada's coming home again." The poor fellow was then taken into the house and laid on two chairs. The doctor at once proceeded to wash his face. It then appeared that he had a deep cut on the forehead, and was very much burned about the head and arms. When he was carried into his home his wife was walking about in a state of bewilderment, as if she could not understand it, and his children gathered round him with tears of joy pouring down their faces. Eventually, when the wife seemed fully to realise the position of affairs, she stood beside the sufferer and tried to speak to him. The only words she could utter, however, as she touched him gently on the arm, were - "Shon, dear Shon," and then burst into tears. Her husband turned his black and dust-bregrimed face towards her, and, with an expression of tenderness, which created considerable feeling amongst those who witnessed it, passionately replied - "My dear." With careful nursing and treatment the man quickly recovered.

Source: Evening Post, Volume XXI, Issue 41, 19 February 1881, Page 4


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1881 Colliery Explosions

Post by Karen on Mon 2 Aug 2010 - 23:08

------------------------------------------------
1881 COLLIERY EXPLOSIONS.
------------------------------------------------

3. WIGAN, LANCASHIRE COLLIERY EXPLOSION, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 19, 1881

COLLIERY EXPLOSION NEAR WIGAN.

LONDON, December 19.

Accounts are to hand from the scene of the colliery explosion near Wigan, which state that all the miners except forty have been rescued, and that the mortality has, therefore, been less than was at first expected.

Source: Grey River Argus, Volume XXIV, Issue 4154, 22 December 1881, Page 2

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A MINING HORROR.
180 Persons Killed by an Explosion in an English Coal Mine.

BOLTON, Eng., Dec. 19. - A colliery explosion occurred about noon. The supposition is that 180 persons have been killed, as 200 descended into the pit this morning. Ten of the injured have been recovered. The work of exploring the mine and rescuing the victims continues.
The explosion occured in the Orell Pit, which was considered one of the safest in Lancashire, neither gunpowder being used for blasting nor furnaces for ventilation. The whole system of working the mine was mechanical. Arley Pit, adjacent, was affected by the explosion, and of sixty employees in it only twenty-seven were brought to the surface alive. It is feared the remainder perished.
It is believed the explosion in the pit was caused by the fall of a portion of the roof, which liberated a quantity of gas. It is now believed only 40 persons were killed. The Orrell mine is 150 yards above the Arley mine, and the effect of the explosion in the former imprisoned 150 miners in the lower mine. These were subsequently rescued. Those rescued from the upper seam were seriously burned.

Source: The London Advertiser, Tuesday December 20, 1881

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COLLIERY EXPLOSION.

An explosion has taken place in the Abram Colliery, Wigan, Lancashire, and about 200 colliers are still unrescued.

Source: The Mercury (Hobart, Tasmania), Wednesday 21 December 1881, Page 3

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Last edited by Karen on Tue 3 Aug 2010 - 0:11; edited 3 times in total

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1882 Colliery Explosions

Post by Karen on Mon 2 Aug 2010 - 23:09

----------------------------------------
1882 COLLIERY EXPLOSIONS
----------------------------------------

4. RHONDDA VALLEY COLLIERY EXPLOSION, SOUTH WALES - FEBRUARY 13, 1882

DISASTROUS COLLIERY EXPLOSION.

The following account of the disastrous colliery explosion at Coldcae Colliery, in the Rhondda Valley, appears in the Morning Post of February 13th: -

PONTYPRIDD, Saturday, Midnight.

A colliery explosion, fraught with loss of life and attended by most extraordinary incidents, occurred tonight at the Coldcae Colliery, Rhondda Valley. This colliery is the property of the Coldcae Coal Company, and lies between Pontypridd and Porth, being about three miles from the first-named place. Mr. W.T. Lewis, mining engineer Royal Mines Commissioner, is interested in the Company. The manager is Mr. W. Davies, who has had much local experience. The coal worked is steam coal, and the pit is the downcast, and has only been opened about a year. The colliers number in the day shift nearly five hundred men and the night shift about one hundred. On Saturday the day shift left work soon after four o'clock in the forenoon, and as it was pay day the night shift, to avoid the usual hours of duty, had worked an extra half day beforehand, and thus got off. This circumstance seems most providential when all things are considered, for the night shift ordinarily goes on at half-past five or six o'clock, and the two explosions took place, the first at seven o'clock, and the second at twenty minutes or half-past seven. At seven o'clock on Saturday two repairers, named George Warlow and Jacob Thomas, went down into the "bowk" or pit carriage (iron), about 40 yards along the side of the pit. They then stepped out of the carriage on to a raised platform or wooden structure erected at the pit side to clear some curbing and do necessary repairs. It had not been deemed essential to carry the safety lamps, and the men took naked lights. These they held in their hands. Suddenly there was a dull report, the ominous precursor of a colliery explosion, and gas rushed out of a fissure into the pit. The two men were killed almost instantly, the gas fumes overpowering them, and the wooden framing on which they stood caught fire. One of the two banksmen at the top of the pit, Thomas Williams, saw what had taken place, and called for help. Amongst the first to arrive was Mr. William Davies, the manager, who had been down the pit that day. It was promptly resolved to go down to the stage where the deceased had met their death and see what injury had been caused. The lights at the top of the pit, as well as the lights the deceased carried, which were extinguished by the explosion, were rekindled, and three rescuers were sent from the top.
The staging below was still apparently in flames. The names of the men who undertook to go down were Thomas Williams (banksman), Joseph Rowlands (hauler), and Benjamin James (laborer). The carriage was gently lowered. The rescuers carried safety lamps with them; but the men had scarcely gone ten yards from the top when another report was heard by those at the surface. This was not like the first report, a head boom, but was accompanied by loud noise and rush of gas, which made the houses shake for miles round. The massive framing over the pit sheaves were hurled to pieces, and the ventilating fan had its covering wrecked. The unfortunate men, of course, experienced the full shock of the explosion, and all three were hurled aloft, and two, falling back into the pit, were almost instantly killed. Rowlands managed somehow to grasp in his descent the pit guides, and clung to them for a short time with all the tenacity of a man whose life is at stake. A helping hand was held out to him, and a rail was put across the pit's mouth to assist him, and he was on the point of being rescued when a volume of dense poisonous smoke issued from the pit and his hands released their hold, and when within a few feet of the surface he fell with a heavy thud, lifeless.
Just as the second explosion occurred a collier named Benjamin Williams stood at the mouth of the pit, when a gigantic fragment of the timbering which had been whirled out of shaft accidentally alighted on his body and literally cut it in two. The two police officers who were at the pit had narrow escapes. One of them, named James, was blown nearly into the pit, but was pulled back by a friendly hand. Police Constable Johns was down over two trains and pitched right on the brink of a steep embankment. Mr. Davies. the Manager, was thrown head foremost to the ground; and Luke Stephens, a young man who was also near, was badly burnt and had his legs fractured. Rowlands leaves a widow; Williams, the banksman, was married, and leaves a son; Benjamin James was a widower; Jacob Thomas was married and had two children; Warlow, the pitman, was also married. The manager intends to set to work as soon as possible to get up the five dead bodies from the pit bottom and restore the ventilation. It is not expected that work will be resumed for some weeks. Through the explosion 500 men will be thrown out of work. Mr. W.T. Lewis, the managing proprietor, is away, but it is expected that he and the Government inspector will soon be on the spot.

SUNDAY.

It seems that the two men named George Warlow and Jacob Thomas, the banksmen, descended the downcast without orders for the purpose of cleaning a circle of iron called a garland fixed in the brickwork of the pit 40 yards below. On hearing the explosion the men on the bank looked down the shaft, when, to their unspeakable horror, they saw Warlow and Thomas 40 yards below in the midst of a burning furnace, both of them screaming heartrendingly for help. The engineer was instantly signalled, and at the same moment set the engine in motion, but the drum over which the wire-rope attached to the cage upon which the men were standing passed had only made half a stroke when the blazing cage become fixed in the pit, a distance at least of 15 yards from the surface. It was thought that some timber on the bridles of the cage had caught one of the cross beams in the pit, and some of the men ran down an archway running in to it, at a spot level with the interrupted cage, where they found that the interruption had been caused by the head and one of the arms of Warlow, which were projecting from the cage, and had come in contact with one of the great beams of the pit; the other poor fellow, as well as Warlow, was lying dead, without a vestige of clothing left on their remains. The body was extricated, and the cage was then drawn to the surface.

Source: Timaru Herald, Volume XXXVI, Issue 2361, 17 April 1882, Page 3

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TERRIBLE COLLIERY EXPLOSION.

Recently another of those explosive fatalities which have given such unhappy notoriety to the Rhondda Valley, says a home paper, occured at the Coedcae New Steam Coal Pit, situated about three miles beyond Pontypridd, just beyond the opening of the Rhondda Valley. The pit is the property of the Coedcae Colliery Company. The old Coedcae pit, which has been in existence for a considerable number of years, is the present upcast shaft. The pit in which this disaster occurred is only about 200 yards off, has only been worked about twelve months, and is the downcast. The night workmen had worked an extra half turn to avoid the necessity fo working in the evening, it being pay day and half holiday. At seven o'clock two repairers went on to the staging, carrying the "Comet" naked lights, when the gas exploded in the sides below, and both men were suffocated and burnt to death, and fell to the bottom of the pit, 400 to 450 yards. The staging also caught light and blazed fiercely. A crowd of people were soon on the spot, including the manager of the works. It was resolved that three persons should descend the pit after the bodies, and when they had descended about a dozen yards, a second explosion hurled the carriage with the men inside up into the air. It is supposed that two fell back to the pit's bottom, but the third of the search party was seen momentarily by those assembled at the pit's mouth clinging to a girder, and before any assistance could be rendered a volume of smoke arose and suffocated him. The tremendous force of the second explosion shattered to pieces the covering of the pit's mouth, a fragment of which cut in two the body of one of the men who happened to be at the top. Several narrow escapes of those assembled round the pit's mouth are mentioned. All the houses within a circumference of two miles were shaken as by an earthquake, for two hours after the second explosion, no one could remain near the pit, on account of the suffocating atmosphere from the shaft. Four of the men killed were married, and had children. This sad explosion occurred in the same mine in which a reckless miner a few days ago detected in opening his safety lamp. If the reports now to hand are correct; two drunken colliers were allowed to go down with flaming, uncovered lamps, which were upset, and the inflammable oil soon set fire to the woodwork all round. Ventilation having been stopped for over an hour, this fire in the shaft naturally acted as a kind of ventilating flue, drawing the air and gas up the downcast shaft, and so brought on the explosion when the gas came in contact with the burning timber.

Source: Wanganui Chronicle, Volume XXIV, Issue 9615, 19 April 1882, Page 3

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A terrific explosion has occurred in a colliery in the Rhondda Valley, South Wales. Houses were shaken two miles off. The loss of life is unknown. It being Saturday night few persons were in the pit. Two thousand men are thrown out of employment.

Source: The Two Republics, Sunday March 5, 1882

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Colliery Explosion Sketches

Post by Karen on Wed 4 Aug 2010 - 2:47

[img][/img]

Source: The Graphic (London, England), Saturday January 31, 1880; Issue 531

[img][/img]

The Risca Colliery Explosion, July 15, 1880
Source: The Graphic (London, England), Saturday July 24, 1880; Issue 556

THE RISCA COLLIERY EXPLOSION.

On Thursday last week, at about 1:30 a.m., while a tremendous thunderstorm was raging over the district, an explosion occurred in the Risca coal pits, near Newport, belonging to the London and South Wales Colliery Company. The night shift, consisting of 119 men, were engaged below in shoring up some of the passages which had been cut in the coal during the day, and so rapid and fatal is the action of the terrible "after-damp" that not one of these were saved, although gallant explorers immediately descended, at the risk of their own lives, to search the workings. The story is a sad repetition of many which have been told before, crowds of grief-stricken men, women, and children congregating daily at the pit's mouth as one by one the bodies of their dead relatives, mutilated and fire-stained, are brought to the surface and laid out for identification. The engine-house and fan and the adjacent shaft were greatly damaged by the force of the explosion, and the engineer had a narrow escape, having only left his desk a moment, when it was blown high into the air with the roof of the shed. The cause of the explosion has not yet been ascertained, but it is conjectured that the electrical condition of the atmosphere above ground may have had something to do with it. Every effort is now being made to restore the ventilation of the pit, and up to Wednesday 39 bodies had been brought up and identified. It is estimated that nearly 400 persons have been left destitute in consequence of the disaster, and that about 20,000 pounds will be required for their relief. A great meeting was held at Newport, on Tuesday, and another at Cardiff on Wednesday, and funds have been opened by the Lord Mayor of London, the Mayors of Newport and several other provincial towns, and by the Rev. J. Griffiths, vicar of Mynyddyslwyn, Newport. - Our engravings are from sketches, those numbered 1 and 2 being by Miss J.C. Brown, of Caerleon Road, Newport, and the others by Mr. T.H. Thomas, 45, The Walk, Cardiff.

Source: The Graphic (London, England), Saturday July 24, 1880, Issue 556

[img][/img]

THE RISCA COLLIERY EXPLOSION.

"The Two Widows:" Many pathetic scenes may always be observed at a pit's mouth after a colliery accident, when the relatives of those below gather round in agonised doubt as to the fate of their loved ones. Perhaps, however, no more moving incident ever occurred than that shown in our engraving (above), which was witnessed by our artist, Mr. T.H. Thomas, 45, The Walk, Cardiff, on the morning after the Risca explosion. Amid the waiting grief-stricken crowd were two women - the one a young wife who had lost her husband in the present disaster, and the other an aged widow whose husband had been killed in the explosion which took place in the same pit on December 1st, 1860, when 145 men lost their lives. The elder was consoling the younger with kind soothing words, while the eyes of both were filled with tears, and each grasped the other's hand in sympathetic emotion.


The Risca Colliery Explosion, July 15, 1880
Source: The Graphic (London, England), Saturday July 31, 1880; Issue 557

[img][/img]

The Colliery Explosion At Pen-Y-Graig, December 10, 1880
Source: The Graphic (London, England), Saturday December 18, 1880; Issue 577


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News Accounts Of Various Explosions

Post by Karen on Thu 5 Aug 2010 - 0:37

A FATAL COLLIERY EXPLOSION of a very remarkable character took place at the Coedrae Colliery, Rhondda Valley, on Saturday night. The miners left work early, in order that some changes might be made in the engine-gear by which the ventilating fan was worked. While this was being done, two men named Warlow and Thomas (without orders, and against the rules) descended the downcast shaft to clean some part of the machinery at a depth of forty feet. They took with them naked paraffin lamps, and they paid the penalty of their recklessness with their lives, for by some means the cage on which they worked took fire, and they were burnt to death. A crowd soon collected at the pit's mouth, and three men were just about to descend to put out the flames, when they and a fourth man, who was on the bank, were killed by a violent explosion, which also scattered the bystanders in all directions, blowing some of them a distance of forty yards. A man named Davis had a marvellous escape, being blown into the pit, and alighting on a cross beam 15 yards down, from whence he subsequently climbed up one of the greasy wire ropes to the surface. Great damage was done to the gear of the colliery, and a great number of valuable horses were destroyed.

Source: The Graphic (London, England), Saturday, February 18, 1882; Issue 638

THE PEN-Y-GRAIG COLLIERY EXPLOSION.

The scene of the accident which occurred early on Friday morning last week is situated in the heart of the Rhondda Valley, a district which bears an evil repute for disasters of the same character. The explosion took place about 2 a.m., when the whole neighbourhood was startled by a terrific report, the meaning of which was but too well understood by the inhabitants. The roads to the pit were soon thronged with grief-stricken women and children, the relatives of those who were known to be at work in the mine. About five o'clock two overmen volunteered to descend, but at 400 yards' depth they came upon a heap of boarding, which stopped their passage. They, however, heard the faint echoes of shouts from below, and three other gallant explorers having joined them, the dangerous task of cutting a way through the debris was commenced. By nine o'clock, they reached the bottom, and after cutting their way through another obstruction fifteen feet in length, they found four men alive, but in a very exhausted and semi-delirious condition. These were safely got to the surface, where there was an excited crowd of women awaiting them. The work of exploration was vigorously continued, although little hope was entertained of saving any other of the 102 men who were known to be in the workings, but at 3 p.m. on the Saturday a fifth man named John Morgan was rescued. His lamp had been put out by the explosion, and after groping about in the darkness for some time, trying to find a means of exit, he had got jammed in a crevice, from which he was unable to extricate himself. His relatives had given up all hope of ever seeing him again alive, and the meeting between him and his wife is described as most pathetic. The poor woman could only ejaculate "Shon, Shon," and his reply was the simple and touching words, "My Dear." Up to Wednesday eighty bodies had been recovered and the exploration was still going on by night and day. A Mansion House Relief Fund has been opened by the Lord Mayor of London for the benefit of the bereaved relatives. The widows number sixty-five, and children and other dependents 206; and the amount required is calculated at 16,000 pounds. An inquest has been opened and adjourned, but the cause of the explosion has yet to be ascertained. Some attribute it to the stoppage of ventilation, in consequence of the break down of the fan and other machinery at the up-cast shaft, which is stated to have occurred four days previously; but this is denied by Mr. Rowland Rowlands, one of the proprietors of the mine. On Monday Mr. Macdonald, M.P., addressing a miners' meeting in Scotland, alluded to the accident, and said that every one of these disasters seemed to him to be a crime. The cause was the desire to get cheap coal and iron, the consumers of which must be told that they were buying the lives of the bravest toilers the world ever saw, and sacrificing a body of men whose work lay at the foundation of the nation's greatness. No fewer than 700 lives had been lost in the Dinas, Abercarne, Risca, Seaham, and Pen-Y-Graig disasters, and he believed that every death was uncalled for, and a crime.

Source: The Graphic (London, England), Saturday, December 18, 1880; Issue 577

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Pen-Y-Graig Colliery Explosion

Post by Karen on Sun 8 Aug 2010 - 8:07

THE OLD YEAR'S LAST HORROR.

DEPLORABLE COLLIERY EXPLOSION IN SOUTH WALES.

The first of our illustrations this week represents various touching episodes of the terrible coal-pit disaster, which will make Christmas a period of painful mourning in many a South Wales cottage.
This lamentable explosion took place on the morning of Friday, Dec. 10, at the

NAVAL STEAM COAL COLLIERY,

a pit near Pen-Y-graig, where ninety-three men had gone down to work but a few hours previously, the number of those who were in the pit at the time being, however, reduced by two who had come up again. The pit, which is the property of Messrs. Rowlands and Morgans, is 450 yards in depth, and is but half a mile from the Dinas Colliery, where fifty-seven bodies still remain unrecovered since the explosion of Jan. 13, 1878. At half-past nine o'clock on Thursday night, the manager of the colliery, Mr. Rowland Rowlands, brother of one of the proprietors, received a report from David Lewis and David Lodwick, the night foremen, that everything was all right below at both pits.
Between one and two o'clock in the morning the whole neighbourhood for miles round was startled by hearing

A MOST TERRIFIC REPORT,

which echoed through the mountains, and was heard at Tonyrefail, a village four miles distant. In a very short time the whole country was alive, and thousands of workmen who had been awakened from their beds by the concussion, the cause for which they could divine only too truly, were soon hurrying to the scene of the disaster, each carrying a lighted Davy lamp to guide them through the darkness of the night. The roads were also thronged with poor wailing women whose relatives, either husbands or sons, had left an hour or so ago for the fatal shaft. Mr. Moses Rowlands, one of the proprietors; Mr. Rowland Rowlands, manager; Mr. Moses Rowlands, jun., and Mr. Williams, clerk, were among the first to reach the top of the upcast.

THE FIRST VOLUNTEERS.

About five o'clock Messrs. Thomas W. Evans and David Davies, of Ruthin, overmen, volunteered to descend the down-cast in a bucket attached to a wire rope. They went down 400 yards, when they came to an immense heap of boarding which had fallen from the top of the shaft, and which put a stop to their further descent. It was calculated that the heap was twenty yards in depth; but they shouted to any who might be alive below, and in a few seconds heard a faint response from the bottom of the shaft. Meanwhile the most intense anxiety was evinced by the thousands awaiting on the surface for the return of the two brave explorers. The aspect of the vast throng as they stood in the dark night on the sloping declivity above the shaft - those in front trying vainly by the light of their "Davys" to peer into the grim blackness below - was awfully imposing. As the returned bucket approached the surface, the most painful stillness prevailed; and when the two men stepped out of the bucket and reported that voices had been heard in reply to their shouts, a mighty sigh of relief and hope escaped from the multitude.

A GALLANT RESCUE.

Preparations were then commenced to descend again for the purpose of penetrating if possible through the debris lying at the bottom, for this dangerous task three gallant fellows volunteering - viz., Evan Jenkins (loader), William Williams, and Thomas Morris. As they stepped into the bucket prepared for the descent, with brawny arms bared and with their faces wearing a resolute expression to do or die, the most lively emotion was evinced by their comrades, every one of whom would, without a moment's hesitancy, have accompanied them to attempt a rescue were it practicable. On reaching the top of the debris, the three volunteers left the bucket and stepped on the rubbish, shouting like their predecessors to those below, and were rewarding by hearing a responsive shout. The three gallant miners instantly commenced their task of cutting a way through a heap which consisted of broken timber and stones.
By nine o'clock they reached the bottom, working their way through a zigzag hole made in the immense pile. From the bottom they then commenced cutting their way in the direction from which they had heard the shouts. Having made another hole fifteen feet in length they broke into the open, and could hear conversation being carried on. Groping in the darkness, aided by the sound of the voices, they found four men who were alive, but in a semi-delirious condition. These four men - Thomas Morris, J.H. Evans, David Marony, and David Jenkins - were assisted through the holes to the top of the debris, and were then brought to bank at ten o'clock. It is impossible to describe the exciting scene witnessed on the pit bank as the wives and children of the rescued men recognised in the blackened features of the exhausted creatures assisted from the cage the beloved form of father and husband. To them it appeared verily as a return from the valley of the shadow of death, and their expressions of thankfulness were affecting in the extreme. In the meantime

ANOTHER BAND OF EXPLORERS

had descended the upcast shaft three quarters of a mile to the south-west. This party consisted of Mr. D. Thomas (Albert medallist of the first class), Mr. E. Thomas (Mundy Hall), Mr. W. Glilloway (late deputy-inspector of mines for South Wales, and now manager of Dinas Collieries), Mr. Thomas Griffiths (manager of Cymmee Collieries), and Mr. John Hanard (underground manager of the Glamorgan Colliery Company). It was through the upcast that the terrible blast had spent its greatest force. This second band of gallant explorers traversed the roadway between the two shafts, and the scene they witnessed by the pale glimmer of their lamps baffles all description.

PRAYER OF DEATH.

Sixteen dead bodies were discovered in a kneeling position, death having come to them all while they were engaged in prayer. One body, that of David Lloyd, lampman, was found in the doorway of the lamp-room, also in the attitude of prayer, one of his arms encircling a young lad, as though to protect him from harm. Lloyd was an old man, exceedingly well-known in the district, where he had spent the whole of his life in quiet industry.
Mr. Rhys, her Majesty's Deputy-Inspector of Mines for South Wales, reached the scene of the disaster soon after nine o'clock, accompanied by Mr. D. Evans, head manager of the Ferndale Collieries; Mr. Morgan, C.E.; Mr. Jenkins, Ocean Collieries, and others. He immediately after his arrival descended the upcast shaft.

NARRATIVE OF A SURVIVOR.

Another man, named John Morgan, about forty years of age, was found alive in the pit last Saturday afternoon. He was brought to bank, and conveyed to his home in a chair. Morgan was excessively feeble after his thirty-six hours' confinement. In the evening he was able to give a statement of his entombment. He said: -

"I was in the mine at one o'clock in the morning, and just as the explosion occurred I lost my lamp and my light. There was a loud report, and a fall of the roof on either side of me. I had about ten yards of space, and I ran backwards and forwards. I tried to find my lamp and could not for a long time, and I thought I could hear "haulier," a trolley drawn by a horse on a tramway. The explosion caused the loss of my lamp. The fulls were in the right hand heading, near the downcast shaft. I kept running backwards and forwards, and I shouted all the time; and I felt that my hands were burnt and that I was bruised. The hair of my head and my whiskers were all burnt off. As I ran about I felt a dead man lying on the ground. The body was then turning cold, and I still kept shouting, and I had plenty of air. I was very hungry, and I made a search for my victuals. Before the explosion I had a jug of water. I searched for it also, but I found neither. I had given up all hope when the explorers came. I was quite prepared to die, and had given up all hope that anyone would come near me. When I first saw the lights I shouted, and they came and rescued me."

THE FATAL RHONDDA VALLEY.

The Rhondda Valley has always borne an evil repute for the severity of its frequently recurring colliery explosions. Just about two years ago the fearful explosion occurred in the Abercarne Colliery, by which more than a hundred and fifty lives were lost. Many of the bodies on that occasion have not been recovered up to the present time, a brook having been let into the mine to extinguish the fire, and the damage caused by the explosion rendering further working in some directions a matter entailing too much labour to be profitable. The Dinas explosion occurring just after, in which about sixty men lost their lives, and the Risca explosion last July, in which 120 men were sacrificed, are only too readily called to mind by the present calamity. The Naval Steam Colliery, at Pen-Y-graig, is almost close to the Dinas pit, where an explosion occurred two years ago, as recorded above. Many of the survivors of that terrible disaster were working in the fatal Pen-Y-graig Pit when the explosion occurred.

THE LORD MAYOR'S FUND.

The Lord Mayor opened a subscription on behalf of the sufferers at the Mansion House on Monday, and a Local Relief Committee has commenced operations on the spot. We have no doubt that at the advent of the Charitable Season contributions to both funds will flow in space.

Source: The Penny Illustrated Paper And Illustrated Times (London, England), Saturday December 18, 1880, Issue 1014

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Minor Mining Explosions

Post by Karen on Thu 12 Aug 2010 - 4:55

Here is a list of three colliery explosions which occured between the years of 1880-1882 that did not receive very much newspaper coverage:

A FATAL COLLIERY EXPLOSION occurred at the Benham Mine, near Wrexham, on Tuesday night. The firing of a "shot" caused the ignition of some gas in the pit, and the whole of the men then at work reached the surface in safety; but subsequently, while the manager and eight men were exploring the workings, an explosion occurred, killing the whole party except one man, who escaped with severe injuries.

Source: The Graphic (London, England), Saturday August 7, 1880, Issue 558

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ANOTHER FATAL COLLIERY EXPLOSION took place at Crosskeys near Newport, Monmouth, on Sunday. It is believed to have arisen from the firing of a "shot" shortly after the men on the night shift had left the pit; and the four men who went down to arrange the explosive were all killed, their bodies not being recovered until Tuesday.

Source: The Graphic (London, England), Saturday January 21, 1882, Issue 634

SERIOUS COLLIERY EXPLOSION.

An explosion of gas occurred last Monday morning in the South Wales Colliery Company's pit at Cross Keys, near Newport, Mon., by which it was feared at least four men lost their lives. The explosion is believed to have arisen from the firing of a "shot."

Source: The Penny Illustrated Paper And Illustrated Times (London, England), Saturday January 21, 1882, Page 34, Issue 1072

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ANOTHER FATAL COLLIERY EXPLOSION, resulting in the loss of five lives, occurred on Monday at Blaine's Pit, Cardiff.

Source: The Graphic (London, England), Saturday March 4, 1882, Issue 640

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William Davies - Risca Colliery Explosion

Post by Karen on Wed 9 Mar 2011 - 19:20

TERRIBLE COLLIERY EXPLOSION IN SOUTH WALES.
LOSS OF 119 LIVES.

NEWPORT, MONMOUTHSHIRE, THURSDAY.

A colliery explosion, which has resulted in the loss of 119 lives, occurred this morning at Risca, a town with a considerable number of inhabitants in the Ebbw Valley, about six miles from Newport. The colliery at which the disaster occurred belongs to the London and South Wales Colliery Company, which has offices at Newport and Cardiff, and the chairman of which is Mr. Watts, of the firm of Watts, Milburn, and Co., shipbrokers, Newport. The coal worked is the celebrated black vein steam coal, which contains a large quantity of gas. The depth of the pit is about 280 yards, and the seam varies in thickness from about four to seven feet. Its situation is on the side of the valley near the Croskey's railway station. About twenty years ago a similar catastrophe occurred there, and nearly 150 men and boys were killed on that occasion. It is stated that after that explosion the extension of the workings was strongly condemned by the Government inspector, who had repeatedly insisted that a new shaft should be sunk.
About 800 men are employed in the colliery, and they worked in two shifts, 400 or thereabouts going to work at six o'clock and remaining until two, and another shift working from two o'clock until ten. The colliery was ventilated by a powerful fan, and all the machinery in connection with it was perfectly new and of a first-class description. At ten o'clock last night the men of that shift came to the bank, and all was reported well below. The small shift of men employed as repairers then descended, and commenced their work of repairing the pit, removing the falls, and propping. This shift consisted of 119 men, and set to work in the usual manner. At half-past ten o'clock Allsop, the night foreman, came up and reported all safe; but at 20 minutes past one this morning a loud report of an explosion was heard in the village, and from the volumes of smoke which arose from the pit it was seen that the gas had exploded in the pit. A carpenter named Coles had left the pit about one o'clock, and Henry Harris immediately followed him. As soon as the latter reached the top the report of the explosion was heard. When the smoke had cleared away Evan Evans, the underground manager; John Rodd, a pumpman; and several others, including Coles, volunteered to descend, but the force of the explosion had blown part of the engine-house into the air, and the fan was damaged. In fact it was not until eight o'clock this morning that it was repaired sufficiently to be put in working order. The pit was therefore without ventilation. The engine driver had a narrow escape. Had he been standing at his place at the time of the explosion he would have met with instant death. The force of the explosion, the cause of which cannot yet be ascertained, spent itself mainly at the up-cast shaft, the top of which had to be covered.
When the report of the explosion was heard, and the fact of what had occurred became known, the usual scene of confusion and distress was witnessed. As soon as a descent could be made it was ascertained that the guides were not greatly damaged. The bottom was reached in safety and without difficulty. The first thing ascertained was that the pumps would not draw water, but after a little attention they were made to work satisfactorily. At the bottom of the shaft the body of Bowden, the hitcher, was discovered, while a little further on two men, named Mason, father and son, were seen. Near to these were the bodies of ten more, in the middle parting, while others lay scattered about. There were also about 70 horses destroyed. The arch and other material portions of the pit were comparatively uninjured.
As soon as Mr. Llewellyn, the general manager, arrived he, together with a body of men, descended, and they penetrated as far as No. 1 parting, where they met with an obstruction caused by the fall from the roof, and they were compelled to return owing to the presence of gas. Shortly before twelve o'clock Mr. Cadman, Her Majesty's inspector of mines for Monmouthshire, arrived, together with Mr. Bain, assistant inspector. Mr. Llewellyn, the manager of the pit, remained down upwards of five hours, and as time passed and no intelligence came from underground serious apprehensions began to be entertained as to his safety and that of the 17 other men who had accompanied him as an exploring party. The fear was that they had been overcome by the effects of the after-gas, but happily those fears proved groundless. At half-past one o'clock Mr. Llewellyn ascended to the bank in safety, though much exhausted, and brought the melancholy intelligence that no living soul was left of those who had been working in the pit.
About three o'clock the remains of Thomas Bowden, the hitcher, were sent up and deposited in a shed which had been hastily erected. It was stated that some of the bodies in the pit appeared to be frightfully mutilated, and this added to the dreadful state of excitement which existed amongst the large numbers who surrounded the scene of the disaster. The works in the neighbourhood were stopped, and the weather being fine immense crowds poured in anxious to learn the extent of the disaster, and ready to render every assistance in their power.
In the explorations which are now being carried on for the recovery of the bodies every effort is being made to thoroughly ventilate the pit. A Guibal fan of 40 feet is in use, and everything is being done to recover the bodies as rapidly as possible. Before the full extent of the calamity had been ascertained, Mr. Watts, the chairman of the Company, telegraphed to the manager, directing that every effort should be used to save life if possible.
The following is the list of killed: -

Thomas Woolley, collier, single
Samuel Tucker, bottom cutter, married
Keesley Shon, timberman, 23
John Morgan, timberman, 28, single
George Young, bottom cutter, 28 single
Joseph Everitt, timberman, married
William Bush, labourerer, 25 single
William Morgan, bottom cutter, married
William Ashman, labourer, married
David Scannell, bottom cutter, married
Frederick Ball, labourer, single
W.J. Doorboy, single
Jephta Johnson, labourer, 26, married
Daniel Lewis, collier, married
George Ball, labourer, married
William West, timberman, married
Rosser George, labourer, married
Charles Randall, timberman, married
David Brake, collier, married
Thomas Griffiths, timberman, married
Thomas Dale, labourer, 46
William Benney, bottom cutter, married
Charles Carey, donkey rider, married
Uriah Edwardes, overman, married
Thomas Lewis, fireman, married
Henry Brookman, fireman, married
Thomas Jones, mason, married
John Jones, mason, married (father)
John Jones, mason, married (son)
Henry Toonzie, mason, married
Thomas Thomas, labourer, single
Thomas Summerville, collier, 24, single
George Poole, collier, 45, single
Thomas Bruze, collier, 23, married
Henry Adams, haulier, 45, married
Daniel Moore, haulier, married
Thomas Morgan, haulier, single
Frederick Baker, haulier, single
Thomas Jones, haulier, married
Lewis Price, collier, single
William Cainis, ostler, 60, married
William Hughes, ostler, married
Jerry Harley, labourer, 22, single
Lewis Legshon, timberman, married
Thomas Chaddy, collier, married
William Hayes, 54, married
Wm. Sheen, labourer, married
Thomas Jones, labourer
Robert Lugg, bottom cutter, married
Wm. Stafford, door boy
John Howells, door boy, 16
Geo. Evans, bottom cutter, married
Mark Emery, timberman, married
John Potter, ripping top, married
Stephen Powell, collier, married
Henry Harvey, gaffer haulier, married
Henry Baker, haulier, married
John Milson, haulier, single
Morgan Francis, haulier, single
Isaac Theopholus, 26, single
Wm. Lister, haulier, single
Wm. Harris, haulier
William Nesbach Zemon, haulier, 20
Harry Marsh, haulier
A. Baker, roadman, married
Seth Williams, haulier, single
T. Wallace, haulier, single
John Daly, haulier, single
Thomas Senn, gaffer haulier, married
Ivan Boyes, roadman, single
John Wey, ostler, 27, married
Charles English, ripping top, married
William Charles, labourer, 45
Joseph Horlor, timberman, married
William Palmer, labourer, married
Lewis Harris, labourer, married
Mark Crook, bottom cutter, married
John Jones, labourer, single
Thomas Walters, timberman, married
Jesse Sage, labourer, married
John Woodford, haulier, single
Thomas Boden, hitcher, married
Edward Edwards, labourer
John Bray, lampman, 47, married
Stephen Bush, bottom cutter, married
Thomas Thomas, haulier, single
D. James, bottom cutter, married
George Smith, labourer, single
John Hyam, bottom cutter, married
James Haycock, donkey rider, married
Simon Harris, labourer, 48, single
Simon Sullivan, timberman, married
Cornelius Sullivan, timekeeper, single
William Davies, labourer, married
Charles Poole, door boy
William Phillips, labourer
William Cordey, ripping top, married
Alfred Shore, door boy
Edward Jay, labourer, 44, married
Jarvis Harvey, pump boy
John Wenn, timberman, married
Thomas Price, haulier, single
Lewis Williams, timberman, 32, single
Charles Meade, labourer, married
William Adams, labourer, 30, married
David Lewis, labourer, 31
William Palmer, labourer, married
Lewis Harris, labourer, married
Mark Croak, bottom cutter, married
William Williams, bottom cutter, married
Lewis Harris, labourer
John Jones, labourer
Thomas Powell, collier, 18, single
Thomas Wallace, timberman, married
Samuel Dix, timberman, married
William Matthews, ripping top, married
Wm. Vaughan, doorboy, single
Joseph Hemmings, labourer, 40, married
Philip Jones, timberman, married
The complete list had not reached us when we went to press.

Source: The Guardian, July 16, 1880, Page 5

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Re: 1880-82 Colliery Explosions

Post by Karen on Fri 10 May 2013 - 8:07

TERRIBLE COLLIERY EXPLOSION.
LOSS OF 101 LIVES.

A terrible explosion took place on the morning of the 10th inst. (Friday) at the Naval Steam Coal Colliery, a pit near Pen-y-Graig, where ninety-three men had gone down to work but a few hours previously; the number of those who were in the pit at the time being, however, reduced by two who had come up again. The pit, which is the property of Messrs. Rowlands and Morgans, is 450 yards in depth,
and is but half-a-mile from the Dinas Colliery, where fifty-seven bodies still remain uncovered since the explosion of Jan. 13, 1878. At half-past nine o'clock on the previous night the manager of the colliery, Mr. Rowland Rowlands, brother of one of the proprietors, received a report from David Lewis and David Lodwick, the night foremen, that everything was all right below at both pits. Between one and two o'clock in the morning
the whole neighbourhood for miles round was startled by hearing a most terrific report, which echoed through the mountains, and was heard at Tonyrefail, a village four miles distant. In a very short time the whole country was alive, and thousands of workmen who had been awakened from their beds by the concussion, the cause for which they could divine only too truly, were soon hurrying to the scene of the disaster, each carrying a lighted
Davy lamp to guide them through the darkness of the night. The roads were also thronged with poor wailing women whose relatives, either husbands or sons, had left an hour or so ago for the fatal shaft. Mr. Moses Rowlands, one of the proprietors; Mr. Rowland Rowlands, manager; Mr. Moses Rowland, jun.; and Mr. Williams, clerk, were among the first to reach the top of the upcast.
About five o'clock Messrs. Thomas W. Evans and David Davies, of Ruthin, overmen, volunteered to descend the downcast in a bucket attached to a wire rope. They went down 400 yards when they came to an immense heap of boarding which had fallen from the top of the shaft, and which put a stop to their further descent. It was calculated that the heap was twenty yards in depth, but they shouted to any who might be alive below, and in a few seconds
heard a faint response from the bottom of the shaft. Meanwhile the most intense anxiety was evinced by the thousands waiting on the surface for the return of the two brave explorers. The aspect of the vast throng as they stood in the dark night on the sloping declivity above the shaft - those in front trying vainly by the light of their "Davys" to peer into the grim blackness below - was awfully imposing. As the returned bucket approached the surface
the most painful stillness prevailed, and when the two men stepped out of the bucket, and reported that voices had been heard in reply to their shouts, a mighty sigh of relief and hope escaped from the multitude. Preparations were then commenced to descend again for the purpose of penetrating if possible through the debris lying at the bottom, for this dangerous task three gallant fellows volunteering, viz., Evan Jenkins, leader, William Williams, and Thomas
Morris. As they stepped into the bucket prepared for the descent with brawny arms bared and with their faces wearing a resolute expression to do or die, the most lively emotion was evinced by their comrades, every one of whom would without a moment's hesitancy have accompanied them to attempt a rescue were it practicable. On reaching the top of the debris the three volunteers left the bucket and stepped on the rubbish, shouting like their predecessors to those below,
and were rewarded by hearing a responsive shout. The three gallant miners instantly commenced their task of cutting a way through a heap which consisted of broken timber and stones. By nine o'clock they reached the bottom, working their way through a zigzag hole made in the immense pile. From the bottom they then commenced cutting their way in the direction from which they had heard the shouts. Having made another hole fifteen feet in length they broke into the open, and
could hear conversation being carried on. Groping in the darkness, aided by the sound of the voices, they found four men who were alive, but in a semi-delirious condition. These four men - Thomas Morris, J.H. Evans, David Marony, and David Jenkins - were assisted through the holes to the top of the debris, and were then brought to bank at ten o'clock. It is impossible to describe the exciting scene witnessed on the pit bank as the wives and children of the rescued men recognised
in the blackened features of the exhausted creatures assisted from the cage the beloved form of father and husband. To them it appeared verily as a return from the valley of the shadow of death, and their expressions of thankfulness were affecting in the extreme. In the meantime another gallant band of explorers had descended the upcast shaft three-quarters of a mile to the south-west. This party consisted of Mr. D. Thomas, Albert medallist of the first class, Mr. E. Thomas Mundy Hall,
Mr. W. Glilloway, late deputy-inspector of mines for South Wales, and now manager of Dinas Collieries; Mr. Thos. Griffiths, manager of Cymmee Collieries; and Mr. John Hanard, underground manager of the Glamorgan Colliery Company. It was through the upcast that the terrible blast has spent its greatest force. This second band of gallant explorers traversed the roadway between the two shafts, and the scene they witnessed by the pale glimmer of their lamps baffles all description. Sixteen dead
bodies were discovered in a kneeling position, death having come to them all while they were engaged in prayer. One body, that of David Lloyd, lampman, was found in the doorway of the lamproom, also in the attitude of prayer, one of his arms encircling a young lad, as though to protect him from harm. Lloyd was an old man, exceedingly well known in the district, where he had spent the whole of his life in quiet industry. The sixteen bodies, some of which were fearfully burnt, were taken to bank at once
and deposited in a temporary dead-house, which had been constructed close by the top of the upper pit. Some of the bodies are so fearfully burnt as to be almost unrecognisable.
Up to a late hour on Friday night thirty bodies had been recovered, and many of them had been identified by relatives or friends. They all bore indications of having been severely burnt, and in one or two cases it was evident that they had been struck by falling debris. Nearly the whole of them were found to the east of the main roadway, where the force of the explosion seems to have been very great. Sixteen dead horses were met with, and the party of colliery proprietors who descended at the upcast shaft
described the pit as being in a state of great disorder, the roadways having been seriously damaged, and many heavy falls having occurred. The ventilation was, however, good. The efforts of the explorers, who are numerous, are now being concentrated on the removal of the fall at the bottom of the downcast shaft, and when this is completed they will be able to make use of the cage, the bucket being of course very inconvenient. Hitherto the colliery has been exceptionally fortunate in its freedom from accidents.
The miners are almost unanimous in giving it a good name. It is, however, well known that all the Welsh steam coals are very fiery, and in his last annual report her Majesty's inspector for the district, Mr. Wales, condemned on this account the use of gunpowder and naked lights.

RECOVERY OF MORE BODIES.

A correspondent, dating from Pen-y-craig on the 12th inst., says: The work of recovering the bodies was proceeded with all last night and today. Last night sixteen bodies were brought up which were found in one working. Evan Lewis, who came up shortly before the explosion, states that he passed by the place where these men were about one o'clock, and saw them all sitting down, having what they call a one o'clock dinner. When brought to the surface it was noticed as an extraordinary fact that these men nearly all had
their jaws broken. Mr. Wood, manager of a neighbouring colliery, who was exploring, came across the bodies of three men, all of whom seemed to have been attempting to avoid the suffocating sulphur and gas which were in the pit after the explosion. One man had his face literally buried in the dust, another had both hands over his mouth, and a third had endeavoured to cover his mouth with his coat collar. Up to the time of writing there have been sixty-four bodies recovered, and the latest official estimate of the killed is
ninety-four men and boys, twenty-two horses, and one donkey. The management are now endeavouring to set the fans at work to promote better ventilation; but considerable difficulty is experienced in consequence of the precautions which have to be taken against driving the bad air from the downcast shaft through to the upcast, and so rendering the latter useless for the work of recovering the bodies which will now take place there. No theory has yet been expounded with regard to the cause of the explosion, but great thankfulness
is expressed for an accident which took place here last Monday, and which resulted in about half the usual number only being down the pit when the disaster occurred. Indeed, most of the men who have lost their lives were engaged in repairing the cage at the bottom of the upcast shaft, which fell down the shaft on Monday and caused considerable damage, in consequence of the engine-man over-winding.

STATEMENT OF JOHN MORGAN.

John Morgan has made the following statement:
"I was in the mine at one o'clock in the morning, and just as the explosion occurred I lost my lamp and my light. There was a loud report, and a fall of the roof on either side of me. I had about ten yards of space, and I ran backwards and forwards. I tried to find my lamp and could not for a long time. I thought I could hear "Hanlier," a trolly drawn by a horse on a tramway. The explosion caused the loss of my lamp. The falls were in the right hand heading near the downcast shaft. I kept running backwards and forwards and I shouted
all the time. I felt that my hands were burnt, and that I was bruised. The hair of my head and my whiskers were all burnt off. As I ran about I felt a dead man lying on the ground. The body was then turning cold. I still kept shouting. I had plenty of air. I was very hungry, and I made a search for my victuals. Before the explosion I had a jug of water. I searched for it also. I found neither. I had given up all hope when the explorers came. I was quite prepared to die, and I had given up all hope that any one would come near me. When
I first saw the men's lights I shouted, and they came."

TWO JOINT INQUESTS.

Mr. A. Reece, coroner of the Pen-y-Graig district, opened the inquest. He said that as some of the bodies were lying in the parish of Ystradfodwg, in which district Mr. Overton is the coroner, there would be a joint inquiry. The jury viewed about fifteen of the bodies which were brought to bank in the Pen-y-Graig district. The proceedings created considerable interest in the village, there being a great many people present in the room when the inquest was opened. A great amount of dissatisfaction was evinced amongst the workmen owing to the
constabulary having selected a jury of eighteen, and having omitted to put upon it men who were practical miners. The explanation of Sergeant Price, who called the jury, is that he was anxious to have a body of men who were altogether unconnected with mining, and who could be thoroughly relied upon as being impartial. After an absence of about an hour and a half the inquest was resumed. By this time Mr. Overton, the other coroner, had arrived, and it was definitely decided to make it a joint inquiry. Evidence of identification of the fifteen bodies
was then given by James Row, who stated that he was one of the county police-constables, and was stationed on the works of the Naval Steam Coal Colliery Company. Mr. Moses R. Rowlands, manager of the upcast shaft, said he represented the management of the colliery. They had now succeeded in getting sixty-five bodies out of the pits, but there were thirty-six still underground. He thought, however, that those thirty-six would be got out at once, and that the pit would be ready for an early inspection. Mr. Overton expressed his regret that Mr. Wales was
not present, because these cases were becoming very notorious of late, and the Government might like to send down some one from London to watch the proceedings. Besides, a great deal had been said in Parliament recently about these accidents. After some conversation it was decided to adjourn until the first Thursday in January. The jury then proceeded to view the bodies in Mr. Overton's district, and evidence of identification having been given, orders for burial were made out.

RELIEF FUND.

The Lord Mayor of London has opened a relief fund at the Mansion House. It appears that the number of persons left dependent on public charity is 271, and that the amount required to relieve them will be about 17,000 pounds.

LIST OF COLLIERY ACCIDENTS IN WALES.

A list of Welsh colliery accidents during the last thirty-five years will be read with interest at the present time:
August 2, 1845 - Cronbach, near Merthyr Tydvil, 28 lives lost;
January 14, 1846 - Risca Colliery, 35 lives lost;
June 21, 1848 - Victoria, Monmouth, 11 lives lost;
August 11, 1849 - Lletty Shenkin, Aberdare, 52 lives lost;
September 3, 1851 - Aberdare (chain broke), 14 lives lost;
May 10, 1852 - Duffryn Pit, Aberdare, 64 lives lost;
May 10, 1852 - Gwaendraeth Vale (water broke in), 28 lives lost;
March 12, 1853 - Risca Vale explosion, 10 lives lost;
November 29, 1855 - Cwmamman, Aberdare (cage upset), 8 lives lost;
July 15, 1856 - Cymmer, Pontypridd, 114 lives lost;
October 13, 1858 - Primrose Colliery, Swansea, 13 lives lost;
Same year - Duffryn, near Newport, 20 lives lost;
April 6, 1859 - Chain Colliery, near Neath (flooded), 26 lives lost;
December 1, 1860 - Risca Colliery, Newport, 45 lives lost;
February 19, 1862 - Gethin Colliery, Merthyr Tydvil, 40 lives lost;
October 17, 1863 - Morfa, Glamorganshire, 31 lives lost;
December 26, 1864 - Maesteg, Glamorganshire, 14 lives lost;
June 16, 1865 - New Bedwellty pit, Tredegar, 26 lives lost;
December 25, 1865 - Upper Gethin mine, Merthyr Tydvil, 30 lives lost;
November 8, 1867 - Ferndale Colliery, Rhondda Valley, 178 lives lost;
June 10, 1869 - Ferndale Colliery, 60 lives lost;
July 23, 1870 - Llansamlet, near Swansea, 19 lives lost;
March 2, 1871 - Victoria, Monmouth, 19 lives lost;
October 4, 1871 - Gladys pit, Aberdare, 4 lives lost;
January 10, 1872 - Oakwood, Llynvi Valley, Bridgend, 11 lives lost;
December 4, 1875 - Powell Duffryn, New Tredegar, 22 lives lost;
December 5, 1876 - Llan Colliery, Pentyrch, 12 lives lost;
December 18, 1876 - Abertillery, Monmouth, 20 lives lost;
September 11, 1878 - Prince of Wales Colliery, Abercarn, 269 lives lost;
January 13, 1879 - Dinas Colliery, 68 lives lost;
July 15, 1880 - Risca Colliery, 12 lives lost.

Source: Cardigan Observer, and General Advertiser For the Counties of Cardigan, Carmarthen and Pembroke, 18 December 1880, Page 2

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