One Place Tragedies #2

A week or so ago I posted on the wildlife blog about the damage to the Irwell and its wildlife caused by pollution from the industry along its banks. Some, but by no means all of this was from the collieries part owned by John Ashworth of Springhill.

Bad though this is, unfortunately the damage caused by the collieries is not limited to river pollution.

Wilful damage:
The Blackburn Mail, November 15th 1826 reported what it described as 'a most gross act of mischief' when it was discovered that the rope holding the basket had been almost cut through. Fortunately this was discovered just before the men descended into the pit. Thankfully not quite a #OnePlaceTragedy. Baxenden Pit.

The Accrington Times February 22 1873 reported a fire in the engine house of Black Moss Pit, thought to be caused deliberately by an incendiary device.

Roof falls:
Rossendale Free Press October 14th 1893 described the death of John Towers, aged 26, who was crushed following a roof fall. Some of the roof props had been removed shortly before the roof fall, this was described at the inquest as 'usual'. Baxendedn Pit.

Equipment injuries:
Bacup and Rossendale Times December 5th 1874 reported the death of Richard Hindle, 17, who died after getting his leg caught in the spokes of a flywheel. Black Moor Pit.

Knocked down by wagons:
Accrington Gazette April 19th 1890 described a compound fracture to the leg of Thomas Chadwick when he was hit by wagon whilst walking along a tram line carrying a plank. Huncoat Colliery

Falling down shafts:
Accrington Times March 15th 1884 described the death of John Woods Lambert, 14, who was sitting on the wall surrounding an air shaft when the coping stones gave way, leading to his falling down the shaft. Unfortunately it appears that his body was not found for a week. Black Moss Pit.

Explosions:
Accrington Times April 31st 1870 reported the death of James Hindle, 36, who died after carrying a naked candle into a poorly ventilated area of the pit whilst looking for a spade. Railway Pit. This incident led to the manager being blamed for not appointing a fireman (a charge he refuted) and the pit underlooker being charged with neglect and fined £1. Railway Pit.

Assaults:
Accrington Times September 18th 1869 reported that the prosecution of George Tattersall, collier for assault on Christopher Kenyon, collier, was adjourned due to significant injuries to the latter man. Hole i' th' Bank Pit.

Strikes:
Accrington Times September 18th 1869 also described that colliers had taken strike action following a number of disputes with management. The management had brought in 'strangers' to work the pits. This led to various acts of intimidation by the colliers against the new men, and an assault on a random insurance agent whom the protagonist mistook for the colliery manager. Hole i' th' BankPit

Some of these reports give extra details of the events, often in a degree of technical detail.

These were all in pits managed by Ashworth Hargreaves and Co, latterly Rossendale Collieries and Baxenden Collieries. I am not aware that their safety record was particularly unusual.