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DREADFUL EXPLOSION AT AN ECKINGTON COLLIERY.
TWENTY- SEVEN LIVES LOST.
About twelve o'clock on Tuesday night, the inhabitants of Eckington were thrown into a state of consternation by rumour that an alarming explosion had occurred at Renishaw Park Colliery, situated about half a mile from Eckington Station. The report, unfortunately was but too well founded. The scene of the catastrophe is known as the Renishaw Park Colliery, and belongs to Messrs. J & G. Wells. About 400 hands are employed in the colliery in the day time, and in the night the average is said to be about seventy. About 500 yards from the pit at which the accident occurred, and which is known as "No. 1," is another pit, situated on the south-west side of the pit, called "No.3," and between the workings of the two there are means of communication. The explosion took place in a working at the south end of "No 1" where there were about twenty-two men engaged in preparing for the next days work. In this working no less than twenty dead bodies were found, the only survivors being two boys named Goodwin and Herbert Webster, who were found at the bottom of the shaft in a state of unconsciousness by four men named Clayton, Johnson, Taylor, and Gregory, who had escaped by being in a "dip" at the south end of the workings in which the explosion occurred. By the aid of proper restoratives the two boys so far recovered as to admit of their removal to their homes. Unfortunately the effect of the explosion was not entirely confined to the pit in which it originated, but the deadly fire-damp rushing on to pit No. 2, added six more victims to the list, besides injuring numbers who were afterwards recovered in a state of insensibility. Immediately on the alarm being given Dr. Jones and Dr. Hogg, accompanied by Mr. J. Wells, one of the proprietors, hurried to the collieries and at once descended No. 2 shaft, where the choke damp was least dense. And the chances of saving life greatest. Here were founda number of men who rendered insensible and having been properly attended to they were removed to their homes in carts. Amongst these were Miles Hardwick, son of the steward and a man named Joseph Evans, who descended shortly after the explosion, both of whom were found insensible, at the bottom of the pit by the steward and another son. The injured men having been properly cared for, attention was directed to the removal of the dead, and as each body was recovered it was placed in the stable on the pit bank. One old man, named John Bolsover, or Bellfit, who lives at Staveley Lowgate, is still missing and is supposed to be in No. 1 pit. He took his lamp when the night shift went down, and his hat was found in the mine during the removal of the bodies. With few exception, the features of the dead were very slightly injured, and identification was consequently easy. One among them had been fearfully disfigured, his jaw having been nearly blown away. Others were dreadfully scorched with the heat, but most of their faces were faces were the calm appearance of sleep. Two of the men taken out dead were found on their hands and knees near the bottom of the shaft, and it is supposed that when only partially overcome with suffocation they had endeavoured to make their escape. One of them had a lamp in his hand, and the other a cup. At, the time of the explosion some of the men are supposed to have been in the act of getting their supper, as several were found with food by their sides.
Following is the list of the dead, the last six of whom were taken out of “No 2” pit:-
George Lowe, Eckington, married
Matthew Savage, Eckington, married
David Wainwright, Eckington, married
Mark Barker, Eckington, married
Ephraim Billam, Bramley Moor, married
Francis Clark, Eckington, married
William Lakin, Masborough, married
Robert Watson, Staveley, married,
Enoch Bridges, Eckington, married
Aaron Arthur, Marsden Moor, married
Thomas Richardson, Marsden Moor, married
John Alcock, (boy), Eckington
John Rhodes (boy), Eckington.
Benjamin Martin, Eckington, married
William Wood, Eckington, married
Samuel Porter, Eckington, married
John Ellis, Spinkhill Bridge, single
George Hall, Lowgates, Staveley, married.
John Cuttley, Eckington, single.
Thomas Pierce, Eckington, married
Henry Gallsworthy, Eckington, married
William Webster, Eckington, single
Thomas Lloyd, Eckington
There are eleven injured some of whom are not expected to recover