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Hanley Deep Explosion 1883 - Page 1

Thanks to Andy Evans For The Information

Andy Evans - Hanley Deep Explosion 1883

Andy Evans
10 Sep 2015
Hanley Deep Explosion 1883

Can I first congratulate you on a most informative site. I couldn’t find reference to this explosion on your site and thought you might like a copy.

Andy Evans
Ex-Holditch Colliery Electrician and Bretby Engineer

Explosion Hanley Deep 1883

Hanley Deep PitA disastrous explosion occurred at the Hanley Deep Pit, early on Sunday morning 1st September. It appears that a few minuets after six o’ clock the certificated manager, Mr. Thomas Roberts and some half a dozen picked men, descended the Clayhole ventilating shaft for the purpose of resetting a damper in connection with the boilers at the bottom of that shaft. The object was to turn the air, smoke, and steam, from the underground boilers into a shaft which had lately undergone repair.

The undertaking was of a dangerous nature, and hence the most reliable men on duty were secured for the work. John Jones, an underground manager, was sent forward to examine the Ten Feet seam to see if it was clear of gas, and before he could return and report, the explosion took place. At that moment the manager himself, was in the act of coming over the underground boiler to superintend the work. He was burnt upon the head and face and right arm, having only a moment before, turned up his sleeve.

The report of the explosion was heard some distance away and an immense volume of smoke and rubbish issued from the shaft. In a wonderfully short space of time men descended the pit to ascertain the nature of the explosion, and in less than half an hour the whole of the injured men were brought to the surface. Jones was found at the top of the Ten feet dip, lying face downwards quite dead. On examination, he was found to have received a nasty knock on the back of his head. It is, however, believed that his death was not caused by the explosion itself, but by the afterdamp, as he was not burnt so much as the other men who are still alive.

Isaac Dykes, a horse keeper, was blown by the force of the explosion into the furnace hole. He was burnt about the face and hands very severely. The other injured men brought to the surface were Edward Williams, hooker-on; Richard Withers, engineman; George Hopwood, stoker, seriously burnt; and George Hill, pit-fettler. William Bailey, a hooker-on, escaped injury, the explosion taking place while he had gone away for tools.

The deceased Jones is 51 years of age leaves a widow and 8 children 5 of who are unable to earn their own living. Mr. Roberts was removed to his home in Charles St. And Hill was also taken home, his injuries being the least severe. The other injured men had their wounds temporally dressed by Mr. Spanton, and were then taken to the infirmary at Hartshill. Mr. J. Lucas, the general manager of Earl Granville’s pits, was in Manchester at the time. He was at once communicated and returned by the fist available train. His son Mr. Robert Lucas had in the meantime arrived at the pit and accompanied Mr. T. Sawyer, assistant Government Inspector of Mines, made a though inspection of the mine. In deciding this both men ran great risk. They found a good deal of gas in the pit, though the actual damage was not so great as was expected, and certainly was not so much a was caused by the last explosion in the same place, some 2 years back.

Several air-doors had been blown down, stopping the ventilation. There was also several falls. Many suggestions as to the cause of the explosion have been made, but until the whole matter is thoroughly investigated before a coroner’s jury, it would be unfair to publish any of these suggestions; it should be mentioned that the place where the explosion occurred has been worked every day during the strike.


Mr. J. West Jones opened an inquiry at the Hanley Town Hall on Monday afternoon touching on the death of John Jones. The coroner intimated that it would be necessary to adjourn the inquiry. The body having been examined, the only witness was Edward Evans, living at 19 Rose-street, Hanley, who said; I am a miner, and work at the Big Pit. I have worked there 27 years. I have known the deceased for many years He had been working at the big pit for at least 2 or 3 years, and was the under-looker. Yesterday morning I was informed that there had been an explosion at the pit. I hastened there, and about 7.30 went down with James Lloyd. We separated at the bottom, going in search of the deceased in different directions. I found the deceased on the end of the turn-out in the Ten Feet seam, about 60 yards off the main crut, and I turned him over and found he was quite dead. Deceased was not burnt badly. He had 2 heavy cuts on the back of his head. Assistance was procured, and the body was afterwards brought to the surface. Deceased was burnt a little. There was no gas whatever, and there were no stone lying about, the place was quite clear.

Sergeant Williams stated that Mr. Lucas had informed him that Mr. Roberts would not be able to give evidence for at least a month. The inquiry was the adjourned until the 19th.

Isaac Dykes Dies

Isaac Dykes died at the infirmary on Monday morning. On Thursday an inquest was held on the body. The coroner Mr. John Booth intimated that other men having been injured at the same explosion it would be necessary to adjourn the inquiry to some future date. It would be useless their going into the case again until they were in a position to finish the inquiry, and consequently if the men were not able to appear on the day he should fix for the adjourned inquest, it would be further adjourned, and the jury would be communicated with.

The only witness called was Phillip Wood, miner living at No.1 Horse-lane, Hanley, said he knew the deceased, Isaac Dykes, who was a stoker, employed at the Deep Pit. On Sunday morning, witness was in the next pit when the explosion occurred. He afterwards descended the Deep Pit in company with Hugh Edwards to look after the injured men. They found the deceased ablut6 yards away from the furnace in his cabin, about 350 yards from the bottom of the pit. He was sensible, and was in a sitting position, witness asked deceased whether he recognised him, the reply being in the affirmative. Deceased then asked to be taken home. He was so covered with soot that witness could not see whether he was badly burnt or not.

Mr George Stokes Hatton, house surgeon at the infirmary, said the deceased was admitted on Sunday morning. He was then suffering from the effects of burns. Death took place on Monday morning, about 6 o’ clock, from burns. There were 3 other men admitted into the house at the same time, all suffering from the same cause. One man was burnt badly, and had a nasty scalp wound but he thought the chances were that all the injured men would be able to give evidence in about 5 weeks. The inquiry was adjourned to 11th October. George Hopwood, stoker, expired at the infirmary yesterday afternoon.



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