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Helen Best - All three of my great, great grandma's brothers died in the 1857 Explosion
Mike Jebson - Lundhill mine disaster 1857 and role of mining engineer John Jebson born 1 Jan 1819
Stan Cutts - Looking For Information - Cutts Family 1857 Lundhill Disaster
Steve Truckle - Are there any record of the 90 women that were widowed, or the men's addresses?

Helen Best
5 September 2013
All three of my great, great grandma's brothers died in the 1857 Explosion
Where can you park to see the memorial at Darfield Church and is it easy to find in the Churchyard?

All three of my great, great grandma's brothers died in the Hemingfield Explosion of February 1857 but your site is only listing two of them. The one not listed was 11 years old. Were the children working down that pit listed elsewhere?

The three relatives I have are:

They had seven sisters, one of whom was my great, great grandmother, Martha Litchfield.

Their parents were  William and Sarah.   Since I found out about this ( four or five years ago) I have wondered how they must have felt and how they coped with such a loss all happening in one day.

I have been doing family history for a long time and by far the worst thing I have found is this tragedy.  I tried to go and see the memorial at Darfield three or four years ago but didn't know where to park. Can you tell me a good place to park and is it easy to find in Darfield Churchyard?  Can you also tell me why little William is missed off the memorial and whether he's on another please?

I've also found that there is a museum in Darfield which I didn't know existed: The Morris Dobson Museum and Heritage Centre which I will explore when I venture to see the memorial.

Best Wishes and thanks in advance for your help,

Mike Jebson
27 October 2012
Lundhill mine disaster 1857 and role of mining engineer John Jebson born 1 Jan 1819

Hello from New Zealand
The family history is that my great, great grandfather John Jebson, a mines engineer, born near Wakefield Yorkshire on 1 Jan 1819 emigrated to New Zealand in 1862 at the age of 43 after being blacklisted in England for publicly challenging the findings of the enquiry into the 1857 Lundhill mining disaster.  Apparently he had argued from engineering considerations that mine owners negligence was to blame for the disaster.

He subsequently established coal mines and farms in Canterbury New Zealand and named the towns of Darfield and Sheffield in the South Island.  I grew up on the family farm at Sheffield.  I' m a fifth generation kiwi and the Jebson family has now been in New Zealand 150 years.

Has anyone got any documentary evidence concerning John's actions in England that would provide more information about what his role was before he emigrated?


Mike Jebson

Sheffield, New Zealand - Originally known as Malvern, and then like Darfield, named after its Yorkshire namesake by settler John Jebson, this is a farming settlement of about 150 people.

MR. JOHN JEBSON, sometime of Sheffield, was born on the 1st of January, 1819, at Flockton, near Wakefield, Yorkshire, and went to work in the coal mines, when he was five years old, for four-pence a day. He attended night school and acquired a fair share of education, soon rising above his fellows. Ultimately he became a mining engineer, and received appointments as mine manager in Lancashire and Yorkshire, and acted in that capacity for many years, during which period he successfully sank several shafts.

He came to New Zealand in 1862 in the ship "Zealandia," (Captain Foster), and is said to have bored the first artesian well in the Colony. Mr. Jebson supervised the construction of the telegraph between Lyttelton and Christchurch, and erected the first telegraph line to the West Coast, Greymouth, and Hokitika.

He brought the first team of horses to Sheffield, which cost £100 in Christchurch, and were purchased for the Kowai Coal Mining Company, which held three mining leases in the district.

Mr. Jebson was appointed manager to the company, and under his directions, a bore was put down which struck coal, which is still being worked. When the company surrendered its lease, he took it up and worked the mine for twenty years. He cultivated the first crop of oats in the district, and carried on agricultural and pastoral farming on the reserves.

Mr. Jebson was the first chairman of the East Malvern Road Board, and was a member of the Canterbury Provincial Council during 1874–6. He was on the school committee, of which he was chairman for ten years, and was the promoter of the first Methodist church in the district, in which he was local preacher for many years. He was married in England in 1839 to Miss Haigh, who died in 1886, leaving six sons and three daughters. Mr. Jebson survived his wife by about fourteen years.

Information from - The Cyclopedia Of New Zealand [Canterbury Provincial District] Old Colonists

Stan Cutts
17 January 2011
Cutts family in the Lundhill Disaster

Hello Fionn,

I have looked at your site many times and it never ceases to fill me with a sense of empathy and nostalgia for the poor people and the community that existed at Lundhill in 1857. It also makes a very meaningful contribution to the history of mining and records some of the costly lessons we’ve learned over the years in mine safety.

I write to you to ask your advice on where to look to find more information on the 4 Cutts family members who were killed at the mine, i.e. John (49), John (17), William (17) and George (16).  I have no doubt that they were relations of mine, as the Cutts family have lived in Royston and the surrounding area for centuries, and it is not a particularly common name. Maybe there is somewhere I can establish who their immediate families were, or where they lived. I’m not sure if you will know where I can get this sort of information, but I hope you don’t mind me asking – as right now I don’t have a starting point. My grandfather and two of my uncles were miners.

Thanks for a great website.

Best regards,

Stan Cutts

Steve Truckle
17 September 2010
Are there any record of the 90 women that were widowed, or the men's addresses?

Hi Fionn, 
I believe my great grandfather, Joseph Lumb (33) perished in this mining disaster! 

Is anyone aware of any record that exists of the 90 women that were widowed as a result…….or if there is a record of where the men came from?

Thanks Fionn
Steve Truckle

Names are on both the Durham Mining Museum site and Ian Winstanley's site but unfortunately no addresses.

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Pit Terminology - Glossary

Those Who Died

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