Information and photographs submitted by subscribers are posted in good faith. If any copyright of anyone else's material is unintentionally breached, please email me

Thirteen Children Among 68 Killed At Moorfield Colliery Disaster 1883

Accrington Observer - Thanks to Chris King For Bringing This DIsaster To My Attention

From:      Chris King
Sent:       21 Jan 2014
Subject: Missing accident

Accrington Observer

Thirteen children among 68 killed in pit disaster

Harold Tootle outlines the grim events at Altham's Moorfield Colliery on
7 November 1883

A SKETCH of the Moorfield Pit shortly after the explosion

ON THE morning of 7 November 1883 a terrible explosion ripped through the underground workings at the Moorfield Colliery, Altham, near the village of Altham, Lancashire.

The explosion resulted in the death of 68 men and boys, with numerous more receiving serious injuries. Over the following years many of them died prematurely as a direct result of their injuries.

There wasn't a borough in Hyndburn that wasn't affected to some degree on that fateful day. Some families lost several members. Brothers died with brothers, fathers died with their sons. Whole families were torn apart with grief.

Mrs Almond, a widow, lost two sons that day - John, aged 20, and Cuthbert, who was just 12. The following May another son George, who had been badly burned in the explosion, died in hospital after suffering an overdose of chloroform while having a tooth extracted.

David Cronshaw had the heart-rending task of identifying his three sons, Jackson, James and Thomas. He also had a son badly injured. James was married with three children. This was not the first time that tragedy had struck the Crowshaw family. They had already lost one son in a pit accident, another son was drowned in the local canal and in the previous year their daughter Jane died.

James Clegg was helping to wash the bodies so that they could be identified. He failed to recognise his own sone William who had been badly burned. His wife was called in to help. She recognised a scar on his chest where she had recently applied mustard plaster. Mrs Clegg also lost another son George and two brothers.

Thirteen of the dead were mere children under the present school-leaving age. Eleven-year-old Henry Crossley died on his third working day. Thirteen-year-old Michael Mahon survived the explosion and was on his way out of the pit when he turned back to search for his 15-year-old brother John. Both boys were later found dead. Thomas Edge, aged 14, was carried out of the pit by his father, only to die three days later. His older brother John, who was 16, was also killed.

One of the saddest episodes was to come many years later. The hero of the day was James Macintosh, the under-manager at the colliery. He was the first man down the mine after the explosion. He spent the next 24 hours underground helping the injured and searching for the dead, one of whom was his father, Thomas Macintosh, the colliery manager.

James was later offered the management of the colliery, which he declined. He never went down the mine again. He later became the landlord of a nearby Greyhound Hotel. On the morning of the 10th anniversary of the disaster, James came downstairs into the public bar and committed suicide.

Miners from Moorfield and Whinney Hill collieries led the funeral cortege on its journey to Altham and the shops along the route remained closed as a sign of respect.

In Memory Of Those Who Died

Cuthbert Almond - aged 12 years
John Almond - aged 20 years
Thomas Alston - aged 15 years
James Ashworth - aged 39 years
James Atherton - aged 10 years
John Bentley - aged 32 years
Thomas Blackburn - aged 38 years
James Broadley - aged 40 years
Westwell Broadley - aged 28 years
Waddington Walter Brown - aged 23 years
George Clegg - aged 18 years
Henry William Clegg - aged 19 years
James Clough - aged 27 years
Stephen Clough - aged 19 years
Walter Henry Coles - aged 32 years
John Crabb - aged 40 years
Jackson Cronshaw - aged 21 years
James Cronshaw - aged 27 years
Thomas Cronshaw - aged 25 years
Henry Crossley - aged 11 years
John Edge - aged 16 years
Thomas Edge - aged 14 year
?? Gordon - aged 30 years
John Grimshaw - aged 20 years
Thomas Grimshaw - aged 26 years
William Gimm - aged 26 years
John Thomas Hall - aged 15 years
Thomas Hamriding - aged 36 years
Job Whittaker Haworth - aged 11 years
Robert Haworth - aged 36 years
Rothwell Haworth - aged 34 years
William Henry Haworth - aged 32 years
William Hollin - aged 25 years
William Edward Jones - aged 13 years
Joseph Leeson - aged 12 years
Thomas Mcintosh - aged 56 years
Thomas Henry Mcintosh - aged 35 years
William Mackrell - aged 21 years
John Mahon - aged 15 years
Michael Mahon - aged 13 years
Thomas Metcalf - aged 33 years
James Osbalderstoon - aged 33 years
Richard Osbalderston - aged 12 years
John Ormerod - aged 41 years
Matthew Henry Perry - aged 17 years
Aaron Riding - aged 10 years
Robert Riley - aged 17 years
John Rushton - aged 27 years
Lawrence Rushton - aged 44 years
Willam Rushton - aged 14 years
James Scholes - aged 19 years
John Shorrock - aged 19 year
John Edward Smith - aged 11 years
Thomas Smith - aged 45 years
George Tapper - aged 18 years
James Taylor - aged 35 years
Thomas Taylor - aged 29 years
William Taylor - aged 24 years
Wilson Taylor - aged 29 years
Joseph Thornton - aged 24 years
Robert Threlfall - aged 25 years
Thomas Tillotson - aged 28 years
Peter Tomlinson - aged 19 years
Thomas Walsh - aged 27 years
Timothy Yates - aged 29 years
William Yates - aged 46 years

Those Who Were Injured In The Disaster

George Almond
Lawerence Almond.
William Thomas Aspden
Timothy Gumm
Samuel Halstead
Thomas Leeming
John Bickerstaff
Peter Broadley
Thomas Clegg
William Clough
James H. Cronshaw
James Crook
Thomas Duckworth
James Fielding
William Grace
Lawrence Metcalf
Fred Parker
George Rawcliffe
Moses Riding
Henry South
Christopher Taylor
John Walsh
John Walton
John Wolstenholme


Go 1 Page 2