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Emails - Manners
Manners Pit, Ilkeston - Page 3
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Joe Henshaw

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Friday September 22, 1905

About three o'clock yesterday (Thursday) afternoon a serious explosion occurred in the Piper seam of the Manners Colliery, Ilkeston. The sad news rapidly spread in the town, and anxious relatives gathered round the pit-head to glean tiding as to whether husband, brother, or son had been injured. The officials of the colliery quickly descended the shaft to render assistance and learn the cause of the accident. At the time of writing it was impossible to acquire sufficient information of a precise character as to be able to state the cause of the catastrophe. The electric cutters are utilised and it was supposed that by some means an electric spark caused a pocket of gas to explode. The depth of the seam is 240 yards, and has been working about four months. Archibald Mackenzie was in the South African campaign as a volunteer and is a sergeant in Ilkeston Volunteer Company, was driving the electrical coal-cutting machine and he stated that he saw a flash or flame. which was immediately followed by the explosion of gas which has injured ten men, some of them being burned very seriously, including Mackenzie himself, and two other men named Benj. Dooley jr (of Ilkeston) and Gregory (of Ilkeston) The men are principally burned about the hands the head. As soon as the injured arrived at the surface they were speedily conveyed to the Ilkeston hospital, where they were attended to by the staff.

  The following is a list of the injured removed to the Ilkeston Hospital:-
Archibald Mackenzie
Arthur Stevenson
Albert Stevenson
Abraham Rowley
C. Atkin
Benjamin Dooley Jun.
Frederick Webster
J. Crossley
Alfred Gregory
J. Jordan.


From later information Cleaned from various sources, we learn that three of the men are very seriously burned, and three are only slightly injured. All the patients are naturally suffering from the effects of shock to the system. In some instances when the clothing was taken off the flesh came away as well. Gregory had only commenced work at the pit on Thursday morning. He is the most seriously injured.

It transpires that Mackenzie had stopped the electrical coal-cutting machine when he heard crackling sounds and the coal splintering, preliminary signs which were followed by the explosion. He said he would get out of the place, and made a rush to escape. A boy with a lighted candle was standing about three yards from him. When the roof fell the pocket of gas caught the flame and there was a display of fireworks. The workmen were knocked to the ground and severely scorched, the hair of the head being frizzled up and the faces, hands and exposed parts being caught by the flames. Mackenzie managed to pull his cap over his face, and has thus in some degree minimised his injuries. He had to creep out of a hole and clamber over two horses which were apparently dead. A great quantity of roof fell, and it seems marvellous that out of the 70 or 80 men scattered about the particular district so many have fortunately escaped unhurt. The cause of the explosion is therefore apparently due to what is technically known as the weight coming on, releasing gas which was ignited by the flame of the boy's naked candle. Ambulance men and medical gentlemen were speedily ready to place, their services at the disposal of the injured in the pit as soon as they had been conveyed to the hospital.

Printed for and Published by Edwin Trueman.
147 Bath Street, Ilkeston. — Friday 22 Sep 1905.