Heathfield Mining Disaster

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Heathfield Mining Disaster

Postby mumbles » Mon Feb 26, 2018 12:44 pm

Whilst researching Ancestors I came across this :-
Robert Harper aged 38 I have followed up and will be putting on bcc . Joseph Harford ( listed as Halford actually died a month later on 16/3/1848 of burns sustained in Sulphur Explosion at Heathfield Colliery) is connected to my Bate family already on bcc as his widow Zillah Harford ( nee Roberts) married Thomas Bate who connects to me

If anyone would like to follow others and what happened to their widows and children I am busy following my connections

Heathfield Mining Disaster
Like nearly all the mine owners at the time, only a few men were employed on a night shift. The main task on this shift, was to drop the undermined coal that the previous shift had been working on, the day shift would then spend most of the time taking this to the surface, and start the job all over again. Salter and Raybould, at their Heathfield Colliery, West Bromwich, only had 7 men on it's night shift, and when they handed over to the day shift, at 6.0am,on 9th February,1848, all seemed to be in order. There were, in total, just 29 men in this shift, and they hadn't been down long before the whole district was rocked by a violent explosion. It being a single shaft mine, huge flames shot up it, flinging all manner of debris into the air. No one needed to be told, that the site of this large bang was the Heathfield Colliery. Only 5 miners escaped without injury, and concidering the force of the blast, it's a wonder anyone got out alive. 8 men were very badly injured, and 16 men and boys were killed. The names are listed below.


John Lowe, 33, Henry Rodway, 19, John Caselly, 22, Robert Harper, 38, Richard Bullock, 28, William Noak, Walter White, George Bird, Joseph Taylor, William Johnson, James Sudley, John Grice, Joseph Halford, Ambrose Salter, 23, ( or Slater ) Charles Horton, 27,and Peter Taylor, 19.

The Inquest was held in the Dartmouth Hotel, and it produced some conflicting evidence. One of the un-injured, blamed a miner for lighting his candle underneath the coal overhang, that had been created when the night shift dropped it. Another said that gas had suddenly appeared, giving no time for any warning. Those who had been nearest the blast, and survived, told a different tale though, and they blamed the Pits doggy. ( foreman ) He had failed, so they said, to heed warnings from the night shift about the dust and also the build up of gas from the newly exposed coal face. John Meeks, 33, now faced a charge laid on him by the Coroner, of Manslaughter, and he was bound over to appear at the next Staffordshire Assizes. The owners, appealed this decision, much to Meeks relief, and the case against him was dropped, the verdict reduced to Accidental Death. They seem to have been a lucky family the Meeks, his father, also called John Meeks, had been found not guilty of a Murder in 1822.
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Re: Heathfield Mining Disaster

Postby mallosa » Fri Mar 16, 2018 8:01 pm

I have started a topic for John Lowe and added him to BCC

https://bcconnections.tribalpages.com/t ... ver=431321

Hopefully we can find out who his family was :grin:
If you would like to have your photo's included in our Gallery, please send me a pm.

Researching: Evans, Rollason, Henley/Hendley, Brookes, Taylor (Wilson - Birmingham)
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