Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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Felling Colliery

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near Gateshead

1812 May 25th. Mine Disaster. 'The following are some further particulars relative to the terrible accident which happened at the Low Felling Colliery, Monday, the 25th ult. as already mentioned: "The shafts of the mine are 550 yards distant; the downcast or working shaft 112 fathoms, and the upcast, or air-furnace shaft, 116 fathoms deep. It commenced about twelve mouths since, and was much admired for the purity of its air and the excellency of its arrangements — circumstances which induced the second shift or set of men be at their post before the first had left them. This was the case on Monday, the 25th May last, when a little before eleven o'clock the forenoon, the usual time of shifting, a tremendous double blast fire damp or hydrogen gas exploded through the working shaft, and was instantly followed by a similar explosion from the air-furnace shaft. The air, by these inflammable eruptions, was darkened to a mile distance with immense quantities of dust and small coal thrown from the workings. Out of the thirty-five persons who were in a part of the mine not exposed to the fury of the destructive element, and who were drawn to day-light alive, several are severely burnt, and three have since died; two dead bodies have been found, and eighty-seven more remain in the mine without the least possibility of finding them till the fire be extinguished, and the workings ventilated. The total loss is ninety-two persons, forty-one whom are men; the rest boys. Each of the men has left a widow, besides whom sixty-girls and twenty-six boys, making in all 127 persons, who are, this awful visitation thrown upon the benevolence the public."'[1]

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Sources of Information

  1. Hereford Journal - Wednesday 24 June 1812