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22nd December 1819, Little Harwood.

An explosion of a steam boiler took place at a coal pit near Little Harwood brook, around the 10th of Dec, 1819 when four men where killed. An inquest was held on the 17th Dec, 1819. Present were John Landlas, Thomas Pilling, John Tithrow, and William Woods.

A verdict of “accidental death” was recorded. Three other men were seriously injured.

(This coal pit became to be known as “blow up” pit Little Harwood)

The site of this pit was at the side of the old Great Harwood loop railway line, near the arterial road.

There use to be some cottages at this site and they where later called “blow up” cottages.

2nd May 1838, Meadowhead Pit

An inquest was held Monday at the Cross Inn, Oswaldtwistle, on Robert Taylor was killed in Haworth and Barnes pit at Rishton.

Last Friday he was repairing the pump tree which raised the water from the mine. A scaffold was hung over the mouth of the pit.

Scaffold had been erected over the mouth of the pit, suspended by 4 cords which were attached to a rope which was fixed to the “jenny”.

Mr. Taylor stepped upon the scaffold and directed a Mr. Ward, who was in control of the “jenny” to lower Mr. Taylor into the mine. He had been lowered about 27 ft, when Mr. Taylor called out to Mr. Ward to tell him to stop the lowering operation. Mr. Taylor called stop to Mr. Ward, but some thing went wrong and Ward could not stop the jenny because it was out of gear. The scaffold lowered to rapidly and struck a trough and Mr. Taylor fell off the scaffold, to the bottom of the pit, A distance of 150ft.

Mr. Taylor’s right leg was ripped off in the fall and he had a bad head Injury, but Mr. Taylor died almost immediately.

It could not be ascertained as to how the jenny had slipped the gearing but “accidental death” was recorded.

Previously recorded on this page as an incident in 1883. Same date.

29th May 1839, Meadowhead Pit

A girl named Ann Booth was killed in a coal mine in Rishton. She was aged 12 years old. The inquest was held at the Petre Arms, Clayton Le Moors. She was a drawer at Messrs Haworth and Barnes coal mine.

On the previous day during the time the machinery was stopped, she was leaning against a part of the machinery when it was set in motion again. She was caught by one of the wheels and drawn in.

The machinery was stopped as quickly as possible but it was found she had been killed instantly.

A verdict of accidental death was recorded.

17th March 1841, Dunkenhalgh Park Colliery

Reported in Blackburn Standard, On Saturday last an inquest was held at the Thorn public house in Church, on John Eastwood and Evan Whittaker. Both boys were aged 12 years old and were drawers in Messrs Haworth, Barnes and Boardman's coal mine in Dunkenhalgh Park.

Last Thursday night at about 10:15pm, the banks man was letting them down the pit in a tub, but when they had only descended a yard or two, the ropes broke. They fell to the bottom, a distance of 75 yards, and were killed on the spot.

The pit, which is a new one, is much affected by foul air and, to purify it, a fire has been kept at the bottom for a day or two. The rope, which was also new, had coiled at the bottom the last time it was used. It had been let down and had caught fire.

One of the men who was going down into the pit by the other end of the rope met the burning rope coming up, and shouted at once to the banks man to tell him of it, but owing to the noise made by water falling down the sides of the mine he could not make him understand what he said.

A verdict of accidental death was recorded.

22nd September 1841, Dunkenhalgh Park Colliery

Reported in the Blackburn Standard. An inquest was held at the Thorn Public house last Thursday on Edward Spencer age 20, a miner at Messrs Haworth, Barnes and Boardman's coal mine in Dunkenhalgh Park. The mine was subject to firedamp and there have been several explosions recently but no fatalities.

On Monday morning the overlooker went through the workings with a safety lamp, and there appeared to be no danger. At this time Spencer was at work in his proper place. Shortly after the overlooker had gone, Spencer told a fellow workman that he was going to steal a pillar, and to do so went into a part of the mine that was not inspected, where he had no business to go.

Immediately he got there an explosion took place from the candle which he was holding in his hand. He was much burnt about the face and body and died on the evening of the next day.

There were about 26 people employed in the mine, all of whom were under penalty not to leave the place they are set to work.

A verdict of accidental death was recorded.

19th February 1859, Meadowhead Pit.

Last Wednesday there was a fatal accidental at Mr. Barnes coal mine in Rishton.

Having finished work, Richard Whitaker of Alleytroyds was about to come up the pit when a stone fell from one side and killed him instantly.

10th August 1872, Dunkenhalgh Park Colliery

As reported in the Burnley Express and also one week later in the Accrington Times.

The adjourned inquest on Geoffrey Lomax 45, William Walsh 35, and Thomas Johnston 30, who died from the effects of the colliery explosion at Dunkenhalgh Pit was resumed yesterday before Mr. Hargreaves, coroner.

Mr. Dickinson, inspector of mines, was present.

Richard Taylor, miner, stated that the colliers could light their lamps through a safety lamp without opening it, and he showed the jury how it was done. He though if William Parkinson (who sustained injuries in the explosion) opened his lamp, it would be to snuff it, or to have more light.

Robert Wilson miner, said there was gas close to a throw (fault) where Parkinson worked. Lomax had told them to be cautious.

William Sharples, underlooker, said he found Parkinson's lamp bottom in his place after the explosion, and on Thursday Parkinson told him were to find the top. The lamp was produced and was perfect and locked properly.

Richard Morley fireman, said gas escaped from a seam 7 1/2 yards from were Parkinson worked. It was bratticed off with cloth 4 1/2 yards from were he worked. He visited the place at 6:30 and 9:30 on the day of the explosion, and found it safe to work in. The ventilation in the area was good. He could not account for the explosion, except by supposing Parkinson had gone out of his place. All the other lamps were locked.

Richard Taylor, one of the injured men, said he saw Parkinson with his lamp top  off 3 times on the day of the explosion. He must have opened his lamp after he had seen him.

Summing up the coroner pointed out that Parkinson was legally responsible for the explosion. He directed the jury to return a verdict of Manslaughter against Parkinson.

The jury which examined the deaths returned a verdict of manslaughter against William Parkinson of Church Kirk, who was one of the injured. At the time of the verdict he was in a critical condition and the knowledge of the verdict seemed to make his condition worsen. After it was given he refused to take any nourishment and wished to die.

His death took place on Monday morning at 6:30 am.

Mr. Hargreaves the coroner held an inquest on Tuesday at Church Kirk.

Parkinson's widow confirmed his age of 42, and was burnt on the face and arms in the explosion at the pit.

The jury, by direction of the coroner, returned a verdict that he had died from misadventure. From enquires made the day before, it appears that Lomax and Taylor are soon likely to recover from their injuries. Berry is the most burnt of the survivors and hopes are entertained that he will recover.

3rd March 1883.

A man was killed and one man injured, they were engaged in pulling down the coke ovens at the “blow up” pit Little Harwood.

William Bradley age 66, who resided at Peacock Row, Little Harwood was killed, and Danntel Hoole was injured.

When they were taking some of the bricks out of the coke ovens, the whole building collapsed on them.

7th November 1883, The Moorfield Pit Disaster.

Moorfield Pit was a coal mine at Altham near Accrington. In November 1883 an explosion occurred underground leaving 68 men and 13 boys dead, another 40 injured and 95 children fatherless. It remains the biggest pit disaster ever to strike North East Lancashire.

Osbaldeston, James aged 37, of 7 Well St., Rishton, an address of Quarry St., Clayton-le-Moors is also listed. Originally from Preston, James worked as a dataler He left a wife Sarah and two daughters: Sarah Elizabeth b.6-11-1878 and Mary Ann b.22-9-1883. Their son Richard was brought out of the pit injured but later died. His nephew identified James. His wife was unable to attend the inquest., The family moved to 7 J...... St., Clayton-le-Moors in 1906 and then 7 Quarry St., Clayton-le-Moors, in 1907. Mrs. Osbaldeston died 13th June 1911 aged 70. Father and son were buried at Accrington.

Grace, William aged 12, of 27 Henry St., Enfield. He suffered from being gassed. In August 1903, he was living at 29 Unity St., Rishton. A Mrs. Bolton made a claim on the fund for his support. By 1906 he was living at 29 Chapel St., Rishton. He then moved to 130 High St., Rishton. For the next two years, his pension was signed for by a Jane Grace? On the 18th September 1909 at the age of 37 he was admitted to the Whittingham Asylum.

Tuesday 28th February 1884, Rishton Colliery.

Edmund Ashton aged 46 of Fielding Street Rishton.

When assisting to unload a winding drum, which weighed about 4 tons, for a coal pit from a canal boat, the packing around the drum slipped and the drum fractured Mr, Ashton’s right leg. His leg had to be amputated which took place in Blackburn royal infirmary, but he died a few days later. “Accidental death” recorded.

January 1885, Whitebirk colliery.

A man named James Howson opened his lighted lamp, against the rules for the purpose of giving a light to Hugh Sillcock, an explosion of gas occurred, setting fire to the mine. Both lads were burned and a man called James Walsh was injured.

The fire was extinguished. There were about 80 men down the pit at this time but all got out safely.

17th October 1885, Rishton Colliery.

About 9:45 on Tuesday a fatal accident occurred, Joseph Faramond, a sinker, with about 10 other men was sinking a shaft at a depth of about 80 yards.

A piece of wood weighing about 14 pounds fell from the top of the shaft and hit him on the shoulder. He was immediately brought to the surface, and Dr. Barr was soon in attendance, but he died about 15 minutes later without speaking. He was about 40 years old and leaves a widow and large family. A native of Wigan, he lodged in Rishton.

(This appears to be a reference to a sinking of a second shaft at the colliery).

14th October 1887, Meadowhead Pit.

Previously under this page dated I4th October 1871.

A 17 year old youth, who was the son of John Ramsbottom, of Hicks Terrace Rishton.

Around 1 am, shale from a roof fall fell on him and covered him. It took 5 minutes to uncover his head, but took about 20 minutes to release him.

It was 6 am before he was taken out of the pit, he died about 3 days later.

At the inquest it was stated that the spine just below the neck was broken.

At the inquest it was also stated that the reason he was not fetched out of the pit until 6 am was that they (the miners) were not required by the rules to keep a man at the pit top during the night, so once you had started your shift you could not get back out of the pit again until your shift had finished, as there was no one on top to wind you back up till 6 am.

Reported in the Blackburn Times and also in the Bacup times 14/10/1871

On Monday, Mr, H. U. Hargreave's, coroner, held an inquest at Roebuck Inn Rishton, on the body of John Ramsbottom, who was killed at Rishton pit belonging to the exores of the late Joseph Barnes.

On Wednesday night last Henry Clegg, of Rishton colliery, said he was working in the pit on Wednesday last with the deceased.

They were let down by Richard Grimshaw at 8 pm.

Halstead and another boy were also in the pit the deceased was drawing for him and they were working all night. Between 12 and 1 o'clock some shale fell from the roof on the deceased and covered him.

They uncovered his head in about five minutes, but it took about quarter of an hour to release him, and it was 6 am, before he was taken out of the pit.

He complained about being hurt at the back of his neck.

There was no one on the pit top. It had not been the practice for a man to remain at the top during the night when colliers were working.

The witness had worked there about 14 years, it was in the old workings were the roof fell, Nicholas Rishton went through the workings every morning.

John Ramsbottom, of Hicks Terrace, Rishton said the deceased was his son, he was 17 yrs of age and a drawer of the Rishton pit. He had worked there since he was 9 to 10 years of age.

William Kennedy of Rishton, collier, said he laid out the body of the deceased, and Mr. Deaden examined it and stated that the spine just below the neck was broken.

The injured man died at 4 am, on Friday.

Edward Pilkington of Rishton, said he was the manager of the pit at the time of the fall of the roof, the deceased and Henry Clegg were getting one of the pillars for the purposes of ventilation.

There was only a space of 4ft, between the pillars and where the roof fell and the roof was generally was a good one. He could not account for it falling except from extra pressure.

They were not required by the rules to keep a man at the pit bank during the night.

The jury returned a verdict of “accidental death”.

4th April 1894, Rishton Colliery.

Jonathan Taylor of 2 Haworth St, Rishton.

In the Rishton colliery when removing a prop in the accustomed manner, and with out any warning the roof fell in.

An hour later Mr, Taylor was found to be dead lying under a huge stone weighing about ten tons. His head was crushed and his face totally disfigured.

The deceased was 28 years of age.

14th April 1894.

Blackburn standard page 6, column 3

Fatal accident at a Rishton colliery - Crushed by a ten ton stone

A colliery fireman named Jonathan Taylor living at 2 Haworth Street Rishton, met with a terrible death while at work on Tuesday afternoon in the colliery belonging to Mr P. W. Pickup of Blackburn.

About half past two, 3 or 4 men were drawing the props in a working were they had been engaged, When the deceased joined them and with a request for a hammer to be handed to him commenced to remove the props in the accustomed manner, when without any warning the roof fell in completely burying him.

Assistance was sought and the task of clearing away the fallen earth was commenced but it was not till an hour later that he was found dead, lying under a huge stone weighing ten tons.

The head was frightfully crushed and the face totally disfigured.

The deceased was twenty eight years old.

April 1894

Herbert Charnley, age 20, of Edward St, Rishton a pit drawer, pleaded guilty to throwing a safety lamp and so endangering the lives of other miners, he threw the lamp in temper at a workmate.

245 men were working underground at the time.

He was find 40 shillings and gave an undertaking that nothing of the kind would occur again.

14th September 1912, Rishton Colliery.

Thomas Nolan, aged 17, a drawer of 14 Edward Street, was killed by a rock fall while at work on Monday.

About 11:30 he went to collect some timber from the East Road in the mine when the roof and the large stone suddenly fell.

Some men working close by heard the crashed roof and immediately went to the spot. But Nolan was completely buried beneath the debris. He was released in 30 minutes, but had sustained a fractured skull and leg, and was though to have died instantly.

Mr Halewood held the inquiry at Rishton Police Station on Tuesday with Mr Rhoads, representing the pit owners, a Mr G. E. Harrison inspector of mines was also present.

Nolan's father said he was in good health when he left for work at about 5:45 on Monday morning. Henry Dodd collier, of 20 Knowles Street corroborated the above when Nolan was lowered to the bottom of the shaft and examined by Dr. Salkeld who pronounced him dead.

James Rhoads fireman, 87 Haworth Street, said the place were the accident occurred was in a perfectly safe and satisfactory condition when he examined it at about 5:30 in the morning. It was held up by props about 2' 5" apart and these were alright when he examined them. He could not explain why the fall of earth had happened.

A verdict of accidental death was returned.

14th October 1916.

Accrington observer

Mr. William Pickup F. G. S., Inst. M. E., Of Rishton colliery elected president of geological and mining society for the ensuing year.

5th December 1925. Rishton Colliery.

Blackburn times Page 9 column 4. Accrington Observer.

Two miners were killed instantaneously at Rishton colliery by a huge stone boulder that fell from the roof on Monday night.

The victims were Joseph Alfred Jones, age 42 and married, of 3 Sudell Cross Blackburn, and John Whittle age 18, of 27 Cross Street Oswaldtwistle.

Mr. D. N. Hazlewood, the district coroner, held an inquest with a jury at the Police Station on Thursday. Mr. H. A. Steele inspector of mines was present, as did Major A. Radcliffe Ellis of Wigan represented the colliery owners, Messrs P. W. Pickup Ltd., Mr. J. McGurk, J. P., of the miners federation., and Mr. W. Miller of the colliery and firemen's deputy association.

Mary Whittle of 27 Cross Street, widow of Richard, and mother of John, said that on Monday last her son went to work as usual at about 14:30. He had worked at the pit for about 14 years.

James Ainsworth Cross Smith of 13 Blackburn Road Accrington, boot and Shoe maker and Brother in law of Joseph Alfred Jones, said Jones had worked at Rishton pit for a number of years. He left for work on Monday last about 13:45.

John Bury a drawer, of 11 Whitebirk, said that about 18:45 he was working in the main chain road of number 1 west district, when Jones fired a shot in the roof. After doing so, Jones came and examined the place, and Whittle and Bury followed him. As they returned Jones remarked that the roof was bad. He was testing it when, without warning, a large stone weighing about 15 cwt fell and pinned Jones and Whittle to the ground. Bury helped to remove the stone and found that they were both dead. Their bodies were brought to the surface. He told Mr. Steele that 2 shots were fired, at which time he was in a manhole up the chain road. The fireman, Jones, was round the corner about 30 yards away. He fired the shots and was examining the place, when, without his permission, Bury and Whittle went down with a tub, going one on either side. Bury was at the side away from the fall when it just caught his arm.

Robert Nowell, Asst fireman of 62 Church Street, Church, said that at 18:45 on Monday he was working with Jones who fired a shot, wrapped up the cable and afterwards examined the place. Shortly afterwards Nowell heard a crash and went to see what had happened. He raised the alarm and obtained assistance. He told Mr Steele that he was assisting Jones who was the fireman in charge of the district and who had the authority to send men out of the place if he found a roof was unsafe.

Alexander Bray, deputy of 40 Henry Street, said that on Monday he was in charge of number 1 west district. At 13:00 he examined the place were Jones and Whittle subsequently worked and found the roof quite safe, sound and secure.

William Keyhoe, colliery manager of 29 Clifton Street, said he was told of the accident at 20:40 on Monday, and immediately returned to the pit. The road were the accident occurred was 8 ft wide, and 4 ft 6 inches high and Jones was working there to make the roof higher.

A verdict of accidental death was returned.

3rd August 1929, Rishton Colliery.

Rishton. As reported in The Blackburn Times.

A drowning fatality took place at Rishton colliery last January.

Henry Neville Dobson was put to work in some workings to break through the coal to let some of the water from a flooded part of the pit. The place had not been worked for three months he had been told by the Deputy named Whittaker.

Dobson worked there all Tuesday afternoon and came on again on the Wednesday to work the same place which was along a passage about twenty seven inches high by eight feet wide.

At the end of the passage there were two other passages one leading up and one down, the one heading down was about eight yards from where Dobson was working in a sitting position in a place about four feet wide.

About 6-30 on Wednesday Dobson was missing and the passage was full of water, a pump working at the rate of 100 gallons a minute was immediately got to work, but it was not until 11-50 on Thursday morning that all the water was cleared.

Dobson’s body was found in the sump 35 yards from where he had been working.

The manager of the mine, Mr. Maden, was fined 5 with cost of 8 11s 0d for breach of the coal mines regulations.

9th June 1934, Rishton Colliery.

Reported in Blackburn times. Plunge down pit shaft, Rishton local preacher’s tragic act.

Mr, Hubert Hall (30) of 16 Blackburn Road, Rishton, A local Methodist preacher, met with a tragic death on Thursday morning at Rishton colliery, where he had been employed for 15 years as a clerk.

His dead body (terribly mutilated) was recovered from a water filled sump hole beneath the base of the main shaft.

An inquest was held at the council offices on Brook St, Rishton.

The jury found that Mr. Hall committed suicide by apparently jumping into the shaft.

4th December 1937, Rishton Colliery.

Blackburn times Page l2, column 2.

Rishton colliery find 20 shillings for using an unjust weighing machine.

7th January 1938.

Blackburn times Page 12, column 3.

Robert Henry Buet, age 49, a coal cutting machine demonstrator of Stephen Lane Grenoside, near Sheffield, died as a result of an accident at Rishton colliery on the 22 Dec, 1937.

18th June 1940.

Reported in the Accrington observer.

Inquest on John Thomas Caulfield, age 36, he was killed at Rishton colliery, when a stone weighing about 30 cwts, fell from the roof on top of him.

Verdict accidental death.

10th September 1940

Accr1ngton observer page 1, column 4

Robert Walton, age 55.

On 6th October 1931, He cut his eye on a piece of coal when working at Rishton colliery. He was not able to work again since the accident.

22nd October 1940, Rishton Colliery.

Accr1ngton observer page 1, column 4, also inquest 3 1/10/1940 page 8, column 3-4

Oswaldtwistle miner Richard Marsden age 43, of 42 Stanhill Lane, was killed about 8-30 am on Sunday at Rishton colliery by a large stone which fell from the roof, (Injuries to spine) killed almost immediately.

Clarence Wade - No Date

Clarence Wade age 17 a Bain attendant from 2 school street, Rishton was admitted to B. R. I. hospital with injuries received when he was trapped between 2 trucks at Rishton Colliery.

His right leg was badly lacerated and his left leg also injured.

He was detained by the hospital.

3rd May 1941.

Accrington observer Page 4, column 5.

Rishton colliery closes after 70 years.

Officials said it was uneconomical to continue production because the seams were nearly two miles from the shafts and were getting worked out.

10th November 1949.

Off duty doctor, Arthur Greenhalgh, cared for a trapped Rishton man for 4 hours at Calder pit in Altham.

References

Gordon Hartley

http://unseen.nlb-online.co.uk/textpages/moorfield.txt (http://unseen.nlb-online.co.uk/textpages/moorfield.txt) No longer available.