Two die in explosion at Vauxhall Colliery 1873


The adjourned inquest on the bodies of Edward Rogers, aged 29, and Phillip Phillips, aged 36, who met with their death in consequence of an explosion at the Vauxhall Colliery, on the 23d June, was held on Friday afternoon, July 10th at the Moreton Inn, Ruabon, before Mr H. H. Thelwall, Coroner.

The Government Inspector, Mr Bell, was likewise present; and Mr Appleton, Oswestry, represented the colliery company, and Mr dough (from the office of Mr Louis, Ruthin), appeared on behalf of the representatives of the deceased. Mr Bower, one of the proprietors of the colliery, also attended the inquiry. Mr J. G. Crofton, certificated manager, was not down the pit on the day of the explosion, the 23rd June, as it occurred at half-past nine in the morning. He was last down on the 19th.

The under-looker, who is not certificated, had examined the pit. Was not required to make a daily inspection of the pit. Phillips generally made an entry in a book kept for the purpose. He went down just before six o’clock. Phillips had not made any entry on the morning of the accident. The deceased were the only men in the pit at the time, and it was their duty to be there to watch the gas. It was his opinion that the gas was fired in an upper seam by a lamp. No one was down the pit on Sunday, and the gas might have arisen on that day.

If the working had been in proper order, and the ventilation perfect, sufficient gas could not have been accumulated from the Saturday to Monday to cause the explosion but there might have been a fall in the air courses which they had been unable to ascertain.

By Mr Bell: The barometer was falling on Monday morning, and the ventilation would consequently be affected, and the Working might have been foul.

Jno Williams, underlooker, said – I was down the pit on Monday at five o’clock in the morning and I went into the level, and I found gas, I sent all the colliers back, because of the danger, and only allowed the two firemen to descend. Both their lamps were in proper order. I told them where the gas was and ordered them to watch it. Means had been taken to clear it away, and it was for them to see in what direction it went.

I was not down the pit on the previous Saturday, although it was my duty to do so, but I went through the workings on Friday, and there was a little gas then. After other evidence, Mr Bell, the Inspector, said he thought the men had been in too great a hurry to get the gas out, instead of allowing it to escape gradually. He considered that the underlooker ought to have gone down himself to see that the gas was properly cleared out.

The jury returned a verdict of Accidental death.

Source: The Cambrian News and Merionethshire Standard 11th July 1873.

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