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G. Jackson  
#21 Posted : 28 August 2010 17:15:10(UTC)
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They took him home??? I wonder how many wanted to take him to the pub.

R. Stephenson-Smythe  
#22 Posted : 28 August 2010 19:21:56(UTC)
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Well it is quite apparent from your, once again predictable and ridiculous, post that you would have gladly and eagerly taken the poor crossled man to the pub.
 
In fact if that disgraceful pram race season was approaching you would probably have pushed him round as a lightweight, crossled baby in order to win yourself a pint of Old Tom.
 
Sometimes, well all the time, I despair of you.
 
R. S-S
shallcross  
#23 Posted : 29 August 2010 21:32:04(UTC)
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Sorry Norm

This will probably be a big file as well

This is walking through the remains of The Powder Mill after closure but before work started on clearence for the reservoir.

RSS this isnt a Mortimers image

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Norm  
#24 Posted : 29 August 2010 23:25:46(UTC)
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Yes, that is a big one, so to speak

Norm

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R. Stephenson-Smythe  
#25 Posted : 30 August 2010 09:54:51(UTC)
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Another explosion at the Powder Mills and this time it’s happened to the unfortunate Thomas Ryder, John Ward and Matthew Collier.
 
And it is reported in our local newspaper:
 
Chapel-en-le-Frith, Whaley Bridge, New Mills & Hayfield Advertiser.
 
17 August 1878
 
fernilee:    explosion in a powder mill
 
An explosion occurred on Saturday at Fernilee Gunpowder Mills, worked by Messrs J.H. Williamson & Co., whereby three men, named Thomas Ryder, John Ward and Matthew Collier were severely burnt.   
The men were engaged in making some repairs in one of the departments, using a copper hammer, when an explosion took place, which did considerable damage to the structure.   
Ryder and Ward were so severely injured that it was deemed necessary to convey them to the Stockport Infirmary, and, as Ryder is advanced in years, his case is considered the most serious.
 
whaley bridge:    Ryder, one of the unfortunate men injured by the explosion at Fernilee (as reported on page 6) died at the Manchester Infirmary on Wednesday.
 
The additional news item says Manchester Infirmary but this is most certainly Stockport infirmary.
 
R. S-S
 
 
G. Jackson  
#26 Posted : 30 August 2010 15:24:40(UTC)
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Nearly all copies of the above newspaper (it only lasted for 4 years) ar held in New Mills Library on microfilm and they have readers to view them there. It is also possible to get photocopies of any articles at the same time. As most of the customers in the library use the computers the microfilm readers do not have to be reserved as the computer time does. I have used this service many times and it is very good. They, of course, have all the back issues of the High Peak Reporter and the Buxton Advertiser.

R. Stephenson-Smythe  
#27 Posted : 03 September 2010 16:43:44(UTC)
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Follow up information on the explosion of 17th August, 1878.
 
Chapel-en-le-Frith. Whaley Bridge, New Mills & Hayfield Advertiser.
 
24 August 1878
 
fernilee:    the fatal explosion at the gunpowder mill
 
The following is the report of the inquest on the unfortunate man Ryder who was killed at Fernilee Gunpowder Mill, as already reported by us.   
 
The inquest was opened at the Stockport Infirmary on Wednesday morning, before F.W. Johnson Esq., coroner;   Councillor Jesse Thompson being foreman of the jury.
 
Emma Pickering, of No 14 Holland’s-place, off Black Rode, Macclesfield, said she had known the deceased for about five years, and he had lodged with her during that time.   
He left her house a fortnight last Sunday to go to his work. That was the last time she saw him alive. On Monday morning she received a letter informing her that he had been injured by an explosion at the works and had been taken to the Stockport Infirmary, to which place she at once went, and upon her arrival there she was told he had been dead half an hour. She had since seen his dead body in the mortuary.
 
James Hall Williamson, on of the firm of Williamson & Co., stated that the deceased had worked at the powder mills about eight years. He was the blacksmith and general mechanic. About ten o’clock on Saturday morning witness was in the office at the works, when one of the hands came in and asked him if he was aware that one of the mills in which the deceased and two others were working had “gone off,” and that all three were burned.   
He went to the place at once, and met the deceased and two other men walking in the direction of the watch house. The deceased appeared to be a good deal burned, but the others did not seem to be very much injured.   
Dr Allan, of Whaley Bridge, was sent for, and he came and dressed the men’s injuries about an hour after the accident, and then ordered the removal of the deceased and Ward to the Stockport Infirmary.   
A two-horse carriage was procured, and they were immediately taken to the institution.   
The man Collier was removed to his home. Witness saw the deceased twice in the Infirmary before his death, of which he was informed by telegraph about four o’clock on Monday afternoon, and had since seen Ryder’s dead body.    He was in the mill when the accident occurred about a quarter past eight the same morning. He did not see anything to complain of at that time. The men were then at breakfast, and witness’s object in going there was to see that the place was safe. He was not able to form any definite opinion as to the cause of the explosion. It must have occurred from friction or a spark.
  
The men are not allowed to carry matches, and they work in a peculiar kind of dress, without pockets --- jerseys and woollen cord trousers, and leather boots with copper nails --- as prescribed by Act of Parliament.   
The building in which the explosion took place was undergoing repairs, and for a time was considered a “non-danger” building. He had since ascertained that one of the men (Ward) at the time of the accident was driving a wooden wedge under one of the runners and the other two men were standing near. Being asked by the Coroner how it was, if this was a non-danger building there was sufficient powder in it to cause an explosion.   
Mr Williamson replied that they were very old mills, and the powder that exploded was simply such as had been in the crevices. The building in which the explosion occurred was not injured, but an adjoining building, to which the explosion extended, was damaged. It was 32 years since an explosion occurred at these works. Erm surely James Sayer was burnt to death in 1848 Mr Williamson and that is 30 years ago still the Coroner might not check it out.  
On that occasion one life was lost.   
He had had the place under his management for 20 years, and this was the first explosion during that time.
 
Mr E. Newton, house surgeon at the Infirmary, said that the deceased was brought to that institution about a quarter to four o’clock on Saturday. He was suffering from severe burns about the head and face, all over both arms, and on the back and thighs. Taking into consideration his age (63 years) and his condition, witness had little hopes of his recovery. He gradually sank, and died about half-past twelve on Monday morning, from the result of the injuries he had received. Deceased was able to speak, and said to witness he was unable to tell how the explosion occurred.
The deceased’s daughter and daughter-in-law were here admitted to the jury room. From a statement made by the latter it appeared that the deceased’s first wife was dead. He had married a second time, but had left the woman, who for anything they knew was still alive. They had not seen him for over twelve months. They resided at Upper Hulme, near Leek, and heard of his death on Tuesday morning.
 
The Coroner stated that it would be necessary to adjourn the enquiry. Major Ford, from the Home Office, had made an inspection of the works, but his engagements prevented him attending the inquiry for more than three weeks.    Although the fact that there had not been an explosion at these mills for 32 years (30 actually) would seem to indicate that they had been carefully worked, yet it was necessary that there should be a thorough investigation of the unfortunate matter. He proposed, therefore, in order to give all concerned an opportunity of being present, to adjourn the inquest for a month. Major Ford would then be present, and the two injured men might be sufficiently recovered to give evidence, and the man who Mr Williamson said was present at the explosion and was not hurt must also attend.
The inquiry was accordingly adjourned until Wednesday, the 11th of September.
 
More to come on this story over the weekend.
 
By the way Fedup did you notice the appearance, yet again, of Doctor Allan?
 
R. S-S
 
G. Jackson  
#28 Posted : 03 September 2010 18:03:42(UTC)
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I wonder if anyone else notices the beautiful way the reporters wrote correctly in the past. Nowadays especially in the Buxton Advertiser they have spellcheck and don't use it and weekly there are very bad mistakes; also in The Guardian (but never in The Manchester Guardian as some of us still call it).

Fedup  
#29 Posted : 03 September 2010 21:03:52(UTC)
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Told you before R.S-S, I have very, very serious doubts about our Dr Allan.

R. Stephenson-Smythe  
#30 Posted : 05 September 2010 11:50:00(UTC)
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Chapel-en-le-Frith, Whaley Bridge, New Mills & Hayfield Advertiser.
 
7 September 1878
 
the recent gunpowder explosion.    Owing to the critical condition of the two unfortunate men who were injured by the late gunpowder explosion, at Fernilee, the adjourned inquest, which it was arranged to hold on the 11th September, is likely to be postponed, and the Government Inspector has been written to that effect.
 
 
Chapel-en-le-Frith, Whaley Bridge, New Mills & Hayfield Advertiser
 
28 September 1878
 
the fatal explosion:    On Wednesday the inquiry into the circumstances of the explosion which took place on the 10th of August at the Fernilee Gunpowder Mills, near Buxton, when Thomas Ryder was killed, was resumed before Mr F.W. Johnson, coroner, at the Stockport Infirmary, and in the presence of Major Ford, Government inspector of explosives.    The jury returned a verdict of “Accidental death,” but recommended the removal of the stone runners and the substitution of iron, which Major Ford stated is generally used in these mills.
 
 
R. Stephenson-Smythe  
#31 Posted : 06 September 2010 17:10:56(UTC)
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The Inquest and for many on here they will be pleased to know that the Depledges have appeared at long last.
 
Stockport Advertiser
 
27 September 1878
 
the fernilee gunpowder explosion.
 
On Wednesday, Mr F.W. Johnson, coroner, resumed the inquiry, at the Stockport Infirmary, relative to the death of the man Thomas Rider, who had died in that institution from the results of injuries received in an explosion which occurred at the Fernilee Gunpowder Works on Saturday, the 10th August.   
It may be remembered that the deceased and two other men of the name of Ward and Collier were occupied in one of the mills on that day, and that whilst engaged in their work an explosion took place, which inflicted serious injuries upon the whole of the three men.   
Rider was removed to the Stockport Infirmary, where his injuries shortly afterwards terminated fatally, and the other men were taken to their homes.   
The inquest had been adjourned for their attendance, and both men now appeared, although they are not by any means yet recovered from their wounds.   
Ward had both arms wrapped in bandages, and Collier his head and arms, and each of them seemed to have suffered very much from burns and contusions.   
The foreman of the jury was Mr Councillor Jesse Thompson, and the proceedings were attended by Major Arthur Ford, of the Royal Artillery, Her Majesty’s Inspector of Explosives.
Major Ford placed in the hands of the coroner a guide book to the Explosions Act of 1875, and Mr Johnson read there from the sections bearing upon the case; and from these it appeared that before repairs were done in the building, it must be thoroughly cleansed, and, so far as practicable, cleared from gunpowder.
Mr James Hall Williamson, continuing his evidence, produced a copy of the special rules enforced at the factory.   
The works belonged to a limited company, trading under the style of Williamson & Co., Limited.   
He was the sole managing director and manager of the works.   
It was one of the special rules, No. 9, which said: “No repairs are to be commenced to, or in any danger building, until such building has been handed over by the manager or foreman as free from all gunpowder and thoroughly washed out, and the building is to be kept continually wet until the repairs are completed, and work is not to be resumed therein until the building has been inspected by the manager or foreman, and permission given to him to that effect.”   The mill in which the explosion occurred had been thoroughly cleansed, in accordance with that rule.    The machinery required repairing, and it was necessary it should be converted into a non-dangerous building.    He gave the instructions for the building to be cleansed, and although he did not superintend the operations, he afterwards saw that it had been done.    He saw the room on the morning of the accident, and the floor was then covered with water.    The repairs which were being done at the time of the explosion consisted of wedging up the runners to relieve the spindle, and the deceased, Ward and Collier, were doing the work. --- By Major Ford: We handed over the mill for repairs as free from gunpowder as far as practicable, and as being wet before the repairs were commenced.    The handing over of the mill occurred on the Friday morning, the day before the accident.   The gunpowder was removed entirely from the bed and the clinker, and the gunpowder which exploded must have been between the stone work of the runners and the iron hoop.    The runners were stone, hooped with iron, and the stone portion was honeycombed, or fluted.   
The powder had got into the crevices or holes, and that was what was exploded.   
On the morning of the accident, when he inspected the place at breakfast time, he found the bed-plate and the kelpins well wet, there being about an inch of water on the bed-plate.   
There was a quantity of swarthing from the machinery and accumulation from the cleansing in the tub, but it was quite wet, and remained after the explosion.
Major Ford asked Mr Williamson if he was now satisfied that some of the powder was not dry.
The Coroner said that must be obvious from the explosion.
Mr Williamson said his answer was that the powder might be damp externally, but not inwardly, and that a blow would lay open the dry powder.
The Coroner said he could not understand why the stone runners became honeycombed and were used afterwards.   
If they were used it seemed to him that these accidents were liable to occur.   
Could not a harder stone be used?
Major Ford said iron ones were generally used throughout the country.
Mr Williamson said the mills had been worked for 50 years, and that it was 32 years since a similar accident occurred.    The honeycombing in the runners did not occur through working, but was due to the original formation.
The Coroner:   Do you consider it safe to use these stone runners, Major Ford?
Major Ford said he thought they were if in such cases as this the powder could be sufficiently damped or cleared.
The Coroner said from what Mr Williamson said it would appear that it was impossible to get all the powder out of the crevices.    At any rate, if iron runners were used there would not be the possibility of powder getting into such crevices.
John Ward, of Kettleshulme, said he had been engaged at the separating house of the Fernilee Mills for six or seven years, occasionally assisting in repairs.   
On Saturday morning, the day of the explosion, the mill man, William Depledge, asked him to assist in drawing the spindle of the mill, which had broken down.    He went accordingly, and found Matthew Collier and Thomas Rider there.    He saw the mill had been well “degged,” but for greater precaution threw two or three more gallons of water over it.    Collier and Rider were on the opposite side of the runners to witness, and he commenced hammering to drive in the wedge to get the spindle out.    The hammer was of specially prepared metal, and such as is usually used in gunpowder mills.    He placed in one wedge, and was driving in a second, when he saw fire come from under the wedge, and called “Fire.”    It was then every man for his life, and they made off as quickly as possible, but did not get away before the explosion occurred.
By Major Ford:   The runners did not look dry when he went into the mill.    The first wedge he drove in was covered with water, but the second wedge was above.    This wedge was not in water, and when he struck it the hammer might rebound and catch the iron hoop of the runners.    The other two men were simply standing by watching what he was doing, and he was the only one who was doing anything that could have caused the explosion.    Collier, Rider, and himself were each wearing powder dresses without pockets, and they had no matches.    He knew of nothing to account for the explosion excepting a blow which might have struck the runners.
Matthew Collier, living on the Macclesfield Road, Taxal, said he had worked at the Fernilee Mills for about seven years.    His occupation was joinering, and on the Friday he was asked by Mr Williamson to go and assist in repairing the mill in question.    He looked into the mill on the Friday night, and saw that it had been well “degged”, and on the following morning went to work about 10 o’clock.    Ward and Rider went to the mill about the same time, and before commencing to work they “degged” it again.    Ward was driving the wedges in, and witness and Rider were waiting until the shaft was at liberty.    The first they knew of the explosion was Ward calling out “Fire,” and directly the powder went off.
Replying to Major Ford, witness said they had on powder clothes without pockets, and that neither he nor Rider were doing anything to cause the explosion.    The runners were looking drier than on the previous evening, and they thought it would be better not to commence work without throwing on some more water.    Ward and witness both threw water; but he did not know how much Ward threw.
William Depledge, mill tenter at the works, said he had been at that work about seven years.    It was his duty to “deg” the mill where the explosion took place, and on Friday morning he swept the place with a brush and threw water over it.    He used two “degging” cans full of water, which would be about four gallons, and he then considered it quite safe.    He was told by Mr Williamson to do the “degging,” and after he had done it he told him.    On Saturday morning at breakfast time Mr Williamson inspected the place, and said it was all right.
He saw Collier with his clothes smoking, as if they were on fire, and he went into some water to put them out.    Rider he noticed rolling on the grass in the field by the works, but he did not see Ward.   
Neither of the men made any statements to him.
Major Ford, being asked by the Coroner if he had any statement he wished to make, said there could be very little doubt that the explosion must have been caused by a blow from the man Ward on the runners with the hammer.    It was not necessary; it must be borne in mind, to generate a spark to explode gunpowder.    Gunpowder would explode at a heat of 560 Fahrenheit, whereas it took a temperature of 1,000 Fahrenheit to generate a spark.   
There could be little doubt, then, from the evidence that the explosion had been caused by a blow from the hammer which Ward was using in driving the wedges.    It so happened that he had inspected the works on the 10th July, but there was then no work going on, so that he could not say whether the rules were being carried out.    There were several minor defects, very minor things, which he noticed, and which he spoke to Mr Williamson about, and that gentleman seemed very glad and anxious for any suggestions to be made to him.
The Coroner asked Major Ford if he could say anything with respect to the stone runners.
Major Ford said it seemed clear that if the stone runners could not be cleared of gunpowder in the crevices it was not safe to carry on work with them as had been done.    That was the inevitable conclusion to which they were led by Mr Williamson’s statement.   
From what had been said it appeared evident that the runners were not wetted and so clear from gunpowder as was contemplated by the Act of Parliament.
In reply to several questions from the jury, Major Ford said that a very small quantity of gunpowder, say half a pound, would do very great injury to three men if they happened to be standing in such a situation as to catch it at the time of the explosion.    The gunpowder had apparently collected in the intertices of the runners, and he should say that altogether there would be some pounds of gunpowder in those spaces.
The Coroner remarked that the explosion at the mill could not have been one of great force, as it did not affect the mill very much.    What was rather peculiar, Mr Williamson stated at the first hearing that the explosion extended to a second mill, where it was of greater force.
After some other conversation, the Coroner proceeded to sum up.    He did not think they could carry the case any further, inasmuch as they seemed to have all the evidence that could be obtained before them.    The most important question for the jury to decide was whether there had been any gross or culpable negligence such as would justify them in returning a verdict of manslaughter.    Upon that point they must take into their careful consideration the 9th rule which had been given in evidence.    It was very necessary that there should be strict rules for the management of a gunpowder works, and it was likewise very essential that those rules should be rigidly enforced, for unless every possible precaution was taken a serious loss of life might occur.    As they had heard, Mr Williamson had stated that there had been no accident at these works for upwards of 30 years (30 Mr Williamsonactually) and so far of course that was very much to his credit.    Still they all knew that where there had been such an immunity from accidents, indifference might occur and negligence consequently creep in.    Not that he said it was so in this case;   he merely suggested it to them as a point for their consideration.    He asked them, then, to look carefully at the 9th rule, for he did not hesitate to say that anybody grossly disregarding that rule would be guilty of manslaughter.    Now it appeared from the evidence that when it was found necessary the mill should undergo repairs Mr Williamson gave instructions for it to be made into a non-danger building, and as they had heard from Depledge, the necessary work was done according to his directions.    On the morning of the accident Mr Williamson himself went round to inspect the mill, and he told them that in his opinion it was at that time perfectly safe.   
And it seemed to him that they must believe Mr Williamson to have been honest in that opinion, for if he had not thought it safe it was not at all likely he would have allowed the men to endanger their lives by going to work there.   
He thought the jury would believe that if there was a mistake in that opinion it was a mistake of judgement only.   
Yet they must be satisfied that the rule was properly carried out, and if they found that it was strictly adhered to, they would not of course impute any blame of a criminal character to Mr Williamson.   
Although, however, there might not be blame of a criminal nature, it might be that the jury might think there was blame of a lesser character to be attributed.    If they should think that Mr Williamson made his inspection of the premises indifferently or carelessly --- in fact that it was not such an inspection as he ought to have made --- then they would not hesitate to impute what blame they thought to be due to him.    On the other hand, if they thought Mr Williamson had discharged his duties carefully and with proper precautions, their verdict would be one of accidental death.   
There could be no doubt the explosion had occurred, as Major Ford had said, by the blow from the hammer on the runners causing the powder in the crevices to ignite, and if the jury thought it better that plated or iron runners should be used instead of the stone runners, they could accompany their verdict with a suggestion to that effect.
The Coroner and Major Ford retired while the jury considered the case.    After a short consultation together they returned a verdict of “Accidental death.”    Mr Councillor Thompson, the foreman, stating that they attributed no blame to anyone, but that they considered iron runners ought to be used instead of the stone runners which had been spoken of.
 
 
 
shallcross  
#32 Posted : 06 September 2010 21:40:09(UTC)
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This is the Powder Mill Fire Brigade they must have been kept busy

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R. Stephenson-Smythe  
#33 Posted : 08 September 2010 16:17:55(UTC)
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The 1885 explosion.
 
Luckily this time no workers were hurt but a lot were very lucky.
 
 
 
High Peak News
 
14 March 1885
 
explosion at the fernilee gunpowder mills.   
 
An explosion of somewhat serious character, but fortunately without any loss of life, occurred at the Fernilee Gunpowder Works on Saturday afternoon.    The works which are owned by Messrs Williamson & Coy, are situated midway between Whaley Bridge and Buxton, and are in close proximity to the quiet village of Fernilee.    It appears that about two o’clock a number of small powder mills used for grinding purposes were in full operation, when suddenly one of the mills exploded with terrific force smashing the roof, which was of wood, into atoms, and doing some considerable damage to windows, &c. in the locality.  
Almost simultaneously with the explosion at the mill, two others a few yards apart were heard to “blow” up, completely demolishing the buildings and doing other damage.   
The workmen engaged at the mills had fortunately left the place a short time before the explosion, or the consequences might have been most serious, as a good many hands were employed at the spot.   
The force of the explosion was heard some distance away, and caused many of the people living in the neighbourhood to rush out of their houses in an excited condition.   
How it occurred is as yet unknown.
 
 
Glossopdale Chronicle
 
14 March 1885
 
explosion at the fernilee gunpowder mills.   
 
On Saturday last what is termed as a “blow up,” but what is no doubt an explosion on a smaller scale, occurred at about two o’clock on the works of Messrs Williamson & Co., the Fernilee Gunpowder Mills, by which happily no one was injured though damage was done to buildings and to windows in its vicinity.   
It appears that there were only some few men about at the time, and these were not near the mills which exploded.    The works are situated in a secluded dell or valley, a few miles from Buxton, and not far from the source of the river Goyt, and consists of various buildings suitable for the purposes required, besides the offices, coopering works, steam engines, &c., and the greatest care is taken in the preparation of the explosive, so that the damages which otherwise might seem imminent are greatly lessened.   
The man in charge of the mills had two or three grinding mills almost ready for clearing, and had been inspecting the lower mills at a little distance, and was on his way over the stream, intending to examine the other mills, when one of them “blew” up, and was succeeded by two others going off.    Timbers flew in all directions, and the noise caused in the valley was heard some two miles off.   
The mills being but lightly constructed, the roof especially being made so as to lessen the effects of an explosion, were easily demolished, and easily repaired.   
Consequently the mills were soon repaired and at work again, we are assured, soon after the occurrence.
 
Some people will not be so lucky in the next explosion.
 
R. S-S
R. Stephenson-Smythe  
#34 Posted : 21 September 2010 13:57:46(UTC)
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Well just as stated in the last article gunpowder works are/were dangerous places and the accidents continue in the Goyt Valley.
 
High Peak News
 
Saturday 24 March 1888.
 
                             GUNPOWDER EXPLOSION NEAR BUXTON
 
                                      THREE PERSONS BURNED
 
          A serious explosion occurred at the Fernilee Gunpowder Mills, near Errwood Hall, a few minutes before nine o’clock on Thursday morning.  
 In the cartridge-house a man named Whitfield, aged 24, who lives at Fernilee, and two girls named Turner, aged respectively 17 and 19, who live at Taxal, were engaged making mining cartridges, at two machines.   In the box at the top of one of the machines was from 30 lbs to 40 lbs of powder, which was running through a hole in the ordinary process, into moulds, and came out at the bottom as cartridges, of which there are nine to the pound.   
Without the least sign of anything having gone wrong in the machinery to cause the man and the girls to stop work the gunpowder in the box exploded with a deafening noise.   The persons named were blown to the floor, and the building was completely wrecked.   
The cartridge-house was constructed solely of lightly-made woodwork. Its size was 16 feet by 10 feet.    A portion of the roof fell about ten yards on the one side of where the house originally stood and another portion fell on an embankment on the opposite side.  Each of the four sides were blown away like so much matchwood, the only part of the building remaining to all appearances, intact, was the heavy wooden floor.   
Whitfield and the girls Turner were found seriously burned, principally about the face and hands.    Had they not been wearing the non-inflammable clothing supplied to all the people working at the mills, they would, undoubtedly have been burned to death.   
Fortunately the wreckage did not take fire, and there was no difficulty in removing the injured persons.    They were at once attended to as far as the skill of those on the ground would allow, and then a covered carriage was procured, and they were at once taken to Stockport Infirmary.   
The place will not be disturbed in any particular until a Government Inspector has paid a visit.   
It cannot be conceived from what cause the gunpowder exploded, every possible means to provide against such an occurrence being adopted throughout the works.   
About 30 hands are employed on the works, which are well laid out, and cover an extensive area, and none of these happening to be in the vicinity of the cartridge house no doubt accounts for the fact that the number of injured is not more.
 
 
 
Ashton Reporter.
 
31 March 1888
 
(Addition to the above article, which is otherwise identical)
 
The man Whitfield succumbed on Monday, and on Tuesday an inquest was held at the Infirmary.    Major Cundill, Government Inspector of Explosions, attended.   The evidence showed that the deceased was aware that the machine was out of order, and the Coroner pointed out that, according to the rules of the works, he ought to have stopped the machine.    This neglect caused the fatality, and no other person was to blame.
 
 
That’s a good idea; blame the worker. He’s now dead and can’t answer for himself and anyway it gets his employer off the hook.
 
R. S-S
R. Stephenson-Smythe  
#35 Posted : 23 September 2010 13:09:49(UTC)
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So we arrive at the enquiry into the unfortunate death of John Whitfield a young man simply going to work and the enquiry finds that his death was entirely his own fault.
 
Well that’s OK then.
 
 
 
 
High Peak News
 
31 March 1888
 
                             THE GUNPOWDER EXPLOSION NEAR BUXTON
 
                             ENQUIRY AT STOCKPORT INFIRMARY
 
                             FATAL RESULT OF NEGLECTING RULES
 
          On Tuesday morning, at 11 o’clock, the Deputy-Coroner (Mr T.W. Johnson) opened an enquiry at the Stockport Infirmary relating to the death of John Whitfield, who died at the Infirmary from the effects of injuries received on Thursday last week at the Powder Works, Fernilee, near Buxton.    Mr John Winkley was foreman of the jury, and the proceedings occupied over three hours.    It will be remembered that in addition to the deceased two girls named Turner, of Whaley Bridge, were injured by the explosion, and are now lying at the Infirmary.
          Caroline Whitfield said she lived at 185 Devonshire Street, Birmingham, and her husband was an insurance agent.    The deceased, John Whitfield, was her son, aged 23.    He was a mechanic, and left home on January 2nd last in order to go to work for Messrs Williamson and Company, powder manufacturers, Fernilee.    On Friday she got a letter saying her son had been taken to the Stockport Infirmary, having been hurt in an explosion, and in response to another letter from the house surgeon of the Infirmary, received by her on Sunday morning, she came over to Stockport on Sunday afternoon, and on arriving at the Infirmary at night she was told her son was dead.
          Edward Taylor, of Powder Mill Cottages, Fernilee, said he was a foreman in the employ of Messrs. Williamson.    Between 8.30 and nine o’clock on Friday morning last he was pushing a truck up as far as the cartridge truck.    There were 1,000 lbs on his truck, which he put up to the entrance to the cartridge shed, but he could not get any farther on account of a surface truck being in front of him, blocking the line.
          At this juncture Major Cundill, R.A., her Majesty’s Inspector of Explosives (from the Home Office, Whitehall), entered the room, and apologised to the coroner for being somewhat late.
          Mr Ault (manager for Messrs Williamson) said he might take that opportunity of saying that his firm was anxious for the fullest investigations into the matter.
          Witness (resuming) said he looked for Whitfield inside the shed where he usually put powder for the girls to work with, but he wasn’t there.    The girls (Martha and Annie Turner) he noticed were not working in the usual way.    They were engaged in making cartridges.
          Mr Ault here, at the suggestion of the Inspector, explained to the jury the nature of the revolving machine used for the purpose of filling cartridges.
          Witness (continuing) said he spoke to the two girls who were filling the cartridges.    The machine was a double one, and the girls were only filling from one side.    They were standing in their right places.    Martha Turner was taking the cartridges off the pegs, and lifting the pegs out with the caps, and passing both caps and pegs to her sister Annie.    Martha’s feet were not working, only Annie’s.    If the machine had been working properly there would have been no passing of the pegs and caps.    Witness did not speak to them, as it was no business of his.    Whitfield and the server then came up, and the former went inside and spoke to the girls but witness did not hear what he said.    Whitfield came out again, and witness asked him to give him a lift over the rails with his truck, as he (witness) was on sufferance there.
          The Inspector said that powder within 20 yards of the shed was by the rules reckoned inside the shed, and Taylor was naturally anxious to get it away.    It was a good job that he did so, or the explosion would have been much more violent.
          Witness (resuming) said Whitfield helped him and then went somewhere, but he could not say where.    In a minute or two after he had left the explosion occurred and he saw Whitfield running, covered with flames, out of the cartridge-shed to lay himself down in a brook near.   Annie Turner followed Whitfield to the brook, but Martha had to be taken there.    The hair of the girls was on fire.    The girls were sent home (after being attended to temporarily) in the powder mill trap and Whitfield was sent to Stockport Infirmary.    Martha Turner had worked at the place for four or five years, and the other girl two or three years.    He never heard them say how the explosion occurred.
          By the Inspector: He was in charge of one part of the works, and Mr Saxon the other.    It was no business of him to tell the girls that their machine was wrong.    It was a rule in the works to report anything wrong with a machine, but he didn’t think he had any cause to do so in this case.
 
          The Inspector: In fact, you let it slide, that’s it.
 
          The Coroner (to witness): Do you mean to say that you being a foreman would not say if you saw anything wrong with a machine in a part of the works with which you were not connected?    I didn’t think it was my place to look after this matter.
          The Inspector here read a number of rules laid down for the guidance of the workmen in powder mills, as approved by the Home Secretary.    One of these read: “If at any time the machinery or appliances should appear to the workmen to be in an unsafe or doubtful condition, the machinery is at once to be stopped, and the man in charge is immediately to report the same to the manager of the firm, and work is not to be resumed till the defective machinery has been made safe and perfect, and authority given to that effect.”
          The Inspector (to witness): Now, you are acquainted with these rules, aren’t you?   
Yes.   
And yet you didn’t check the girls?   
No.
          The Coroner: You say you didn’t consider it your duty?   
Not up there in that part of the works I didn’t.
          The Inspector: Have you ever known this machinery go wrong before?   
“No”
Do you know what is wrong with it now?
“No”.
What, haven’t you had the curiosity to look at it since the explosion?    “Yes”.
Then don’t you know where it was gone wrong?   
“No”.
You’re not a mechanic?   
“No”.
John Wm Saxon, aged 19, server at the powder mills, said at 8.30 he was serving the girls.    They were then working one side of the machine, but at 7.30 the same morning they were working it properly.    When he went in at eight o’clock the girl Martha told him that they could not work the machine, as a stop was wrong, it being loose.    At the request of the girls he looked at it, and found that it was loose, and that the cap was jammed against the stop.    He then went to the office to report the matter to his father (a manager) who told him to let it be till after breakfast.    He went back, and suggested to the girls that they should work one side.    He asked Martha if it would be right to do so, and she said “Yes,” and Annie said the same.    They then started working one side and it seemed to go all right.    At 8.30 he reported the matter to the mechanic, John Whitfield, who went there and then to look at it.    Witness then went to move his truck, and in about five minutes afterwards he heard the explosion.
          The Inspector: What made you tell the girls to go on?   
“We had worked on one side very often, when the cartridges being made were too big for both sides”.   
Have you ever known this machine worked on one side when the other side was wrong?    Think well of your answer.   
(After a pause) I don’t know that it ever was.   
Was it any business of yours to suggest to the girls that they should go on?   
“No”.   
Did they know you’d no authority?   
“Yes, I think they did”.
 
          A Juror: Are these girls paid by piece or a regular wage?    Witness: Regular wages.
          Thomas Lupton, carpenter, in the employ of Messrs Williamson, said about nine o’clock on Thursday morning last he was in the carpenters’ shed, about 150 yards from the cartridge shed.    He heard an explosion, and on going to see what was the matter he saw the shed blown to pieces, some portions blazing a little.    Whitfield was then just coming out of the brook, and he said “I am made a mess of now,” and witness replied “You’re Jack.”    He was badly burned about the head and arms, but he did not say how it occurred.    Witness went with Whitfield to the mechanics’ shop and then went to fetch one of the girls out of the brook.
          The Inspector: You were a quarter of an hour with him, and you did not ask him how this affair occurred?   
“No”.
          The Coroner: Didn’t it strike you to ask him?   
“Well, the man looked upset, and I didn’t care to ask him.    I asked him if he would go to the Infirmary or to my house, as he was lodging with my parents, and with a little persuasion he consented to go to the Infirmary”.
          The Inspector: You were friendly, of course, if he was lodging at your house, and yet you never asked your friend how he got hurt?   
“No”.
          The manager, Mr Ault, was then sworn, and was examined by the Inspector:   You remember an explosion in 1881 in another factory?    “Yes”.   
Was it the same machines there as at Fernilee?   
“No; they were of the same construction somewhat, but ours are entirely new, and altered considerably”.   
In your machines the spindles revolve by ratchet, don’t they?
“Yes”.   
Does the spindle itself revolve?   
“No, the table revolves”.  
Is there any means of seeing if the ratchet gets worn at all;   is there any index on the plate at all?   
“If the ratchets were worn, and didn’t bring the holes quite true, it must be seen;   the table would not take the feed if the machinery was not true”.   
Had any defect come to your knowledge on this morning or at any other time, in connection with this machine?   
“Not during the whole time it has been there”.   
I see in your special rules here it says “The foreman shall go round twice a day and see all is right;   who is the foreman in this case?   
“The deceased, who was our mechanic”.   
Then there is another rule, saying the foreman “must give a verbal report at least three times a week,” was that adhered to?   
“Yes, the deceased reported on the day preceding the explosion that all was right”.   
Were there fixed days for making reports?   
“No, casually; before 7.30 in the morning was the deceased’s time for examining the cartridge machine”.   
How long had the deceased and the girls been with you?   
“The eldest girl five years and the youngest about three years. Whitfield about five months”.   
Did you ever have occasion to blame Whitfield in any way?   
“No: he was a good workman, and when he came to us, as he had not been used to these machines, I had one taken to pieces for him, and he got to thoroughly understand it”.
          Mr Ault added that at times they had large cartridges to make, and on such occasions they had both feeders going and only one press.    This is what a previous witness wanted to say.  
He (Mr Ault) saw Whitfield when he was on his way to the Infirmary, and Whitfield then said that when the explosion occurred he was making the far machine in the shed (there was another machine there) right for the girls to go on.   He was gauging it, to use the technical expression.
 
          James D. Staple, house surgeon, said when admitted to the Infirmary deceased was suffering from shock, and his hands, arms and head were burnt by gunpowder.    The girls were injured in a similar way.
          The Inspector was then sworn, and informed the jury that he had examined the scene of the explosion, and had seen the girls, and, although it might not be strictly evidence to say so, he might add that their story quite agreed with all the evidence that had been given.   
The Inspector then, with the aid of a round table and the dies in use in the cartridge machine, explained to the jury the manner in which the machine revolved, filling and releasing cartridges, observing that if the sister Martha had taken out the cartridges as they passed round nothing would have happened; but, inadvertently, she let two slip round, and the stop coming down heavily and giving the apparatus a sideways cant, caused a friction, and the explosion followed.
 
          A Juror: Would the friction thus caused be sufficient?
 
          The Inspector: Oh, yes.    Of course, I don’t say for a certainty that this is how the explosion occurred, but all the circumstances point to that conclusion, and I think, on the whole, Mr Ault agrees with me.
          Mr Ault: Yes, I do.
          The Coroner said there was no need for him to go over the evidence after the assistance they had received from the Inspector.    The deceased was well acquainted with the rules, and should have stopped the machine at once when he found it was at fault.    He had by neglecting to do so paid the penalty of his own carelessness.
          The Inspector said he did not wish to make the observation unkindly, but it could be easily understood that there might have been some little chaff going on between the girls and this young man, and that this might have hindered Whitfield from stopping the machine at once.
          A verdict of “Accidental death” was returned.
 
Next time another victim dies from the same explosion.
 
R. S-S
R. Stephenson-Smythe  
#36 Posted : 27 September 2010 15:03:44(UTC)
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If you remember in the last report John Whitfield had been killed (apparently it was all his own fault anyway) and the two unfortunate girls lay badly burnt in the Infirmary.
 
We now go forward a couple of weeks and this is how further reports unfolded:
 
 
 
 
Ashton Reporter
 
7th April 1888
 
                             FERNILEE GUNPOWDER EXPLOSION
 
                                      THE SECOND INQUEST
 
          The death of Martha Ellen Turner in the Stockport Infirmary necessitated a second inquiry into the circumstances connected with the explosion at Messrs Wilkinson (sic) & Sons’ gunpowder works, Fernilee, near Buxton, by which one of the workmen had previously lost his life, as reported in our last week’s issue.   
 
The inquiry took place in the boardroom at the Infirmary, on Tuesday morning, before Mr T.W. Johnson, deputy coroner, Mr Richard Brown, solicitor, attending on behalf of the parents of the deceased.   
The firm was represented by Mr Ault, their manager.   Mary Turner the mother, stated that the deceased told her while on her bed at home that Mr Ault, the manager, knew that the machine was out of order, and that it had been out of order for eight to ten days.  
Mr Brown: “Do I understand that she told you that the machinery was out of order eight or ten days before”? 
Witness: “She told me while she was in bed, and she had spoken to me about it before the accident”.  
Witness added that deceased told her that Mr Ault looked himself and said the work must go on.   
Both girls had told her the machinery was out of order.  
The Coroner, at this stage, went to the other girl, who is now lying in the Infirmary because of injuries arising from the explosion, to ascertain whether she knew about the machinery being out of order.   
On returning, Mr Johnson said the girl told him she did not complain of the machinery being out of order, only that morning.    
The foreman told them to go on until the other machine was ready to work.   
Mr Brown said he would like to see the witness Saxton.    
John William Saxton, who is employed at the works, and whose father is in charge when Mr Ault is away, was then called by Mr Brown: 
He reported the fact of the machinery being out of order to his father, because the mechanic was at breakfast, and Mr Ault was away.  
Mr Brown: “What did your father tell you to do?”     
Witness: “He told me to let it stop till after breakfast. I told the girls that I thought they might work on one side. They had worked on one side before”.   
Mr Brown: “How long after the girls had been working on one side did the explosion take place?”  
Witness: “It would be about half an hour”.   
Mr Brown: “Do you know whether Mr Ault looked at it before that day?”      Witness: “No. It was at eight o’clock that I told my father, at breakfast time”.   
Mr Brown: “Your father told you to let it be till after breakfast?”      Witness: “They worked during breakfast time, as they did not come so early as the others”.  
Mr Brown: “Then they were working a machine which was out of order?”   
Witness: “Yes”.   
Mr Brown: “Don’t you know that it is very dangerous for people to work machines which are out of order?    Your father told you to let it stop till after breakfast”.   
Witness: “Till the mechanic came”.   
Mr Brown: “Your instructions were to let it stand till after breakfast.    You gave the message contrary to your father’s orders.  Why did you not give your father’s orders?    Your father knew the machine was out of order, and you did not deliver his message.    Where was your father at the time?”
“In the office, busy writing”.   
Mr Brown: “Who was the next in command when Mr Ault was away?”      Witness: “Mr Taylor, the foreman. He was at breakfast.”  
Mr Brown: “Who is the next?”   
Witness: “The mechanic, Mr Whitfield, and my father was next under him”.   
Mr Brown: “Then of all the people in charge, Mr Ault was away, Mr Taylor was away, the mechanic was away, and your father was there, and while these people were away the girls were working, and your father was in charge?”   
“He did perhaps tell the girls what his father said”.  
Mr Brown: “He had no conversation with them.    He told the girls to work on one side, as they had done so before.    If the witness had told them his father’s orders, the accident would never have occurred”.
 
Mr J.D. Staple, house surgeon at the Infirmary, described the injuries sustained by the deceased, and a verdict was returned, as in the previous case, of “Accidental death.”
 
So just another accident then or maybe a whitewash?
 
R. S_S  
 
 
R. Stephenson-Smythe  
#37 Posted : 01 October 2010 12:45:35(UTC)
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If any of you have been reading this you will recall that the last fatal explosion occurred in the last week of March, 1888 killing a man and a girl.
 
We did not have long to wait for the next fatal, big bang as you will see within what follows:
 
Ashton Reporter
 
September 8th 1888
 
                   ANOTHER EXPLOSION AT FERNILEE GUNPOWDER MILLS
 
                                      FATAL RESULT
 
 
          On Friday morning week another lamentable affair occurred at Fernilee Gunpowder Mills, and although one life was lost as a result of the disaster, the consequences might have been far more serious.    Following so quickly the explosion by which a man and a girl lost their lives a short time ago, the sad event of Friday created a good deal of excitement in the district.   
It appears that there are three grinding mills at the works, and on the morning in question two of them were at work, and the other was stopped for repairs.   
The mills are something akin in their construction to a common mortar mill. There is a pan into which the materials are placed which are to be ground by the revolving mill. About 60 lbs of powder is placed in the pan at one time, and the material is damped with water, as in the case of mortar making.   
The mills are separated by stone walls, two feet in thickness, and are covered with woodwork and other light material, which will easily give way in case of an explosion.   
At about ten o’clock a terrific explosion was heard, which sounded like the roar of a cannon, and was heard for two or three miles away.    Directly afterwards a second report was heard, and when the attention of some persons who were working in a hayfield was drawn to the place, they saw a large quantity of material and dust flying in all directions.   
Of course the workpeople were much alarmed, and began to escape from the works in all directions.   
When the excitement had somewhat subsided it was found that Thomas Phillipson, the mechanic employed at the works, had been struck on the face by a piece of timber, which inflicted a deep gash, and seriously hurt the jawbone.   
Mr John Ault, the manager, perceived a horse running along the lane near the works, and upon going to the bridge, he found that the animal, which had come to a stand, was unattended by Thomas Ford, the driver.   
Upon search being made the dead body of poor Ford was found in the lane.   
The cart was laden with coal, and was passing to the works at the moment of the explosion.   
There can be no doubt the animal bolted, and that in attempting to stop it Ford was knocked down and killed.   
A messenger was dispatched to Whaley Bridge and as speedily as possible Dr Allan proceeded to Fernilee.   
His services in Ford’s case, of course, were of no avail, but every attention was paid to Phillipson.   
In a short time many people were attracted to the scene to view the wreck, and on Saturday and Sunday considerable numbers flooded to the place.
 
Dangerous places these gunpowder mills and not just if you work in them apparently.
 
But Doctor Allan is always on hand, of course.
 
R. S-S
 
R. Stephenson-Smythe  
#38 Posted : 03 October 2010 12:00:01(UTC)
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THE INQUEST AND VERDICT
 
                             THE MANAGEMENT CENSORED
 
What management censored? Can’t wait to read this.
 
          On Saturday morning Mr R.G. Meggison, deputy coroner, held an inquiry into the circumstances attending the death of Ford, at the offices of the works, Mr J.J. Saxton being foreman of the jury.   
Mr Marcus Westfield, Mr Edward Knaftmeir, managing director of the Chilworth Gunpowder Company Limited and Mr John Ault, manager of the Fernilee Mills, were present.
          The Coroner having made reference to the sad accident from the information received from the police, the jury proceeded to view the body, after which the following evidence was adduced:
 
          Job Ford said he was a labourer, and lived at Barmoor Clough, near Chapel-en-le-Frith, and the deceased was his son. He was a carter and was 24 years of age.   
The body viewed by the jury was that of his son, and he had been informed that he died the day before.
          Elizabeth Ann Wilson said she was the wife of Matthew Wilson, and lived at Bottom Lodge, Fernilee.   
She knew the deceased, and saw him pass her house on Friday morning at about half-past nine o’clock.  He was in care of a horse attached to a cart at the time. She spoke to him.  She knew the horse was used to “shying”, and required to be kept well in hand. The deceased was in the cart when she saw him, and she did not see him again alive.    
Robert Harrison said he was employed at the Fernilee Powder Mills, and was called a “corning house man.” He knew the deceased, and had done so for about two months. He saw him alive at about half-past eight on Friday morning, as he was walking through the factory yard.    Witness was again in the yard at a few minutes before ten o’clock and heard someone say “Tom Ford is killed.”  He at once ran to a spot about 30 yards from the bridge, and saw the body of the deceased lying by the roadway, and he examined it. It was lying several feet from the wall.
At this point the witness fainted, and had to be removed from the room.
 
The Coroner said they would next take the statement of Edward Taylor, the foreman of the works.
 
          The Foreman: I think it is desirable that the directors be absent, or I don’t think we shall get at the truth.
          The gentlemen named withdrew.
 
Edward Taylor was called in and sworn. He was examined at great length, both by the Coroner and jury, and in the course of his evidence said there were two explosions on August 31. They occurred almost simultaneously. He ran up to see what was the matter, and found the mills on fire, and threw water on the burning woodwork. In some cases the timber was blown 100 yards.   
He heard two girls scream, and some one say “Tom Ford is Killed.”
By the Coroner: A young man had hold of the deceased, and said he was dead. The horse was a timid one. The explosion caused the horse to run away. He did not know what caused the explosion.
Cross examined: “Had been there five years and during that time there had been three ‘individual’ explosions at these same mills. Last March there was an explosion, but not at the incorporating mills. There was a Government inquiry.  The cause of that explosion was said ‘to be between the mechanic and the girls.’  (The mechanic and one of the girls were killed.) At eight o’clock on Friday morning he put into the mills a “green” charge that was 60 lbs of raw material.  Two runners went round at the rate of ten revolutions a minute.”
The Coroner: “Do you think that the rapidity of the motion would cause a spark?”
“You would think so to go and work amongst gunpowder”.   
Continuing, witness said the material was wetted, but not “deluged” with water when in the mill. He could not suggest anything as to what the explosion was attributable to. Some men had been discharged from the works through a bother with Mr Ault, the manager. A complaint was made to witness that a plough in the mill was defective. It was the joiner’s business to make the new ploughs. They were made of wood.    He knew there had been a plough in the shop, made for this particular mill, some time. It was made in consequence of his (witness) having spoken to Mr Ault a fortnight ago. It was Mr Ault’s fault it was not put in.
This joiner was discharged the day before the explosion.
The Coroner: “Who forbade it being put on?”
Witness: “Mr Ault”. 
The Coroner: “How do you know?”  
Witness: “The joiner told me so, Sir. He said Mr Ault would not let him put it on because it was not to his fancy”.  
The Coroner: “Did you suggest that this explosion was consequent upon the defective state of the plough?”  
Witness: “No. The plough was working in good order at a quarter to eight”.
 
          The Foreman of the Jury: “I maintain that it fell off whilst the machine was going before the explosion and lodged where it now is and caused the friction”.
          The Coroner: “And grating on the ironwork generated sparks, and caused the explosion.”
          The Foreman of the Jury: “Yes”.
          The Coroner: “You are fairly of opinion that that defective plough did not cause the explosion?”
Witness: “I was not up there when the explosion occurred. I could have told you had I been up there”.
          The Foreman asked if the discharged carpenter was a good workman.
Witness: “Yes”.
          The Coroner: “Do you suggest that a new plough was essential to the safety of the mill?”
          The Foreman: “Yes Sir, I do”.
 
          John Ault said he was manager of the works, and had been so for seven years.
 
          The Coroner: “During the time you have been here how often have these explosions taken place; I mean at the mills?”
 Witness at first said he could not say from memory, and then remarked, “I dare say seven or eight times.”    He had no idea of the origin of the present explosion. 
The Coroner: “It has been hinted that the imperfect condition of the plough would cause friction, which would create sparks”.   
Witness: “In what way?”
The Coroner: “You must not ask me.”
Witness said those who suggested that should suggest the cause.   The Coroner: “You must answer the question which has been put”.
Witness admitted that his attention was called to the defective character of the plough a fortnight or three weeks before the explosion.
The Coroner asked: “Didn’t you receive a communication from Taylor that the plough was defective, and did you not prohibit a new plough being used?” 
Witness: “I shall not answer it unless you give me a chance of putting it straight”.
The Coroner: “It is not for you to say whether you will answer me.    You are here to speak the truth, and if you tell me you won’t answer a question I have a very severe remedy which I will be exceedingly sorry to put in force.    Did Mr Taylor tell you the plough was defective?”
Witness: “Yes”.
The Coroner: “Very well; why could you not have said so?”
Witness added that he objected to the plough because it was not made right.
          The Coroner, addressing the jury, said they had no person to suggest that the defect of the plough was the cause of the explosion, and even if it had been so the result was too remote to in any way implicate the company criminally.
 
          The Foreman: “We have not sufficient evidence before us to show how the explosion occurred. I think there should be a further inquiry”.
          A Juror: “There have been four accidents since last March”.
          Another Juror: “It is necessary that it should be put a stop to save human life”.
          Several Jurymen said they thought the verdict was not strong enough.
          The Coroner: “The jury say that the explosion by which the said accident occurred is attributable to culpable neglect in the management of the Powder Mills at Fernilee”.
(Voices: “That is something like.”)
          The resolution was put to the Court, that the verdict be thus recorded. And it was carried unanimously.
          Mr Westfield entered the room, and was told what the verdict was.  He said it was a monstrous thing that they should be unrepresented and not allowed to say a single thing.
          Mr Kroftmeir said it would at once be put into the hands of their solicitors.
 
 
R. S-S
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#39 Posted : 06 October 2010 08:35:13(UTC)
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THE FUNERAL OF FORD
 
          The funeral of the victim of the explosion took place on Monday, at the cemetery connected with the Primitive Methodist Chapel, Dove Holes.    Prior to removing from Dove Holes, the deceased was connected with the Primitive Methodist body, but latterly he attended the Wesleyan body at Fernilee.    As the deceased was well known and highly respected, a large number of relatives and friends were present, and such a cortege had not been witnessed in the village for many years.    Many of the workpeople from Fernilee, as well as Mr John Ault, and some of the directors, joined the procession.    The members of the chapel choir, the teachers in the Sunday school, and many of the senior scholars attended as a mark of respect to the memory of the deceased.    The deceased was a member of the “Mayflower” Lodge of the Ancient Order of Shepherds, and many of the brethren joined in the funeral procession.    The service was conducted within the chapel in a most impressive manner by Mr John Richardson, of Whaley Bridge, and at the grave side by the Rev. W.H. Mason, of Bradwell.    A goodly number of wreaths and flowers had been sent by loving friends.
 
Nice to see John Ault there; I wonder if Mr Ford’s “loving friends” bought him a drink afterwards.
 
R. S-S
R. Stephenson-Smythe  
#40 Posted : 07 October 2010 13:44:27(UTC)
R. Stephenson-Smythe
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If you remember there was an explosion at the powder mill at the end of March 1888 in which a man and a girl were both killed.
According to the inquest it was all the fault of the dead man, John Whitfield, and so that’s the end of things for his family.
 
But then one of the girls died and as the accident had already been deemed to be the fault of Whitfield it could hardly be said to be her fault as well.
An uncomfortable position for the mill owners.
 
I shall requote from the inquest into the girl, Martha Ellen Turner:
 
The firm was represented by Mr Ault, their manager.   Mary Turner the mother, stated that the deceased told her while on her bed at home that Mr Ault, the manager, knew that the machine was out of order, and that it had been out of order for eight to ten days.  
Mr Brown: “Do I understand that she told you that the machinery was out of order eight or ten days before”? 
Witness: “She told me while she was in bed, and she had spoken to me about it before the accident”.  
Witness added that deceased told her that Mr Ault looked himself and said the work must go on.   
Both girls had told her the machinery was out of order.
 
Yes this is the same Mr Ault who was in charge a few months later in September when there was another death (Thomas Ford)
 
The same allegations were again made about Mr Ault:
 
Mr Ault squirmed in the witness box during that next inquest and refused to answer questions.
He reluctantly said he knew that some equipment was defective and the Mill owners were duly censored:
 
The Foreman: “We have not sufficient evidence before us to show how the explosion occurred. I think there should be a further inquiry”.
          A Juror: “There have been four accidents since last March”.
          Another Juror: “It is necessary that it should be put a stop to save human life”.
          Several Jurymen said they thought the verdict was not strong enough.
          The Coroner: “The jury say that the explosion by which the said accident occurred is attributable to culpable neglect in the management of the Powder Mills at Fernilee”.
(Voices: “That is something like.”)
          The resolution was put to the Court, that the verdict be thus recorded. And it was carried unanimously.
          Mr Westfield entered the room, and was told what the verdict was.  He said it was a monstrous thing that they should be unrepresented and not allowed to say a single thing.
          Mr Kroftmeir said it would at once be put into the hands of their solicitors.
 
Buoyed by this Martha Ellen Turner’s mother Mary decided tu sue for compensation for the loss of her daughter and here are the results of that claim/case:
 
 
Glossopdale Chronicle
 
13 October 1888
 
the recent gunpowder explosion at fernilee.
  
action for compensation.   
 
An action to recover compensation for personal injuries arising out of the Fernilee explosion was to have been heard at the Buxton County Court on Friday, but was withdrawn.   
A claim of £54 was made by Mary Turner against Messrs Williamson & Co., but a settlement was arranged.   
 
His Honour Judge Woodforde alluding to the case said: “I have had notice of a case under the Employers Liability Act”.
Bailiff: “It is withdrawn your Honour”.
His Honour: “I have had no notice that it is withdrawn.    It has put me to a great inconvenience, and I have been to some trouble to bring books, &c”.
 
54 quid eh? I wonder what Mary settled for?
 
R. S-S
 
 
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