logo
Welcome Guest! To enable all features please Login or Register.

Notification

Icon
Error

5 Pages<12345>
Options
Go to last post Go to first unread
R. Stephenson-Smythe  
#41 Posted : 09 October 2010 14:15:44(UTC)
R. Stephenson-Smythe
Rank: Advanced Member

Groups: Member
Joined: 19/03/2009(UTC)
Posts: 1,494

Was thanked: 2 time(s) in 2 post(s)

 

We have had to wait a further 5 years for the next explosion and this time it is not so serious but I suppose it could have resulted in the same way as the previous explosions but for a bit of luck.
 
 
High Peak News
 
1 April 1893
 
explosion at fernilee gunpowder mills.   
 
On Friday morning last, an accident occurred at the Chilworth Gunpowder Company’s Mills, situate at Fernilee, by which two workmen were injured - one of them rather seriously. It appears that a man named Phillipson, a fitter, was engaged in his particular work when an explosion quite unexpectedly took place in the room where he was.    He was burned about the face and head, and a man named Heather, another employee, was approaching the doorway leading into the room when the explosion occurred, and a piece of ignited timber that had been hurled from the roof struck him and set fire to his clothes.    Medical assistance was speedily obtained.   
The men were both removed to their homes at Fernilee and Horwich End. Dr Allan, of Whaley Bridge, is attending the sufferers, who are progressing favourably.  
 
 
Buxton Advertiser
 
8 April 1893
 
the accident at fernilee.   
 
We are glad to hear that the two workmen employed at the Chilworth Gunpowder Works, who were injured by an explosion there a few days since, are progressing satisfactorily.
 
Good old Doctor Allan. Well done on this occasion.
 
R. S-S
 
The next set of articles will deal with the terrible 1909 explosion and although this probably should have a thread of its own I’ll keep it on here so that Well Known Norm can collate the explosions a bit easier.
 
R. S-S
R. Stephenson-Smythe  
#42 Posted : 13 October 2010 15:22:18(UTC)
R. Stephenson-Smythe
Rank: Advanced Member

Groups: Member
Joined: 19/03/2009(UTC)
Posts: 1,494

Was thanked: 2 time(s) in 2 post(s)

 

Well we have come all the way from 1836 when two men were killed and now we have arrived in the summer of 1909.
 
This is a tragic story not least because it is the most recent fatal explosion and there will be relatives in and around Whaley Bridge and some may even read this. If so this is the story of Joe Hill from Bridgemont, George Raven of Fernilee and Percy Southern from Whaley Bridge.
 
It is a long tale but deserves to be told on here. It is not pleasant.
 
R. S-S
 
Ashton Reporter
 
 
14 August 1909
 
                             TERRIFIC EXPLOSION AT WHALEY
 
                             ONE MAN KILLED AND TWO INJURED
                             AT THE GUNPOWDER WORKS
 
                             Walking in Flames to the River.
 
          The Whaley Bridge Wakes holidays were overshadowed by a terrible explosion which occurred on Thursday afternoon at the Fernilee gunpowder works, owned by the Chilworth Gunpowder Company.   
The works are midway between Whaley Bridge and Buxton, and cover about half a mile of ground in a secluded valley.
          What was the exact cause of the explosion is not known at the time of writing, nor would the officials advance any theories. The report was terrific, and could be heard as far away as Bridgemont on the New Mills side of Whaley, and nearly at Buxton.    The explosion occurred in what is known as the “corning magazine,” and “corning” is one of the last processes through which the powder passes before it leaves the works. The building was practically destroyed. The roof was torn off, and the slates were hurled yards away. The lane leading to the works was strewn with them, and even branches were cut off the trees.   
In charge of this magazine was George Raven, and working with him was a man named Jos. Hill, of Bridgemont.   
Hill was killed outright. His skull was fractured, and he had also received a compound fracture of the leg. One arm was completely blown off, and two hours after the accident the limb had not been found.   
Raven was blown through into a field close by, through the top of the building, which was open through the roof being displaced. He was not rendered unconscious, but his clothing was all in flames. He had the presence of mind to rush down to the river which runs close by, and by that means extinguished the flames. He was in a thoroughly exhausted condition, and was got out of the river by his brother, James Raven, and Job Wright.   
At the time the explosion occurred, Percy Southern, a young man, was crossing a bridge which connects one part of the works with another.    He was hit on the chest by some of the flying stone from the building and rendered unconscious. He was also badly burned. There were about 80 pounds of gunpowder in the magazine.
 
Dr Flint and Dr Cox, of Buxton, were shooting on the Errwood Moors, and hearing the explosion immediately went to the works, and rendered what assistance they could.   
Drs Johnston and Welch, of Whaley Bridge, and the matron of Devonshire Hospital, Buxton, were early on the scene to help. The injured were taken to the Devonshire Hospital, Buxton, on the works ambulance. Both of them were suffering from frightful shock and collapse, and were in a critical condition; Raven was badly burned about the head, chest and hands, and Southern was badly scorched.    When they were removed it was not known whether they had any internal injuries.
 
The firemen connected with the works turned out immediately after the explosion, and played with water on the other magazines, to prevent any further disaster.   
Fully a hundred men are employed at the works.
 
Joseph Hill, who was killed, was a single young fellow about 30 years of age. He was a quiet, steady-going young man, and connected with the Bridgemont Mission Room.   
Raven and Southern are also single young men, and are about 20 years of age.
 
                             AN EYE-WITNESS’S STORY
 
          The occurrence was witnessed by Mr Albert Goddard, a farmer, who said to a press representative: “I was at the top of a load of hay, and happened to be looking in that direction. It put me in mind of being at Belle Vue fireworks last night. The roof was hurled many yards in the air. You would hardly believe how high it went. Then it came down with a rattling noise.”
 
The affair caused a very painful sensation throughout the district. An explosion occurred a dozen years or more ago at the same works, when several people were killed.
Some people are of opinion that the explosion was caused by the heat.    That question will be gone into at the inquest, which will probably be opened today (Friday.)
 
                                      ANOTHER ACCOUNT
 
A terrible catastrophe occurred at the Chilworth Gunpowder Works, Fernilee, on Thursday afternoon. The manufacture of the explosive in which about a hundred men and boys are engaged is mainly carried on in a series of small buildings, and in one of these, known as the “corning” shed, Joseph Hill, aged 32 years, of Bridgemont, and George Raven, aged 26, of Fernilee, were engaged, when the building suddenly blew up. The motive power to this part of the works is supplied by a water wheel, over which the debris of the wrecked building collapsed, whilst slates and other material were scattered about for hundreds of yards.   On rushing to the spot the workmen from the other buildings found Percy Southern aged 19, of Old-road, Whaley Bridge, who had been working outside the demolished shed, lying rather badly hurt and scorched from the effects of the explosion.   
The work of removing the debris was quickly commenced under the direction of Mr John Ashling, the cashier, who was in charge of the works at the time, and it was a terrible task that confronted them.   
Hill had been blown to pieces, and Raven had sustained shocking injuries.   
Two doctors, who were in the vicinity at the time, were soon present, and shortly afterwards the injured men were attended by Doctors Johnson and Welch, and removed to the Buxton Hospital.   
The work of recovering Hill’s remains occupied a considerable time.
 
 
 
Fedup  
#43 Posted : 13 October 2010 19:46:44(UTC)
Fedup
Rank: Advanced Member

Groups: Member
Joined: 20/03/2009(UTC)
Posts: 478

Thanks: 4 times
Was thanked: 4 time(s) in 2 post(s)

Good Heavens R.S-S!

You certainly know how to cheer us up on a cool autumn evening!

Edited by user 13 October 2010 19:47:23(UTC)  | Reason: Not specified

R. Stephenson-Smythe  
#44 Posted : 13 October 2010 21:00:55(UTC)
R. Stephenson-Smythe
Rank: Advanced Member

Groups: Member
Joined: 19/03/2009(UTC)
Posts: 1,494

Was thanked: 2 time(s) in 2 post(s)

 

Thank you for reading this, Fedup.
 
R. S-S
shallcross  
#45 Posted : 13 October 2010 21:05:06(UTC)
shallcross
Rank: Advanced Member

Groups: Member
Joined: 01/08/2010(UTC)
Posts: 335
Location: uk

RSS

I think everyone is reading your contributions, It would take many hours to collate all these reports from different Newspapers that you have posted, a great record now in one place.

Shallcross
Fedup  
#46 Posted : 13 October 2010 22:47:54(UTC)
Fedup
Rank: Advanced Member

Groups: Member
Joined: 20/03/2009(UTC)
Posts: 478

Thanks: 4 times
Was thanked: 4 time(s) in 2 post(s)

R. Stephenson-Smythe wrote:

 

Thank you for reading this, Fedup.
 
R. S-S

I always read what has been posted - but sometimes I don't feel I have any relevant comments to make, so I keep quiet!

Worry not R.S-S, I haven't deserted the ship!

R. Stephenson-Smythe  
#47 Posted : 15 October 2010 15:00:16(UTC)
R. Stephenson-Smythe
Rank: Advanced Member

Groups: Member
Joined: 19/03/2009(UTC)
Posts: 1,494

Was thanked: 2 time(s) in 2 post(s)

 

Ashton Reporter
 
21 August 1909
 
                                      THE WHALEY EXPLOSION
 
                                      Cause Still a Mystery
 
                                      THE INQUEST
 
          On Friday afternoon, in the dining-room of the Fernilee Gunpowder Works, Mr Sydney Taylor, B.A., Coroner of the High Peak, and a jury, of which Mr T. Hutton was chosen foreman, held an inquiry into the death of Jos. Hill, aged 32 years, of Bridgemont, who was killed in an explosion at the works on the previous day.   
There was present Major Cooper Key, Chief Government Inspector of Explosives; Mr J. Law, Inspector for Factories, Stockport district; Mr Kraftmeir, managing director of the Chilworth Gunpowder Co., who own the works; and Police Superintendent Durkan, of Chapel-en-le-Frith.    The relatives of the deceased were not legally represented.   
The inquest was originally fixed for half-past six in the evening, but it was held at half-past three, and the alteration of time caused some little confusion. Several fresh jurors had to be obtained, as some who could have been present at half-past six had gone away without knowing of the alteration. The jury and others early had an example of the precautions which are taken at the works to prevent accidents, for before entering they were searched, so that anything in their possession likely to lead to something untoward could be removed. This kind of thing the men have to go through every day, and it illustrates the very dangerous nature of their employment.   
 
The viewing of the body was a gruesome business, it having been charred and mangled beyond recognition. The arm which was blown off was found that morning.
 
Abraham Higginbottom, Horwich End, Whaley Bridge, stated that he was employed at the works. Between two o’clock and 20 minutes past on the day of the accident he was in the corning house. It was witness’s duty to remove gunpowder from the press room to the corning house.    When he left the corning room George Raven was working upstairs, and there were two machines running. Deceased was downstairs attending to the sifting boxes.
         
The Coroner: “Did you notice anything unusual or untoward?”
“No. There was nothing at all unusual.”
“What did you do after that?”
“I had got to the top of the yard when I heard a loud explosion. When I got back I discovered that the corning mill was wrecked.”
“Did you see anything of Hill?”
“No, but I saw Raven in the brook close by.”   
Witness added that he did not see Southern, the other young man who was injured.
Answering Mr Law, witness said that when he brought the powder to the corning mill it came straight from the press house.
A juror: “Did he say anything to you when you saw him?”
“He just asked me the time that was all.”
 
Higginbottom was the last person who saw Hill alive.
 
Samuel Hill, a coachman, of Fernilee, identified the deceased as his cousin.   
He had great difficulty in identifying the remains.   
Witness knew deceased worked at the corning mill, and was known as a “powder man.” He was 32 years of age. He did not know how long deceased had been employed in the corning mill, but he had been employed at the works about eight years.
 
                             THE FOREMAN’S TESTIMONY
 
John Thomas Mellor, foreman at the works, stated that he was in the building at seven o’clock when the machine started, and everything was in good working order. The machine ran very steadily, and there was no complaint of any description. He was in the room again at 25 minutes to eleven, when he signed the visiting book, and there was nothing about then to suggest an explosion. He saw Hill about 40 minutes before the accident.
 
The Coroner: “Hill made no complaint to you?”
“No; nobody made a complaint to me”.   
“Was there any chance of a foreign substance getting into the machinery?”
“No; there was a rubber band placed upon the rollers which opened and shut when anything passed through. The machine was examined daily by the engineer, and he also looked at it every day”.
   
Witness added that it was a rule of the works for the machinery to be inspected daily.
 
The Coroner: “Have you found anything since to account for the explosion?”
“No. Although I have looked carefully at the machinery I cannot find anything”.
“Of course, there is not much chance of that?”
“Well, we have examined it thoroughly, and it is hardly likely we should find anything after the explosion”.
“You think everything has been obliterated by the force of the explosion?”
“Yes.”
 
Major Key asked what precautions were taken against the men taking anything dangerous into the works.   
Witness replied that they were searched every day, and, in addition to that, they changed their clothes for those belonging to the factory.
Major Key: “How many times is the material sifted?”   
Witness said it was sifted twice a day before it was milled, and every precaution was taken to prevent any foreign substance getting into it.
Major Key: “The machine in this house was examined and overhauled during the holidays?”
“Yes: the machine was examined, but it was not pulled down. Some rollers were taken out, cleaned, and put back into their places. The machine was afterwards run empty for three hours, and on the day of the accident it had run from seven o’clock.   
Witness thought if anything had gone wrong it must have been found out earlier in the day.
 
                             THE ENGINEER’S EXAMINATION
 
          Charles Smith, of Fernilee, the foreman engineer, stated that whilst the works had been stopped for the Whaley Bridge wakes holidays the machinery had been nominally under repair, but really the rollers had been examined. Some of the rollers were taken out, cleaned, and put back again. On Wednesday the machine was run empty for three hours. He always had to see that everything was in good order for receiving the powder. He signed the visiting book at a quarter to four on Wednesday afternoon.  On the morning of the accident he went into the building at seven o’clock to see that everything was right and ready for the start. He signed the visiting book at 10.45 a.m., and everything was then working in perfect order.
Witness was asked by the factory inspector whether the bearings in this machine ever got heated, and in reply, witness said that during the 22 years he had worked for the company he had never known a hot bearing in the corning house. It only ran about 60 revolutions a minute.   The examination was made for cleanliness only.
The Coroner: “You think that the trial given to it afterwards was amply sufficient?”
Witness: “Yes, a three hours’ trial is a very severe test.”
 
Major Key: “Do you think the sun caused any ignition? There are no windows on the west or south side, and what glass there was of the ordinary plain kind.   
Witness added that up to the present there were no reliable grounds on which one could form a theory. It was a very hot day, but gunpowder required 540 degrees to fire it.
Major Key made some observations, in the course of which he said he had always found this factory in the very best condition, and never in any of his visits had he to find fault. Everything in relation to the machinery was satisfactory.
 
The Coroner said the case was a rather difficult one, the probability being that the only man who knew anything of the accident was killed.    It was probable they would never know anything more than they did now. However, he could not shut his eyes to the fact that there was a man living in the Devonshire Hospital who was working in the building at the time of the accident. He might be able to throw some light on the accident, and something might be elicited which would lead to the discovery of the cause of the explosion. He considered it his duty to adjourn the inquiry until this man, if he got better, had had an opportunity of giving evidence.   
The Coroner expressed sympathy with the bereaved, and the hope of himself and the jury that the injured would recover.
 
Major Key: “I hardly think it necessary for me to come down again.”
 
The Coroner: “No. The only question is when to adjourn to. I should like to know the latest particulars as to the man Raven.
 
Major Key: “I have inquired, and he was so seriously ill that I was not permitted to see him.”
 
It was ultimately arranged that the inquest should be adjourned until two o’clock on Thursday, August 26th, in the Parish Room, Horwich End, Whaley Bridge.   
The proceedings occupied only about half-an-hour.
 
 
R. Stephenson-Smythe  
#48 Posted : 18 October 2010 17:11:23(UTC)
R. Stephenson-Smythe
Rank: Advanced Member

Groups: Member
Joined: 19/03/2009(UTC)
Posts: 1,494

Was thanked: 2 time(s) in 2 post(s)

 

                   THE CORNING PROCESS EXPLAINED
 
          The corning or granulating house is the place where the powder is received in small cakes about the size of a man’s hand from the press house. It is brought to the corning house for the purpose of being reduced or cut to the different sizes required by the various users of gunpowder. In order to do this, the pressed cake is passed through the machine which has what is technically known as a pair of crackers, or rollers with teeth distributed all over them for cutting purposes. They are made of the very best phosphor bronze, to prevent, as far as possible, any accident occurring whilst the powder is being treated. The powder passes through two other pairs of rollers, through the floor, and into the seed box. Then it is brought into a barrel, and that portion which it is necessary to bring up again is raised on a hand hoist. The powder then passes through another machine of exactly similar type to the previous one, only that the rollers are finer. These rollers cut the already reduced sizes of powder to a much smaller grain.   
It is thought that it was at this machine where the explosion took place, as Raven is stated to have said he was at this machine when the accident occurred, and he remembered nothing afterwards. He was changing the gauge of the machine from fine to coarse. The greatest precautions are taken, for the work is very delicate, and a single spark would mean the death of the workmen.
 
                             TWO THEORIES OF THE EXPLOSION
 
          There has not been an explosion at these works for close on 20 years (erm 16 actually), and it naturally has had a great effect on those employed there. Since the last explosion, when a woman was killed, (Oh Phillipson and Heather don’t count then) no females have been employed at the works.  
The cause of the explosion is not known.   
The men who work there say it will never be known, for the one man who might have been able to throw some light on it is dead. (That’s Ok then)
Grit is often the cause of explosions of this sort. When there chances to be any mixed with the powder, the process of grinding and sifting is rendered dangerous. But every precaution is taken at the works.   
The men who work in this room change their clothes before going in.    The garments they wear are taken special care of, and no metal or any other substance which might be dangerous is allowed to be taken in.    This extends even to the buttons, which are of bone.   
The excessive heat which has prevailed for some days was alleged as a possible cause. (Really?)
 
                             A BUXTON DOCTOR’S STORY
 
          Dr T.B. Flint (Medical Officer of Health for Buxton) told the following story.    He was one of a party consisting of Dr Cox (Buxton) and Mr H.A, Hubbersty, and had been shooting on the Goyt moors.    They were just having lunch, when a loud report was heard.   
Dr Flint saw smoke, which went up to a tremendous height, and then burst into a large cloud. He exclaimed to Dr Cox that it was a gunpowder explosion, and they went for his coachman, Chappell, who ran a considerable distance down the hill between the shafts of Dr Flint’s trap to where the horse was stabled, and then the party set off at a fast pace towards the scene of the disaster, which was about two miles distant.   
They arrived at Fernilee in a little over ten minutes, and Dr Flint described the place where the explosion had occurred as being a scene of devastation.   
He spoke highly of the work which was done by the company’s fire brigade, who were playing water on the adjoining powder magazines, and all through the men worked hard and without cessation, for had a spark reached the other powder magazines it would have meant a further loss of life.
 
Major Cooper Key, of the Home Office, Chief Inspector of Explosive Factories, went to the works on Friday, accompanied by Mr Kraftimeier, managing director; he thoroughly examined the works, paying special attention to the place where the explosion occurred.
The situation of the works is ideal.   
They are surrounded by beautifully wooded hills, and are not visible from the Long Hill. Hundreds of visitors have gone through the far-famed and lovely Goyt Valley without being aware that there is such a thing as gunpowder works there, or even dreaming of it.  
A visit to the works, however, was a grim reminder, and showed something of the fearful dangers to which those employed there are exposed every day of their life.   
Machinery was twisted and turned into all sorts of shapes, and big beams wee splintered. The walls of the building were blown down, pieces of wood and iron were thrown on the hills yards away, and one piece of machinery, something like a ton in weight, was blown into the water.
 
                             PULPIT REFERENCES
 
References to the catastrophe were made from the pulpits of the district on Sunday.   
Mr R. Fergie spoke at the Whaley Wesleyan Sunday School, mentioning the fact that Percy Southern, one of the injured, is associated with the institution, and only on the previous Sunday had taken a leading part in the services of the school.   
The Rev. W. Allen referred to the sad occurrence at both morning and evening services, and expressed sympathy with the bereaved families.    The Rev. W.J. Betson (vicar of Fernilee) preaching on “Calamities” and the lessons they ought to teach at Holy Trinity Church on Sunday, expressed the deepest sympathy with those who were suffering in any way by the calamity of the previous Thursday. He was sure that all would join in the prayers that their sufferings might be lightened, and that they might be taught to see good behind the mystery.   
Suitable hymns were sung.
 
 
R. Stephenson-Smythe  
#49 Posted : 21 October 2010 16:19:57(UTC)
R. Stephenson-Smythe
Rank: Advanced Member

Groups: Member
Joined: 19/03/2009(UTC)
Posts: 1,494

Was thanked: 2 time(s) in 2 post(s)

 

And so the deaths continue:
 
 
                                                A SECOND VICTIM
 
          George Raven, the young man who was hurled out of the building by the force of the explosion, died in the Devonshire Hospital at Buxton on Saturday night.   
His life had been despaired of from the first. The wonder was how he ever came out of the mill alive.   
The deceased was 26 years of age. He had resided in Fernilee all his life, and had always worked in the mill. He was one of the representative youths of the hamlet, and a popular cricketer and footballer.   
The deceased was a member of the Fernilee Reading and Recreation Room. He was a very steady-going young man, and very highly respected.   
It is a sad fact that for some time past he had been the only support for his widowed mother. (More of his Mum later)   
The second death increased the gloom which the calamity spread over the district.
 
                             THE INQUEST ON RAVEN
 
The inquest on the body of George Raven was opened on Monday evening in the Fernilee Reading and Recreation Room by Mr S. Taylor, the High Peak coroner.   
The jury was exactly the same as that empanelled for the inquest on Hill, with Mr Hutton as foreman.   
It was necessary, the Coroner said, that they should be sworn again, because this was an independent inquiry.   
All that he proposed to do now was to take evidence of identification and then adjourn the inquiry to the time fixed for the resumption of the inquest on Hill.
 
The jury proceeded to view the body, which was lying in a cottage at Fernilee. The gruesomeness of the task was lessened by the fact that the face of the deceased was covered with a mask.
The Coroner, to save the time and trouble of going back to the Recreation Room, took the evidence in the room, the jurors standing round the coffin.
James Raven, Horwich End, Whaley Bridge, a cooper, stated that deceased was his brother, Geo. Raven, and he was 26 years of age.    He was a powder man employed at the Fernilee powder works.
 
The Coroner: “Were you at the works on the day of the explosion?” “Yes”.
“You saw him soon afterwards?”
“Yes”.
“Before he was taken to the Devonshire Hospital did he make any statement to you?”
“No.”
“Did he make any statement to anybody else in your presence?”
“Yes; to Mr Ashby”.
“What did he say?” 
“He said that something had gone through the machine, and he heard a bump”.
“Did he say anything else?”
“No”.
“Nothing of any description that would explain how the explosion occurred?” 
“No.”
The Coroner: “The inquiry is now adjourned until August 26th in the Parish Room at Whaley to hear what else there is. I don’t think it will be very much, but we must hear it, and then we shall conclude.”
 

R. Stephenson-Smythe  
#50 Posted : 23 October 2010 17:51:20(UTC)
R. Stephenson-Smythe
Rank: Advanced Member

Groups: Member
Joined: 19/03/2009(UTC)
Posts: 1,494

Was thanked: 2 time(s) in 2 post(s)

 

FUNERAL OF MR JOSEPH HILL AT TAXAL
 
The funeral took place on Saturday afternoon at St. James’ Church, Taxal, amidst signs of sorrow and respect.    From Bridge Mont, where the deceased had resided, to Whaley Bridge and Horwich End the blinds of nearly every house and shop were drawn, whilst in the church there was a large and reverent congregation.    At the house, service was conducted by Mr J.G. Downs.    A large number of the employees of the Chilworth Gunpowder Company walked in front of the hearse, whilst a good many were unable to attend because they were required to be on special watching duty at the works.    Among the employees who were present were Messrs Charles Smith (engineer), J.T. Mellor, J.W. Southern (foremen), the latter of whom is the father of Percy Southern, John Ashby (cashier), Jos. Southern, A. Shaw, Gee McBean, R.D. James, D. Sherwood, Jos. Bennett, John Mellor, J.C. Clayton, Geo. Clayton, Abraham Higginbottom, A. Heather, J. Sherwood, C. Mycock, J. Vaughan, J. Boothby, Wm Simpson, C. West, W. Hulme, A. Porter, R. Mycock, A. Jodrell, J. Braddock, H. Lowe, J. Smith, T. Ollerenshaw, J. Riley, Wm Barnes, J. Harrison, R. Beard, J. Barrow, W.E. Lamb, L. Riley, H. Heather, H. Fox, A. Hill, Wm Boothby, E. Thomas senr., E. Thomas junr., R. Mycock, F. Oyarzabal, Wm Taylor, A. Pickup and Jos. Bennett.
Following the hearse were four coaches, occupied by the chief mourners, namely: Mr Wm Hill (grandfather), Miss Mitchem, Miss Elizabeth Hill (aunt), Mr and Mrs Samuel Hill senr (uncle and aunt), Mr and Mrs Thomas Hill (uncle and aunt), Mr and Mrs Wm Hill (uncle and aunt), Mr Capewell, Mr and Mrs Samuel Hill junr (cousins), Mr and Mrs Norman Hill (cousins), Mr J.W. Kinder and Mr J.G. Downs. The bearers were Messrs S. and N. Hill, F. Bennett and W. Mellor.
 
 
R. Stephenson-Smythe  
#51 Posted : 25 October 2010 16:54:00(UTC)
R. Stephenson-Smythe
Rank: Advanced Member

Groups: Member
Joined: 19/03/2009(UTC)
Posts: 1,494

Was thanked: 2 time(s) in 2 post(s)

 

THE REV W. P. STAMPER’S ADDRESS
 
An impressive service was held in the church, the officiating clergyman being the Rev. W.P. Stamper.    In the course of a short address, said that before they proceeded from the House of God to the graveside it was only right and fitting that he should address one or two remarks to them with regard to the shortness and the uncertainty of life.    Many a time had they brought before them this fact, that man knew not his time; but there were times, like the present, when the thought was brought more closely home to them when those near and dear to them had been suddenly snatched away from the home, from the circle of friends, from those amongst whom they laboured.    Such was the course before them that day.    There were times when they mourned those who had gone hence, because they had known the nature and character of the lives they had led.    There were many who were taken away in the midst of their sins, but he understood that their departed friend was a religious man, and that he placed his trust in God, and that being so, they believed that the God in whom he trusted did not desert him.    When they felt the shock of a terrible accident, like the one that took place the other day, and when they thought of the result, did they not also think of their own lives?    Man’s life at the longest was described as being a span, and did it not go home to each of them how necessary it was to be in a state of preparedness?    They knew that their time was short, and that sometimes the inevitable step between time and eternity must be taken.    They were told “Now is the day of salvation.”    It was in this life they must make preparation for a better.    A wicked man could not enjoy the glories of heaven, but they believed that a good man, when he was taken away was transplanted and translated to a better place.    They must take to themselves the lesson that had been set before them of the shortness and uncertainty of life, for they knew not what a day might bring forth.    Their blessed Saviour had taught them that though they would have to endure persecution and affliction, there was a better place prepared for them.    Whatever the term of their earthly existence might be, if they believed in Him they would enter into His glory and rest with Him in Paradise.
          The last sad rites were administered in the presence of a large and sympathetic crowd by Mr Stamper.
 
                             THE FLORAL TRIBUTES
 
          The wreaths bore the following expressions of regret:
 
          “In loving memory” from Uncle Will and Aunt Nelly, Plumpton.
          “With deepest sympathy”, Cousins Norman and Amy, Stockport.
          “With deepest sympathy”, Grandfather and Aunt Lizzie.
          “With deepest sympathy”, Cousins Sam and Maggie.
          There were also four wreaths each inscribed “With deepest sympathy and condolence”, from the Chilworth Gunpowder Company, Mr E. Kraftmeier, Mr and Mrs H.S. Cox, and the staff of the Company.    Bunches of flowers were placed upon the grave by Mrs Wood of Newtown, New Mills and Mrs Brough of Plumpton Farm.
 
R. Stephenson-Smythe  
#52 Posted : 26 October 2010 17:08:45(UTC)
R. Stephenson-Smythe
Rank: Advanced Member

Groups: Member
Joined: 19/03/2009(UTC)
Posts: 1,494

Was thanked: 2 time(s) in 2 post(s)

 

FUNERAL OF GEORGE RAVEN
 
          The funeral of George Raven, the second victim of the calamity, took place on Tuesday afternoon, at the Fernilee Wesleyan burial ground, there being every evidence of respect and sympathy.  
The Gunpowder Works were closed for the day, and the whole hamlet mourned with the widowed mother.   
At the head of the procession walked members of the Court of Foresters, with which deceased was associated, including Bros A. Shaw, D. Sherwood, T. Redfern, G. Vaughan, James Sherwood, M. Wilson, T. Wilson, W. Wilson, J. Holmes, E. Holmes, J. Roberts, G. Clayton, Herbert Lowe, Chas Lowe, Horace Allen, John Bennett, George Lomas, W. Lomas.   
Over 80 of the deceased’s fellow workmen and officials at the works were present, including Messrs H.S.C. Cox (manager), Chas Smith, J.T. Mellor, J. Ashby, R.D. James, G.S. Maclean and J.W. Southern (foreman.)
 
The occupants of the coaches were: Mrs Raven (mother), Mr Jas Raven (brother), Miss Florence Smith (fiancée of the deceased), Miss Edith Southern, Mr & Mrs T. Salt, Mr & Mrs W. Nadin, Miss Raven, Mr John Raven, Mrs Collier, Mrs Ball, Mr Horace Allen, Miss Maggie Raven, Master George Woolcock, Mrs Lomas, Mrs Horsfield, Mrs James Raven, Miss Collier, Miss Doris Southern.   
Other friends present included Miss Annie Salt, Miss Lily Collier, Mr & Mrs J. Boothby, Mr & Mrs C. West, Mr W. Lomas, Miss Hill, Mrs J. Bennett.
Mr & Mrs Gosselin Grimshaw, of Errwood Hall, the Hon Mrs Preston, of Errwood Hall, Mrs H.S. Cox and Mrs Oyarzabul also attended the interment.
 
The obsequies were of a most impressive character, and most of the people were moved to tears as the remains of the deceased were reverently lowered into the ground, and also during the service in the chapel.   
The minister was the Rev. W. Allen, Wesleyan superintendent, who delayed his departure to Bath so that he might show his sympathy with the bereaved by conducting the last rites.
The bearers were Messrs Jas Lomas, H. Southern, C. Lupton and A. Porter, friends of the deceased.
The floral tributes were very numerous and beautiful, and were sent by the following:- Mother, brother and sister Fanny, Mr A. Porter (deceased’s “old pal”), Uncle John, Uncle Jim and family, Aunt Lizzie and family, Aunt Martha, Aunt Hannah Mary and family, Masters George and Jim Maclean, Mr Victor Smith and Miss Lily Turner, Mr and Mrs E. Lomas, Mr and Mrs R. Lupton, Mr C. Lupton, Mr and Mrs John Bennett and family, Mr and Mrs James Boothby, Cousins Jim, Sydney, Lily and Mary, Mrs Lomas and family (Royal Oak), the Chilworth Gunpowder Co. Ltd., Mr E. Kraftmeier (managing director), Mr & Mrs H.S. Cox, the staff at Fernilee Gunpowder Works and Mr Willcock.
 
The Fernilee Flower Show and Sports should have been held on Saturday (August 21st) but have been postponed indefinitely owing to the recent sad occurrence. George Raven was a member of the committee.
When the explosion occurred Mrs A.P. Shaw, of Whitehall, was early on the scene, bringing with her a trained nurse and a supply of stimulants.    Mr Gosselin Grimshaw, of Errwood Hall, was soon down in his carriage ready to render any assistance, and with him was the Rev. Father Fouchere.
 
It will take about three months to get everything in order again. In the meantime the works will have to be closed, after the present “covered” material has been got out. It is hoped, however, that employment will be found for the men at other works in the neighbourhood until work can again be found for them at the Gunpowder Works.
 
R. Stephenson-Smythe  
#53 Posted : 27 October 2010 15:05:43(UTC)
R. Stephenson-Smythe
Rank: Advanced Member

Groups: Member
Joined: 19/03/2009(UTC)
Posts: 1,494

Was thanked: 2 time(s) in 2 post(s)

 

PERCY SOUTHERN’S CONDITION
 
From inquiries made on Thursday it was ascertained that Percy Southern, the other man who was injured, was doing very nicely, although he is not yet out of danger.
 
                             PREVIOUS DISASTERS
 
Considering the many and great dangers which attend the manufacture of gunpowder, and how slight a thing will cause an explosion, the disasters at Fernilee have been few in number.   
There was one about 70 years ago, in which two brothers named Heap were killed.   
About 11 years ago three magazines exploded, but happily, this occurred during the night when nobody was working.   
It is about 17 years ago since the last fatality occurred, and on that occasion a man and a girl were killed.   
There was also an accident in the 70s.   
The company are most careful in the proper management of the works, and also take a great interest in the welfare of the men.   
Mr H.S. Cox, of Fernilee Hall, the manager, does all that he can to make them happy and comfortable both inside and outside the works.    He was away at the time of the explosion, and was most distressed when informed of it.   
He returned home on Friday afternoon.
 
I think the above statements were put out by the management of the powder mills. They seem to have conveniently forgotten some of the accidents.
 
R. S-S
 
shallcross  
#54 Posted : 28 October 2010 22:07:20(UTC)
shallcross
Rank: Advanced Member

Groups: Member
Joined: 01/08/2010(UTC)
Posts: 335
Location: uk

They were all doing their duty.

File Attachment(s):
Fernilee - Gunpowder Works.jpg (1,650kb) downloaded 36 time(s).
Shallcross
Norm  
#55 Posted : 28 October 2010 22:12:06(UTC)
Norm
Rank: Advanced Member

Groups: Member
Joined: 19/01/2010(UTC)
Posts: 821
Man

Thanks: 1 times
Was thanked: 3 time(s) in 3 post(s)

From post #54

Norm attached the following image(s):
GunpowderWorks.jpg
R. Stephenson-Smythe  
#56 Posted : 31 October 2010 11:18:47(UTC)
R. Stephenson-Smythe
Rank: Advanced Member

Groups: Member
Joined: 19/03/2009(UTC)
Posts: 1,494

Was thanked: 2 time(s) in 2 post(s)

 

Ashton Reporter
 
28 August 1909
 
                             THE WHALEY EXPLOSION
 
                                      A Third Victim
 
Shortly before eight o’clock on Tuesday morning Percy Southern, who was injured in the explosion at the Fernilee Gunpowder Works on August 12th, died at the Devonshire Hospital, Buxton, as a result of the injuries he received.    This makes the third victim of the terrible calamity, the other two being Joseph Hill and George Raven.    Southern was not as badly hurt as the other two, and last week hopes were entertained of his ultimate recovery.     The injuries, however, combined with the fearful shock, proved fatal in spite of the best medical skill and the most careful nursing.   
Percy Southern was about twenty years of age, very popular, and highly respected.    He was a teacher at the Whaley Bridge Wesleyan Sunday School, and only the Sunday before the accident occurred read the lesson from the school desk.    He was formerly the registrar in the school, and a popular member of the Wesleyan Circuit Club.    Deceased was the son of Mr J.W. Southern, a foreman at the Powder Mill.    The greatest sympathy is expressed with the family in their great trouble.    The third death in connection with the explosion has made a very deep impression on all concerned with the works.    This is said to be the most serious accident there has been at the works, which have been in existence three-quarters of a century or more.
 
                                      ----------------
 
                   PROPOSED RELIEF FOR SUFFERERS
 
          On Thursday afternoon, in the Parish Room, Horwich End, Whaley Bridge, Mr S. Taylor, B.A., coroner for the High Peak, resumed the inquiry into the deaths of Jos Hill (32) and George Raven (26), who died as a result of the injuries they received in the explosion at the Fernilee Gunpowder Works on August 12th.   
The Coroner said that since the inquest was adjourned Percy Southern, the third man who was injured, and who was expected to recover, or it was hoped would recover, had died.   
The jury’s primary duty was to inquire into the two previous deaths, but he would swear them in again to inquire into Percy Southern’s death, and then they could take the three inquiries together.   
Mr W.J. Andrew, solicitor, of Cadster, Whaley Bridge, appeared on behalf of the Chilworth Gunpowder Company.   
Mr T. Hutton was again foreman of the jury.
 
Mr W.J. Andrew said: “I desire, on behalf of the chairman and directors of the Chilworth Gunpowder Company, and of their manager, Mr Cox, to express their heartfelt sympathy with the relatives of the three brave men who have lost their lives whilst performing the duties of their employment.
They also wish to pay a tribute to the nerve and discipline of their workmen, who, without any prompting, brought out the fire apparatus and took every precaution to prevent the disaster spreading, and meanwhile rendered first aid to the injured, and all this on the spur of the moment.    They would thank Dr Cox and Dr Flint, of Buxton, who fortunately happened to be on the adjoining moors, and who grasped the gravity of the explosion, and hastened to render their valuable assistance and relief.    Finally they recognise the splendid behaviour of the matron of the Devonshire Hospital in coming alone, without a moment’s delay, to superintend the conveyance of the injured to her hospital.    Although no money can be any recompense in so sad a case, they have instructed me to inquire into the circumstances of the relatives, and meet them in any scheme for their more permanent relief than is provided by the Workmens’ Compensation Act.    As it has been mentioned in the newspapers, that Mr Cox, the manager, was away on holiday, I should like to explain that this was taken on the urgent advice of his doctor, and that he returned immediately on hearing of the accident.”
 
The Coroner said that since the inquest was adjourned the jury would have heard a good deal by way of talk and gossip about the matter. In order that they might be clear upon what had been proved in evidence, he thought it better to read over his notes of the evidence already given.    The Coroner then read the depositions.
Samuel Hill, recalled by the Coroner, said the correct name of the deceased man Hill was Jos. Henry Hill.
 
R. Stephenson-Smythe  
#57 Posted : 05 November 2010 18:12:52(UTC)
R. Stephenson-Smythe
Rank: Advanced Member

Groups: Member
Joined: 19/03/2009(UTC)
Posts: 1,494

Was thanked: 2 time(s) in 2 post(s)

 

TALKS WITH THE VICTIMS
 
 
Mrs Sarah Raven, Fernilee, mother of the deceased man Raven, stated that she saw her son several times at the hospital in Buxton between the accident and his death, which occurred on August 14th. He spoke to her several times, but not to tell her anything that happened. She was quite satisfied that from the accident to his death everything possible was done for him.
 
Elizabeth Southern, Old-road, Whaley Bridge, stated that she was the mother of Percy Southern, who was 19 years of age. He was a messenger at the Powder Mills. She did not see the deceased before he was removed to the Buxton Hospital, but she saw him on the following day at the hospital. Since then she had seen him several times, and he had been able to talk to her. He had never told her what happened on the day of the explosion, and had never referred to it.    She thought he had said something to his father about it on the Friday.    Her son died on Tuesday. She was satisfied that everything was done for him after the accident, in fact; he expected to be home in three weeks. Up to Sunday it was expected he would recover.
 
John Wm Southern, father of Percy Southern, stated that he was the night foreman at the Powder Mill.  He had seen his son several times at the hospital. Deceased had told him that he was on the bridge and that something struck him in the stomach. He also said it knocked him into the river or he would have been far worse burned. Deceased had nothing to do with the corning mill, and was outside the building.
 
 
R. Stephenson-Smythe  
#58 Posted : 08 November 2010 12:22:46(UTC)
R. Stephenson-Smythe
Rank: Advanced Member

Groups: Member
Joined: 19/03/2009(UTC)
Posts: 1,494

Was thanked: 2 time(s) in 2 post(s)

 

John Thomas Mellor, foreman at the works, was recalled, and stated that after the explosion Raven was found in the stream.  
Southern was in the stream on the opposite side from the corning mill.    Hill was beneath the ruins.   
Southern was filling water tubs, and that would take him past the corning mill. He had nothing to do with the corning mill. There would be eight to nine hundredweight of gunpowder in the corning mill. The limit to be in at one time was 2,000 lbs. There were no other explosives about the works except powder.
The Coroner: “Can you suggest what caused the bump which Raven heard?”  
“A piece of wood might have gone through, and that would make a bump.”
He added that amongst the wreckage there was no trace of anything that would throw a light on the explosion. The rollers were made of phosphor bronze, and were so made to minimise the danger. He had examined the rollers and there was no sign of anything being in the corning machine.
The Coroner said that if the jury had heard any rumours which they wished to clear up, now was the time to ask questions.    He did not wish the jury to go away and think any questions had been omitted.
 
 
R. Stephenson-Smythe  
#59 Posted : 01 December 2010 09:27:04(UTC)
R. Stephenson-Smythe
Rank: Advanced Member

Groups: Member
Joined: 19/03/2009(UTC)
Posts: 1,494

Was thanked: 2 time(s) in 2 post(s)

 

Apologies for my recent absence.
 
To continue:
 
                             A JUROR’S QUESTIONS
 
          A juror asked the witness several questions about the corning machine, and in answer to one he said the powder made its own pressure on the rollers.   He produced a rubber band, which allowed the rollers to part when anything passed between them.    When they got hard they were renewed.    A metal spring would be rather dangerous.
          To another juror, witness said they used up the powder which went on the floor.
          The juror: Suppose a bit of grit gets in? ---- Witness replied that the room was clean.    The men who worked there had special boots, and they never went outside in them.    The machines were examined four times a day.    He thought they could tell more about the machine when it was in motion than when it was stopped during the meal hours.
          Answering other questions, witness said that in his opinion there were two explosions, and the last one was of greater intensity.    He did not know whether the explosion on one floor set the other off, but the second explosion was immediately after.
          The Coroner: Is it possible for anything to drop from the roof?    Witness said all the roofs were of matchboard, and copper nails were used.    Every precaution was taken to guard against danger.
          The Coroner: Would a piece of wood cause an explosion?    Pieces have gone through many a time without causing an explosion.
          Mr Mellor, a member of the jury, said the cause seemed to be a mystery.    If there could be some satisfactory explanation it would be some relief to the men who worked there.
          The Coroner: Yes; but unfortunately the nature of gunpowder is such that all evidence of that kind is destroyed.
          Mr Andrew: It would be a great relief to the company if they could find it out.    They have tried every means, but have not been successful.
          Mr Ashby, the cashier at the works, stated that directly after the explosion he saw Raven, who made a statement to the effect that he thought something came through in the powder, and he heard a bump.    Witness asked Raven if he heard Jos Hill call out, and he replied “No: he did not know what struck him.”
          John Thomas Mellor, recalled, said this was the safest type of machine, and the Government Inspector said so.
          The Foreman: The Government Inspector gave a splendid report of the machinery.
          The Coroner: Yes: he spoke very well of it.
          The Coroner, summing up, said he would like a little more evidence, if he could get it, as to how anything got into the stuff and caused the explosion.    But the very nature of the thing they were dealing with blew away all evidence of what might have caused the explosion.    He did not think anything could be gained by adjourning the inquiry, or he would adjourn it.    In a case of that kind they felt inclined to ask if there were any unusual circumstances.    There were two unusual circumstances in this case.    One was that the day of the explosion was one of the hottest there had been this summer, and it was also the first working day after being closed for the holidays.    It was explained in evidence that there was no glass to focus the sun and cause the explosion, and that also the machinery had only been cleaned, not repaired, or anything new put into it.    It was run empty for three hours before it was started on powder, and then it ran satisfactorily from 7 o’clock until 2 o’clock on the day of the accident.    If anything had been wrong with the machine it was likely it would have been found before the explosion.    The statement of Raven that something went through the machine, and he heard a bump was, no doubt, what happened.    It was desirable they should know what that something was, but they would agree that it was utterly impossible to find out.    In a letter to the Coroner, the Inspector of Factories said “no doubt that some hard article passed through the cracker rolls and fired the powder: or, perhaps, a nut or some piece of metal might have fallen into the rolls from the roof of the building, although this, I may add, is extremely unlikely.”    The Coroner added that the jury might return an open verdict, or, having regard to the precautions taken at the works, they could find a verdict that it was an accident due to something which could not have been reasonably prevented.
          In all three cases the jury returned a verdict that death was caused by an accidental explosion of gunpowder, and that all due precautions were taken.  
 
Fedup  
#60 Posted : 01 December 2010 14:03:12(UTC)
Fedup
Rank: Advanced Member

Groups: Member
Joined: 20/03/2009(UTC)
Posts: 478

Thanks: 4 times
Was thanked: 4 time(s) in 2 post(s)

Well, good to see you back R.S-S.

I was beginning to think we would never find out what the outcome of this case was.

Edited by user 01 December 2010 14:03:45(UTC)  | Reason: Not specified

Users browsing this topic
5 Pages<12345>
You cannot post new topics in this forum.
You cannot reply to topics in this forum.
You cannot delete your posts in this forum.
You cannot edit your posts in this forum.
You cannot create polls in this forum.
You cannot vote in polls in this forum.