1857 – Attempt to blow up Manufactory at Conisbrough


Independent, May 30, 1857

Attempt to blow up a Manufactory at Conisbrough

On Thursday evening, at the early hour of one o’clock, an attempt was made to blow up the sickle manufactory of Messrs Booth and son, formerly the boring mills, adjoining the river weir; a quantity of gunpowder having been placed by some miscreants in the drum of a machine in the interior of the building, for the purpose of blowing up the place. The powder was contained in a canvas bag, and with it was connected a long fuse, passing through the adjoining premises (lately occupied by Mr Lindley), a distance of at least 10 yards.

The fuse passed under the door of Mr Lin this place, and it seems the train was fired at our near the spot. The intended purpose was, however, a complete failure, and the damage, beyond the injury to few straps passing over the drum was confined to the roof; the tiles which were all displaced, and many fell into the workshop below.

Immediate alarm was given, and Mr Superintendent Astwood proceeded to the spot, and made a minute examination of the place. Policeman Kershaw of Conisbrough, followed soon after, and during the four new Europe be apprehended Messrs Booth’s Watchman, a man named Richard Swallow, on suspicion of being concerned in the affair. The damage is supposed to be from £30-£40, but in consequence of the debris in the machinery, it is impossible at present to correctly ascertain the exact sum. This is the second attempt that has been made to injure Messrs Booth. In November 1855, a bottle, containing powder, with a lighted fuse at the end, was thrown into the bedchamber in which Mr and Mrs Bull slept; although the house was shaken to its foundation, no one was killed.

Swallow was, or ought to be, watching at the time of the explosion on Thursday, which could not have taken place, it is supposed, had he been near the manufactory.

independent, June 6th, 1857

The Rattening case at Conisbrough

At Doncaster, yesterday week, Richard Swallow was brought up in custody, before J.W.Sturges Esq., charged on suspicion with being concerned in the attempt to blow Mr Booth´s premises at Conisbrough on the previous Thursday. Mr Marratt attended in support of the case.

Police Kershaw was the first witness called and said

“I am the rural policeman stationed at Conisbrough. In consequence of information received I took the defendant into custody about 11 o’clock yesterday morning. I took it on suspicious of being concerned in the blowing of permissible place at Conisbrough. I have examined the place. I produce the remains of the fuse and a bag, which contain gunpowder. The bag is burnt to a cinder. The dross of the gunpowder was in the drum, and the fuse connected to Mr Lindley’s building. The fuse of being about 40 yards long. As soon as I heard of the explosion and examine the place long Mr Aspel, the superintendent of police. If any person came across the water of the marsh they would have left marks, and I must have discovered the same. I could not see any.

Mr George Booth sworn; I am the son of Thomas Booth the prosecutor in this case and who is the proprietor of the scythe works. Between a quarter and 12:30 on Thursday morning last, I was awoke by hearing some person shout: I got up and came down as soon as I could. I heard the defendant’s dog barking. I went to where the dog was and found him fastened up. It was the defendant’s duty to have had him loose. I shouted out “Watch” and no one answered. I then went towards the wheel, and met the defendant coming out of the door of the place where the wheel is. George and Samuel Barker were with him. I said to him “what’s amiss?” He said, “They have done it at last.” I asked him where he was when the explosion went off. He said “I was leant against the gate in the yard.” I said “where did you go to then?” And he said, “I run down past the wheel to the bottom of the island,” – about 100 yards off. It was from 60 to 80 yards from where the dog was fastened up to the place where the explosion was. If the defendant was lent against the gates he must’ve seen any person who would pass through the door; there is no other way to get to the place where the explosion was, but either going through the door or over the water – the case was adjourned.

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