1879 Outburst of Gas




At about 4 o┬┤clock on Monday afternoon September 28th 1879, one of those sudden and alarming outbursts of gas for which the South Yorkshire Coalfield is so notorious, occurred at Denaby Main Colliery, near Mexborough, which is the deepest pit in Yorkshire, working the Barnsley thick seam, being 450 yards in depth, and having a seam of coal 10 feet in thickness.

Fortunately for both master and men the pit was entirely worked with safety lamps, and to the admirable way in which they were maintained and the discipline kept up, several hundred miners no doubt owe their lives. The workings prior to the outburst were in good order, the ventilation being thoroughly efficient. About the hour named, several stalls in the east part of the workings suddenly began to sway, and instantly a large outburst of gas took place which put out the lights of all the men and boys in that part of the pit.

We understand that the kind of safety lamps in use was that manufactured by the Protector Lighting Company, from Manchester, and of Belgian Mueseler type, which stood the test in a capital manner, in fact it is said to have proved itself equal, if not superior, to any other kind of lamp in a similar emergency. These men and boys as might be expected, left their work in a half-naked state, and rushed in the dark to the pit bottom, not knowing what disaster might occur. They were drawn out as speedily as possible, but it was found that a man and a boy were missing.

A deputy accompanied by the manager, at once instituted a search for the two, and soon landed them at the top in safety. They stated that in endeavouring to reach the pit bottom they missed their way. The incident caused a great deal of conster nation in the locality where it occurred. On making further enquiries we find that the outburst took place in what are known as the East Plane Workings in Nos. 36, 26, and 44 stalls, but the principal place was in the former, where the floor was heaved up a foot or more for a distance of 50 yards, a rent in the floor is clearly to be seen, which continues at times to give off gas, but in diminishing quantities.

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