Mexborough and Swinton Times February 3, 1939
Shock for Wreckers
Conisborough Chimney falls Prematurely.
Workmen’s Narrow Escape.
Four workmen engaged at the former works of Messrs Kilner brothers limited, Conisborough,had a thrill yesterday afternoon when the 180 foot high chimney at the works, which was to have been felled on Saturday suddenly crumbled at it weakened base, where charges of explosive had blasted one quarter of the way around the girth in preparation for Saturday’s event, and crashed to the ground.
The workmen were Edward Hickin, William Bray, Michael Reel and George Edward O´Brien, who were working near the base of the chimney, when they heard a warning shout given by Mr F.Lowe, the Foreman in charge of the wrecking operations now in hand.
It is understood that the premature collapse of the chimney was due to decayed state of some of the bricks at the base of the stack. The rotted foundations of the chimney and been kept under supervision by Mr W.Bailey, a Sheffield chimney demolition experts and when cracks appeared O´Brien was sent for stopping clay. He had reached the base of the stack when the warning came and he and his three companions raced for safety up the works yard. Fortunately, however, the chimney, which contained up to 200,000 bricks, fell in the opposite direction in which the men were situated and no one was hurt.
Bray told the “times” last night. “I was working with Hickin with a jack levering rail lines up from the yard and O´Brien was on his way to the chimney when there was a rumbling noise and the chimney heeled over at an acute angle. To those standing at the basic seemed to be coming in our direction, and if it had done so we should have had to have scaled a wall which was between us and safety. The only other alternative was to have our race the chimney as it fell, but the chances of escaping its length would have been very small. If it had fallen in our direction they would have still been digging us out.”