Explosives in Graves – Grave Digging Extraordinary

November 1901

Mexborough and Swinton Times, November 8th, 1901

Conisborough Parish Council.

Explosives in Graves

The most interesting item of interest at an ordinary meeting of the Conisborough Parish Council, which was held on Monday evening, was a discussion on a proposal to use explosives for the purpose of excavating graves in solid rock at the cemetery. A natural fear was expressed that if such a plan were adopted, remains already interred might be disturbed.

A specimen grave is to be excavated, and explosives used in order to ascertain what would be the actual result.

Mr C Holmes (the chairman) presided, and the other members present were Mr J Brocklesby (vice-chairman), Mr Henry Baker, Mr G Smithson, Mr David Robinson, Mrs E Ravenscroft, Mr F Ogley, Mr W. Wilson, and Mr C Walker. The offices in attendance were the Clerk (Mr J Hawksworth) and the cemetery caretaker (Mr a Hodgson)

Grave Digging Extraordinary

At the last meeting of the Council a resolution was adopted giving the cemetery caretaker permission to use explosives in excavating graves spaces through solid rock, and the Chairman and the caretaker were authorised to interview Mr Russell, and obtain his advice on the subject.

Mr Robinson now spoke against the proposal to use explosives and said the caretaker could excavate to a depth of 7 feet without using them.

The Chairman reply that the rules stated that the depth should be 9 feet.

Mr Brocklesby asked if in blasting the rock would there be any likelihood of damage to adjoining graves.

The Chairman said it was for that reason they were instructed to see an expert. Mr Russell had told them that if they proceeded carefully there would be no such danger.

Mr Wilson thought it would be advisable to be present when the first experiment was made.

The Chairman said Mr Russell offered to attend, and superintend the first charge.

Mr Brocklesby: The public ought to be well satisfied that there is no likelihood that the remains of their departed friends will be disturbed.

The Chairman replied that one of the precautions suggested by Mr Russell was the use of a chain net or bushwood, to be placed in the excavation before blasting, also, that no blasting should take place next to an occupied grave, but that there should always be two grave spaces between.

In the course of further remarks, the Chairman said the Cemetery Chapel ought to have been built on the rocky ground in the first instance; there was good land for graves under the Chapel.

Mr Robinson thought every member of the Council ought to be present when the first experiment in blasting is made.

The Chairman said it was only now and again that a solid block of stone was encountered in excavating of a grave, and that in only one section of the cemetery.

Mr Brocklesby moved that a committee of four be appointed to witness the first experiment.

Mr Wilson said he would second the resolution if Mr Brocklesby would add that a special excavation be made for the experiment.

Mr Brocklesby, concurred and the resolution was adopted.

The committee afterwards appointed consists of the following: The chairman, Messrs Wilson, Ogley, and Baker











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