|Forum Home > Accidents from around the Country. > The Rattle in a Tin Mine.|
Weight for weight, Tin is far more expensive than Coal, and it tends to be a lot further down in the bowels of the earth. Tin miners follow seams of metal, which have flowed upwards from the depths, over many eons of time. The mine in this story, is the Carn Brea Mine, near Redruth, Cornwall, and the date is the 27th June 1882. The mine was over 1,500 deep, and the event described, happened at that level, near to the old Podlers Engine Shaft. The cast includes two " Tammers ", two " Borers ", and a man in charge of a box of Dynamite. What you might call "a potencialy explosive mixture ", or an accident in the making.
The two " Trammers ", Joseph Jeffery and his brother William, had just finished clearing away the rock and ore from a blasting at the rock face, loaded into the little trams, and were looking forward to a spot of lunch. The man in charge, a miner called Transgrove, had also just completed, with the help of two assistants, Alfred Cockin, and Nocolas Puall, boring the last of 18 holes, 8 feet deep into the rock face, in preparation for the last blasting of the day. Safety regulations stated that the " Dynamite Locker ", had to be kept at least 140 yards from the blast area, so all five set off back down the roadway, the two trammers to enjoy lunch, and the others to also prepare the charges for later. The scene described now, would have sent a mine Inspectors hair white in an instant.
The two brothers, on reaching the Dynamite locker, took out their lunches and sat down about 6 feet away. Transgrove opened the locker, a tin box, and began preparing the charges. His assistant, Alfred Cocking, with candle in hand began to prepare the short candles used in the operation. Taking his candle, he placed it on a rock ledge, immediately above the Dynamite Locker, and reached in for some candles, These he cut into short pieces, for they were used to fire the fuses, and would give the men time to get clear of the blast area. Job finished, he reached for his candle but only succeeded in knocking it into the locker. In the locker were 2 packets of Dynamite, a box of detonators, several lengths of fuse, and several more candles. The box burst into flames, and a second later, the whole lot exploded. Alfred Cockin, aged 15, and Joseph Jeffery, also aged 15, died on the spot, Paull, survived the blast, but was so badly injured and burned, he died a few minutes later. No one, not even the two survivors, could explain their miraculous escape from certain death. Injured they were, but not to the extent that they couldn't leave the mine, mainly under their own steam. Familiarity they say, breeds contempt, or in this case, a serious bout of carelessness, which cost the lives of three miners. It's not the only case in the Mining secton, there are many more like it, but it's one of the few where what happened was testified to by a rare survivor, or in this instance two very lucky ones. Now where did I put that lucky Cornish " Joan the Wad " charm.
A wonderful thing is work, I could watch it all day. ( See my Blog entry )
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