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Cumbria Mining History, John Hazard, Frizington.
There have been a few miracle escapes from certain death over the years, but this little story takes a lot of beating. Tucked away in the far northwest. lies the the majestic County of Cumbria. Famed now for the Mountains and Lakes that attract millions of visitors every year, it also has a past history of Mining. Just inland, from the ancient fishing port of Whitehaven, is the tiny village of Frizington, just north of present day Cleator Moor. It was a sleepy little place, until back in the early part of the 19th century, Iron Ore was found. There was a ready user of this commodity, the Ironworks of Workington. At the Eskett Iron Ore Companies Mine, a local lad, John Hazard, aged 14, was attending to a barrel of water which had just been sent to the surface, for like many mines, it suffered from flooding. It was a cold December day in 1861, and the young mans fingers, numb with the freezing cold, slipped from pulling the barrel to the shaft's side, and young John fell, head first, down the dark and forbidding opening. The shaft was over 170 feet deep, and his screams of terror echoed back up, as he plummeted to certain doom. Working as quickly as possible, men scrambled into a bowk, ( large tub ) and descended to collect, what they assumed, would be his mangled mortal remains. Imagine the surprise, when they reached the bottom, to discover the lad, soaking wet, covered in mud, but very much alive and well. He had fallen, as luck would have it, into the pits Sump, which was of course where the water in that barrel had come from. Further more, the sump still contained 10 feet of water, on top of a couple feet of glutinous and sticky mud, into which his head had become wedged following the fall. He had, with great presence of mind, extricated himself from this, and astonished the miners below, by getting out of the sump without a single scratch on his body. Now i've watched many a Seaside entertainer, dive 40 or 50 feet into a 6 foot tank of water, itself a very dangerous way to earn a living, but I don't think any of them would have dared try it from that kind of height. John Hazard, ( christian name uncertain ) may have had a long and happy life after the event, but I bet he was never so lucky as that again.
A wonderful thing is work, I could watch it all day. ( See my Blog entry )
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