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Another explosion occurred at Silverdale Company's Sheriff pit, which, it will be remembered is the one which had so many explosions and in which so many lives had been lost. The men often called it the "slaughter shop". Several parties said that they heard the explosion in Church St., which is nearly a mile away. It seems that about three o'clock the explosion occurred in the Seven Feet seam in which several men were working at the time, the great proportion of the men, having done their work for the day.

Large numbers of people soon congregated on the pit hill and Messrs Lucas, Downing and Capper, with others descended the shaft in search of those below. Six men were found to be seriously burnt. In several cases no hopes were entertained for their recovery. Four others were said to have nearly lost their lives from the effects of the after-damp. With great difficulty they were brought to consciousness.
It is believed that the explosion was the result of a shot, the last but one to be fired previous to the men leaving the pit for the day. Mr. Crote, surgeon, was soon on the spot attending to the sufferers, everything possible was done to relieve them.

The system of ventilation was said to be exceedingly good at this pit, and under ordinary circumstances, there was no gas in the workings to do any injury. Two of the men who were seriously injured died, Samual Simister age 23 died on Friday night and James Whitmore on Monday. Another of the injured men lay in a most precarious condition.

On the Tuesday afternoon an inquest was held at the Crown Inn before Mr. Booth, Coroner, who said he proposed simply to take evidence as to the identification of the bodies and then adjourn the inquiry, so that it was hoped, some of the men would recover and be able to give direct evidence with reference to the explosion.

William Morris said he saw Simister brought out after the explosion; he was badly burnt and knocked about. He was attended to by Mr Crote, surgeon. He stayed with him till he died. John Barratt said he was in the pit at the time of the explosion and feeling the "wind" he thought something was wrong and went out of the pit. He afterwards assisted to get the men out. Dean, who was got out first, was not very badly burnt but was suffering from the effects of the after-damp. Thomas Wright, who was got out next, was very badly burnt. Whitmore was then got out and attended to, both by Mr. Grote and Mr. Vernon. Thomas Wright was the fireman in the district.

Before Whitmore died on Monday he did not say who fired the shot, but he did say shots were being fired below where Wright and Simister were working.
The Coroner said it would be better to obtain evidence as to those matters from other witnesses. The inquest was adjourned for a month.

On the 15th June 1876 Mr. Booth, Coroner for North Staffordshire held an inquiry at Silverdale concerning the deaths of the five men. After hearing the evidence from all concerned, the jury returned a verdict of accidental death, caused by the firing of a shot which ignited a small portion of gas and a quantity of coal dust: this however did not attribute blame to anyone connected with the mine.

Pit Terminology - Glossary

John Lumsdon