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1st March 1927 - Fourteen miners were killed Those Who Died
Bilsthorpe Email - Page 2
26th July, 1934 - Nine Miners Were Killed - Those Who Died

Bilsthorpe Memorial




Video Clip On YouTube
Pat Jennings

Those Who Died







Fredrick Bisgrove - *1

12-14 Mar

16 Mar

Leslie Mason - *3

15 Mar

19 Mar

Michael Corrigan - *1

12-14 Mar

15 Mar

Joseph Phipps

15 Mar


John William Eaton

12-14 Mar


John Robinson - *2

02 Mar

05 Mar

Thomas Friestley - *1

12-14 Mar

16 Mar

William James Robinson - *2

15 Mar


Thomas Grufferty - *1 or 5

12-14 Mar

15 Mar?

Thomas Satchwell - *1

15 Mar

16 Mar

Daniel Haddock - *1

12-14 Mar

15 Mar

John William Thacker - * 4


16 Mar

David Robert Jones - *1

12-14 Mar

15 Mar


Patrick Kelly - *1

15 Mar

16 Mar


1 Buried at Bilsthorpe
2 Buried at Edingley
3 Buried at Mansfield
4 Buried at Mansfield Woodhouse
5 Possibly buried in Ireland


  • George Edward Chappell
  • John Smith
  • Fred Williams

The Inquiry

The inquiry into the disaster was held in the 22nd and 23rd June 1927 in the Guildhall, Nottingham, by Mr. Henry Walker, C.B.E., H.M. Chief Inspector of Mines and presented to Colonel the Right Honourable E.R. Lane Fox, M.P. Secretary for Mines on 25th July 1927.
All interested parties were represented.

The possible causes of the accident were:-

1). A broken clamp on the rising main.

2). A defective joint on the rising main.

3). A fall from the side of the shaft striking the rising main or the pump.

4). The grounding of the suction pipe on the bottom of the shaft.

There was no evidence of a defective joint or a fall from the side of the shaft.

The key witness was Frederick Williams and he gave an account of the accident as follows:-

“Q. Now Mr. Williams just tell us what did happen at that point?

A. Something came from above, struck me on the back of the head and the shoulders, and took my feet off the ladder, from under me, but I happened to have a good hold with my hands, and I scrambled out as best I could.

Q. It is rather important for us to know what did happen. Did you hear a noise at all?

A. The noise came with the crash. It all came at the same moment.

Q. Did the pump swing at all at that time?

A. As the crash came she swung but she was perfectly still before.

Q. Can you give us any idea of how long this crashing was going on?

A. Well the main crash did not last long, but the stuff was falling up to the time I came from there. That was from the sides around. But the main crash itself did not last very many minutes.

Q. Was that main crash, as you call it, above or below you?

A. It came from above me.

Q. Did you, before that, hear anything below?

A. Everything was as quiet as it could be. Because they were all quiet owing to waiting for me to shout for the chargeman to start the pump.

Q. The men in the bottom were not working, were they?

A. Every man was stood keeping quiet, until the signal.

Q. So that the shaft at the time was particularly quiet?

A. Yes.

Q. If there had been any movement it the bottom would you have heard it, do you think?

A. Oh yes, at that time because the pump was not working. It was as quiet as the grave, as you might say.”

It may have been that the blow which stunned Williams was the result of a clamp breaking high up on the rising main but the evidence of Professor S.M. Dixon of the Civil Engineering, City and Guilds Engineering College, London who examined the clamps thought they were excellent and in good order and F.C. Lea, Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Dean of the Faculty of Engineering at Sheffield University agreed with Professor Dixon.

A sinker, Norman Mason, who lost his brother in the disaster said that following the firing of the shots the pump was lowered too far and bumped the shaft bottom and Horace Hunt, a pump fitter, had complained about one of the joints leaking. Professor Dixon said that if joints were weakened, the long term effect would be that the pipe would eventually collapse.

Henry Walker came to the following conclusions-

“I regret that I am not able to state the cause of this accident but I am clearly of the opinion that the occurrence of a similar accident can be prevented.

In the system followed at Bilsthorpe and elsewhere, the pipes forming the rising main column are supported merely by standing one upon another, the clamps serving only to keep the column vertical. The failure of one pipe involves the collapse of the whole range above it. To obviate this, further support is necessary and in future it should be of such a character as to ensure that each pipe is separately and distinctly supported.

There are several ways in which this can be done, and I am quite certain that those in charge of sinkings will have no difficulty in finding that method which is best suited to their needs. The provision of flexible suction pipes would also appear to be desirable.”

Sat 26th Mayors Relief fund closed - total raised was a little over £1900 (which would have had the same buying power as £81k at 2007 prices)

Pit Terminology - Glossary