The Report of the Causes and circumstances attending the explosion which occurred on the 4th March 1945 at the Manvers Main Colliery, Wath-on-Dearne, South Yorkshire, was conducted by Mr. J.R. Felton, O.B.E., H.M. Chief Inspector of Mines and reported to The Right Honourable Emanuel Shinwell, M.P., Minister of Fuel and Power on the 20th August 1945.
By arrangement with H.M. Coroner for the City of Sheffield and the Rotherham District of Yorkshire,
The coroner summed up and returned the following verdict of the deaths of the men:-
All interested parties were represented at the inquiry and evidence was heard from twenty two witnesses. There was common agreement on the following points,
Professor Statham supported the theory of the manager that there was a fall at the bottom level of the 8th slit before the disaster which interrupted the ventilation and that at the same time, there was an abnormal and local emission of gas. This fall was extensive and it was difficult to see how the men would not try to get out when not occurred. Sir Hartley Shawcross, K.C., who was representing the Company, examined Holmes about the fall and it was possible that the fall had occurred after the explosion. The question of the emission and the accumulation of the gas was looked into and it was said by the management that a short time before the disaster the ventilation was adequate and that no firedamp was detectable on the face in 6’s and 7’s heading but Mr. Houston thought that the emission of gas had persisted for some time. This could be explained by reference to old workings in the Barnsley and Parkgate seam which were 162 and 433 yards below the Meltonfield seam. A plan was produced by Mr. Kimmins which showed that the Barnsley seam had been worked in 1890 and left apillar of solid coal which was again worked in 1932-37. There had been workings in the Parkgate seam in the same area. An opening out had been driven in 1911 and the coal on one side was worked and that on the other side left to for a rib. It was suggested that breaks along this rib would pass through the strata up to the Meltonfield seam. It was agreed that this was possible. Five days after the explosion firedamp was issuing from the two headings into the return. There was evidence of some small breaks in the roof but none in the floor. The inquiry came to the conclusion that it seemed reasonably clear that at some time prior to the explosion there was some additional issue of gas into the headings and it may have come from the seams below.
The ventilation of the headings was examined and the inquiry stated:-
The source of ignition was thought to have been due to an electrical fault. The inquiry drew attention to the use of auxiliary fans and recommended that:-
Glossary of Terms