George Dunn, the underviewer at the colliery, said that the workings were satisfactory and the ventilation good. He had been unwell for several days before the explosions and had not been down the pit for a week but while he was ill both the deputies called at the house to keep him informed of the state of the pit.
He lived close to the pit and heard the explosion from his bedroom. He jumped from his bed and could see smoke and fumes coming from the downcast shaft. He immediately dressed and went to the No.8 pit and was among the first to go down that shaft. When he got to the bottom he made his way with others to the No.7 shaft and they met gas along the incline and had to take another route. After several attempts they managed to get as far as the old junction and made their way to the engine house where they found three doors blown out. In the furnace there was a small fire and he believed that the blast had blown out the fire.
Joseph Philips was in charge of the furnace that day and his body was found to be badly burnt. He went along the intakes towards the cross cuts but he was overcome by the afterdamp and had to be brought to the surface and was not strong enough to go down the pit again.
Someone thought he heard voices from the Parkhouse Pit and shouted down,
It was considered too dangerous to send lights down the shaft and the men went to the No.8 Clay Cross shaft and came up safely.
After the blast, George Parker of Flax Place Road who was the underviewer at the No.2 Pit, went down the pit and found the bodies of John Buckberry and some others who he did not know, in the third flat. The day after he went up the north incline where he found several more bodies. George Hewitt and his two sons were found in the north incline and John Stanley was in No.82 stall and that of Richard Taylor in the wind-way.
Edward Reeves of Danesmore, a miner who went down with several of the exploring parties, discovered the bodies of Richard Dunn, Thomas Chappell and John Beeson at the bottom of the old junction, about 20 yards from the stalls in which they worked. In the enginehouse at the bottom of the north incline they found the bodies of Joseph Stone, Joseph Dunn, William Slinn and Berry and Michael Parkin outside the engine house. At the bottom of the pit they found James Parker, William Dunn and William Martin. The two Dunns were alive but the other two were dead. On the third flat they found William Briggs, William Renshaw, George Michell, Thomas Goaler and William Vickers. In a stall to the north side they found Phineas Baker, the ‘old pensioner’. The bodies of Samuel and Edward Baker were found a little way down the gate from their stalls and that of William Squires was in a heading near the engine house. He also saw the bodies of Philip Scothern and John Holmes at the entrance to the first flat and those of Emmanuel and Edward Clarke in the first stall in the dip workings.
The men who lost their lives were:-
The inquest into the deaths of the men was opened at the Victoria Hotel, Clay Cross before Mr. C.G. Busby, Coroner for the Hundred of Scarsdale. All interested parties were represented and Marmaduke Lee, a miner of Danesmore, Thomas Downing, miner of Clay Cross and John Eaton of Staveley were several of the explorers who gave evidence of finding bodies in the mine.
Mr. Evans, the Inspector, examined the mine after the disaster and found that the effects of the explosion were mainly in the cross cuts in the Nos. 1 and 3 flats and he believed that there had been three explosions almost simultaneously. Up to then, he believed that safety lamps were not required in the collieries of the Midland counties but he recommended that safety lamps be used in future.
The Coroner summed up the evidence and the jury brought in the following verdict:-
We also make the following recommendations:-
Glossary of Terms