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Penny Causer
24 January 2008
Accident Snowdown Colliery, Kent

More Photos of Snowdown Colliery

I wondered if the following would be of any interest to you on your site. An ancestor of my husband’s was tragically killed in an accident at Snowdown Colliery in Kent.

The following report was received from Health & Safety Executive, Silver House, 32 Silver Street, Doncaster. DN1 1HR.

An accident of a somewhat unusual nature occurred at Snowdown Colliery, Kent on 22nd August, 1910.
A slack hopper or store, 54 feet in length by 18 feet in width, and enclosed by vertical brick walls 9 feet in height and 1 foot 6 inches in thickness, was separated from the boiler fronts by a passage 11 feet wide. The passage was covered by a corrugated iron roof, one edge of which rested upon the hopper wall, while the other rested upon brick pillars rising off the boiler seating, the pitch of the roof being 4 feet 6 inches. The corrugated iron was returned down behind the pillars, thus closing in the roof. The passage or shed was lighted by means of two acetylene gas lamps fixed on the hopper wall, and connected by pipes to a gas generator some distance away. These lamps were not lighted at the time of the accident.

Two men were engaged in firing the boilers, when a sound "resembling a dull explosion" was heard, the corrugated iron roof was observed to rise a short distance, and the brick wall of the hopper, along its whole length, followed by a quantity of the slack, fell towards the boiler fronts, the roof falling upon the debris. The men (namely Charles Causer and Edward Thomas Kettle) were both killed, but showed no indication of having been burned, except by falling against the heated boiler fronts. The boilers were not damaged, except for some minor injuries to the fittings, apparently caused by the falling wall and roof. The brickwork of the flues was not disturbed, and the incandescent fuel on the fire grates was not blown out. The dampers were found to have been about three parts closed.

The most probable cause of the accident appeared to me to have been that a leakage of acetylene gas resulted in the formation of a dilute accumulation under the corrugated iron roof, and that the draught of the furnaces drew it down, or a back draught from the flues ignited it, causing an explosion. The hopper wall was clearly too weak to support the load of slack, although it was stated that this had frequently been heaped up several feet higher that it was when the accident took place; and the rocking due to the explosion, accompanied by the removal of the steadying effect due to the roof, caused it to fall over. The wall when rebuilt was buttressed on its outer side.

The accident was reported in The Dover Express and East Kent Newspaper, dated August, 26th, 1910.

Kind regards,


memorial to the miners of the Kent Coal Field

For more photos see Vic Richards

Gary Cox
05 March 2009
The MoveTheMiner Campaign

We are trying to move the statue, pictured on same page as the accident, from Dover seafront onto the Miners Way trail in Kent, we are also holding a Kent Miners Festival on 31st August 2009

Pit Terminology - Glossary