On 30th December 1886, ten miners climbed into the transport cage of Houghton Main Colliery in Barnsley, to travel to the pit bottom and start their shift. The winding engine was activated, and the cage began to move - and hurtled over five hundred yards down into the Barnsley coal Seam, out of control. The ten miners never saw the beginning of their Shift; they were killed instantly with the force of impact at the floor of the ift shaft The winding engine man, responsible for lowering the cage, Was tried for manslaughter but later acquitted. Although mining safety uad improved drastically since earlier in the century, standards were not as stringent as they were to become later, impelled by the number of accidents like this.
Such tragic accidents were not without repercussions - in the late 1800’s there were still coffiers who believed in leaving gifts of coal and food to appease ‘mine spirits’, and so many unexpected deaths in the coffiery must doubtless have encouraged even the least fertile imagination to believe that Houghton was jinxed.., and later haunted. It has been said that mysterious cries were heard in the depths of the underground workings for a long time after the accident, and that the source of these was never traced. Barnsley | Barnsley | Chesterfield | Doncaster | Glasshoughton | Grimethorpe | Nottinghamshire | Thornhill | West Yorkshire |
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