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London Illustrated News, October 17th, 1857


The Butterley Company’s new colliery at Ripley, Derbyshire, has been the scene of a series of explosions, by which about fifteen persons were much injured. On Monday, the 5th inst., an explosion took place, when two men were severely burnt. On the following day, the ground bailiff, Mr. John Smith, went down the pit to ascertain the state of the workings, and, while going around for this purpose, the gas ignited and burnt one poor fellow very badly.

Mr. Smith himself was also burnt, but not seriously. Early on Friday morning another and more fearful explosion occurred, by which nine men and two boys were severely burnt. One of the sufferers has since died, and serious fears are entertained for the lives of some of the others.

Some idea may be formed of the severity of the fire from the fact that a new suit of flannel which one of the sufferers wore was completely burnt to a cinder on his body, and a pony afterwards brought up the pit presented a most frightful appearance, having been literally roasted alive.


Submitted by Alan Vickers

Series of explosions, starting on Monday 5th, with others on Tuesday 6th and Friday 9th October.

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