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Warminster and Westbury Journal, Saturday 22 August 1908, page 2


An alarming explosion occurred between five and six o'clock on Tuesday evening at the Maypole Colliery, Abram, near Wigan. The headgear was blown away, the cage rope and accessories being demolished. Direct communication with the sixty miners below was cut off, but a rescue party descended the Junction Colliery, half a mile distant.

Up to ten o'clock at night three men had been rescued, namely William Dolan and two miners named Smith* and Draper. The rescue party travelled 800 yards and found the air breathable at that distance. Beyond that distance, however, the air was gaseous. Several of the pit ponies were found dead, and five of the rescue party were affected by gas.

The rescue party discovered the bodies of three dead miners. One of them had his clothes torn from him. The party had to return after several hours' search without discovering any signs of life.

It is stated that the men rescued at Junction Colliery were working near the communicating line of the Wigan junction and Maypole No 2 collieries, and that they were in the area which is cleared by ventilation. A rescue party equipped with apparatus from the new rescue station at Atherton was soon at the scene.

The great danger in No 1 shaft of the Maypole Colliery has always been the water. Great difficulties were encountered in sinking, and the seam makes a great quantity of water. It was hoped, however, that the pumping apparatus in the workings would clear this away. Attempts were made to get the ventilating machinery at the Wigan Junction Colliery to drive the air through No 1 Maypole Colliery.


Submitted by Roger Gosling

A Memorial to the victims can be found in Abram Churchyard, Wigan.

In St. Patrick's Church, Wigan; a marble plaque to 21 of the victims can be found in the floor of the porch.

Other Maypole Colliery Disaster Reports

  1. The Maypole, Diary of a Colliery Disaster by John Hannavy & Roy Lewis, publisher: Wigantech Publications, 1983 ISBN 0 9500 280 9 6
  2. The Wigan Observer, Saturday August 22nd, page 8 onwards. An extensive report including 2 pictures taken by a local photographer.
  3. The Maypole Colliery Explosion, Report of the Inquiry into the Explosion, by Samuel Pope (barrister at law) and Henry Hall (HM Inspector of Mines) it was made public on November 9th 1909, and published as a 236 page booklet by Thomas Wall & Son (The Wigan Observer - the local newspaper).

* Note: No reference to a miner called Smith appears in any of the official lists of victims and survivors!


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