Stanghow Fatality – Edward Sellars – 16 May 1903

Aged 25, Filler, he had lighted a powder shot and thinking the squib had missed returned to the face when the shot exploded and killed him.

1903 Mines Inspectors Report (Cd 2119), Durham District (No. 4) by R. D. Bain, H.M. Inspector of Mines, Page: 15

No. 213 on the list occurred at Stanghow Mines, belonging to Messrs. Cochrane and Co., Ltd., on May 16th, and caused the death of a filler. At this mine the shot holes, for blasting, are drilled by mechanical drilling machines, driven by compressed air. The shot-firer, on this occasion, had fired several shots in a place, but at the bottom of it there was a hole, which was charged with powder, he could not get fired, on account of its being covered with ironstone displaced by other shots. He then, in contravention of Special Rule 124, gave a driver two squibs and told him to give them to the fillers, when they came in to fill the stone away, and ask them to fire the hole at the bottom when they got the stone cleared away, and went to another place. After getting the stone filled and the hole cleared the deceased man and his mate put a squib into the hole and applied a light to it, and retired to a place of safety. After waiting, the man who was working with deceased says, five minutes, as the shot did not explode the deceased returned to the place to see what was the cause, and when close up to the shot it went off, and he was caught by the stone projected by the shot and instantly killed.

This accident was caused by the shot-firer, improperly, in order to save himself the trouble of coming back to the place, delegating his duties to the deceased, who had no experience of firing shots. It was a very reprehensible thing to do, and I am the more surprised in this case that the shot-firer should be guilty of such conduct, as he had been a shot-firer for more than 14 years, and bore the character of being a careful man. He expressed his great regret at having erred on this occasion, and promised that such a thing should not occur in hands again.

One thought on “Stanghow Fatality – Edward Sellars – 16 May 1903

  1. Edward was the eldest child of Robert Sellars and his wife Betsy, and was born in Pickering in 1877. By 1891 he would have five sisters and a brother, of whom more later. In 1901 Edward was living at 17 Carney Street, Boosbeck, in the house of William Pickering and his wife Annie. Annie was one of Edward’s sisters.

    Edward’s brother, Thomas Herbert Sellars also became an ironstone miner. In 1911 he was living at 19 Gerrie Street, Boosbeck, in the house of Harold Pickering and his wife Sarah. Harold was a brother of William Pickering. Sarah was a sister of Edward and Thomas.

    Unfortunately, the male line of this Sellars family was destined to die out because both of the boys died at a young age. Edward, as we have seen, died in his twenties in the mining accident. On 17th February 1917, Thomas, aged 25, was killed whilst serving with 7th Battalion, Yorkshire Regiment on the Somme. He is buried in Grove Town Cemetery, Meaulte.

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