A fatal accident occurred in April 1886 when Thomas Busfield was blown up by some dynamite that he was warming to make it pliable.
FATAL DYNAMITE ACCIDENT
A deplorable accident said to be caused by the careless handling of a dynamite charge occurred on Thursday, the 8th April 1886 at a lead mine near Pateley Bridge owned by Mr D Williamson, where the workmen work Day and night “shifts”. Shortly after the men had commenced duty on Thursday evening a man named Thomas Busfield was engaged in the shaft of the mine “softening” one of the dynamite charges used for removing earth in the various workings. For this purpose he held a lighted candle in his hand, and whilst thus operating with the dynamite it exploded with a loud report, hurling Busfield to the ground.
He was immediately picked up and taken away, and on Friday he was taken to the Leeds Infirmary, where he died the same day from the injuries received. The unfortunate man is married and lived at Green Lane Hill, Pateley Bridge. At the Leeds Town Hall on Monday – before the borough coroner – an inquest was opened on the body, when evidence of identification was given and the inquiry adjourned for a week.
Craven Herald 17th April 1886 p7
THE DYNAMITE ACCIDENT
An adjourned inquest was held by Mr Malcolm, borough coroner at Leeds Town Hall, on Monday the 19th April 1886, on the body of Thomas Busfield (35), miner, Greenhow Hill, Pateley Bridge, who was fatally injured by an explosion of dynamite on the 8th April 1886, while engaged in his occupation at the Craven Moor Lead Mine, owned by Craven Moor United Lead Company (Limited).
Major Cundill, Government Inspector of explosives, attended from the Home Office. Mr Mayo, resident surgeon at the Leeds Infirmary, said the deceased was admitted on the morning of April 9th, and died very soon afterwards. He was very much collapsed, and had numerous small cuts about the face and neck and upper part of his chest. The right hand was shattered, as was part of the left, and there was also a large lacerated wound on the left thigh, communicating with a comminuted fracture of the bone.
William Busfield, brother of the deceased, stated that he was working with him at the time of the accident. They had each obtained a dynamite cartridge from the storekeeper, and descended the shaft to undertake some blasting of the rock. The shaft was about thirty yards deep, and they descended by ladders. On arriving at the bottom of the shaft each of them lighted a candle and stuck it against the rock. Witnesses soon afterwards heard a loud explosion, the candles went out and deceased exclaimed, “Oh, Will”.
A witness found the deceased, whom he wrapped in a coat, and then went for assistance. He never knew the deceased`s attempts to soften a frozen cartridge by holding it to the candle. Another witness gave evidence of assisting the deceased home. Although conscious he made no statement as to how the accident happened. Mr David Williams, manager of the mine, said the men`s instructions were to use the dynamite as they got it, and it was at the option of the deceased whether he used that or black powder.
Witness did not think the pans used in some places for warming the cartridges were safeguards against accident. Major Cundill pointed out that many accidents had occurred in the process of thawing dynamite. In his opinion the deceased was when the explosion took place either thawing the cartridge over the candle or possibly, though this was less probable, the candle caught it and it exploded in his hand.
He thought that a system which allowed a man to use dynamite cartridges in this way instead of having proper pans for thawing them – which could be had for a trifling cost – was one involving great responsibility. Out of 46 accidents in which 95 persons were killed or wounded, there was not a single recorded case of mishap where a proper warming pan in good repair was used. The jury found that the deceased was accidentally killed, and recommended the use of the warming pans suggested by Major Cundill.
Craven Herald 24th April 1886
The Greenhow Mines, Northern Mine Research Society, British Mining No. 60, 1988. Page 62.
Craven Herald 17th April 1886 p7
Thomas Busfield (1851-1886) is a son of John & Sarah Busfield of Greenhow Hill. He married Lucy Eidson at Pateley Bridge in 1875 and they had five children. After Thomas’s death Lucy appears to have had relations with Fredrick Stockdale, but there is no evidence of a marriage. Together they had a child, Gilbert Stockdale Busfield in 1892. Another child appears on the 1901 census, Eleanor born 1890.
At the time of the 1891 census, Fredrick J Stockdale, born in Liverpool in 1859, was a lodger with Dinah Eidson, the widowed mother of Lucy Ann.