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1908 - Wombwell Gasworks Explosion

Barnsley Chronicle January 18 1908

The Wombwell Gasworks Explosion

The district coroner (Mr Maitland) attended at the Barnsley Town Hall on Tuesday morning to continue his enquiry into the circumstances of the explosion which occurred at the Wombwell gasworks on December 11, and which resulted in the death of James Lyle (46), foreman at the Gasworks, and Harold Schofield, retort setter, Hough Lane.

The Coroner pointed out to the jury that the inquest was adjourned a month ago because the third workman who was present at the time of the explosion (Arthur Henry Burrows, chief stoker, Ship Croft) was so injured as to be unfit to give evidence. It appeared that Burrows remained in the Beckett hospital for some time, but eventually, being desirous of attending the funeral of his child, he went home.

He left the Hearth hospital at his own request, but he would evidently have done better to stay there, for since going home he had been considerably worse, and was now quite unfit to come and give evidence. As he was really the only living witness of what actually happened in the building where the explosion occurred, the enquiry would have to be again adjourned.

Mr P M Walker, Clerk to the Wombwell Urban Council, said he was told Burrows would not be fit to come for two or three weeks. His condition appeared to vary a good deal.

The Coroner: From what Dr Mercer (the house surgeon) says he would have been able to attend now had he stayed in the Hospital.

Mr Walker: I am told he did not attend the funeral after all. Dr Foley thinks he will be able to come here in two or three weeks.

The Coroner: I believe that since the explosion Burrows has lost two children, which of course must have greatly upset him.

The inquest was then adjourned for four weeks to February 11.


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