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19th Century History Industry

Methley Junction Explosion 1875

On Thursday, December 9th 1875 an explosion occurred in the mine workings belonging to Messrs. Henry Briggs, Son & Co. killing 5 men and 1 boy. (A brief report of the explosion and the names of those killed can be found in the book Methley 2000 by Jim Melvin).

Approximately 100 hundred years later a group of surveyors from Savile were travelling through the old Methley Junction workings and in the old pit bottom office came across the following poem of the explosion written on six sheets of old notepaper.

Reproduced here from a copy held by Peter Bell.

1 Pay attention people far and near                                                       2 It was at Methley Junction
I shall not detain you long                                                                           under Messrs Briggs and Co
Whilst in these few lines I do relate                                                           and it is the first explosion
to the old and young                                                                                      that we ever did there know
I am myself a miner                                                                                       On the ninth of December
and I am in duty bound                                                                                 The men rose in their bloom
to comment upon that explosion                                                                 they went to their daily toil
which happened underground.                                                                    not thinking of their doom.

3 At half past ten the roof fell down                                                        4  The longwall deputies
which deprived them of their lives                                                               quickly did volunteer
They have left their orphan children                                                            Not thinking of th e fierydamp
Likewise their weeping wives                                                                         which they had to fear
The worthy steward James Tupman                                                            With all speed they ran along
his name I cannot withold                                                                              they did not hesitate
He quickly ran into that place                                                                        Until they arrived within that place
with heart so brave and bold.                                                                         but alas they were too late.

5 Not one man they found alive                                                              6 Next I must comment upon the bank
I am sorry for to tell                                                                                      where people quickly ran
That cause of the explosion                                                                         Some lamenting for their fathers
Was the heavy roof that fell                                                                         their husbands or their sons
Life is uncertain but death is sure                                                              It was a painful sight to see
Sin is the wound but Christ is the cure                                                     The people ran with speed
The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh                                                        who had a friend in that shaft
Blessed be the name of the Lord.                                                               It made their poor hearts bleed.

7 There was a poor woman that could not run                                    8 Messrs Briggs and Co
She was too lame and old                                                                            A fund they did propose
Her only son was in that place                                                                   To subscribe for the widows
Its true so I am told                                                                                      To find them food and clothes
She is put upon the widows fund                                                               A miner in the meeting
although she were a wife boldly                                                                 stood up and said
I hope it will support her                                                                            We must gather for the widows
the remainder of her life.                                                                            Cause the poor men are dead.

9 If it should be opposed                                                                       10 This is the last verse I shall write
and should not be carried out                                                                    and in it I must say
The Union will support them                                                                     hope the souls of these poor men
Of that I am sure, there is no doubt                                                          to heaven went straight away
It is the best thing in the world                                                                  and there forever may they remain
and in it all men should be                                                                         with angels round the throne
It demands fairation in our land                                                               and meet wives and children there
and defies all poverty.                                                                                  with the happy home.