Mine Workers' Lives - health, illness and accidents
by Emma Bray
Banner Image: Workers at Greenside Mine in the early 20th century - Courtesy of Threlkeld Quarry and Mining Museum
Poor Living Conditions
The threat of an accident was ever-present and there were many, including at least 20 fatalities during the mine’s commercial life in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Accidents were caused by explosions, falling rock and from machinery. Examples include, Joseph Bowman, 21, who died of burns following an explosion of powder in 1835; Joseph Wilson, 30, who was killed by an explosion of shot in 1848, leaving a wife and four children; and Thomas Pollock, 44, who fell down a shaft in 1891. The largest single loss of life occurred in 1952 when an electrical fault caused a fire. George Gibson, 33, Richard Mallinson, 35, John Miller, 28 and Leo Mulryan 40 all died, probably from carbon monoxide poisoning. Douglas Hodgson, 20, had both legs severed when his feet were caught during the rescue operation.