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Worsdale Mine in Yorkshire owned by Lord Greenbarugh employed 350 men, women, boys and girls some as young as 7 years of age.
The mine only some 240 yards deep, being entirely lit by candles was not considered dangerous because it was well ventilated naturally by air being drawn into the mine through number ‘2’ shaft which had no headgear and was situated on the hill 500yards from the main number ‘1’ shaft.
The miners were lowered underground by means of a cage suspended by ropes over the headgear and powered by a horse gin.

At the time of the disaster there were approximately 150 workers underground.

It was in the afternoon, a little after midday; when a tremendous noise, saw a discharge come out of the pit shaft like a cannon; it continued for a quarter of an hour, discharging everything from the bottom of the pit; wood, stones, hay that was used as fodder for the ponies, the cage blasted into the wooden headgear and all around the pit was in a terrible state; when the discharge ceased, the atmosphere was filled with thick smoke and choking coal dust.

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