Bardsley Colliery Company's Pit Disaster

at Diamond Pit, 1858

This disaster occurred on Tuesday, 2 February 1858 in the Diamond Pit of the Bardsley Colliery Company, which was situated on Oldham Road (now Ashton Road), Ashton-under-Lyne (Oldham since 1954). The cause of the disaster was an explosion of fire damp ignited by shot firing. The proprietor of Bardsley Colliery Company at the time was Jonah Harrop (1799-1866) of Bardsley House, Bardsley.

The number of miners who lost their lives is quoted as being either 49 or 53, depending upon the source. Care was taken in compiling the roll given below but, because of conflicting records, strict accuracy cannot be guaranteed.

Each name in the roll is followed by the age and the death register references at Tameside Register Office, Dukinfield, (Knott Lanes Sub-District, 1858) and at the General Register Office (March Quarter 1858, Ashton).

National Archive Ref. HO 45/6608 dated 1858. Bardsley Colliery: Explosion of fire damp fired by a shot (‘HO’ refers to the Home Office).

A Primitive Methodist Sunday School was opened on nearby Keb Lane in October 1832 and a chapel was added in 1864. This chapel was mainly attended by mining families and a monument to the miners who were lost in the Bardsley Pit Disaster was erected inside it. This major disaster persuaded Samuel Oldham to gift the sum of £10,000 to found Ashton Infirmary (now Tameside Hospital) in 1861.

In 1844 Jonah Harrop partly financed the construction of Holy Trinity Church on behalf of the Church Commissioners and its site was a short distance to the north of Bardsley Colliery. The church was consecrated on the 10 October 1844 by the Bishop of Chester. On the 21 September 1852 the Lord Lieutenant of Lancashire commissioned Jonah Harrop as a Deputy Lieutenant.

Following Jonah Harrop’s death in 1866, Bardsley Colliery Company (Diamond and Victoria Pits) was sold to the Fairbottom Colliery Company who owned Wood Park Colliery a short distance to the north of Holy Trinity Church. Up to 20 July 1869 the proprietors of the Fairbottom Colliery Company (aka Messrs Lees & Booth) were John Lees, James Lees, Joseph Lees and George Edward Booth but on this day George Edward Booth stepped down as a proprietor. Members of the Lees family were also the principal proprietors/shareholders of the Chamber Colliery Company as well as being the owners of the nearby Park Bridge Iron Works.

ANDREW Jonah27KNO/7/228d 263
BARBER Joseph38KNO/7/188d 261
BENNETT Joseph Henry29KNO/7/128d 258
BOOTH Jonathan26KNO/7/228d 263
BRADBURY James17KNO/7/138d 258
BRIERLEY Forrester12KNO/7/128d 258
BRIERLEY John16KNO/7/128d 258
BUCKLEY Edward50KNO/7/218d 262
CLARKE John19KNO/7/168d 260
DAVIES Robert50KNO/7/198d 261
DUNN John12KNO/7/168d 260
EDWARDS Robert41KNO/7/218d 262
EVANS David23KNO/7/178d 260
GIBSON Thomas80KNO/7/208d 262
HALL Joseph23KNO/7/178d 260
HAMPTON Samuel18KNO/7/198d 261
HEWITT John19AST/35/91
HOWARD John17KNO/7/18
HYDE Robert26KNO/7/178d 260
IBBOTSON George17KNO/7/188d 261
IBBOTSON Ralph13KNO/7/188d 261
JONES Thomas31KNO/7/17
LEACH Samuel14KNO/7/198d 261
LEES Edward12KNO/7/168d 260
LEES Josiah Duncuft
(or Isaiah Duncuft)
74KNO/7/218d 262
LOMAS Joseph13KNO/7/128d 258
MATLEY Ralph16KNO/7/158d 259
MOORES William40KNO/7/208d 262
NEWTON Isaiah29KNO/7/158d 259
OGDEN Samuel28KNO/7/148d 259
PICKUP John26KNO/7/208d 262
QUARMBY William18KNO/7/158d 259
RIGBY Thomas18KNO/7/198d 261
ROBERTS John35KNO/7/138d 258
ROBINSON Thomas33KNO/7/13
SCHOFIELD John30KNO/7/168d 260
SHAW Thomas11KNO/7/198d 261
STAFFORD Thomas27KNO/7/138d 258
STEPNEY Samuel29KNO/7/208d 262
STRINGER James26KNO/7/148d 259
TAYLOR Edward12KNO/7/148d 259
TAYLOR James19KNO/7/188d 261
TAYLOR Joseph30KNO/7/148d 259
TAYLOR Samuel43KNO/7/148d 259
WARDLE Jonathan55KNO/7/128d 258
WHITTAKER Jonas23KNO/7/158d 259
WINTERBOTTOM James36KNO/7/168d 260
WOODALL Abraham15KNO/7/178d 260
WRIGHT Joseph39KNO/7/158d 259
YARDLEY Joseph10KNO/7/208d 262
YARDLEY William17KNO/7/138d 258