The Library of Nineteenth-Century Photography

Rescued coal miners

Rescued coal miners

Some of the colliers rescued after the gas explosion in No. 1 pit at Ferndale in the Rhondda Valley on 8 November 1867. The accident claimed the lives of 178 miners.

From The Times (12 November 1867):

‘The operations for the rescue of the men still alive and the recovery of the bodies buried in the Ferndale colliery were continued uninterruptedly all last night, and to some extent with gratifying results. About 9 o’clock one of the men, under the direction of Mr. Curnew, thought he heard a groan close by, and upon that the whole party, who were working in complete darkness, agreed to rest a few moments. They sat down and remained silent, and in the course of a few moments another grown was head close beside them. One of them asked where the voice came from, and having been answered, proceeded to the spot on hands and knees, and found a young man of about 24 years of age lying in the airway. He was immediately removed and taken out, but was so stupefied by his long confinement that he could give no information beyond this – that until about three hours before his rescue he was followed by another man, but since then he had not heard him. A mining engineer who went down today thought that, with the utmost expedition, it would be impossible to get at the 29 men who are on the east level until midnight tonight.’

Photographed by William and Daniel Downey of Newcastle and London.


Code: 122945
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