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British Industrial History

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Jonathan Blundell and Son

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1876. From Worrall’s Directory of Warrington, Wigan etc.

Jonathan Blundell and Son of Pemberton, near Wigan, Lancashire

Presumably the same as J. Blundell and Son

1844 'Awful Boiler Explosion, and Loss of Life.
About half-past eight o'clock on Monday morning last an alarming accident occurred in the Mesnes, Wigan, by the explosion of one of two large circular boilers in connexion with the engine "Irish Jemmy," at the cannel works of Messrs. Jonathan Blundell and Sons, and two persons, a man and boy, were so severely hurt, that they died during the following night. The boiler blown up on Monday is the same that exploded a few months since; at that time, we understand, it was in a very bad condition. Fortunately no lives were then lost, although a man obtained some serious injuries. The boiler afterwards underwent a thorough repair - nearly the whole of the old plates were removed, and it was then replaced in its former situation. At the hour stated on Monday morning the explosion was heard, and at the same moment a dense cloud of steam, dust and smoke was observed in the air, together with the boiler torn into several pieces, and a large quantity of bricks, piping, and other materials, which were scattered in the Mesnes and on the pit bank, in the adjacent footpath and in the adjoining field. Some portions of the boiler were carried to a distance of fifty yards, and a large piece of piping upwards of seventy yards from the engine ; the latter fell on an end, and is so firmly embedded in the ground that it will require extra labour to remove it. On search being made, it was discovered that a "trowman," Thomas Worthington, from Pemberton, and a boy, seven years of age, named Michael Ashcroft, were very seriously injured; both of them were dreadfully scalded, their bodies much bruised and lacerated, and one of Worthington's arms fractured. The man was conveyed to the surgery of Mr. Fisher, and the boy to Mr. Daglish, where they were immediately attended to. Worthington was afterwards taken to his home in Pemberton, and the boy to the house of his father, a collier, in Clayton-street, Wigan. The surgeons gave no hopes of a recovery in either case ; and they both died before morning. Another trowman and the engineer escaped unhurt ; the latter, at the time of the accident, was, as he says, "fettling a joint at the hot- water pump," and his preservation must be attributed to the peculiarity of his situation beneath the masonry. He has only been engaged in his present situation about a veek. The engine is much injured, the parallel suction, pump, and piston rods, are considerably twisted; and the spring beams and columns broken. Jabez Sherratt, the engineer then on duty, commenced working about an hour previous to the accident; he gives no cause whatever for it, nor any satisfactory answers to questions that might lead to its discovery. It is the general opinion of all practial men who have made inquiries on the subject, that the explosion must have been the result of gross negligence on the part of the managers of the engine and boilers; the one which exploded was in the most perfect repair, but the other leaks, being much worn in sevesal places. An inquest on the boy, summoned by Mr. Rogerson, at the house of Mr. John Acton, Hen and Chickens Inn, Millgate, was held on Wednesday evening, and adjourned, for further evidence, until yesterday (Friday) evening, at six o'clock. There was a disposition on the part of the jury to make the fullest investigation into the cause of the accident. The night engineer, Richard Forshaw, could not be be found on Wednesday, and a summons would be issued for his attendance last evening. An inquest on Worthington would be summonkd btfore the county coroner, at Pemberton.'[1]

Reputed to have built a railway locomotive

1900 Became the Pemberton Colliery

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. Manchester Times, 10 August 1844
  • British Steam Locomotive Builders by James W. Lowe. Published in 1975. ISBN 0-905100-816