Grace's Guide To British Industrial History

Registered UK Charity (No. 115342)

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 149,525 pages of information and 235,436 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 147,919 pages of information and 233,587 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

West of England Cement Co

From Graces Guide

of Dunball, Bridgwater, Somerset

1860 'BOILER EXPLOSION AT DUNBALL.
A boiler explosion of a very serious nature occurred on Wednesday morning last at the West of England Cement Works, Dunball.
The machinery of that establishment is worked by two boilers, of 24 horse power, erected outside the warehouse and mills. The steam was got up as normal on Wednesday and everything went on well until just after the men returned from breakafast. The engineer, a young man named Singleton, at nine o'clock was in the act of oiling a portion of the machinery preparatory to starting the engine, when the boiler nearest the engine-house exploded with a fearful crash, scattering destruction around.
The heavy boiler was lifted from its bed on to its side, its back blown out, a large strip torn out of its side from top to bottom, and hurled over an adjoining building some fifty yards. The nearest wall, the roof of the engine room, and the wall of a shed were blown down; and the bricks and debris debris thrown into the air fell through the roofs of the warehouse and mill, positively riddling the slates.
The engineer's life was saved in a most extraodinary manner. The force of the explosion knocked down the wall and roof of the room in which he stood, and the bricks, slates and mortar fell on and over him. He was badly bruised, but luckily no bones were broken. The steam scalded the left side of his body and his left leg severely, and he would assuredly have been scalded to death but for the protection afforded him by the wall and roof which had partly covered his person. He says that the hot water was cast in a different direction, away from him, and that, on recovering from the shock, he thrust his arm through the bricks above him, in order to relieve a choking sensation, when the steam was powerful enough to scald his fingers.
The other eight or nine men employed in the mills were uninjured. Singleton was rescued from his perilous situation by his fellow-workers, as soon as possible: he has since been under the care of Mr. John Parsons, and is in a fair way of recovery.
The boiler had been in use between six and seven years, and was repaired by the workmen of Messrs. Hennet, Spink, and Else, some three weeks back. It was fixed against the side of the hill, and subsequent examination of the fragments proves that the plates next to the hill had given way in consequence of corrosion caused by the dripping of water down the hill at the back the boiler. The other portions of the boiler were examined when the repairs were effected but the back could not be inspected without removing the boiler, and that was not done.' [1]

See Also

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Sources of Information

  1. Bridgwater Mercury - Wednesday 31 October 1860