Thursday 21st January 1937 at 2.45 pm an explosion happened at the end of the day shift as the men were changing over with the afternoon shift. A flame escaped from a faulty machine plate on the coal cutting machine, a build up of gas was ignited causing an explosion of coal dust. Seven men were killed at the scene and two men died later in hospital. Four men were seriously injured. The accident happened in the Black Shale seam which was the deepest part of the pit and the furthest away from the pit bottom about one and a half miles. (The nine men who died have all now been commemorated as part of the Walking Together project.)
The men on the night shift went to work as usual on Monday 9th May 1938 not knowing that by the end of that ill fated shift more than two thirds of them would be dead or seriously injured. At 5.30 am the shift was coming to an end, some of the men had already started to make their way back to the pit bottom. Again this was the Black Shale seam which was the scene of an explosion the previous year, the deepest and the farthest away from the pit bottom some one and a half miles. In the pit yard the men on the day shift were arriving ready to start work at 6am. Suddenly, underground, a tremendous draft got up followed by a terrific bang. Black coal dust and smoke filled the pit and a wall of fire swept through the seam. There had been an explosion of gas at the coal face. Some tubs carrying coal ran out of control and smashed into an electric joint box in the roadway causing sparks which ignited the coal dust.
79 men were killed and 40 men were injured. Most of the men were married with young children. All 79 men were buried on Saturday, 14th May in 13 cemeteries throughout the area. (The men who died have all now been commemorated as part of the Walking Together project.)
On Monday 30th July 1973 a terrible disaster happened when the cage carrying the miners underground in the No3 or 'Shonky shaft' into the pit failed to stop. It was the start of the day shift and by 6.20am 105 miners had already been lowered into the pit. The cage carrying 15 men on the top deck and 14 men on the lower deck began its uncontrolled descent. Sparks were seen coming from the brake cylinder by the engine winder who then slammed on the emergency stop button. Nothing happened and the cage crashed down to the bottom of the pit some 1320 feet below ground. The ascending cage crashed through the winding house roof. 13 men died at the scene and another 5 men died later in hospital. The other 11 men in the cage and one rescue worker were very seriously injured and were taken to hospital at Chesterfield.
The Terrible Accident Caused by an Explosion in the Blackshale Seam of Markham No1 Colliery on the 10th May, 1938.
Number One colliery, a second explosion at the colliery after a tub train accident damaged a power cable, seventy nine lives lost and thirty eight injured.
*CO: Carbon monoxide
Name. Address. Age. Occupation. Cause of Death.
Alberry, Henry 6, Clowne Road, Stanfree 46 Contractor CO poisoning
Allen,Jas. 151, Arkwright Town, Duckmanton 25 Contractor CO poisoning and violence
Atkin, Leonard High Street, Barlborough 53 Contractor CO poisoning, violence, burns
Bann, David, 8, Shuttleworth Road, Bolsover 54 Contractor CO poisoning
Bell, Albert 4, Victoria Avenue, Staveley 33 Road Layer CO poisoning, violence, burns
Bluer, Walter 63, Poolsbrook Road, Duckmanton 41 Ripper CO poisoning
Bown, Charles Romiley Cotts., Barlborough 27 Contractor CO poisoning, violence, burns
Bradford, John Henry 16, North Crescent, Duckmanton 46 Ripper CO poisoning and burns
Bray, Arnold 30, The View, Poolsbrook 34 Ripper CO poisoning and burns
Bray, Samuel 8, Hartington Cotts,Staveley 20 Haulage hand CO poisoning and burns
Brough, Herbert 41, South Crescent, Duckmanton 63 Shot-firer CO poisoning and burns
Brown, Arthur 56, Poolsbrook Road,Duckmanton 18 Pony Driver (Died in 'Hospital)
Brown, John Thomas 29, Orchard Row, Carr Vale 26 Timber Drawer CO poisoning
Buckley, Cyril 20, Welbeck Road, Bolsover 40 Contractor CO poisoning, violence and burns
Carter, Arthur 7, North Crescent, Duckmanton 40 Deputy CO poisoning and burns
Commons, John William 91, Circular Road, Staveley 33 Contractor CO poisoning, violence and burns
Cowley, George Pretoria Street, Shuttlewood 38 Contractor CO poisoning
Davidson, George 26, Council Houses, Barlborough 51 Contractor CO poisoning
Frost, Walter Jas., 1, The View, Poolsbrook 47 Contractor CO poisoning and violence
Furness, Alfred 6, Cavendish Street, Staveley. 39 Road Man CO poisoning and burns