The Witton Explosions of 1870
Having recently subscribed to the National Archives Newspaper site, I was searching for a related topic and came across a report in the Birmingham Daily Post, from 14th December 1870, concerning the explosion that occurred on the 9th of December of that year, at Ludlow’s Ammunition Factory, Witton, Birmingham. My late mother, who had been born in Witton in 1918 ,had mentioned that her grand father had spoke about it, and therefore I read the account.
The account reported the continuing inquest into the dead, and also the internment at Witton Cemetery of the 17 who had died instantly at the Factory.
Two things caught my interest and are leading me to search in the Newspapers of the time for further information. The first was that the benevolent owners of the adjacent factory of Kynoch’s (see Notes 1 and 2) had granted an extension of their workers dinner time in order that their hands might attend the funeral. It had only been three weeks previously that an explosion had occurred on their site, known as the Lion Works (see Note 3), killing eight people and injuring twenty. Many employees working at these factories were women and children as young as ten years old.
My second thought was how the press would report the events, and how the inquires into the events would proceed in the light of the current Leveson Inquiry into the Culture, Practices and Ethics of our modern Press.
I am drawing information mainly from the Birmingham Daily Post, who give great detail, but due to copyright the actual reports cannot be reproduced. The accounts can be accessed for a charge on their site.
I thought it may be of interest to share my findings over a period of time, and anyone can comment below the entry.
1 The best history of Kynoch that I can be find is on the Staffs Home Guard website...
2 George Kynoch...Grace's Guide to British Industrial History...
3 Map of the Lion Works 1890...