Llanerch colliery explosion, bringing home the dead, Wales, 1890.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Plate taken from the 'Illustrated London News'. The Ebbw Vale Co. sank the Llanerch in 1858 when it was originally called Cwmnantddu; this name was changed when it was leased to Partridge Jones & Co Ltd in 1887. This was one of a series of explosions: two accidents in 1869 prompted the inspector of mines to advise the mine owners to introduce closed safety lamps. A letter dated December 5th 1889 and signed by Edward Jones the managing director of the mine stated, 'At present we think the colliery is thoroughly well ventilated and safe to work with naked lights'. Just two months later, on 6 February 1890, 176 men and boys were killed in a massive gas explosion.