trunk pipe, conveying steam across the canal to the size works
beyond, was broken down, and fell into the canal, as did also
a large wall, and much other material, completely stopping the
navigation. The twisting-in place was entirely demolished. The
machine shop had most of its windows smashed, as had also the
engine house, and the surrounding buildings. Such a scene of devastation
has rarely been witnessed, in fact, everything was smashed and
torn with the mighty force of the explosion, and all buildings
in the neighbourhood of the boiler were razed to the ground, with
the exception of the machine shop above referred to.
more than a mile the report of the explosion was heard, and its
situation was sufficiently indicated by the cloud of steam, smoke,
and debris that was thrown up, to guide people to the place. The
news spread like wildfire, and in a very few minutes hundreds
of the relatives and friends of those who worked for Messrs. Lord
rushed to the spot. The scene at this moment was of the most agonising
character. Fathers and mothers, sisters and brothers, sons and
daughters, were making frantic efforts to ascertain if any harm
had come to those they held most dear; and as it was at the time
almost impossible to furnish any information, their suspense was
dreadful. As soon as the steam had to some extent cleared away,
it was found that a new danger was threatening. From the furnaces
of the boilers red-hot cinders were being thrown in all directions,
and it was feared that a disastrous fire would follow the explosion.
Lord's fire engine was at once brought into requisition, and by
means of this, and the ready aid of the bystanders, all danger
from this source was soon averted. And it was a most fortunate
circumstance that such was the case, for in the warehouse there
were stowed many thousands of pounds worth of finished pieces,
and had these caught fire it would scarcely have been possible
to save any portion of the manufacturing premises.
first thing set about was the recovery of the bodies of those
killed, and the removal of the injured. It was soon ascertained
that several persons were missing, and it is known that during
meal times the little engine house at the back of the boilers
was a general rendezvous, the most grave consequences were feared
in that direction, as one portion of the exploded boiler had been
forced in that direction, half-way along the basement storey of
the machine shop, demolishing in its course the little engine
house above referred to, and also destroying much valuable machinery.
To this point the attention of the searchers was therefore directed,
and the worst fears of those who suggested this were soon realised;
for in about an hour, four dead bodies were dug out of the mass
the meantime many people, who were severely injured, were got
out of the ruins. Several of these had fractured limbs, were tortured
with burns and scalds, or otherwise maimed. One poor fellow, named
James Sutcliffe of Oldroyd, had sustained terrible injuries. His
head was fearfully crushed, and the brain protruded; and the unfortunate
man was so delirious that it required two or three men to hold
him down. He was removed to a house in Canal Street, and surgical
assistance was at once rendered by Mr. Cockcroft, who, with Mr.
Foster, Mr. Thorp, Mr. Handley, Mr. Thompson, and Mr. Allen, surgeons,
was on the spot in a few minutes after the explosion. In the same
house was another sufferer, a youth names Willie Barker, son of
Mr. William Barker, of Lane-top near Cross Stone, who was severely
scalded about the legs, and much bruised about the head.
man named Richard Clegg, a boiler maker, of Stonewood, who was
known to have been in the boiler-house a few minutes before the
explosion, was missed, and although and active search for his
body was commenced, and continued all Thursday night and yesterday,
no trace of his body had been found, and it was supposed that
he had been blown into the canal, and his body there buried at
the bottom by the mass of debris that fell into the water.
soon as the dead and injured had been removed, there was time
to look at and contemplate upon the wreck and devastation that
had been wrought by the sudden letting loose of a power which
had hitherto assisted to work the whole of the machinery in the
mill, shed, and other buildings. Of the three tubular boilers,
one of which had not been in use at the time of the explosion,
one had entirely disappeared from the place in which it had been.
One half of it had, as before stated, been forced half-way into
the basement storey of the machine shop, and it is a great wonder
that it did not bring down the whole building. Had the shop been
of stone or brick, its wreck would doubtless have been the result.
As it was every bit of glass at the end nearest the boilers was
blown out, as was also much of that at the sides of the building.
The other boilers were lifted from their seats, and lay side by
side with their ends over the towing path of the canal.
tube boiler was smashed to pieces, as were also the Juckes's furnaces
with which they had been fed. The twisting in room was a mass
of ruins; the end of the warehouse looked as if it had been subjected
to the action of a severe earthquake. The windows of the engine
house were blown out, as were also those of all the adjoining
premises, and of the size place on the opposite side of the canal.
In fact, the scene of devastation presented baffles description.
the top of the engine-house there was a large cistern full of
water. Against the end of this a heavy stone was hurled, smashing
the ironwork, and letting out all the water. The
roof of the machine shop, which is over 50 yards long by 30 wide,
also consisted of a water cistern. A heavy perforated pipe, part
of a pump connected with the boilers, was sent into the air like
a rocket, and, falling down into this cistern, pierced the bottom,
and let out all the water on to the very valuable machinery and
tools below, running from floor to floor to the basement. A heavy
weight, belonging to one of the safety valves, was projected,
as if out of a mortar, and at about 150 yards distance, fell through
the roof of the shed, doing considerable damage to the looms underneath.
of boiler-plate, bricks, stones, slates, glass, and other articles
were sent as high as 50 yards, and then showered down in all directions,
some being found in the fields on the opposite side of the turnpike
road, whilst far up the hill on the other hand the ground was
littered with them. In fact some stones, bricks, and pieces of
iron were sent to very great distances, and many persons had narrow
escapes, whilst some were struck by the projectiles. A woman at
Fair View, over 200 yards from the scene of the explosion, was
struck in the thigh with a brick. The towing path of the canal
was piled up with stones and broken machinery, and at the mills
of Messrs. Firth and Haworth, many squares of glass were broken.
On the opposite side of the canal the roof of the size place and
other buildings were much damaged and nearly all the windows broken.
The chimney, 35 yards high, which is situated beside the machine
shop, was not damaged, but from the bottom to the extreme top,
it is battered with stones and iron and bricks, as if it had been
made a target for a long time.
what had become of the other portion of the exploded boiler? Well,
a large portion of it, nearly a ton in weight, was flattened against
a retaining wall in Baltimore Road. It had been sent across the
canal, over the roof of the size house, a distance of 150 yards,
and gone against the wall with such force, as actually to split
one of the plates, and roll it up like a sheet of pasteboard.
a field further still up the hillside was a portion of one of
the flues, two or three pieces of thick piping, and other pieces
of iron; whilst all about were long iron bars and other material
that had evidently formed part of the roof of the boiler house.
force of the explosion seemed to have been diverted in several
directions, and the projectiles were forced about in the most
erratic manner. Thus another large portion of the boiler was found
embedded in the ground, three or four hundred yards from the former
one, and this latter seemed to furnish a clue to the cause of
the portion that was in the machine shop, and that against the
wall in Baltimore Road, although twisted and distorted in all
imaginable ways, showed no signs of weakness in any of their parts,
this latter one did. At one side it was worn down to the thickness
of an old penny, evidently by internal corrosion; and there is
little doubt that this was the point of the first fracture. This,
however, is a point that may be difficult to prove, as the boiler
is torn up into so very many pieces.
perhaps, was seen a more appalling site than that at Canal Works
on Thursday afternoon, and it will be many years ere those who
witnessed the explosion and its results will have the recollection
of it effaced from their memories. Of hairbreadth escapes there
were numbers. Several people were on the Baltimore Road when the
piece of boiler, piping, bars of iron etc., were forced there,
and many of these things actually passed over the heads of men,
women and children who were returning from dinner at the time.
It is almost appalling to think what would have been the disastrous
results of the explosion had it occurred ten minutes later, as
then the whole of the workforce would have been in the mill, and
the loss of life perhaps 30 fold what it already is.
man named William Dewhirst, who resides in the Fields at Heptonstall
received severe injuries, and had a very narrow escape from being
killed. He was walking on the canal bank near Messrs Lord's premises
when the explosion took place. He had fortunately got past the
works, but he was knocked down by a shower of stones and glass,
and severely cut about the head and face, and rendered insensible
for some time. A person who had observed what took place ran for
assistance, and the poor fellow was removed to an adjoining cottage.
Where he received proper treatment and afterwards was sent home
in a cab.
of the people in the works, in their first fright, ran about in
terror to escape from the premises. Many jumped out of the windows
and doorways sustaining considerable injury thereby; while others
jumped down whole flights of stairs at a single bound. Outside
the premises women were rushing about in a most frantic manner,
anguishing as to their relatives and friends.
search for the missing man Clegg was continued until a very late
hour, the proceedings of the searchers being watched with the
keenest anxiety by as many people as could command a view of the
spot. Major Ormesby, superintendent of police, was on the spot
soon after the explosion, and with a considerable force of men,
rendered good service in keeping people from impeding the efforts
of the workpeople or running themselves into danger. Mr Ormesby
also telegraphed to the Yorkshire Boiler Insurance Company, at
Bradford, for one of their inspectors; and Mr. John Waugh, the
engineer of the company arrived at Todmorden during the evening,
and then on the following day made a careful inspection of the
pieces of the exploded boiler.
morning the canal was cleared sufficiently to allow of the resumption
of the navigation; and the two boilers that blocked the towing
path were also moved back towards their original place.
boiler that exploded was 28ft long by 6ft 6" in diameter.
It was made of 7-16th
plates double riveted. The firing was external, but there were
two return flues. It was constructed in 1864 by Messrs Backley
of Todmorden, and was known as a Lancashire boiler. Messrs Lord's
themselves are practical men in the iron trade, and we understand
that every care has been taken to secure the safety of their boilers.
The engine-tenter and stoker were, fortunately for themselves,
away from the boiler-house at the time of the explosion having
been to dinner; but the engine-tenter had been to the boilers
a few minutes before, and ascertained that the steam was alright
for starting the engine, which he was just about to do when the
boiler blew up. The boiler was working at about a pressure of
64 lbs to the square inch, the maximum pressure being 68 lbs.
following is a list of the killed and wounded, so far as we could
ascertain last night.
foreman millwright of Omega Street aged about 50 years, married
with a family of four children.
fluter, Wood Bottom, Walsden, about 17 years of age.
labourer, Shade, aged 45 years, married with five children
twister in of Millwood, aged 24 years, married but no children
Canal Yard, warehouseman, died yesterday morning from injuries
boiler maker of Stoneswood, Dulesgate - missing
turner of Crescent badly injured
of Fairview, twister-in head cut and other slighter injuries
of Woodhouse, severe injuries in various parts
weaver of Oldroyd very badly injured about the head and face.
(He died later in hospital)
of Lane Top, scalded on the legs
of Swineshead, back injured
of Canal Street injured in the ribs
of Longfield, leg broken
of Butcher Hill, fractured arm
of East Street, head injured
turner of Cross Street, contused head, right arm and leg broken
of Roomfield Lane, one leg broken
weaver of Hope Street, severely scalded
of Longfield, scalded badly on one side
Longfield, injury to body
of Pleasant View, head injured
died at an early hour yesterday morning; and it was also reported
that Henry Robinson and James Sutcliffe, whose injuries were of
a most serious nature had died during the night. This, however,
did not prove true; and they were living when our reporter left
Todmorden last night.
damage to the property is variously estimated at from £8,000
opened yesterday afternoon at the Rope and Anchor Inn, Halifax
Road, before Mr. Bairstow, coroner. Mr. A. G. Eastwoods, solicitor
watched the enquiry on behalf of the engineer and stoker; Mr.
W. Bawden, assistant engineer for the Boiler Insurance and Steam
Power Company Limited, Manchester and Mr. Thomas Lord, relative
of the firm, and Major Ormesby were also present. The following
were on the jury:-
F. Rodley of Wellington Road, foreman
Henry Farrar of Water Street
S. W. W. Lord of Water Street
E. Barker of North Street
J. Hollinrake of Water Street
J. Uttley of Strand
E. Langstreth of North Street
J.R. Blacker of Toadcarr
J. Gibson of County Bridge
James Suthers of Water Street
Wilson Riley of Water Street
Lewis Lumb of York Street
E. Fairbourn of Water Street
T. Taylor of Odd Fellows Hall
R. Gibson of Calder Street
W. Holden of Union Street.
Coroner expressed his very deep regret at the circumstances that
had caused the enquiry for which the jury had been summoned. The
matter was one that would require their very serious and careful
consideration and investigation. That could not be done that day
for several reasons, the most important of which was that for
at least a week no reliable scientific evidence would be forthcoming.
complimented Major Ormesby for his promptitude in getting a scientific
gentleman from Bradford to examine the place, the Coroner said
all they could do would be to view the bodies, then take evidence
of identity and adjourn.
the jury had viewed the bodies - Hannah Hiley was the 1st witness.
She said she saw her husband that day the first time after the
accident had happened. Her husband's name was George, and he was
38 years of age. They lived in Shade Street. He was a "stretcher"
at Messrs. Lord's. She last saw him alive on Thursday morning
at half past five, when he left home to go to his work. At that
time he was quite well and hearty.
Livesey said he had lived at Omega Street, and he was a mechanic
at Messrs. Lord's. The deceased William Livesay was his father.
He saw the body the previous night for the 4th time since the
explosion occurred. Witness's father was 48 years of age last
July, and was a foreman millwright at Messrs. Lord's. At ten minutes
to one, or half an hour before the explosion his father was alive
Greenwood, wife of the deceased Thomas Greenwood, said she lived
at Mill Wood, and she last saw her husband, who was 24 years of
age that morning. He was a twister, and left home for his work
at Messrs. Lord's at dinner time the previous day about five or
ten minutes past one o'clock.
witness Livesey also gave evidence of the identity of Crowther's
body in the absence of the father. Crowther was a fluter and lived
at Wood Bottom, Walsden. Witness saw him alive about ten o'clock
the previous morning.
Henry Hodgins, brother of Smith Hodgins, deceased, who resides
in Canal Yard, said the body lying at home was that of his brother,
who was 17 years of age, and warehouseman in the cotton department.
Deceased died in the presence of the witness and others at about
12 o'clock the previous night. When he was taken home on Thursday
afternoon he said that Thomas Judson and he were talking when
the explosion took place; but could not recollect anything more.
inquest was then adjourned until Monday week at half past ten
in the morning.
Late Explosion - 7th death
Monday Mr. Barstow, coroner, held an inquest on the body of Richard
Clegg, whose body had been recovered from the canal. His wife
identified the remains. She last saw him alive on Thursday, when
she took him his dinner. He was 32 years of age. The inquest was
adjourned to Monday next.
Wednesday a seventh death occurred, that of James Sutcliffe of
Oldroyd. Several of the deceased have already been buried, Hiley
and Hodgins were members of the Todmorden Brass Band, and members
of the band attended their funerals. Hiley was buried on Tuesday
and Hodgins on Wednesday. Large numbers of people assembled on
the way to the churches. Several others are not expected to survive.
The inquest on Sutcliffe was opened by Mr. Bairstow on Thursday
and adjourned until Monday next, along with the one on those killed
at the time of the explosion.
Boiler Explosion - Adjourned Inquest
Monday, the adjourned inquiry into the consequences of the recent
boiler explosion at the works of Messrs. Lord Brothers, by which
seven persons were killed and many injured, was held at the Rope
and Anchor Inn, Todmorden, before Mr. W. Bairstow, coroner.
names of the deceased were: George Hiley, William Livesey, Thomas
Greenwood, Thomas Crowther, Smith Hodgins, Richard Clegg, and
T. W. Eastwood, solicitor appeared on behalf of Messrs. Lord Brothers,
and the .. Mr.
Waugh, of the Yorkshire Steam Users Association, and Major Ormesby,
of the county constabulary were also present.
F. Nash, the 1st witness, said he was a surgeon practising at
Todmorden. He attended Smith Hodgins, one of the deceased, whose
death was caused by scalding. He was scalded on the forehead,
neck, both arms, thighs, and back. The shock to the system was
the cause of death.
Crosby, of Union Street South, said he was a planer, in the employ
of Messrs. Lord Brothers, machinists etc. of Todmorden. When the
explosion took place he was at the lower end of the shed in the
switch room. It was about 23 minutes past one o'clock on the 21st
of January, when he heard a noise, after which a great quantity
of steam and other stuff came into the shed. He ran out into Baltimore
Road and on to the bridge, from which he saw one of the boilers
hanging over the canal. He could see that there had been an explosion.
then went to look for his lads, who worked in the weaving shed,
and afterwards he went to help with the fire engine, lest a fire
should break out. He assisted in searching for the missing men.
The first they found was William Livesey, whose body was amongst
the stones and iron near the bottom of the chimney. Livesey was
quite dead. They next found Thomas Crowther, who was just behind
Livesey, but he was not quite dead. The next was George Hiley,
who was dead. He saw those three men at their work in the morning,
but not after dinner. He had nothing to do with the boilers. He
was in the habit of going into the boilerhouse occasionally.
Heyworth, Roomfield Lane, a mechanic, employed at Messrs. Lord
Brothers, said he was present when the deceased Livesey, Crowther,
and Hiley were found. What the last witness had stated was correct.
When the explosion occurred witness was at by the side of his
vice in the same room as Crossley. He heard a rumbling noise and
felt the building shake, and then they all ran out. The three
men named all worked in the bottom room of the iron building.
Hazeltine, labourer, said he was in the dining room near the pipe
boiler at the time of the explosion, which occurred about a minute
before setting on time. Several other men were standing by his
side. They were chatting together, when he heard a noise resembling
that made by a peal of thunder, and at the same time something
came against the ceiling. They were all thrown upon their faces.
He got up, crawled over the other men, and ran into the street.
On looking back he saw that the boiler house wall was blown down.
He went back into the works, and on entering the boiler house
heard a groan. He assisted in getting Thomas Greenwood out of
the debris; his body was under the big door in Canal Street. Greenwood
was not quite dead.
were three large boilers, and also a pipe boiler that exploded.
At 25 minutes past one o'clock he went into the boiler house and
saw Pemberton draw the damper, cover the fire, and put down the
door of the boiler which exploded. Witness had been working in
the boiler house all morning at the boiler nearest the canal.
The boiler men were repairing it, and he was removing some brickwork
so that the boiler men could get at it. The boiler men were Richard
Clegg and Mansley Hirst . They had been putting new pieces into
it. It had been standing many weeks, but was nearly finished,
and was intended to be brought into use on the following Monday.
the Saturday morning he began to look for Clegg . He was standing
with his head against a box used for steaming weft. There was
no weight upon him. Greenwood and Sutcliffe were found a few minutes
after the explosion. He did not notice what pressure of steam
there was on when Pemberton drew the dampers. He had been in the
employ of Messrs. Lord Brothers for nine or ten years. All the
boilers were not put in at once, but from time to time. The pipe
boiler had been in for about two years, and before that time the
three big boilers were all worked at once. Since the pipe boiler
was put in, only two of the large boilers were worked at a time.
The exploded boiler had never had any repairs done to it except
once, when a crack was discovered in the front of it, and a piece
was then put in. He should have known if any other repairs had
been done to it.
Coroner:- Are you able to swear that was the only repair that
was done to it?
I don't know of any other repairs.
Coroner:- Will you swear there was no other repair done to it?
No: but I am not aware that anything has been done to it in the
way of repairs for the last two years.
reply to Mr. D.W. Eastwood, who appeared to watch the proceedings
on behalf of Mr. Woodhead, the engineer employed at the works
of Messrs. Lord Brothers, witness said that Woodhead was always
very particular as to the way in which the boilers were repaired.
When any one of the boilers needed repair, it was stopped, and
by having the extra boiler the works could be kept going. What
he saw Pemberton do when he went into the boiler house at 1.25
was only what he usually did at that time, and it was usual for
the steam to blow off just before setting on. The valves were
weighted for 64lbs.
had often cautioned Mills and Pemberton about steam blowing off.
He was very particular about such things. Witness had known Richard
Clegg for many years; he was a practical boilermaker.
the Coroner:- Woodhead constantly complained about the steam blowing
off, remarking that it was a waste of steam. He made it a practice
to start the engine at the lower factory himself. Mills started
the other one.
C.W. Thorpe, surgeon, Todmorden, gave evidence as to the nature
of the injuries sustained by Hiley, Livesey, Greenwood, Crowther,
and Clegg; and Mr. Cockcroft, described those sustained by James
Sutcliffe who died last Wednesday.
Pemberton said he was a steam-tenter, employed at the works of
Messrs. Lord Brothers, and was going into the dining room at the
time the explosion took place on the 21st ultimo. About a minute
before the explosion happened he covered up the fires of both
boilers, and put down the furnace doors. Mills had gone into the
engine house. He noticed what the pressure of steam was when he
covered up the fires, it was 64lbs. It was usual to keep the pressure
between 60 lbs and 64lbs. They had never had any trouble with
the boiler that exploded - at least he never had had any, and
he never heard any complaints regarding it since he started work
at the place. That was in May, and since that time the boiler
had worked satisfactorily.
Mr. Eastwood:- He had been inside the boiler that exploded about
eight times for the purpose of cleaning it, and never noticed
anything the matter with it, nor did he ever hear anything said
to the effect that it was unsafe. Clegg, who was the boilermaker,
never gave him to understand that any of the boilers were unsafe
except the one adjoining the canal bank. This boiler was then
repaired and made all right. When Clegg said it was unsafe, witness
understood him to mean that it wanted repairs, and the repairs
were done to it. Two plates and a half were taken out of it, and
new ones put in, after which witness heard Clegg say that they
had made a good job of it.
Mills, engineer, said he was in the employ of Messrs. Lord Brothers,
and had charge of the engines and the boilers. He and Pemberton
did the firing up of the boilers. He was in the engine house when
the explosion took place. Just before the explosion he looked
at the water gauge and found it all right. The steam-gauge of
each of the boilers at this time indicated a pressure of a little
under 60 lbs Witness received his orders from Woodhead only. The
boiler that exploded was repaired about 17 months ago, when some
plates were put on it, and he believed these were the only patches
on it. It was found to leak a little, and on the witness reporting
this fact to Woodhead, he had the fire and water taken out of
it, and examined it, after which he sent for a man at Bacup who
came over and repaired it. It had worked well ever since. It was
only his duty to go inside the boiler once a month; he had been
into it at least fifteen times and had never noticed anything
wrong with it.
Hirst, boilermaker in the employ of Messrs. Lord Brothers, said
that he was in the habit of repairing the boilers. On the 21st
January he was engaged in repairing the boiler that was nearest
the canal. He did not notice that anything was wrong with the
boiler that exploded.
Woodhead, millwright and engineer, said that he had charge and
superintendence of the engines and boilers at Messrs. Lord Brothers.
At the time the explosion took place he was at Stackhills Mill,
another mill belonging to the firm - which he was in the habit
of starting every day at 1.30. He had not been in the boiler house
of the other mill, the one in which the explosion took place since
eleven o'clock that morning. Everything seemed to be right at
that time. The pressure of the steam was about 64lbs, and the
safety valves (Hawkins's) were set at 64lbs. The exploded boiler
was repaired I July 1873 by a man named Williams from Bacup. The
boiler leaked and it was necessary to put a patch on it. It was
again repaired in May 1874, by Richard Clegg and Mansley Hirst.
These were the only repairs done to it. He never had any doubt
as to the safety of this boiler. He had been in the employ of
Messrs. Lord Brothers for 21 years, and was there when the boilers
came. That was in August 1868.
were made by Messrs Buckley of Gauxholme. About two and a half
years ago, a man named Whittaker, foreman to Messrs. Clegg, boilermakers
of Heywood examined the boilers on a Saturday evening, at witness's
request. Whittaker subsequently sent to the firm a report of his
observations, in which he advised that all the boilers should
be pulled out and replaced with new ones. Soon after this time
the witness made an examination of the boilers himself, the result
being that he believed them to be quite safe.
Coroner:- You believed Whittaker to be an experienced man I suppose?
I could not doubt it.
Coroner:- And yet when he gave an opinion that the boilers should
come out, you did not think his knowledge or experience was worth
I did not think his opinion was.
Coroner:- You thought your own opinion was much better? - Yes.
Mr. Eastwood:- The pressure was not reduced from 70lbs to 64lbs
in consequence of anything Whittaker said, but simply because
low pressure was required.
the time the boilers were put in the Messrs. Buckley were considered
to be the most respectable boilermakers in this part of the country.
Mr. Buckley prepared a specification showing that they could be
worked up to a pressure of 80 lbs. He never received any report
from his subordinates to the effect that any one of the boilers
was unsafe. He made a thorough examination of them on last Christmas
Day, and he then saw nothing to shake his confidence in their
reply to a juror, the witness said that he could not account for
the explosion in any way.
John Waugh, of the Yorkshire Boiler Insurance and Steam Users
Company, said he was instructed by Major Ormesby of the county
constabulary, to inspect and report upon the explosion of the
boiler in question, with the view to ascertain the cause of the
occurrence. He now handed in a printed report, in which he stated
that the boiler was cylindrical, externally fired by Juckes' patent
furnaces. The length of the shell was 28ft, the diameter 6ft 8ins,
original thickness of the plates was 7-16th of an inch, end plates
half an inch, shell plates at the front end flanged over to end
plate 3 inches by half an inch.
materials of which the boiler was composed were above the average
in quality. The rupture commenced at the right hand of the shell
from front over fire. At the waterside at this point corrosion
and grooving at the joint had been most severe; but the corrosion
and grooving were in no way confined to that plate. On the water
side of the whole of the plates of the shell and tubes below the
waterline, there were unmistakable signs of corrosion, blotched,
pitted, and honey-combed, generally over the whole of the surface,
reducing the thickness of the plates from 7-16th of an inch to
a quarter of an inch, whilst by the grooving of the plates at
some of the longitudinal and ring seams, the plates had been reduced
to a quarter of an inch in thickness.
plates and seams, more particularly the ring seams over the fire,
had suffered the most from corrosion and grooving, the undoubted
cause of the explosion. There could be no doubt that the presence
of the canker water in the canal had led to its introduction into
the boilers, and that such had been the incipient cause of the
disaster. Mr. Waugh's report concluded as follows:-