History on the village of Himley in the county of Staffordshire. Research is augmented with photographs, details of licensees, stories of local folklore, census data, newspaper articles and a genealogy connections section for those studying their family history.



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If you have a genealogy story or query regarding the Himley area you can contact me and I will post it here in addition to including your message within the website pages for Staffordshire Genealogy.


Newspaper Articles
"Yesterday the enquiry touching the death of Isaac Hickman, thirteen years of age, son of William Hickman, and living at Gornal Wood, who came by his death from an explosion which occurred in one of Lord Ward's pits, of the Himley Colliery, in the parish of Sedgley, on the 16th ult., and who, from the effects of the burns, died on the following Thursday. It was held before W. B. Phillips. Esq., Deputy Coroner, and a body of Jurors, of which Mr. Thomas Gordon Bunch was the foreman, at the house of Mrs. Hughes, the Bull's Head Inn, Himley Road, Lower Gornal. The Inspector of Mines for this district, Mr. Longridge, was present during this third day of investigation of the affair. From the evidence taken on the previous days of enquiry it appears, from the testimony of several witnesses, that on the 16th of last month a boy, of the name of James Davies, had had instruction from the doggy to keep open a certain door, communicating with a worked-out portion of the mine, and that on the Saturday [16th] evening he shut it in entire opposition to his instructions. The result was that the sulphur caught fire, which, together with powder that was in the pits, caused a shocking explosion, burning the four men and two boys, who happened to be still remaining in the pit. The boy, whose blameable carelessness had so endangered the lives of his fellow workers, was badly burnt himself. The evidence elicited yesterday from Mr. Richard Groucutt, ground bailiff to Lord Ward, was to the effect that the said doors had only been placed there a few hours before the sad explosion. His opinion was that the catastrophe was wholly attributable to the door being shut. The Foreman of the Jury here enquired of the Coroner if there was any one on the Jury who were in the employ, or otherwise connected with, Lord Ward, as it had been rumoured that they dare not give their verdict in that case according to their own convictions, but must return the verdict as laid down for them. The Coroner said it would be a difficulty to find a body of jurors there who were not in some respects, either as workmen or as in business, who has no dealing with his Lordship. He would not believe in any such rumour, beside the Jury were sworn to give a conscientious verdict, and that he believed they would do. Mr. Longridge. mine inspector deposed that having seen the plan of the pits produced, and heard the evidence given by the several witnesses, he was of opinion that the explosion was the result of the doors being closed. I don't think that the sulphur would have stirred down to the place if the doors had been shut. James Davies, a youth, endeavoured to excuse himself by the plea that, "I shut the doors without a thought. I went from the doors, and was busy with the horse, and did not think of anything being the matter." After a very careful enquiry of the whole case, the Jury conferred for about twenty minutes, and returned a verdict of "Manslaughter" against one of the sufferers, James Davies."
"The Late Boiler Explosion at Himley Colliery" in
Birmingham Daily Post 17th August 1859

1950 Advertisement for Mitchell's & Butler's


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