Fatal accident at a Hipperholme Quarry [01/04/1854]

On 1st April 1854, 3 men were killed in an accident at an unidentified quarry (owned by the railway company) in Hipperholme.

The Halifax Courier [Saturday 4th April 1854] reported

Hipperholme : a Frightful Accident.

We regret to have to record a shocking accident which has led to the deaths of three quarrymen in a delf at Hipperholme owned by the railway company for stone required for the line.

On Wednesday morning, the following four men went to their work as usual.

  • Samuel Wood (aged 25) of Marsh Delves
  • Joseph Clegg (aged 24) 
  • James Hanson (aged 25) 
  • Abe Sykes

It is said that the top lift, or that portion of the working near the surface, which is in a very loose condition has been noticed to be somewhat dangerous and the men had been warned to be cautious. One of the men rather demurred in consequence to go to work, but the others not objecting, he accompanied them.

Whilst the men were at work a fearful crash occurred, and in an instant an immense mass of earth and stone came crashing down. One of the men, Abe Sykes, saw the falling mass and instantly leaped on to another bearing and providentially escaped.

Not so, however, his comrades, who were overwhelmed beneath the falling mass.

An alarm was given and many people in the neighbourhood rushed to assist but all that could be done was to remove the bodies. Each of the men were married and each left a widow and one child.

The inquest was to be held at the Travellers Rest, Hipperholme at half-past one but the coroner (who was in Leeds), not having received the letter in time, did not arrive until between four and five o'clock. On arriving at Halifax, he made enquiries and was told that a message had been sent to Hipperholme directing the constable, if the coroner had not arrived, to forthwith discharge the jury and summon them for 12 o'clock the next day.

Believing the inquiry would not take place our reporter did not return to ascertain if the coroner had arrived. We trust we shall not be understood to throw any blame on the coroner, we only mention the fact to account for our not having a report of the inquest.

We understand, however, nothing material was elicited and the jury returned a verdict of Accidental Death.

The young man Sykes who had a narrow escape from death got beastly drunk that evening. It was said that his foolish friends encouraged him to take a sup, until his repeated sups reduced him to such a degraded state


© Malcolm Bull 2022
Revised 13:12 / 19th January 2022 / 4463

Page Ref: X472

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