Explosion at Kitson's Woodman Works, Elland [1868]

The following reports mention the boiler explosion at Kitson's Woodman Works

The Halifax Courier [Saturday 27th June 1868]

One Man Killed and Six Wounded.

On Saturday morning a boiler exploded on the premises of Messrs. Joseph, John & Edward Kitson, Fireclay drainage manufacturers, Woodman Works, Elland. The mill is half way up the hill which overlooks Elland on the Lindley side.

The engine was of 16 hp, and the boiler at a pressure of 40 lbs. It was manufactured by Richard Armitage & Company, Turnbridge, Huddersfield, and was put in at Kitson's about 1865. The boiler had five Galloway tubes, four of which have since been extracted.

There were 12 men employed on the premises, and, at the time of the explosion, most of them had gone to the lower sheds for breakfast and were preparing to return to work when the explosion occurred.

The boiler was lifted out of its bed, the outer casing riven asunder, and bits of machinery and stone fell amongst the works. One person named John Hanson, age 31, residing at Ainleys was with one of the proprietors, Mr Joseph Kitson, when they were suddenly covered with debris. Mr Kitson managed to extricate himself without injury but the poor man with him was killed instantly.

Another person Wilkinson Hanson, age about 23, the engineman, no relation to his unfortunate namesake, was firing up when the explosion occurred and was blown about a dozen yards away up the hill and fearfully scalded and mutilated. Doubts are entertained about his recovery.

Those injured were

  • Edward Kitson, another of the proprietors, sustained a fractured collar bone
  • Sam Lindley of Ainley Top was seriously injured by falling missiles
  • Stephen Dyson of Elland, an errand boy, was severely scalded
  • William Hill of Blackley, employed as a pipe maker was severely bruised and
  • Henry Whiteley of Copperas Lane, Elland, was also severely scalded

Mr Joseph Kitson was standing near what is called the Kiln Bridle, near the boiler house.

Damage is estimated at about £1,200


Inquest on the body of John Hanson

Mr Joseph Kitson said Mr Hanson was his cousin.

Verdict; That the deceased died from injuries caused by the accidental explosion of a steam boiler, and which had been corroded and worn thin by an escape from the seating of the safety valve, which had run down to the covering of the flue and followed the course of the brickwork there. The jurors further say that the mischief was not detected owing to a stone floor which was close above the boiler and to its being partly hidden by the covering of the flue. As the boiler had been lately pronounced safe after an internal examination, the jurors strongly recommended that all boilers covered in, should be subject to frequent examination


© Malcolm Bull 2024
Revised 17:43 / 3rd May 2024 / 5117

Page Ref: X498

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