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Springhill Mine Disaster 1891

Privacy Level: Public (Green)
Date: [unknown] [unknown]
Location: Springhill, Nova Scotia, Canadamap
Surnames/tags: Canada Mining Disasters Disasters
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Disasters | Mining Disasters | Canada Mining Disasters |Springhill Mine Disaster

Contact: Canada Mining Disasters


History and Circumstances

  • Date: 21 February 1891
  • Location: Springhill, Nova Scotia, Canada
  • Type: Coal Mine Explosion
  • Victims: 125
  • Cause: A fire caused by accumulated coal dust
Name Sourced Bio Connected Category
Arthur Anderson Yes Some No Yes
Henry Herbert Armishaw Yes Yes Yes Yes
Jesse Armishaw Yes Yes Yes Yes
John Bentliffe Yes Yes Yes Yes
William Birchell Yes Some No Yes
George Bond Yes Some No Yes
John Boyd Yes Some No Yes
Ernest Bainbridge Yes Some No Yes
William Brown Yes No No Yes
Alonzo Budd Yes No No Yes
Alexander Brunt Yes Yes
Andrew Brunt Yes Yes
Alexander Campbell Yes Yes
Donald Campbell Yes Yes
John D Campbell Yes Yes
Robert Reid Carter Yes Yes Yes Yes
Clarence Carter Yes Some Yes Yes
Willard Carter Yes Some Yes Yes
Andrew Carmichael Yes Some Yes Yes
John George Carmichael Yes Yes Yes Yes
William T Carmichael Yes Some Yes yes
William Carrigan Yes Yes
Jude Casey Yes Yes
Ernest Chandler Yes Yes
Robert Clark Yes Yes
James Conway Yes Yes
John Connerton Yes Yes
Matthew Collins Yes some no yes
John Crawford Yes No No Yes
Thomas Davis Yes Yes Yes Yes
Richard Dawson
Samuel Dawson
Fred Dillon
John Dunn
Joseph Dupee
Roger Ernest
Hiram Fife
Daniel Findlayson
Thomas Fletcher
John Francis
Samuel Furbow
Peter Gallagher
John Gillis
Lazarus Gouthro
Thomas Hallet
Peter Hannigar
John Hayden
John Hunter
William Hyde
James Johnston
Samuel Leger
Henry Livingstone
William Kent
Frank Letcher
Daniel Lockhart
William J Maiden
George Martin
Rory B McDonald
John McDonald
John D McEachern
Robert McFadden
William McGillvray
Alexander J McKay
Donald McKay
William McKee
Allan McKinnon
Angus McKinnon
John McKinnon
Laughlin McKinnon
Henry McLeod
Rory McLeod
Neil McLeod
Norman McLeod
John F McNeill
Joshua McNeill
Neil S McNeill
Roderick C McNeill
Charles McNutt
Neil McPhee
David McVey
James McVey
James Miller, Sr
John Mitchell
Ernest Mott
James Morris
Thomas Morrison
Samuel Muckle
Jeremiah Murphy
Richard Murphy
James Nairn
John Narin
Malcolm Narin
Charles Nash
Henry Nash
Malcolm Nicholson
Rodger Noiles
James Overs
James Pequinot
Joseph Pitt
Peter Reid
Clifford Ripley
Hugh Robertson
James Robbins
Thomas Rogers
Murdoch Ross
Philip Ross
Stephen Rushton
Bruce Ryan
Archibald Shipley
James Sharples
Robert A Sherlock
Howard Simonds
Henry Smith
Douglas Taylor
Joseph Tattersall
William H Turner
Alexander Vance
David Watt
Phillip B White
John Williams
Thomas Wilson
George Wilson
Edgar Wry
Henry Wry
Edward Smith

Rescue Efforts

Within 15 minutes of the explosion, which occurred shortly after noon on Saturday, men entered the No. 2 Slope and began bringing the injured and dead to the surface. They were placed in boxes and carried to the surface by use of the machinery used for hoisting coal. This continued for several hours. However, due to the heavy smoke, there were fears that there were more fires and another explosion could happen. The Underground Manager, James Simpson, agreed to give up the search for two hours. They left the pit at 6 p.m., having recovered 44 bodies and 16 injured. When they returned to search, they worked through the night. Many of the rescue team were overcome from the smoke and noxious fumes and needed to be rescued themselves. Rescue efforts throughout that afternoon and evening were made easier by the lack of fire in No. 1 and No. 2, but the scale of the disaster was unprecedented in Nova Scotian or Canadian mining history. After 5 days of recovery, the remaining 2 victims were removed from the debris. In total 125 men died and dozens were injured. The subsequent relief funds saw contributions come in from across the country and the British Empire, including Queen Victoria.

Results and Findings

The Inquiry began on the Monday following the explosion. It was presided over by Coroner Dr. C. A. Black of Amherst with 12 jury members. Evidence was examined and a adjournment was made until Mar 10 in order to have time to collect all the facts possible. After questioning many witnesses and looking at all the evidence, the explosion was deemed an accident. It was determined that sufficient gas detectors in working order had been present in the two collieries; however, the ignition source of the explosion was never determined, despite investigators having pinpointed its general location. The mine was well managed and there was no neglect on the part of the owners or management.


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Where is NS? Please write it out.
posted by Lynette Jester