"Report on the Inspection of Coal Mines in the District comprising the Counties of Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire, and Warwickshire, for the Year ending 31st December 1860.—By John Hedley, Esq.
Derby, February 28, 1861.
With great satisfaction I record the escape from a very serious explosion of gas at the Shipley Hard coal colliery, Derbyshire, by the proper use of safety lamps. In November last a large outburst took place, which for several hours loaded a well-ventilated district of the mine to the explosive point. The workmen observed the Davy lamps full of flame, and the Geordie or Stephenson lamps were extinguished. The men quickly retired into the intake air course, but, in doing so, one man had to pass over the coals, which were got down along 60 yards of the face of the work, with his Davy lamp full of flame. The seam is only about three feet thick, and there was great risk in passing over the coals in so limited a space almost blocked up in places with the coals; had the man been tripped and the lamp jerked with sufficient force to pass the flame through the gauze, a serious explosion (involving the loss of about 70 lives) would have occurred, and another would have been added to the list of unaccountable explosions. A defective lamp, or the exposure of a light, would have been suggested as the cause of the catastrophe.
This is the fourth large outburst of gas which has been safely encountered at this colliery. The consulting mining engineers to the works, Messrs. Woodhouse and Jeffcock, have established strict discipline in the care and use of the safety lamps, and it must be gratifying to them, as well as to those engaged in the mine, that the safety lamps have passed through another severe ordeal without an accident."
The text in inverted commas is a direct copy of text from the report. In my opinion it shows the correct application of safety procedures by a well disciplined workforce provided with the appropriate safety equipment. If the gas had been ignited, by whatever means, then the results would have never been forgotten.