On Thursday, December 9th 1875 an explosion occurred in the mine workings belonging to Messrs. Henry Briggs, Son & Co. killing 5 men and 1 boy. (A brief report of the explosion and the names of those killed can be found in the book Methley 2000 by Jim Melvin).
Approximately 100 hundred years later a group of surveyors from Savile were travelling through the old Methley Junction workings and in the old pit bottom office came across the following poem of the explosion written on six sheets of old notepaper.
Reproduced here from a copy held by Peter Bell.
1 Pay attention people far and near 2 It was at Methley Junction
I shall not detain you long under Messrs Briggs and Co
Whilst in these few lines I do relate and it is the first explosion
to the old and young that we ever did there know
I am myself a miner On the ninth of December
and I am in duty bound The men rose in their bloom
to comment upon that explosion they went to their daily toil
which happened underground. not thinking of their doom.
3 At half past ten the roof fell down 4 The longwall deputies
which deprived them of their lives quickly did volunteer
They have left their orphan children Not thinking of th e fierydamp
Likewise their weeping wives which they had to fear
The worthy steward James Tupman With all speed they ran along
his name I cannot withold they did not hesitate
He quickly ran into that place Until they arrived within that place
with heart so brave and bold. but alas they were too late.
5 Not one man they found alive 6 Next I must comment upon the bank
I am sorry for to tell where people quickly ran
That cause of the explosion Some lamenting for their fathers
Was the heavy roof that fell their husbands or their sons
Life is uncertain but death is sure It was a painful sight to see
Sin is the wound but Christ is the cure The people ran with speed
The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh who had a friend in that shaft
Blessed be the name of the Lord. It made their poor hearts bleed.
7 There was a poor woman that could not run 8 Messrs Briggs and Co
She was too lame and old A fund they did propose
Her only son was in that place To subscribe for the widows
Its true so I am told To find them food and clothes
She is put upon the widows fund A miner in the meeting
although she were a wife boldly stood up and said
I hope it will support her We must gather for the widows
the remainder of her life. Cause the poor men are dead.
9 If it should be opposed 10 This is the last verse I shall write
and should not be carried out and in it I must say
The Union will support them hope the souls of these poor men
Of that I am sure, there is no doubt to heaven went straight away
It is the best thing in the world and there forever may they remain
and in it all men should be with angels round the throne
It demands fairation in our land and meet wives and children there
and defies all poverty. with the happy home.