Holme Mill, Stainland – aka Beeston Mill, Holywell Green – was owned by John Shaw & Sons.
On 23rd May 1895, a boiler explosion at the mill caused great damage, injuring several people – including Mr Shaw, the owner – and killing 5 women:
The accident occurred at 1:30 pm as the women were outside enjoying their lunch break.
Engineer Reuben Goodwin was attempting to connect the steam engine with a turbine in the cloth-mill. The explosion forced out the walls and windows of the building. The women were killed by falling debris. Men came from the nearby tenter fields to help the rescue.
At the trial, Mr Shaw was charged with causing the deaths of the women, and it was reported that they had had the boiler for 13 years, and had not taken appropriate precautions to ensure its safe working.
An engineer gave evidence that 4/5ths of the original thickness of the plates had been worn away, and in some places the plates were only 1/16th of an inch thick. George Waterhouse, a boiler maker, said he was engaged in repairs in 1892 and warned Shaw that the boiler was unfit.
The jury found Shaw Guilty and he was charged with manslaughter, as the evidence showed that he had been told by others that the boiler was badly corroded and unsafe.
On passing sentence, the Judge said that Shaw had suffered enough with having to pay legal costs and the cost of the damage. He was acquitted at Leeds Assizes [2nd August 1895].
A Board of Inquiry finding at the end of August 1895 issued him with a small fine
See The Stainland Boiler Explosion
Revised 08:52 /5th March 2018 / html / 5292
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