The Snaefell Mine Disaster
On a cold bright morning in May 1897 the miners on the early shift at the Snaefell Mine began the long climb down the mine shaft to the underground workings. As they reached a depth of 300 feet they suddenly realised that something was wrong. Within minutes, some of the men were scrambling to the surface, calling for help and fighting for their lives.
A rescue party was quickly formed as a major tragedy unfolded underground. Twenty men died, the distress made even worse when it was quickly discovered that the deaths had been due carelessness. The events of that morning led to one of the worst tragedies to befall the Isle of Man – the Snaefell Mine Disaster.
It had a devastating effect on the close-knit communities from which the miners came. The inquests and funerals that followed revealed the full extent of the suffering of the victim’s families; there were fourteen widows, thirty orphans and two widowed mothers whose sole support had been their sons. The Manx community quickly rallied to their support and the heroism of rescuers was also recognised.
In this book to mark the 125th Anniversary since the disaster author Andrew Scarffe, a well-known expert on the history of Laxey and its mines, brings together for the first time the story of the mine, its working conditions and the struggle to survive. It charts the events of that terrible day and the heroic efforts to rescue the men trapped underground. He also examines the reasons why the disaster took place. The book also includes an account of how the mine was briefly brought back to life in the 1950s and concludes with the story of how mining enthusiasts restored the mine’s waterwheel over a hundred years later.
Lavishly illustrated throughout with many images that have never been seen before. There is also a chapter on the history of the nearby Glen Roy Mine, which is mostly forgotten to Manx history.