Photo: RON HUNT
Item #: 34735
Wigan Observer and District Advertiser - Friday 19 January 1906
ALARMING ACCIDENT AT A HINDLEY MILL. MIRACULOUS ESCAPES.
An accident of a most alarming character occurred at Brookhouse Mill, Castle Hill. Hindley, belonging to Messrs. Howarth and Sons, about half-past nine on Thursday morning. The employees were at work as usual, and about the time stated the engineer noticed that something appeared to be wrong with the engine, and he was rushing to turn off the steam when the fly-wheel burst—to use the expression of those who were there.
This was enormous piece of machinery, and weighed, so we understand, about 21 tons. The slanting roof which covered it was blown away, and the wheel was shattered, and portions scattered about the vicinity of the mill. The railings and garden wall of one of the houses opposite were badly damaged, the roofs and spouts were broken, and many of the telephone wires cut.
In one case the escape from death was miraculous. One of the spokes of the wheel, which would weigh considerably over a ton. was shot over some adjoining buildings, and let on the roof of cottage, going right through the bedroom, breaking the stairs, and burying itself in the ground. Two men were in bed upstairs, and this large piece of metal went within a yard of the bed. One of the men, Ernest Corbert, said that soon as he opened his eyes he saw the piece of machinery coming through the ceiling. Steam was also coming through the hole which was made in the roof.
Our representative asked him what he thought had happened.
Corbert replied that at first he thought a chimney had fallen, and afterwards that it was steam pipe.
He had been working on the night turn, and was considerably alarmed by the occurrence. He however, was helping to clear away the debris, and did not appear much the worse for his near escape from death The house inside was a complete wreck, and the one next door also suffered, though not to the extent of the other one. The mill was naturally much damaged, but the engineer escaped without injury at all. Although, of course. work had to be stopped, arrangements were made for repairing the damage, which will be done as speedily as possible. What caused the fly-wheel to burst no one could say. We can only repeat that it was fortunate that with large pieces of machinery flying about the air one was injured.
Really interesting, I have never heard about this accident before.
They most certainly had 'trouble at t’mill' that day, and it really was a miracle that no one had been killed or badly injured with those weighty lumps of metal flying around. That's an excellent find Ron, a great article from local history.