Wrexham Council homepage



In January 1937 the inquiry's report was presented to Parliament. In effect there were three reports as neither assessor agreed with Sir Henry Walker's findings.

Sir Henry wrote his conclusions in guarded language. He said it was impossible to know the location and cause of the explosion without entering the Dennis section. He suspected shot firing in the area around the 24s airway in the 95s district. The colliery had inadequate ventilation. The 95s, 14s and 29s districts were dangerous and both management and inspectors had failed in their duties. However, he did not point the finger of blame.

I look with grave suspicion upon the circumstances existing in connexion with 24s airway in 95s district.

Sir Henry Walker, Chief Inspector of Mines

John Brass, the owner's nominee, disagreed. The owners, despite the problems caused by the geology of the mine, had done their best as regards the ventilation. The colliery officials were conscientious and the miners' testimony was unreliable. Brass's theory was that a faulty telephone had sparked a firedamp explosion at 'The Clutch'. The resultant fire at the 29s turn (see plan) had caused the loss of life. He blamed this on the lack of proper fire fighting equipment in the mine.

Inquiry Report supplement. The Wrexham Leader issued this supplement giving a readable version of the report's findings. - © The Wrexham Leader

Joseph Jones, the miners' nominee, disagreed with John Brass on nearly every count. He saw the poor ventilation and the management culture of output at all costs as the reason the pit was so unsafe. Firedamp had built up to dangerous levels in the 14s district. The explosion happened there and was massive enough to affect the whole of the Dennis section. He called for criminal charges to be made against Bonsall and the colliery company.

The top end 14s cannot be described except as a place of great danger, pregnant with possibilities for ignition.

Joseph Jones

The report satisfied few who sought justice for the miners, but neither would the courts. In April 1937 at Wrexham Petty Sessions 42 charges were made against the colliery company, the manager and officials. In the end most were withdrawn or dismissed. William Bonsall was convicted on eight counts of breaking mining safety law. He was fined £140 with £350 costs.

Parliament debated a motion calling for improvements to working conditions in the coal mines. Sir Stafford called for much more: the nationalization of the industry.