REDCAR – Gas Explosion

Accreditation Redcar and Saltburn News 07/01/1875


      An explosion of gas occurred on Tuesday morning, at the residence of Capt. Tomlinson, Holyrood House, Redcar. It appears that Mr. Thos. Watson, builder (chairman of the Redcar Local Board of Health) is at present erecting a house on the Esplanade, adjoining Holyrood House, of which the latter is the specification, and was engaged on the morning in question in measuring some of the interior woodwork, being accompanied by his foreman joiner, Mr Alfred Pallister. On entering the back sitting room for this purpose, a slight smell of gas was perceived, which was believed to proceed from the drawing room, where one of the taps had been found partially turned on, and attended to. As an additional precaution, however, they opened the door of the sitting room, and front house door. After some time, as the odour of gas was still perceptible, Pallister said he would get a light, and endeavour to find where the escape was. Mr Watson asked him if thought there was a danger of an explosion, and was answered in the negative. Pallister then went round the adjoining building to get a match, and on his return tried the pipes about the mantle piece, and the chandelier as far as he could reach, but could not find any escape. Mr Watson then got on a table, and placed the light near the top of the chandelier, where there must have been an accumulation of gas , for immediately a terrific explosion took place, and himself and Pallister were instantly enveloped in flames. The window of the room was blown out, together with the panels of the door, and the contents of the room and the rooms above were also much damaged. Mr Watson was severely burned about his hands, face, and neck, and it seems miraculous that he has escaped with his eyesight, for his cheeks were very badly scorched; Pallister’s injuries were not so serious, only the left side of his face and his left hand being burned, and we are able to state, from enquiries made this morning, that both are progressing favourably. The explosion is believed to have been caused by the water at the top of the chandelier having become frozen during the late severe frost, which on thawing caused the escape; this had not been discovered sooner owing to the room not having been occupied for about a fortnight. As showing the force of the explosion, we may add that several panes of glass were smashed in the windows of Britannia Cottage on the opposite side of the road.


dean July 30, 2011 Redcar