On Wednesday, 27th December, 1882 workers returned to Newlands Mill in West Bowling after their Christmas break.
The following day, shortly after 8am, workers were at their morning breakfast break when the mill's massive chimney collapsed. 54 people were killed and many more injured. Had the chimney fallen earlier, during the early morning shift, many more people would have been killed.
Many workers had gone home for the break but those who breakfasted at their looms were caught up in the disaster. Whole families were lost and many of the survivors were seriously injured.
Newlands Mill was part of the vast Ripley Mills complex which spanned Parma Street and Upper Castle Street. Over 2,000 people worked in the mills and many were children.
The Newlands Mill chimney was 255 feet high and weighed 4,000 tons. It stood behind the boiler house which provided the steam power to drive the spinning frames and looms.
There had been extensive coal and iron mining on the site of the mill complex and a warren of tunnels and excavations ran under the buildings. Despite some opposition at the time the tall chimney was built directly over the old pit shaft which had been filled in with wood and other debris.
The chimney suffered continually from structural problems and by 1882 cracks, and even a bulge, had appeared and masonry was beginning to fall from the structure. Some repair work had been undertaken during the Christmas break.
Although largely forgotten for 120 years a commemorative stone has now been unveiled in memory of those killed in the disaster.
Newlands Mill Disaster 1882..
Memorial of Newlands Mill Disaster
At the corner of St Stephen's Road and Gaythorne Road, West Bowling
BRADFORD WEST YORKSHIRE
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In Affectionate Remembrance of
THE 54 PRECIOUS LIVES
Sacrificed by the fall of a Chimney at Ripley's Mill Bradford.
DECEMBER 28th 1882
Susan WOODHEAD 8 years of age.
Mary Hannah CLIFFORD 11 years of age.
Sarah Jane CROWTHER 11 years of age
Edgar NORTH 12 years of age
Lydia LIGHTOWLER 12 years of age
Emma PEARSON 12 years of age
Arthur SMITH 12 years of age
Hannah E (?) NAREY 13 years of age
Hartley BALMER 13 years of age
Emily MITCHELL 13 years of age
Sarah Jane HENDERSON 13 years of age
James Henry HANCOCK 14 years of age
Joseph E (?) BOLDY 14 years of age
Lily BURLEY 14 years of age
John W RAMSBOTTOM 14 years of age
Honora M'(L)EVAN 14 years of age
Walter HICKS 14 years of age
Ruth FIRTH 14 years of age
Amy GOODYEAR 14 years of age
Mary HENDERSON 15 years of age
Charlotte H LOASBY 15 years of age
Urina HICKS 15 years of age
Dan DELANEY 15 years of age
Martha A RODGER 15 years of age
Bridget RYAN 15 years of age
Ellen FAWTHORPE 15 years of age
Mary BROWN 16years of age
George BOLDY 16 years of age
Annie ACKROYD 16 years of age
Sarah J BURLEY 17 years of age
Martha MATHERS 17 years of age
Emily SUNDERLAND 17 years of age
Harriet HALL 18 years of age
Sarah WHELAN 18years of age
Clara E (?) PEARSON 19 years of age
Arthur WEBSTER 19 years of age
Jane EGERS 19 years of age
Lavinia COOPER 19 years of age
Ruth Ann DENBY 20 years of age
Margaret FIRTH 21 years of age
Margaret A TRAVERS 21 years of age
Ellen LUMB 21 years of age
Nancy SAGAR 21 years of age
William SHACKLETON 21 years of age
Elizabeth OLDRID 21 years of age
Sarah HOLT 23 years of age
Annie C HIGGINS 23 or 25 years of age
Martha SANT 25 years of age
Mary E WILSON 28 years of age
Mary LODGE 31 years of age
Selina WOODHEAD 32 years of age
John POLLARD 33 years of age
Mary RYAN 45 years of age
Charles SMITH 50 years of age
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In 1963 whilst working at George Drakes Steeplejacks We pulled down the chimney that was built to replace the one that fell on the mill . From the top of the chimney stack you could make out the different colour.s of the heavy grey slate roof where it had been repaired also the stone wall.s of the mill.Where they had rebuilt the walls. Peter G Withers (Steeplejacks and Riggers) Perth Western Australia
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