Author Topic: 1989 Lancaster Hole death  (Read 1804 times)

Offline langcliffe

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1989 Lancaster Hole death
« on: January 17, 2020, 03:33:01 pm »
Descent 198's list of caving fatalities includes an entry for 4th August 1989 where an unnamed female is reported to have died after falling down the Lancaster Hole entrance pitch. I can find no further reference to this, anywhere.

Does anybody have any further information about this incident?

Offline Beardy

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Re: 1989 Lancaster Hole death
« Reply #1 on: January 17, 2020, 04:13:32 pm »

Offline langcliffe

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Re: 1989 Lancaster Hole death
« Reply #2 on: January 17, 2020, 04:45:57 pm »
Thanks, Beardy, but that list starts nine years too late.

Offline blackshiver

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Re: 1989 Lancaster Hole death
« Reply #3 on: January 17, 2020, 04:49:56 pm »
I don't recall that particular one and was around at the time.
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Online mikem

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Re: 1989 Lancaster Hole death
« Reply #4 on: January 17, 2020, 05:47:59 pm »
May just be a mistake, as nothing listed for that date (or any other time) on:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_UK_caving_fatalities

& most of them are referenced from Descent.

Offline PeteHall

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Re: 1989 Lancaster Hole death
« Reply #5 on: January 17, 2020, 05:54:51 pm »
May just be a mistake, as nothing listed for that date (or any other time) on:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_UK_caving_fatalities

& most of them are referenced from Descent.

I suspect that might have something to do with the original question as Langcliffe appears to be updating that particular Wikipedia entry...
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Online mikem

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Re: 1989 Lancaster Hole death
« Reply #6 on: January 17, 2020, 06:16:00 pm »
The details given do seem to be a combination of Aug 96 (3rd Aug, female) & May 97 (Lancaster entrance fall)...
« Last Edit: January 17, 2020, 06:31:34 pm by mikem »

Offline langcliffe

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Re: 1989 Lancaster Hole death
« Reply #7 on: January 17, 2020, 06:57:49 pm »
May just be a mistake, as nothing listed for that date (or any other time) on:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_UK_caving_fatalities

& most of them are referenced from Descent.

Thanks. As Pete Hall says, I have been largely responsible for that Wikipedia  page (as much as one person can be responsible for a Wikipedia page), so its absence from that page means little.  The entries in there have all been verified by and are all referenced with contemporaneous accounts (such as newspaper reports and Descent).

This one incident in Chris Howes' list is one that I can find no supporting reference for. If I could, it would appear in the Wikipedia list (I have actually added two entries to that list in the past few days, corrected the name of one casualty, and associated a name with another incident).

This incident is a mystery...

Offline Ian Ball

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Re: 1989 Lancaster Hole death
« Reply #8 on: January 17, 2020, 07:08:00 pm »
Caving Fatalities in the UK
Following an enquiry concerning a possible caving fatality in the 1930s, it proved surprisingly difficult to pull together data for all known incidents, including those that pre-dated the formation of the cave rescue teams. Here is the result of the research.



Not that I am being rude, but perhaps the difficulty mentioned in the Descent 198 synopsis is a cause of the issue?

Online mikem

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Re: 1989 Lancaster Hole death
« Reply #9 on: January 17, 2020, 07:24:34 pm »
It is suspicious that two consecutive entries in the list cover ALL the salient points (one being the ONLY fatal fall recorded in Lancaster Hole & the other being one of only three falls involving women in the Dales - plus police reported it on 4th Aug).

The Descent article could easily have found an incorrect reference from somewhere else.

Offline langcliffe

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Re: 1989 Lancaster Hole death
« Reply #10 on: January 17, 2020, 07:29:35 pm »
Caving Fatalities in the UK
Following an enquiry concerning a possible caving fatality in the 1930s, it proved surprisingly difficult to pull together data for all known incidents, including those that pre-dated the formation of the cave rescue teams. Here is the result of the research.



Not that I am being rude, but perhaps the difficulty mentioned in the Descent 198 synopsis is a cause of the issue?

I think that those problems have been largely resolved. The main difficulty has been in identifying the deaths early in the twentieth century. But since access to contemporaneous accounts has been made so much easier with the internet the problem has been much reduced. If one takes Chris's example of the doubts about the fatalities in the Alderley Edge mines, for example, I have searched the relevant newspapers for that area, and found only one fatality that wasn't in the Descent list (Leslie Hunt, 1948).  There may still be missing incidents, but over time they will be identified.

I have also been able to associate names with all those incidents that Chris was unable to.

The 1989 Lancaster Hole incident, however, should be easier. To some of us, it wasn't so long ago.  But when no one who was around at the time remembers it, and it didn't appear in Descent, and it doesn't readily  pop up in contemporaneous newspaper reports, one can only scratch one's head.

Anyway, I have now asked Chris if he has a reference, although I was hoping not to bother him (we all want Descent out on time). He says he'll have a look after his latest deadlines.

It won't appear in the Wikipedia list until it has been verified.

Offline Bob Mehew

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Re: 1989 Lancaster Hole death
« Reply #11 on: January 17, 2020, 07:50:55 pm »
I note Descent 90 for Oct /Nov 1989 states on p7 under reports from the North / "Odds 'N' Ends" that "The only rescue news is of three dislocated shoulders on the bank holiday weekend".  And in Descent 91 for Dec 1989 / Jan 1990 states on p12 under reports from the North / "Rescue News" that "Thankfully there is little to report in this area except for a few broken legs on the fells and a party lost in the upper reaches of the Ease Gill".

However, in Descent 94 June/July 1990 an article on p32/entitled "The incidents of 1989" there is a summary table which lists under surface incidents one fatality in the CRO area.  There is an observation that the only underground fatality was in Jib Tunnel.  The text relating to surface incidents makes no comment on the one fatality.  So my guess is the fatality was a surface event.

I have looked up wikipedia list and it does not record such an event, see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_UK_caving_fatalities though I am unsure if that 'surface' fatalities.  (For example, I can't find the 1995 Gaping Gill scout tragedy.)

Have you tried checking local newspaper resources?

Online mikem

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Re: 1989 Lancaster Hole death
« Reply #12 on: January 17, 2020, 08:10:09 pm »
Considering the newspaper clipping that Langcliffe posted up the other day, it's interesting to note that Alderley Edge has more deaths than Alum Pot, the majority being under 18 years old (& a similar incident having happened 2 years before the coroner made his remarks).

I do think the "deliberately" in Mabel Binks account makes it sound like someone was trying to hit them though!

Langcliffe, have you seen recently compiled History of Mendip Cave Rescues & Incidents:
https://www.mcra.org.uk/wiki/doku.php?id=articles:start
« Last Edit: January 17, 2020, 08:32:00 pm by mikem »

Offline langcliffe

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Re: 1989 Lancaster Hole death
« Reply #13 on: January 17, 2020, 08:45:44 pm »
I have looked up wikipedia list and it does not record such an event, see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_UK_caving_fatalities though I am unsure if that 'surface' fatalities.  (For example, I can't find the 1995 Gaping Gill scout tragedy.)

Have you tried checking local newspaper resources?

The reason why that death isn't included in the Wikipedia list (and also the various walkers who have fallen down shafts at various times), is that it is not considered to a death resulting from recreational caving. Such decisions are somewhat arbitrary and open to debate.

I have consulted the newspaper resources that are readily accessible, but I do have the incident on my long list of things to check in the Craven Herald next time I visit Skipton Library.

Offline Jopo

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Re: 1989 Lancaster Hole death
« Reply #14 on: January 17, 2020, 09:10:38 pm »
I think the incident in Jib Tunnel should be regarded as caving. According to the reports of the civil action taken by the boys family against the landowner,
Several scouts had apparently explored Jib Tunnel before the fatal accident.
https://www.thetelegraphandargus.co.uk/news/8048916.landowner-cleared-of-blame-in-death-fall/
A fall from the edge of a shaft is not caving but I think entering a horizontal tunnel, albeit with a inadequate light, is exploring.
My first underground experience was with a single candle in a old mine above a campsite in the FoD with 2 other 14 year olds.

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Online mikem

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Re: 1989 Lancaster Hole death
« Reply #15 on: January 17, 2020, 09:25:04 pm »
Jib Tunnel is in the list, it's the 1989 surface incident that isn't (& Scout at Gaping Gill in 1995).

Quote
My first underground experience was with a single candle in a old mine above a campsite in the FoD with 2 other 14 year olds.
The horizontal passage at back of Biblin's riverside campsite, or one of the ones higher up the hill?

Online mikem

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Re: 1989 Lancaster Hole death
« Reply #16 on: January 17, 2020, 10:22:59 pm »
For anyone who is interested, BCRC summaries are available from 2004 onwards:
https://www.caverescue.org.uk/about-cave-rescue/incident-reports/

Offline JAA

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Re: 1989 Lancaster Hole death
« Reply #17 on: January 17, 2020, 11:20:43 pm »
Unrelated to the topic really but Bentham fire station has its old “Occurences Book” where they used to write down the details of incidents. There’s a few quite interesting entries relating to cave rescues and press cuttings.
The same book at Hawes contains the records of NYFB actions at the Langstroth Pot fatalities in the 70’s. Quite interesting in a geeky way.

Offline Jopo

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Re: 1989 Lancaster Hole death
« Reply #18 on: January 18, 2020, 12:36:38 am »
Jib Tunnel is in the list, it's the 1989 surface incident that isn't (& Scout at Gaping Gill in 1995).

Quote
My first underground experience was with a single candle in a old mine above a campsite in the FoD with 2 other 14 year olds.
The horizontal passage at back of Biblin's riverside campsite, or one of the ones higher up the hill?

The ones higher up the hill Mikem. Found them quite awesome.

Jopo

Offline langcliffe

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Re: 1989 Lancaster Hole death
« Reply #19 on: January 18, 2020, 01:55:10 pm »
Descent 198's list of caving fatalities includes an entry for 4th August 1989 where an unnamed female is reported to have died after falling down the Lancaster Hole entrance pitch. I can find no further reference to this, anywhere.

Does anybody have any further information about this incident?

Just to keep people informed, Chris Howes couldn't help and suspects that the entry may be spurious. Jack Pickup, who was the CRO controller at the time, remembers a female caver falling 12 metres after losing control when abseiling down the entrance pitch of Lancaster Hole on April 2nd 1989. But that is not the date given in Descent, and the casualty was just a bit battered and bruised.

So all in all, it appears that the fatality did not happen. Thank you to those who offered their ideas.

Online mikem

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Re: 1989 Lancaster Hole death
« Reply #20 on: January 21, 2020, 04:48:47 pm »
It's certainly not mentioned in John Forder's 2001 list of fatalities in the Dales (1936-2000) - which was compiled much closer to the time.

However, the April 1988 Unnamed Cave (in wikipedia) is said to be at Stone Rigg (in above list) - the only cave in that locality seeming to have a sump is Lower Stone Rigg Cave, although the guidebook doesn't say when it was discovered.

Also, in Life and Death Underground, Lovelock ascribes 11 deaths to Alderley Edge (whih would be before the latest one in Wikipedia), & would take it ahead of Porth yr Ogof...
« Last Edit: January 21, 2020, 05:14:17 pm by mikem »

Offline langcliffe

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Re: 1989 Lancaster Hole death
« Reply #21 on: January 21, 2020, 05:20:41 pm »
However, the April 1988 Unnamed Cave (in wikipedia) is said to be at Stone Rigg (in above list) - the only cave in that locality seeming to have a sump is Lower Stone Rigg Cave.

Maybe - but I have to go by the reference.

Also, in Life and Death Underground, Lovelock ascribes 11 deaths to Alderley Edge (whih would be before the latest one in Wikipedia), & would take it ahead of Porth yr Ogof...

Alderley Edge is a problem, and we may well be missing some.  I can also find no direct evidence of Raymond Brown's death in 1946. However, there was a chap called Raymond Taylor who fell down a 50' shaft and was badly injured (but appears to have survived), and the newspaper report does mention a schoolboy  fatality earlier in the year, so that could be it.

I have searched the newspaper resources I have available to me pretty comprehensively.

Offline Jenny P

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Re: 1989 Lancaster Hole death
« Reply #22 on: January 21, 2020, 05:48:13 pm »
Also, in Life and Death Underground, Lovelock ascribes 11 deaths to Alderley Edge (whih would be before the latest one in Wikipedia), & would take it ahead of Porth yr Ogof...

There was a death in Alderley Edge involving a party from Whitehall Outdoor Pursuits Centre but I can't remember which year or which of the mines as there are several open for visits: Wood Mine or West Mine come to mind but I may be wrong.  One of the lads in a Whitehall group somehow fell behind the rest of the group, fell into a flooded stope and drowned.

It caused a huge fuss in Derbyshire because it was within months of another Whitehall party having a fatal accident in Alum Pot when someone fell while life-lined, the instructor life-lining didn't catch him but when the rope stopped running he dropped it, went to the edge to see what was happening and then the rope ran out again as the person rolled off the ledge and fell the rest of the way.  (That was the general gist of the report which came back.)  That will give you the year of the Alderley Edge mine fatality.

The Alderley Edge incident will be in the DCRO records and, because Whitehall was also involved in the Alum Pot one, that may be in the Derbyshire records as well.

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Re: 1989 Lancaster Hole death
« Reply #23 on: January 21, 2020, 06:10:45 pm »
With this year's fatality, there have been 10 deaths in the Easegill System; one person had problems at the re-belay on the entrance pitch to Lancaster Hole and fell to his death in 1997.

Offline RichardB1983

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Re: 1989 Lancaster Hole death
« Reply #24 on: January 21, 2020, 06:31:31 pm »
I have several newspaper cuttings for Alderley Edge incidents;

The 1909 incident was Alec Rae, rather than Reay

The 1946 incident I know about was Arthur Wrigley Murray, aged 16. He fell down Plank Shaft in West Mine trying to rescue his friend who also had fallen down it but survived. There's an article in the British Newspaper Archive from the Manchester Evening News on 18th March 1946 entitled "Youth dies trying to save friend".

Not sure where Raymond Brown comes from, but perhaps there was a 2nd incident that year? I could head to Wilmslow library to see if there's anything in the Alderley & Wilmslow Advertiser that year? Having said that, the 1954 report of Kenneth Booth's fatal accident mentions that it was the 3rd boy victim since the war - which would imply that there was only 1 in 1946, 1948 & 1954. All three it seems were at Plank Shaft in West Mine.

The Whitehall Outdoor Pursuits incident was in Wood Mine in 1973 and is in the Wikipedia article already.

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Re: 1989 Lancaster Hole death
« Reply #25 on: January 21, 2020, 06:35:51 pm »
The 1946 death was Kenneth Brown, so again a mixing of names seems likely. Raymond Taylor did survive, see p.2-3:
https://www.derbyscc.org.uk/dccinfo/newsletters/n201106int.pdf

Jean Rigby also appears to have survived a 90ft fall ("LEADING three friends through a pitch-black disused copper mine at Alderley Edge, Jean Rigby, aged 17, shorthand - typist, Wilbraham Road, Fallowfield,")
https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=-QG1BQAAQBAJ&pg=PA351&lpg=PA351&dq=%22jean+rigby%22+%22alderley+edge%22&source=bl&ots=Ecd12UQm-a&sig=ACfU3U3tNnlskkSrhfDtBJR_cHOZ-AK_bA&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwj54c6-oZXnAhXPQ0EAHcOHDOYQ6AEwAHoECAoQAQ#v=onepage&q=%22jean%20rigby%22%20%22alderley%20edge%22&f=false

The Alderley Edge wikipedia page gives much the same info as yours, but does have a few extra details, so maybe the others weren't fatal.

Online mikem

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Re: 1989 Lancaster Hole death
« Reply #26 on: January 21, 2020, 07:09:34 pm »
Kenneth Brown in mentioned in the Derbyshire CC article - but Arthur Murray in 1946 newspaper...

The chairman of the Mining Company fell down a shaft there in 1862 (so wouldn't qualify for the list):
https://www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk/search/results?basicsearch=alderley%20edge%20mitchell%20death&retrievecountrycounts=false

The 1946 article that Richard mentions (I don't currently subscribe, so can't read it):
https://www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk/search/results?basicsearch=youth%20dies%20trying%20to%20save%20friend&retrievecountrycounts=false
« Last Edit: January 21, 2020, 07:35:37 pm by mikem »

Offline langcliffe

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Re: 1989 Lancaster Hole death
« Reply #27 on: January 21, 2020, 07:12:48 pm »
I have several newspaper cuttings for Alderley Edge incidents;

The 1909 incident was Alec Rae, rather than Reay

The 1946 incident I know about was Arthur Wrigley Murray, aged 16. He fell down Plank Shaft in West Mine trying to rescue his friend who also had fallen down it but survived. There's an article in the British Newspaper Archive from the Manchester Evening News on 18th March 1946 entitled "Youth dies trying to save friend".

Not sure where Raymond Brown comes from, but perhaps there was a 2nd incident that year? I could head to Wilmslow library to see if there's anything in the Alderley & Wilmslow Advertiser that year? Having said that, the 1954 report of Kenneth Booth's fatal accident mentions that it was the 3rd boy victim since the war - which would imply that there was only 1 in 1946, 1948 & 1954. All three it seems were at Plank Shaft in West Mine.

The Whitehall Outdoor Pursuits incident was in Wood Mine in 1973 and is in the Wikipedia article already.

What a useful response!

You're absolutely right about the misspelling of ""Reay" My three  newspaper articles say "Rea" and that is confirmed by the birth and death registers. I'll correct it on Wikipedia.

The Arthur Wrigley Murray incident sounds like the one we want, and I have tracked it down. I suspect that the Raymond Brown one is spurious (the only reference to it is in the Descent list).

Thank you!






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Re: 1989 Lancaster Hole death
« Reply #28 on: January 21, 2020, 08:04:52 pm »
So Kenneth Brown also appears to have been a misnomer?

You've still got the accident down as June, but the newspaper was written in March...

CPC timeline 1940: "Seven youths became lost in the Alderley Edge Mines and the search to find them took 24 hours."
« Last Edit: January 21, 2020, 08:17:17 pm by mikem »

Offline RichardB1983

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Re: 1989 Lancaster Hole death
« Reply #29 on: January 21, 2020, 08:49:36 pm »
So Kenneth Brown also appears to have been a misnomer?

You've still got the accident down as June, but the newspaper was written in March...

CPC timeline 1940: "Seven youths became lost in the Alderley Edge Mines and the search to find them took 24 hours."

It's possible there is a 2nd incident that year perhaps. If I get a minute I might go to the library and have a look through the local newspaper archives.

There are loads of reports of non-fatal accidents too. I think the most bizarre is a 1960 court hearing reporting that a fight had broken out between two lads in West Mine - and one of them was struck with a knife (not sure if that means 'stabbed')?

Online mikem

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Re: 1989 Lancaster Hole death
« Reply #30 on: January 21, 2020, 08:58:00 pm »
Sounds like it may have been a swipe rather than a stab...

Quote
...by 1919 the mines were once again abandoned. This heralded a darker era in the history of the mines and one that I must confess to having played a minor (not miner) role in, the problem of trespass. In 1929 two young Stockport men had wandered into West Mine and had become lost in the labyrinth of passageways, their torches eventually giving up, unable in the dark to find a way out. Their emaciated bodies were found in a side passageway three months later. Public concern at the fatalities did little to deter persistent trespassers. Between 1934 and 1937, forty-one people were fined by Wilmslow magistrates for offences of trespass in the mines[v]. In 1946 a man fell sixty-five feet to his death in ‘Plank Shaft’, again in West Mine, but the mine was not filled-in and fully sealed until 1960, the year The Weirdstone of Brisingamen was published.

“The widest shaft they had yet come upon lay before them, and stretched across its gaping mouth was a narrow plank.”[vi]

The ancient mines of Alderley claimed their last victim in 1974 when a fourteen-year-old schoolgirl fell thirty feet into Engine Vein, prompting the capping of the open cast shaft with concrete[vii].
https://www.shutlingsloe.co.uk/category/cheshire/

[v]Carlon, Chris, J. The Alderley Edge Mines, John Sherratt and Son Ltd, 1979,  pg122

[vi]Alan Garner, The Weirdstone of Brisingamen, William Collins Sons & Company Ltd 1960, pg127

[vii]Carlon, Chris, J. The Alderley Edge Mines, Op. cit. pg124
« Last Edit: January 21, 2020, 09:08:57 pm by mikem »

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Re: 1989 Lancaster Hole death
« Reply #31 on: January 21, 2020, 10:05:40 pm »
People were still falling down shafts there in 2010, although fortunately they survived - however, the Perranporth incident the same year should probably join the list, as she entered an adit, then fell. (Some interesting pictures of other entrances on pages before the incidents - I recognise some of them even though locations not identified):
https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=MT4RBgAAQBAJ&pg=PA23&dq=perranporth+accident&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwi60KjczpXnAhX9TBUIHbveAqAQ6AEILzAB#v=onepage&q=perranporth%20accident&f=false

Details of the 1862 mining accident: https://www.jiscmail.ac.uk/cgi-bin/webadmin?A2=MINING-HISTORY;87a3772f.1409

Some good pics of Wood Mine: https://www.28dayslater.co.uk/threads/wood-mine-alderley-edge-may-13.80903/

& an article with maps: http://www.yrc.org.uk/yrcweb/index.php/journal-downloads/category/17-s12-2?download=11:12-19

Pages 34-44 from 1962/63 include one that's missing from wikipedia, although it was Longwood not Eastwater (Heather Muirhead - confirmed by History of Mendip Cave Rescues):
http://www.oucc.org.uk/procs/proc03/OUCC_proceedings_3_complete.pdf

Having had a quick scan of Alan Gray's list, it appears to be the only Mendip one missing, although some of the earlier incidents might qualify (Pen Park, Elm Cave & Plumley's Hole)
« Last Edit: January 21, 2020, 10:28:36 pm by mikem »

Offline Badlad

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Re: 1989 Lancaster Hole death
« Reply #32 on: January 22, 2020, 06:25:03 am »
mikem - you are an encyclopedia  :thumbsup:

Offline RichardB1983

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Re: 1989 Lancaster Hole death
« Reply #33 on: January 22, 2020, 08:26:04 am »
Also, in Life and Death Underground, Lovelock ascribes 11 deaths to Alderley Edge (whih would be before the latest one in Wikipedia), & would take it ahead of Porth yr Ogof...

There was a death in Alderley Edge involving a party from Whitehall Outdoor Pursuits Centre but I can't remember which year or which of the mines as there are several open for visits: Wood Mine or West Mine come to mind but I may be wrong.  One of the lads in a Whitehall group somehow fell behind the rest of the group, fell into a flooded stope and drowned.

It caused a huge fuss in Derbyshire because it was within months of another Whitehall party having a fatal accident in Alum Pot when someone fell while life-lined, the instructor life-lining didn't catch him but when the rope stopped running he dropped it, went to the edge to see what was happening and then the rope ran out again as the person rolled off the ledge and fell the rest of the way.  (That was the general gist of the report which came back.)  That will give you the year of the Alderley Edge mine fatality.

The Alderley Edge incident will be in the DCRO records and, because Whitehall was also involved in the Alum Pot one, that may be in the Derbyshire records as well.

It's already in the Wikipedia article, but the 1967 incident in Carlswark Cavern - where 14-year-old Robert Fraser MacDonald drowned
https://www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk/viewer/bl/0002135/19670202/887/0031
It was stated that they were on a Whitehall Pursuit course at the time.

The only other reference I can find to Whitehall is in relation to the Alderley one - couldn't find mention of Alum Pot in the British Newspaper Archive in 1973 - but they only have certain newspapers - and the OCR they have used to transcribe them sometimes produces garbage that is difficult to search on.
« Last Edit: January 22, 2020, 08:36:10 am by RichardB1983 »

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