Crawshay Baily’s collieries had a particularly bad name as far safety and working conditions was concerned. He still employed women underground as late as 1850 even thought this had been outlawed by an act of Parliament in 1842. He was prosecuted after a fatal accident at one of his collieries when the single winding chain snapped. This was after the Mines Inspectorate had insisted that chains should be doubled.
An explosion at this pit in December 1847 caused by an unguarded candle flame claimed the lives of 8 miners.
The colliery was the property of Messrs. Bailey and eleven men were gassed and eight lost their lives. Among the dead were John Parkes and his two sons.
At the inquest it was heard that John Parkes and a party were careless in taking a candle into the workings but it was said that of the manager Mr. Whiteman had paid better attention, the men would not have done this. Whiteman was from Newcastle-on-Tyne and there was a body of opinion that ‘one of their own’ should be manager of the mine.