Read all about it! Newspaper reports – think they’ve changed much?

As reported in the “Star of Gwent & South Wales Times” for Saturday 27th January 1872.

“A most deplorable accident occurred on Thursday morning at 2 am at the Lower Plas Pit, Blackwood, which is being sunk by Messrs. Prothero. It appears that a number of men were employed at their night turns at sinking in the shored up sides of the Pit, and everything as usual appeared safe around them, when a shot was fired in the usual way, which must have shaken the timber uprights and supports for shortly after the explosion the whole gave way, and four men were, without warning, instantly buried and undoubtedly crushed to death. A few of those at work escaped, but one poor fellow named Tovey, who was standing on one of the beams when they all gave way, was unfortunately caught by the legs, and there held against the sides of the Pit. His cries were heart-rendering as he called upon his comrades, to render him assistance. The pumping apparatus having been destroyed, the water gradually increased and the poor fellow, whose legs were frightfully crushed, say death not only staring him in the face, but surely advancing upon him. He besought the crowd to lower the chain and fasten it around his body and drag that up, even if his legs were left behind; but no assistance could be rendered. gradually the rubbish and debris that had fallen were covered by the water, and the poor fellow could see his span of life rapidly contracting as the water rose to the level at which he was lying. The scene was horrifying in the extreme. The pitiless element submerged the lower portions of his body, then his chest, and finally his head, hushing in death his unveiling cries for aid.

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