Carbon monoxide and the 1st July 1950 Accident at the Consett Steelworks

Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless, tasteless gas produced by burning gasoline, wood, propane, charcoal or other fuel. Improperly ventilated appliances and engines, particularly in a tightly sealed or enclosed space, may allow carbon monoxide to accumulate to dangerous levels

Carobon Monoxide Dectors page from Durham County Council Website

HANSARD 1803–2005→ 1950s → 1950 → July 1950 → 4 July 1950 → Commons Sitting → TRADE AND COMMERCE ACCIDENT, CONSETT IRONWORKS COMPANYHC Deb 04 July 1950 vol 477 c260 260 § Mr. James Glanville (by Private Notice) asked the Minister of Supply whether he has any statement to make in regard to the accident which occurred last weekend at the Consett Iron Company’s works and in which 11 men lost their lives. § Mr. J. Freeman I am sorry to say that an escape of carbon monoxide gas occurred at the No. 2 blast furnace of the Consett Ironworks Company, Durham, at about 10 p.m. on Saturday, 1st July, while the men were changing shifts. The cause of the escape is at present being investigated by one of His Majesty’s Inspectors of Factories. Forty-five men were rendered unconscious. 11 of whom died. Twenty-eight had to be taken to hospital and 21 have since been discharged. The remainder are expected to leave hospital today. I deeply regret the loss of life involved and, on behalf of my right hon. Friend and myself, and indeed the whole House, I should like to take this opportunity of expressing my sympathy with the relatives of the men who were killed.

1st July 2020 written by Brian DoddsBy today’s standards 45 works overcome by gas, 11 dead and 28 in hospital would make front page headlines, but in 1950 it got a mention on page 3 of the Derwent Valley Advertiser .

As a former apprentice fitter at the blast furnace mechanics I was amazed it was never talked about. So over the last year or so I have been researching the subject, after reading the family members story’s, the safety officers and the coroner’s reports I would one day like to write the story in my own words but for now

I think we should just remember those brave men who gave their lives to save work mates.

Arnold William Ross (54) from Tyne Avenue, Leadgate , Married with four children.

Richard Logan (54) from Villa Real, Consett. He was awarded a medal for gallantry from the D.L.I during the war . He was married with two children. John Jeffrey (46) from Park Villas , Leadgate, he worked at Consett Iron Company since the age of 15, married with tree children.

Arthur Briggs (53) from Moorland Crescent, Castleside, married with three sons. Andrew Kirby (25) from Durham road , Blackhill, he served in the Royal Marines for a number of years and was married with a 21 month old child.

Thomas Cook Eastern (45) from Hawthorne Terrace, Blackhill , married with one son

Thomas Heslop (32) from Eltringham Street Blackhill. Served in the army and was a prisoner of war. Married with a child aged 18 months.

Francis Crawly (30) from Roger Street Blackhill was married with three sons .

Henry Tucker (49) from Cedar Gardens, The Grove, married with three children.

Joseph Edward Humble (44) from the Grove, married with one child.

John Sheldon Craggs, (54) from Moorland Crescent, Castleside , married with three children.

RIP and one day you will get a memorialhttps:


Thanks to John O’Connor Chair of Project Genesis for confirming the names of the 11 who died1. Arthur Briggs (53), Castleside 2. John Sheldon Craggs (54), Castleside 3. Francis Crawley 30), Blackhill 4. Thomas Cook Easten (25), Blackhill 5. Thomas Heslop (32), Blackhill 6. Joseph Humble (44), Consett 7. John Jeffrey (46), Leadgate 8. Andrew Alan Kirby (25), Blackhill 9. Richard Logan (54), Villa Real 10. Arnold William Ross (54), Leadgate 11. Henry Tucker (49), Consett

2 thoughts on “Carbon monoxide and the 1st July 1950 Accident at the Consett Steelworks”

  1. My Grandfather William Arnott was one of those gassed but fortunately he was taken to hospital and recovered. One of the lucky ones . I was a child but I do recall the accident


    1. Hi Mary thank you for taking the time to comment do you have a picture of William and any more details/family memories of his time at the Steelworks.


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