A Full and Particular Account of that Dreadful
Explosion of Gunpowder, at Stobbs Mills, on
Thursday last the 17th February, 1825, at a few
minutes past Eight in the moratng, by which two
Men and a Horse lost their lives, and several others
were severely injured.
About ten minutes after eight yesterday morning the inhabitants
of the odjacent villages of Stobbs and Gore Bridge, and neighbour-
hood, were thrown into great alarm, in consequence of an explosi-
son of gunpowder, which tock place at one of the branches of the
extensive manufactory which Messrs. Hitchener and Hunter have
for many years carried on at Stabbsmills. The accident is one of
such a nature as precludes all possibility of ascertaining how it
originated, which, of course, must, must ever remain matter of con.
jecture ; all that is known is, that a man named Walter Thomson
had gone with a cart loaded with powder from one of the mills to.
the charge-house, a kind of temporary store house in which the
powder is kept, until there is room in the stove or drying house to
receive it, and nearly adjoins the later, and this person must have
been in the act of unloading the cart at the moment the explosion
accurred. Fortunately, however, the sufferers have been few, ts it
is ascertained that Thomson ( the carter ) and an old man named
Richard Cornwall employed at the stove, were the only individuals
who lost their "lives ; their bodies were blown to atoms, and but
small portions of them have been picked up, at great distances from
each other, and in such a condition as rendered it impossible to dis-
tinguish to which of the two they belonged ; the head and neck of
one was reoonised from the neckloth about it.
The horse was thrown a considerable distancet and some of the
barrels of powder which had been placed on the cart were blown in
the air, and exploded over the heads of the ploughmen in the fields
The materials of the stove house and charge house, which are both
raised to the foundation, are lying in directions, extending to a eir-
cumferance of at least half a mile, covering the fields like flocks of
birds. So great was the concussion that in the villages scarcely a
window has escaped its ravages ; that of Stobbsmills, although nea-
rest the scene of the explosion, has suffered least, but in Gore Bridde
many houses have not a whole pane left, and the roofs present a
most picturesque appearance ; some entirely unroofed on one side,
and from most of the others the tiles are moved down so as some-
what to resemble a sieve. The meeting-house at Gore Bridge has
not only suffered in glass, but the astrigals of several of the win-
dows have gone alone with the more fragile materials: even at the
farm house of Newhouses at leasl three quarters of a mile from the
mills, many of the panes were broken and the doors of some of the
houses were burst open. We haxe heard too that the glass in the
hot-houses at Vogrie, three miles distant were broken, and part of
the ceiling of the house of Fountainhall was thrown down. The
concussion was quite terrific in Dalkeith, four miles distant, and af-
fected the buildings so much as to prevent the doors from shutting
and in Ormiston, Tranent, and Musselburgh, it was distinctly felt.
Here, in Edinburgh, fully nine miles from the mills, the two explo-
sions were very generally heard, but supposed by many to be blasts
in the neighbourhing quarries, or a salut from a vessel in the Frith.
The quantity of powder supposed to hare exploded is calcnlated
at about six tons weight, forty barrels were in the store, forty or
fifty in the charge house, and ten on the cart. The two unfortu-
nate men who were killed had both families.
Printed for Robert M'Millan,?PRICE ONE PENNY.
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Date of publication:
1825 shelfmark: Ry.III.a.2(60)
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