Blast kills 19 Dudley girls


Joined August 2010

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WARNING THERE ARE SOME GRISSLEY DETAILS IN THIS DESCRIPTION (taken from contemporary News reports if the incident).

Nineteen girls lost their lives in horrendous circumstances while working in a small workshop after a massive explosion rocked a metal dealers.
The mystery blast at the works inTipton, on March 6, 1922, resulted in 22 working girls and a married woman being taken to Hospital for treatment.
The effects of the incident were described as “appalling” as the girls worked dismantling miniature rifle cartridges.

It appeared the cartridges arrived in wooden boxes and the work of the girls involved removing the copper and metal portions which were to be melted into ingots.
The girls emptied the gunpowder from the cartridges into boxes. For some reason one of the cartridges went off, igniting or discharging several thousand others waiting to be dealt with.
The building immediately caught fire, the iron roof was blown away “and the suffering of the poor girls was almost indescribable.”

The manager had left the the shop and returned to find it a “veritable inferno.” He and others dashed round the rooms putting out the flames and dragging the "shrieking and panic-stricken girls from the building.
Reports in the press said some of the girls were scorched beyond recognition. The flying gunpowder had totally disfigured them and their clothing “was literally torn from their bodies.” One report said girls ran screaming round the works yard with their skin torn away.
One witness said he had never seen anything to compare with the tragedy. He saw girls running about the yard in a nude state and threw “bagging” round them.

Police said some of the injured were unrecognisable. Not only were their features defaced but most had no hair left. As the news spread thousands of people gathered in the vicinity of the blast. Tipton District Council opened a fund for the distressed families of the victims.
This is their memorial.

Memorial – Everyday Life

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  • Lee d'Entremont
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