LOCAL NEWS AND EVENTS OF THE 1950s
PONTEFRACT IN 1959
16 January 1959
MEN ESCAPE IN QUARRYSIDE COLLAPSE
The lives of two men were probably saved
because they had an early luncheon on Monday, when a 15 yard stretch of
a high quarry side fell in Tanshelf Drive, Pontefract. And another
''lucky lunch'' may have saved the life of a women, whose garden was
partly swept into the quarry.
The incident occurred at 1.00pm when Mr.
George Sellers and his wife Doris were having lunch at their home in
Tanshelf Drive, which overlooks a quarry in Wakefield Road, occupied by
Mr. J.R. Stirling, a timber merchant, said shortly after Mrs Sellers had
been in the garden to bring "Laddie", their wire-haired terrier back
into the house, there was a mighty crash. Mr. Sellers did not remain to
finish his meal after he looked outside, for the tool shed at the side
of his home had disappeared, together with a part of the garden and a
wall. "I rang the police at once and my wife and I evacuated the house",
Mr. Sellers, a glassworker, told The Express. ''Luckily, my wife wasn't
outside when the quarry collapsed. If we hadn't been half-way through
lunch she might easily have remained in the garden for a while.
Working directly under the part of the quarry
that collapsed were Mr. Geoffrey Poppleton, of Churchbalk Lane, who was
sitting on a tractor, and Mr. Walter Kenworthy, of Featherstone, who was
preparing to cut wood with a mechanical saw. "Thank goodness we had an
early lunch,'' said the foreman, Mr. Reginald Turner, of 'Wayside',
Whitley Bridge, "because we ate half-an-hour earlier than usual, none of
the other machinery in the timber yard was working, Geoffrey and Walter
heard the noise of the impending collapse and were able to jump clear,
If the other saws had been working they certainly would not have heard
any warning crack. I heard a loud crack above me and jumped clear",
said Mr .Poppleton. The seat of the tractor was completely covered by
large rocks, and the mechanical saw, which Mr. Kenworthy had been about
to use, was completely covered in the debris.
NEVER LIVE THERE AGAIN
By 8pm workmen of the Corporation had removed
all the furniture from the home of Mr. and Mrs Sellers, in case of a
further collapse, "We will never be able to live there again", said Mr
Sellers, as he looked at the space where his garden shed had stood.
At present Mr. and Mrs Sellers are staying
with relatives in Pontefract. "We are homeless and our furniture is
being stored in the Town Hall. I am very grateful to the Corporation for
their speedy assistance."