West Yorkshire market town of Pontefract
 
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Pontefract Years in Focus 1959

YEARS IN FOCUS
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 UNDERNEATH

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."

1959 INDEX


 

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