21 DECEMBER 1867, Page 3

On Tuesday afternoon there was a terrible explosion of nitro-

glycerine near Newcastle. This most explosive of all blasting -substances had been for some months, it seems, kept in the cellars of a public-house at Newcastle, without any of the legal precau- tions. There were at first thirty canisters, which were slowly sold -off, and at last, when the alarm was taken and the precautions adopted which led to the explosion, nine were left. When the Mayor and other authorities heard of the existence of this dangerous substance in such quantities in the cellar of the White Swan, close behind the Branch Bank of England, they ordered it to be removed and destroyed, and this was done under the superintend- ence of the sheriff, Mr. Mawson, himself a chemist, and the town surveyor, Mr. Bryson. Mr. Mawson intended to have it spread in the marshy soil of the moor, and it was taken out there in a spring van with that view. After emptying the canisters, however, some of the crystals adhered to the bottom, and some of the party went to bury the canters in the moor at a little distance. This they seem to have done, and then to have beaten the earth down upon the tomb of the canisters with their spades. The shock exploded the crystals with a. tremendous report, killed five of the men, and so seriously injured the sheriff and town surveyor, Mr. Mawson and Mr. Bryson, that both of them have died since, and died in great pain. The explosive force of the crystals left at the bottom of the canisters must have been terrific. It blew some of those who were close to the spot almost to pieces, the driver of the cab, a hundred yards or more off, was-blown

off his box on to the horse, and it broke the windows of the cab. The ground appears as if a mine had been sprung in the neighbourhood.