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Vancouver Coal Company

As part of the Chinese Historical Wrongs Legacy Initiative, we’ve digitized a small selection of inquests and inquiries from 1872 to 1934, found in series GR-0431. These were chosen to reflect the experiences of early Chinese immigrants to B.C. – their living and working conditions, and their unfortunate accidental or unusual deaths.   They range from a woman working in a brothel in Barkerville who died of natural causes to three sawmill workers who died from malnutrition. Learn more.

*All transcriptions are provided by volunteers, and the accuracy of the transcriptions is not guaranteed. Please be sure to verify the information by viewing the image record, or visiting the BC Archives in person. 

BC Archives GR-0431

*Please note that archival source materials are original historical documents that have not been censored, reviewed or otherwise altered by the Royal BC Museum. Some materials may contain content that is racist, sexist or otherwise offensive. The Royal BC Museum is only the custodian of archival materials; the content does not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the Royal BC Museum.

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5/ and it was very dry where I was working. I have never been down to the face of the new slope. There was a good deal of coal dust where I was working. The coal dust was principally on the floor. Sometimes when a shot was fired coal dust would rise in great quantities. There was a strong current of air there but it would not raise the coal dust, it would blow over the top of it. We tamped our shots with fine coal dust. It was always wetted before hand for tamping purposes. I have seen a "blowing out" shot. The flames would extend two feet or so. I never saw the flames go fifteen or twenty feet. I never saw the flames extend any distance from the face. A "blowing out" shot is one that blows out the tamping. When we cannot get water we use our tea to wet our tamping with. Some of the holes that required tamping would be four or five feet in depth. These would take about a shovel full of dust per tamping.

To the Coroner

We wet all our tamping.

To Mr Drake Q. C.

I was working in coal on that day and came off my shift at 2 P.M. The mine the day I worked was in the same condition as our previous days. I do not know whether the mine or that portion of the mine had been watered. I heard no complaints of gas that day at all from anybody. I cannot say whether it was George Churchill or James Price who was foreman on my shift that day. I knew Andrew [name ?]. He was foreman on the afternoon shift. I have worked on his shift and so far as I know he was a careful man and always attentive to his duties.

To a Juryman

The roof alluded to by me as having been reported to contain gas was the roof of the diagonal or new slope.

BC Archives, GR-0431 Box 4 File 3 / BRITISH COLUMBIA. ATTORNEY GENERAL. / Inquisitions / inquests conducted by coroners in British Columbia.

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