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.
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*Please note that archival source materials are original historical documents that have not been censored, reviewed or otherwise altered by the Royal BC Museum.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.
G. Lippiatt, miner. Sworn:- By Mr. Potts:- Did you insist on the rescue of the miners in No. 6 mine on the evening of July 15th? A: I did. Q: What time? A: About 8 o'clock. Q: In what capacity? A: I was assisting the rescue party. Q: Did you make any search? A: I did. Q: Where did you search? A: Along the face of the workings. Q: What for? A: For bodies in particular. Q: Did you find anything other than bodies in the mine? That is anything that was a source of danger? A: The place was full of gas. Q: Where? A: All along the face of the workings, the first time we attempted to get in. Q: Did you find any open safety lamps? A: No. Q: Pit lamps? A: I found six or seven safety lamps, but they were all locked. I found one pit lamp down on the level; I think it was opposite No. 6 stall; it was right on the same level. Q: Is that on the return airway? A: No, it was on the in-take. It looked to me as if it hadn't been used; it was an old lamp lying there; it looked as if it hadn't been in use for sometime. Q: Where did you find it? A: Right on the level. There was a little wall of bog built up there, and it was set upon this wall of gob at the side of the level. Q: Was that anywhere near the explosion occurred? A: No. Q: Did you find anything else? A: No. Q: Any powder? A: No. Q: Matches? A: No. Q: How was the ventilation when you were there? A: First class. Q: Are you able to form any opinion as to the cause of the explosion? A: Well, I couldn't exactly say. I believe it was caused by carelessness on the part of the Chinamen; that it what my opinion was. Q: What makes you think so? A: Well there was a gas explosion, and the gas had to be ignited. They were all working with safety lamps. The gas must have been ignited by a blaze, but it might have been caused by a defective lamp. Q: It might have been? A: It might have been. Q: It must have been caused either by the carelessness of a Chinaman or by a defective lamp? A: Either one or the other. It seems to me there was a big body of gas coming off there, and I am satisfied the explosion occurred in the neighborhood of No. 6, between 6 and seven. I rather think there must have been a big body of gas coming off. Q: How many years experience have you had as a miner? A: I've worked in a coal mine since I was 15 years old - about 13 years' experience off and on. Q: Did you examine the place where the cave in occurred? A: No, I couldn't very well examine it. We came to the cave and had to go round to the next stall.
BC Archives GR-0431 Box 6 File 3
BRITISH COLUMBIA. ATTORNEY GENERAL. Inquisitions/inquests conducted by coroners in British Columbia.