Nanaimo’s No. 1 mine. (Submitted photo)

Nanaimo’s No. 1 mine. (Submitted photo)

May 3, 1887: Remembering 150 lives lost in B.C.’s worst-ever mining disaster

City of Nanaimo lowering flags to commemorate Esplanade Mine explosion that killed 150

Flags in Nanaimo are at half-mast today to remember the lives of 150 miners who were lost 135 years ago in the province’s worst mining disaster.

In the No. 1 Esplanade Mine explosion on May 3, 1887, 46 women lost their husbands and 126 children lost their fathers, devastating the small community of approximately only 2,000 people, a release from the City of Nanaimo noted.

“Starting at 5:55 pm … two explosions occurred 260 metres below sea level in what was known as the city’s largest mine, No. 1 Esplanade Mine. The blast was so forceful it rocketed through the underground shafts for almost a kilometre. The underground fire burned for two weeks.

“Because of such damage, the last of the bodies could not be recovered until July. Unfortunately, seven men never were recovered and remain somewhere beneath the Nanaimo Harbour to this day,” read the city’s release. “A jury blamed the explosion on the firing of an unprepared and badly planted charge that ignited accumulated gas fuelled by coal dust.”

More information on the tragedy can also be found at www.nanaimomuseum.ca/permanent-exhibit/the-coal-mine.

READ MORE: South end remembers victims of No. 1 Esplanade Mine


mandy.moraes@nanaimobulletin.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

coal minehistory

Be Among The First To Know

Create a free account today, and start receiving free newsletters.

Sign Up with google Sign Up with facebook

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Reset your password

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

A link has been emailed to you - check your inbox.



Don't have an account? Click here to sign up
Pop-up banner image