On 8 December 1862, at the Edmunds Main Colliery, Worsbrough Dale near Barnsley, three underground explosions killed 59 men and boys. In a coal field that was known to be fiery and to harbour gas, death was nothing new. Added to the inherent risk of working underground, proprietors regarded safety in terms of avoiding lost production, rather than saving life and limb. Women saw their menfolk leave for work wondering if they would come home and spent each shift half expecting a visitor with bad news.