Tales from the Aletheian Society

The Explosion at Tradeston Gaswork

Reward of £500 offered

The Lord Provost and Magistrates resolved yesterday to increase the reward offered in connection with the recent explosion at Tradeston Gaswork from £100 to £500.

On Wednesday Mr Hawksley again visited the gasometer on behalf of the Corporation, for the purpose of making an inspection of the interior, the water having been pumped out. Col. Majendie, who had on the previous day examined the gasometer on behalf of the Government authorities, accompanied Mr Hawksley.

After the inspection both gentlemen called upon the Lord Provost. Col. Majendie stated to his Lordship that on the occasion of his first visit to the gasometer his impression was that the disaster had been caused, not by an explosion of gas but by some external agency; but before presenting his report to the Government, he had instructed that the water should be pumped out of the tank. Having now had an opportunity of examining the interior, he was fully satisfied that the explosion had been caused by the application of some external agency. He was not prepared to say whether that agency was dynamite or nitro-glycerine, but he was convinced that it was some explosive of a far more powerful character than either gas or gunpowder.

During the re-examination by Mr Hawksley and Colonel Majendie a number of circumstances were observed which confirmed both gentlemen in their first impression regarding the cause of the disaster. Among other things it was found that certain parts of the side of the gasholder where the explosion had occurred had been driven inwards, and were found in the bottom of the tank. It was further discovered that the side of the gasholder opposite to that where the explosive material had been placed was perforated with holes of various sizes, which must have been caused by projectiles passing through the side of the holder. It was also found, on examining the base of the injured column, that the side facing the gasometer was pitted with indentations, which had been made by the action of the explosive; while on the other side of the base the surface of the paint was quite perfect.

Mr Hawksley, who from the first was perfectly satisfied that the disaster had not been caused by a gas explosion but by some external agency, also stated to the Lord Provost that his former opinion was unaltered. At the meeting yesterday the Lord Provost communicated those facts to the Magistrates’ Committee, with the result that they immediately resolved, as already stated, to increase the reward from £100 to £500.

It may also be mentioned that in his interview with the Lord Provost Colonel Majendie stated that the box which was found at the Possil Bridge, and the explosion of which resulted in injury to a number of person, was undoubtedly intended to cause far more disaster than had actually occurred. Had it not been for the defective apparatus employed to effect the purpose aimed at he believed that the bridge might have been blow down, and the water of the canal let in upon the city, causing great destruction both to life and property.

Colonel Majendie is to make a report to the Crown authorities and Mr Hawksley will prepare a written report for the Corporation. It should also be stated that casts have been taken of the base of injured column, and will be furnished to the Crown authorities.