About this image
Staveley Coal and Iron Company ambulances and fire engine. The vehicle in the centre was once the Rolls Royce of Charlie Markham. The Staveley Coal and Iron Company bought George Hodgkinson Barrow's extensive foundries and collieries in the Staveley area for £600000 in 1863. (Barrow's Family had owned blast furnaces and collieries in the area since 1786. Charles Markham became the Managing Director of the company for a period of at least five years from the formation. At this time the company employed 3,000 workers, the collieries raised some 1,000,000 tons of coal per annum and the foundries and furnaces produced 20,000 tons of castings. Charles Markham made the company expand rapidly and by 1878 the company had paid up capital of £1326000 owning outright and in partnerships several collieries, iron works and housing ventures around the country. His sons and grandsons were to continue the traditions of Charles Markham into the twentieth century. Coal mining and foundry work were very dangerous, and fire engines and ambulances were often called into action. In 1938, a large explosion at the Markham Colliery (owned by the Staveley Coal and Iron Company) killed 79 people and injured a further 40. The explosion was caused when some wagons ran uncontrolled down an incline and were derailed spilling coal dust into the air. At the same time they cut an electrical cable causing a spark which was the source of the ignition of the coal dust.