Cwm-y-Glo Explosion

Engraving of the carts at the scene

On a very hot afternoon on 30 June 1869, two carts, each containing a ton of nitro-glycerine (then known as powder-oil) set out from Caernarfon travelling the 8 miles to the Glynrhonwy slate quarry on the edge of Llanberis. Although the canisters containing the liquid explosive had been carefully packed into a boxes containing sawdust and covered in straw when loaded onto the carts, nobody at the time knew how inherently unstable nitro-glycerine was!

Just before 6pm, immediately after the carts had passed the Cwm-y-Glo station goods shed, the cargo exploded with what was probably the loudest man-made explosion ever heard up to that time. Both carters died, plus a passing quarrymen from Glynrhonwy and two young boys aged 11 and 13, who were unlucky enough to be nearby. The inquest showed that the carters had spent some time at the Alexandria Inn in Cwm-y-Glo which meant the carts were cooking nicely in the sun.

Where hoof and harness landedNo trace of the carters, horses or carts remained at the site and two deep craters approximately ten feet deep were left behind. Human and animal remains, as well as parts of the carts, were spread far and wide – with some of the debris being found in the neighbouring village of Brynrefail. The damage to Cwm-y-Glo’s buildings was extensive, many having roofs blown off and windows destroyed. Scarcely a house in the village escaped without damage. A wheel and harness from one of the carts landed a half-mile away and, to this day, the spot is marked by a large ‘X’ scratched on a stone wall which locals keep visible.

The far-reaching consequence of this event was the Nitro-glycerine Act 1869 prohibiting the manufacture, transport or sale of nitro-glycerine or any product containing it in the U.K.

PlaqueA plaque commemorates the event which can be seen on the rock face opposite Y Fricsan.

A ballad about the accident (see the excellent Welsh cultural history site,‘ Gathering the Jewels’The text of the song translates roughly as:

Song about the accident“A ballad about a terrible explosion that happened in 1869 at Cwm y glo.

Dear quarrymen and all rockworkers throughout Arfon and Meirionydd.  Hear about this alarming and terrible accident that has made many hearts sad. There has been accident after accident in the quarries, with falling loose rocks from morning to noon.  They tear the flesh and break the bones and people collect bodies in blankets and sheets.  What heart does not melt at the sight of a mother unable to recognise her son or husband, the tears pouring from the children shouting: ‘Dad, where are you?’. And things are far worse with nitro-glycerine.  We’ve had terrible disasters at Abergele, now we have one at Cwm y glo ”

The full Welsh text and a transcription of a contemporary account of the explosion in the Times of  2 July 1869 can be found by clicking on this website

More reading: Death Blast in Snowdonia by T Meirion Hughes.

 

 

10,060 comments on “Cwm-y-Glo Explosion

  1. Oh my goodness! Awesome article dude! Thanks, However I am encountering problems with your RSS. I donít know why I can’t subscribe to it. Is there anybody else having similar RSS issues? Anyone that knows the solution can you kindly respond? Thanx!!

  2. Hello there! This blog post couldnít be written much better! Looking at this article reminds me of my previous roommate! He continually kept talking about this. I am going to send this article to him. Pretty sure he’s going to have a very good read. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Aw, this was an extremely nice post. Taking the time and actual effort to make a very good articleÖ but what can I sayÖ I put things off a lot and never manage to get anything done.

  4. A fascinating discussion is worth comment. I do think that you need to write more about this topic, it may not be a taboo subject but generally people do not speak about these subjects. To the next! Many thanks!!

  5. Greetings! Very useful advice within this post! It is the little changes that produce the most important changes. Thanks a lot for sharing!

  6. I wanted to thank you for this excellent read!! I certainly enjoyed every little bit of it. I have got you saved as a favorite to look at new stuff you postÖ

  7. Hi, I do think this is an excellent website. I stumbledupon it 😉 I will come back once again since I saved as a favorite it. Money and freedom is the greatest way to change, may you be rich and continue to help other people.

  8. I truly love your website.. Very nice colors & theme. Did you create this website yourself? Please reply back as Iím looking to create my very own blog and want to learn where you got this from or what the theme is named. Many thanks!

  9. I blog quite often and I seriously thank you for your information. Your article has truly peaked my interest. I will take a note of your blog and keep checking for new information about once per week. I opted in for your RSS feed as well.

  10. After I initially commented I appear to have clicked on the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and from now on each time a comment is added I get four emails with the same comment. There has to be an easy method you are able to remove me from that service? Thanks!

  11. An interesting discussion is definitely worth comment. I do believe that you need to publish more on this topic, it may not be a taboo subject but typically people don’t speak about these subjects. To the next! All the best!!

  12. This is a great tip particularly to those new to the blogosphere. Short but very accurate informationÖ Thanks for sharing this one. A must read article!

  13. Next time I read a blog, Hopefully it does not fail me just as much as this one. After all, I know it was my choice to read through, but I truly thought you’d have something helpful to talk about. All I hear is a bunch of complaining about something you could fix if you were not too busy searching for attention.

  14. Howdy, I do believe your web site may be having internet browser compatibility problems. Whenever I take a look at your site in Safari, it looks fine however when opening in IE, it has some overlapping issues. I simply wanted to provide you with a quick heads up! Besides that, fantastic site!

  15. Aw, this was a very good post. Taking a few minutes and actual effort to make a great articleÖ but what can I sayÖ I hesitate a whole lot and never manage to get anything done.

  16. Enjoying much more drinking water is key to getting rid of fatty tissue.Drinking water prevents fatty tissue from developing as an alternative to alleviating it. It can also help maintain your epidermis. Normal water eliminates unhealthy toxins which may cause fatty tissue. Try to have at the very least 6 to 8 servings of water daily.

  17. Nice post. I learn something more challenging on different blogs everyday. It will always be stimulating to read content from other writers and practice a little something from their store. I?d prefer to use some with the content on my blog whether you don?t mind. Natually I?ll give you a link on your web blog. Thanks for sharing.

  18. An outstanding share! I have just forwarded this onto a colleague who has been conducting a little research on this. And he in fact bought me dinner due to the fact that I stumbled upon it for him… lol. So let me reword this…. Thanks for the meal!! But yeah, thanx for spending time to talk about this topic here on your site.

  19. There are certainly a lot of details like that to take into consideration. That is a great point to bring up. I offer the thoughts above as general inspiration but clearly there are questions like the one you bring up where the most important thing will be working in honest good faith. I don?t know if best practices have emerged around things like that, but I am sure that your job is clearly identified as a fair game. Both boys and girls feel the impact of just a moment?s pleasure, for the rest of their lives.

  20. An impressive share, I just given this onto a colleague who was doing a little analysis on this. And he in fact bought me breakfast because I found it for him.. smile. So let me reword that: Thnx for the treat! But yeah Thnkx for spending the time to discuss this, I feel strongly about it and love reading more on this topic. If possible, as you become expertise, would you mind updating your blog with more details? It is highly helpful for me. Big thumb up for this blog post!

  21. I must thank you for the efforts you’ve put in writing this blog. I’m hoping to view the same high-grade content by you later on as well. In fact, your creative writing abilities has inspired me to get my own website now 😉

  22. Greetings! Very helpful advice within this post! It’s the little changes that produce the greatest changes. Thanks a lot for sharing!

  23. Greetings, I think your blog might be having web browser compatibility problems. When I take a look at your blog in Safari, it looks fine however, when opening in I.E., it has some overlapping issues. I just wanted to provide you with a quick heads up! Besides that, wonderful website!

  24. Having read this I thought it was rather informative. I appreciate you spending some time and energy to put this content together. I once again find myself personally spending a lot of time both reading and commenting. But so what, it was still worthwhile!

  25. You have made some good points there. I checked on the internet to learn more about the issue and found most individuals will go along with your views on this website.

  26. An interesting discussion is price comment. I believe that you should write more on this matter, it might not be a taboo topic however usually persons are not enough to talk on such topics. To the next. Cheers

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *