HC Deb 13 April 1891 vol 352 cc353-4

I beg to ask the Lord Advocate whether any decision has yet been come to as to the institution of a special public inquiry into all or any of those fatal explosions in ironworks in the Glasgow district to which his attention was called by questions before Easter?


The information in the possession of the Secretary for Scotland tends to show that there was no connection between the three explosions referred to, except that they all occurred at ironworks in Scotland The propriety of ordering a public inquiry is, therefore, a question for separate consideration in each case. (1) At Blochairn the explosion was a purely mechanical one, caused by heating a closed tube containing water. Steps have been taken to prevent such an occurrence in the future, and the Secretary for Scotland sees no advantage to be gained by further inquiry. (2) At Messrs. Dixons' Works, the explosion occurred in a section of the works which is registered under the Alkali Act. A Report has been received from the Chief Inspector of Alkali Works to the effect that the explosion took place in the pipes or vessels used for separating ammonia from furnace gases, but was the result of accidental ignition, and not of any chemical process connected with such separation of the ammonia. It is not satisfactorily explained how the ignition was caused, but the point is not one, in the opinion of the Secretary for Scotland, which a public inquiry would be likely to further elucidate. (3) The explosion at Gart-sherrie Ironworks has, in common with the other two explosions, been the subject of inquiry through the Procurator Fiscal, but the decision of Crown counsel has not yet been announced, and the Secretary for Scotland will await that decision before pronouncing upon the expediency of holding a public inquiry.


I beg to give notice that I will call attention to the subject upon the Votes.