HC Deb 03 June 1907 vol 175 c308

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether, in order to prevent the danger of spontaneous explosion, the authorised list of explosives lays down that every explosive in the list and every ingredient thereof shall be so thoroughly purified and otherwise of such a character as to satisfy a test known as the Abel heat test, and specified in a memorandum dated 1st January, 1906; whether the Explosives Act has been contravened by Kynoch, Limited, adding mercuric chloride, which enables the explosive to defeat the official test, so that it might be in a state of decomposition and yet be passed as satisfactory; whether any communications have passed between the Home Office and the War Administrations in reference to recent seizures of explosives and to the facts elicited at the trial of Kynoch, Limited, on 22nd February, 12th March, 20th April, and 24th April; and, if so, will he communicate their nature.


The Answer to the first part of the Question is, as regards nitro-compound explosives, in the affirmative. The Answer to the second part is that Messrs. Kynochs have been convicted by the magistrates at Grays, in Essex, of the contravention referred to, and the conviction has been affirmed at Quarter Sessions, subject, I understand, to the decision of the High Court on the point of law whether the addition to the explosive of a very small percentage of mercuric chloride is contrary to the wording of the licence. The addition of even a very minute quantity of mercuric chloride to an explosive of this class does defeat the official test in the manner stated. I have arranged with my right hon. friend the Secretary of State for War for the submission to a conference of experts of the question whether it is possible, consistently with the public safety, to deal with the seized explosive in any other manner than by destruction.