Memorial Card to the victims of the Whittal Street Explosion, 1859 [Ephemera Collection LE/Cards/1]
Come and hear Liz Palmer share the account of the explosion at the Percussion Cap Manufactory, which tragically which took the lives of eighteen young women and one young man.
Birmingham has long been associated with the gun trade, with the gun quarter being focused on the area on the Weaman Estate around Whittall Street. Innovations in the industry in the early mid-19th Century saw the establishment of several percussion cap manufactories as percussion cap weapons replaced flintlocks. The manufactories employed mainly girls and young women whose nimble fingers were suited to the many processes involved in the production of these tiny items. But the work was extremely dangerous involving several explosive substances including fulminating mercury. Explosions involving loss of life were not uncommon; one of the worst of these was in 1859 at the…
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