Explosion of Gas in Ryde

Isle of Wight Times January 9th, 1879

What might have been a very serious explosion of gas took place on the premises of Mr Miller, tailor and outfitter, High-street, on Saturday morning. It appears that when Mr A Miller came downstairs he noticed a strong smell of gas in the back sitting-room, and told the boy to put some water into the slide of the gasolier, but instead of doing so, he got a pair of steps and went to the top of the room and struck a match, and the gas having collected near the ceiling, a sharp explosion immediately followed. The boy himself, (named Whittington) was thrown violently off the steps and his head and face rather severely scorched. The window of the sitting-room was blown out, and the door between the shop and the room shivered into splinters, some of which were found in the shop window, which was also shattered. Mr A Miller, who was in the shop, was thrown violently into the street, and his face was cut by the pieces of plate glass from the window. Happily, the premises were not set on fire, but the furniture and stock were scorched and singed. One fortunate circumstance was in the fact that the shop door, which had only just been closed, had been open for some time, thus allowing a considerable quantity of gas to escape, or the results might have been much more disastrous. Mr Miller is carrying on his business in the shop opposite, (formerly occupied by a chemist) during the necessary repairs.

Isle of Wight Observer January 11, 1879

EXPLOSION – On Saturday last a very serious explosion of gas occurred at Mr A Miller’s, tailor, in High-street. It appears that early in the morning Mr Miller noticed a strong smell of gas, and sent a boy named Whitington to find out where it came from. The lad sent into the room behind the shop and incautiously lighted a match, when a tremendous explosion occurred, which blew the plate-glass windows of the shop into little pieces, shivered the door between the shop and the back room to pieces, and also blew out the windows at the back with such violence that a rain water butt in the yard had a number of small pieces of glass sticking into it as if they had been fired from a gun. The furniture and the stock of the shop also caught on fire, but it was soon extinguished, and the greatest damage consisted of several bill files being burnt, and also some cloth singed. It is fortunate no one was passing in the street at the time, or they might have been seriously injured.

The Gas Explosion

Isle of Wight Observer February 20, 1879

To the Editor of the Isle of Wight Observer
Dear Sir, – I am pleased to state that the loss occasioned by the late gas explosion at my Outfitting Establishment, 34, High-street, has been promptly met by the Sun and Lancashire Insurance Companies. The damage to the property by the former, and to stock and furniture by the latter Company. The Lancashire Company, upon the representation of their Agent, Mr J A Purnell, have forwarded a cheque for £2 2s to Mr Councillor Barton in acknowledgement of the valuable services rendered by him in running through the shop immediately after the explosion and extinguishing the flame before any serious damage was done to the stock.
Yours obediently,
34, High-street, Ryde           ALFRED MILLER
Feb. 13th, 1879