The Tim Bobbin Delph Incident (1887) | Padiham | Burnley


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The Tim Bobbin delph was a large disused quarry that was situated only yards away from the Tim Bobbin public house, which itself was located alongside Padiham Road. Triangular in shape, it contained water that was reportedly 150ft long and up to 90ft deep but in the days leading up to Boxing Day, a severe frost had covered the water with a thin layer of ice.

And for two young boys, this was too tempting an opportunity to miss!

Just after four o’ clock in the afternoon, Frank Hartley and his friend, Thomas Hewitson – both twelve years old, had ventured into the quarry, and, with boys being boys, both were eager to slide onto the ice.

Hewitson would be the first to take the lead, stepping out onto the ice closest to the water’s edge. Anxiously he slowly made his way further along, and happy it would be able to take his weight, his over-confidence would quickly evaporate as he began to jump to test the strength of the ice.

Without any warning, the ice suddenly gave way, plunging Hewitson into the freezing cold water.

Hartley, after seeing his friend disappear below the surface of the ice quickly went to his rescue. Unfortunately, this would also prove to be a mistake as he himself would end up in the water.

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