The main cause of accidents in all the coal and iron workings in Blaenavon were falls of stone or clod from the roof or from the side of the shafts. Many of the seams worked were relatively near the surface, because of Blaenavon's proximity to the very edge of the coalfield, and there were many faults in the area. Blaenavon was singled out for criticism by the inspectors because of the poor state of repair of some of its shafts. Between 1857 and 1880 at least 60 deaths are recorded at Blaenavon by mines inspectors. Seven people were killed in the Coity Pits, three at Dodd's Slope, and at the Forge Pit two young brothers were killed in an accident just 18 months after the pit was re-opened after being abandoned for many years.22 Coal mining and iron mining were inherently dangerous occupations and all of the above were in very close proximity to Kearsley's Pit yet no accidents were ever reported. It was not until 9 April 1887, after the name Kearsley's Pit had been discarded, that a fatality was reported for Big Pit. This first death was due to over-exertion rather than an accident. A 49 year old repairer, Edmund Harris, ruptured a blood vessel while lifting a lump of rubbish into a tram.23 The first fatal accident did not occur until 30 January 1889 when a stone fell from the roof on to William Nash, aged 38. He was clearing a roof-fall with other men when the accident happened.24 From 1880 onwards Between 1880 and 1895 Big Pit grew to be one of the largest in Blaenavon, mining the 'Rock Coal' and 'Old Coal' for the blast-furnaces and the forge and for the increasing demand for house, gas and steam coal. By 1895, the works management and owners regarded Big Pit as the most important in the town. Who was Kearsley? Finally, if the original name of Big Pit was Kearsley's Pit then the name may provide a clue to the date it was sunk. If the pit was named after a man named Kearsley, who would presumably have been a sinker, a colliery agent, or the senior collier in the pit, then who was he? The name Kearsley occurred mostly in Lancashire with significant numbers also living in Yorkshire and Cheshire.25 The iron mine named James Kearsley's shown on the above mentioned maps, may have been named after the James Kearsley who married Sarah Morris on 7 July 1828 at Saint Cadoc's Church, Trevethin. Both the bride and groom were from the parish which extended up the Eastern valley and included part of the Blaenavon area. Its border with the parish of Llanfoist was within yards of where Kearsley's Pit was sunk. They may have been living close to the pit. The couple had a son George seven months after they were married. He was christened at the age of 17 months at St Peter's Church, Blaenavon, on 2 July 1830. James was described in the parish register as a miner still living in the parish of Trevethin. He and his family appeared in the 1841 census. By this time he was 36 years old and living at Coal Pit Lower