If water broke into a mine from abandoned and flooded workings, a busy scene like this could be completely submerged within moments.
Image: Science Museum / SSPL

The battle against flooding

Miners constantly battled against flood water. Even steam engines were unable to prevent accidents, such as the one at Heaton Colliery in 1815:

'A dreadful catastrophe occurred... by the breaking in of... water from the old workings... The old colliery is said to have been discontinued on account of the influx of water, which was so great, that seven engines, of the construction of that day, could not get the better of it.'

What happened next?