According to my present information, there were 23 girls employed in the shop on the day of the explosion and one man. Four of the girls were aged 13, 18 were between 14 and 16, and one was 16.
In addition to the investigation which will take place at the coroner's inquest, and at which the Home Office will be represented, I have directed His Majesty's Chief Inspector of Explosives to make an inquiry into, and to report to me upon, the circumstances attending this explosion, as provided in Section 66 of the Explosives Act.
Will the right hon. Gentleman be prepared to make inquiries into the rates of pay these unfortunate girls were receiving, in consequence of the statement that appears in the Press this morning?
Before it came into the hands of the present tenant, who was responsible for the explosion, it was used as a factory, and inspected as late as a month before he took it, i.e., last January, but as no licence was applied for we knew nothing about it being used for its present purpose, and therefore it was not inspected.