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Last Updated: Tuesday, 30 October 2007, 10:51 GMT
Museum shows 116-year-old orange
The 116-year-old orange
The pips can be heard rattling when the orange is shaken
A dried-up orange from the lunchbox of a miner fatally injured on the day he was due to eat it has gone on display in a Staffordshire museum.

The fruit belonged to Joseph Roberts who was injured in an explosion at a Stoke-on-Trent colliery in 1891.

It had been kept by his family but has been donated to the Potteries Museum.

Spokeswoman Deb Klemperer said it may just be a piece of dried fruit but the story behind it made it an amazing piece for the museum.

Underground blasting

She said Mr Roberts, 37, of Hanley, had taken it to work at the Racecourse colliery in Etruria for his lunch on 19 February.

Unfortunately, he was badly injured when underground blasting at the colliery went wrong.

He died in hospital leaving a wife and six children.

The lunchbox was one of his effects handed back to his family, who kept it.

Now his great-granddaughter Pam Bettaney has donated it to the museum.

The orange is completely blackened and dried out - the pips can be heard rattling when it is shaken.

"His death was just one of many of the tragedies of the time. He was just one of many who died while working down the mines," Ms Klemperer said.



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