Denaby Datallers And Their Tubs – “Were They Mottied?”

June 1907

Mexborough & Swinton Times, June 8, 1907

Denaby Datallers And Their Tubs
“Were They Mottied?”

A curious case of alleged “Mottying,” the most detestable offence which can be perpetrated in the mine, came before the notice of the magistrates of the Doncaster Petty Sessions, on Saturday morning. The defendant was James. Cooper, and he was charged by the Denaby Main Colliery Company Ltd., with having obtained by false pretences, the sum of 1s 9d. ( 8 1/2 p) He pleaded not guilty.

Mr W. M. Gichard, with the aid of a sketch, explained in detail the state of affairs, remarking that defendant was charged with placing his mark on three tubs of dust filled by a dataller in the Denaby mine, and with drawing remuneration thereby, namely 7d a tub, or 1s 9d in all.

Wilfred Newboun, Tickill Street, Denaby Main, a deputy in the colliery, said that on the night of the 14th he was on duty in the plane, and at 11.30 he went along 38 level, where he saw defendant working. In the pass-by near there were eight empties for the use of persons requiring them. Going along the level, he found two men, Easton and Bell, engaged, like defendant, upon clearing out the roads, by putting dust into the tubs. Later, he came across certain tubs which had been filled with dirt, and had the mark of Cooper. The deputy said to Cooper “have you been Mottying these three tubs of Easton,” who replied that he had not.

Then witness asked him what had made him tram 11 tubs of coal and 3 tubs of dirt to the pass by, and defendant said he had put them there so that he could bring forward eight of the tubs and fill them. Further still, he had told defendant that there was no one else mottying the tubs but defendant. In reply, defendant said he had filled them himself.

Replying to a query from defendant, witness said Cooper had only fillled seven tubs throughout the shift.

Charles Brayshaw, an under deputy, corroborated the statement made by Newborn, and further said he had returned along the road early in the morning, and at 4:10 came upon Cooper. In the pass by immediately before he came to Cooper, he saw 11 tubs of coal and 3 of dirt. The dust corves where interspersed among the coal corves. Coming up to Cooper the latter asked him for more tubs, and witness replied that there were more than he would want, in the next pass by.

One of the the datallers, the fruit of whose labour it was alleged had been diverted to defendant’s profit, Samuel Easton, of Park Road, Mexborough, said he was paid by the day, so that it was not necessary to put a distinguishing mark on the tubs filled by him. He spoke to filling five tubs of “dirt,” 3 of which were placed in a run of 14, and placed in the middle pass by. He, along with a fellow dataller named Bell, passed by this place at the close of the shift (6 o’clock on Wednesday morning), and the tubs were this time in the “scouring pass by,” nearest to number four Jinny. The tubs now had motties, and on the top of the first had placed some corn. He examine the tub and found it contained dirt.

Joe Bell, the other dataller, who lives at 3, Beech Hill, Conisborough, told a similar story, saying while Easton had filled five tubs he had filled one. Three of the six were left back and three others placed in their “scouring pass by,” along with the 11 coal tubs. Mr R. Vincent Bedford, of the colliery offices, spoke to the payment to defendant of the sum of 1s 9d in respect of the filling of the three tubs.

Defendant gave evidence on oath, and substantially his defence was a complete denial to the charge of false pretences, stating that the tubs of “dirt” bearing his mark had been filled by him.

Despite this statement, defendant was ordered to pay an inclusive fine of 40/–.