1885

January

We visit Denaby and Conisborough in 1885 at the beginning of another major conflict
which was to have consequences echoed in the Bag Muck Strike of
It began with the Colliery Owners giving notices to all their employees
the week before Christmas
and continued with meetings and the inability of the management to reply
because the Chairman was in St Tropez
Follow the development of the Strike and there is much more to come
The dispute was accompanied by an outbreak of smallpox
and a damming report by the Medical Officer

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February

The Lock Out at Denaby Main rumbled into its second month in February 1885.
The Yorkshire Miners Association were able to maintain strike pay to its members
But the spread of Small pox in the village was causing concern.
The reduction of wages required by the Masters was calculated at over 25%
and the Guildhall was refused for a meeting
There were the usual cases of drunkenness and ‘enjoyment’
Highway Offence and and a Haystack set on fire
whilst the Cricket Club fundraiser engaged ‘the local minstrels’
and United’s away results were improving

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March

In March 1885 the Denaby Main dispute was reaching a critical point
A meeting with Buckingham Pope made clear the master’s intentions
Ejection orders were taken at the Courts
To enable the Company throw the miners from their homes
Two intimidation cases were heard
with a 13 year old pony driver fined
and another let off with insufficient evidence
and all the meetings and court cases
were shown in detail
as the miners and their families prepared for the worst

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April

In April 1885 the Dispute took a severe turn with the arrival of a large body of police
from ‘Sheffield, Rotherham, Barnsley, Leeds, Bradford, Doncaster, Mexborough, Swinton, Wakefield, Rawmarsh
and most other places in the West Riding
During the next two weeks they were to eject over 1,000 people from their homes
as the ‘bitter easterly wind.. chilled the bodies of the ill clad families of the miners’
In thousands of detailed words the papers tells of the events and the work of the Rev Leslie as he obtains provisions for the destitute families and he protests that miners had been evicted from homes they were made to move into just a few months before
how WH Chambers relates the instructions of Buckingham Pope that they must accept the new rates and a further 10% reduction and if no immediate return to work is made ‘strangers’ would be introduced to their homes and jobs
The dispute is an enthralling narrative of the struggles of our ancestors

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May

The News in May 1885 was all about the Denaby Pit dispute
More families had been evicted from their homes
New workmen were arriving from Cornwall, Sheffield, Midlands and other places
amid angry scenes from the workers and their families
whose houses and jobs they had taken
A deputation meets WH Chambers and Buckingham Pope
and find out the determination of the Masters
Questions are raised in the House of Commons
and there’s great distress amongst the displaced families
and the Rev T J Leslie appears tireless in his efforts to help them
And the month ends with the news that the Pit is to close

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June

In June 1885, apart from a few petty crimes
the main story is the continued dispute at Denaby Main.
The Pit owners announce they are to close the Pit
they then sell off the Pit Ponies
Miners are brought to court for intimidation
and we hear of the good work of Rev Leslie
But then more workmen arrive from Staffordshire
and then go back again !

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July

The Denaby Main lockout reached a critical point in July 1885 as more ‘black sheep’ arrived from Staffordshire and some refused to return causing verbal exchanges across the Don.
A revolver is fired by one of the new arrivals
and a man is chased to the pastures.
The Battle of Denaby Main begins, as the Staffordshire men and the Denaby miners hurl a ‘shower of stones, half bricks, heavy iron hinges, and even iron axles’ at each other and men are hurt
before the police storm the crowd and restore order
A gradual return to work follows as the miners accept poorer conditions
and the Pit start producing coal again
Miners are brought to trial over the riots
There’s also an interesting new book on Conisborough Castle about its legends, history and romantics by Ecroyd Smith

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August

In August 1885 the long, bitter dispute was gradually being replaced by normality
More Staffordshire men had arrived
and they make the headlines as one claims attempted murder and another is found drunk
After another large meeting the miners decide to go back to work on the employer’s terms
Mr Chappell (union) intervenes and then his intervention is denied by Mr Chambers (manager)
The leaders of the battle of Denaby Main are given sentences of hard labour
The return to normality includes cases of drunkenness
Discovery of Dynamite at Denaby Main
A ‘loving couple’ wife attempting to thrash her husband with a clothes prop,
and we visit Conisborough’s 6th Flower Show

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September

In September 1885, although the pit was back to work the repercussions of the lock out were still being felt
The many new ‘strangers’ in their midst were creating unrest and ‘feeling’
A drunken ‘stranger’ loses his way to Denaby and is locked up
There’s a fight at the Reresby arms and a ‘stranger’ is prosecuted
and more ‘strangers’ cause trouble in Doncaster
there’s a prosecution of imposters who posed as on strike miners
and there’s a meeting in Conisborough as Mr Chappell tries to resuscitate his union
followed by a mass meeting in Mexborough led by Liberal Candidate Mr Pickard
– which denounces Mr Chappell’s efforts !

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October

In October 1885, 40 applicants were received
for a new reading room in Conisborough and the Wesleyan Chapel celebrate their Anniversary
Floods cover low lying Denaby and Conisborough and a Man on a Boat is shot at by a Boy
Bosdin Clarkson prosecutes his servant for Embezzlement and the Liberal Candidate addresses Miners at Conisborough
Six mischievous lads are fined 6d each (2 1/2 p) for damaging grass and bricks and taking wood for a raft
and Denaby Main have an impressive victory at Mexborough

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November

The forthcoming General Election was the main story in November 1885
and the Doncaster Conservative candidate spoke in Conisborough in a disorderly meeting
The Miners hold their own meeting at the Reresby Arms and a Strike appears imminent for the miners of Yorkshire
In the Courts an unforgiving milk delivery man at last relents,
and there are alleged thefts of a coat and a tub which provide varying sentences

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December
December 1885 brings a troubled year to a close with ‘feeling’ against the newcomers or black sheep still running high.
A brutal free for all takes place outside the Crown Inn at Barnburgh,
there’s a cowardly assault on a Denaby woman with the Aggressor shouting black sheep insults and another is struck in the Reresby Arms.
There’s a Concert at the Old Denaby Mission and the Conisborough United Brass Band provide entertainment in the school rooms.
There’s valuable freehold properties for sale in Conisborough and a horse drowns in the River Don


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