Dispute Week 3 – Distress from Cold, Hunger and Disease

16 January 1885

Mexborough & Swinton Times, January 16th 1885.

The Denaby Main Dispute
Distress from Cold, Hunger and Disease

The miners employed at the Denaby Main Colliery have now been out of work three weeks, and the distress which existed at Denaby Main during the first few days from cold, hunger and disease, has been intensified by a continuance of the struggle.

The non-unionist element has suffered most severely, and although many miners have obtained work at other collieries in the locality, many remain, and their families are in a destitute condition.

Up to the present the non-unionists have stood by the members of the South Yorkshire and North Derbyshire Miners´ Association in their determination not to accede to the owners´ demands until arbitration has been resorted to.

At a meeting held at the Mason´s Arms, Mexborough, which was attended by 300 and 400 miners, a letter was read from Mr. Thomas Weston, landlord of the Union Inn, Mexborough, which stated that he would supply 200 of the most destitute families with soup on Wednesday. Those present agreed unanimously to let the non-unionists have the first supply, and if any soup remained that the worst cases among the families of the unionists be supplied.

An offer made by a Doncaster troupe of n—–s to hand over the proceeds of a concert, to be given by them at Conisbrough, to the miners, was received thankfully by the men.

Complaint was made at the meeting that several impostors had been begging for assistance in the district, and stating that they had been authorised by the Miners´ Association to collect money, and steps were taken to prevent a recurrence of this practice.

No communication has passed between the manager of the colliery and the miners since the occasion when the latter´s attention was drawn to Mr. Pope´s letter, which stated that the alternative course suggested by the men did not meet with the company´s approval.

A number of boilers and steam pipes are being put down at the colliery for the purpose of working some underground machinery. The men engaged at this work have been ordered to work double shift, and the miners construe that this increased activity means that the colliery will be re-opened, and the men asked to resume work in a few days.

With the exception that the huge coal stack has decreased in bulk materially the situation is unchanged.

The men express a decided unwillingness to work at the company´s terms, and are of opinion that it would be useless to meet the employers unless some modification of the latter´s demands has been agreed upon.