Dispute Week 5 – Miners Weeting – Distribution of Bread – Black Sheep – Small Pox

30 January 1885

A meeting of the Denaby Main miners was held at the lodge room of the Mason´s Arms Inn, Mexborough, yesterday.

The Kiveton Park Deputation.

The report of the deputation which visited Kiveton Park was first gone into.

The Chairman said a report had been circulated at Kiveton Park to the effect that the dispute at Denaby Main just suited the miners, and that as soon as the funds of the association were exhausted they were going to smash up and leave it. Of course the deputation denied that, and said no such thing was likely ever to occur. They also informed the men at Kiveton Park that it was not the miners who had caused the strike, but Mr. Chambers, Mr. Pope, or someone else ; the men had not caused the dispute. He informed the Kiveton Park men that the meeting had been quite satisfied with the assistance rendered.

A resolution was passed at Kiveton Park in support of the Denaby Main miners. The Kiveton Park miners were assured that the men of Denaby Main would not leave the association, whether it´s funds were exhausted or not. ( Cheers )

Complaints From Barrow.

Letters were next read from the Barrow Lodge with reference to the collectors, and from, Norwood End, where the miners had been out for fourteen weeks.

It was stated in the communication that it was useless for two parties to be collecting at one pit. Last week the Norwood End collectors agreed to divide with the men from Denaby Main, but they would not be willing to do so again.

The Barrow men, it was stated, intend to stand at Roundwood next Saturday. There were eighty men out of employment at the pit, and these strongly needed support. They asked the Denaby Main miners to leave Roundwood to them, and they would not send, in their turn, to Aldwarke Main.

A letter was also received from Wath Main complaining of women collecting on Saturday.

A Miner thought they should use some means, if possible, to prevent the women begging at the pits. It injured the `books´ greatly. The miners did not like to see women standing at collieries, and the Denaby Main men had complained as much as anyone else.

The Chairman said the Denaby Main miners had a right to collect at any place where the books would pay. Theirs was a just cause, but the Norwood End men were not justified in the course they had taken. There were men who had no association, and it was the association that miners would maintain, and not the men outside.

A Miner remarked that the Roundwood men had passed resolutions permitting the Denaby Main men to go there. There were only eighty men out at the Barrow collieries, whereas there were over eight hundred at Denaby Main, and if therewas to be any division of money by the collectors, the Denaby Main men should have a proportionate share. If the statements made in the district were correct, the Barrow men obtained something like £1 per week, whereas the Denaby Main men had not anything to divide.

It was decided that collectors go around as usual, and that no division of amounted collected take place with collectors from other collieries.

Distribution Of Bread.

It was stated that the bread made from ten sacks of flour would be given out today ( Friday ), and that to guard against people receiving more than their share, every man would have a note on which would be written how much of the bread he should receive. It was agreed that the non-unionists should have a proportionate share. Arrangements were made for the distribution of some of the bread at Conisbrough.

The Denaby Main Men Misrepresented.

The Chairman said there would be a meeting at Doncaster that night. It was not advisable that all the miners should go, as they knew what the dispute was about. They wished the public of Doncaster to know what the dispute was about.

A report had been circulated that the colliers would attend from Denaby Main and smash everything in the hall – ( Laughter ) – that the chairs were to be broken up, and that there was to be a free fight.

A Miner said that in going round Doncaster he found the tradesmen knew hardly anything concerning the dispute, and they expressed a wish to learn something more about the matter before they would contribute anything to their support. Scores of tradesmen had told him they would only be too glad to be able attend a meeting and hear what the officials of the association had to say on the question.

In the afternoon of Wednesday he was anxious about the bill advertising the meeting at the subscription rooms, and on going there he found that no bill was there. He made enquiries, and was informed by the person whom he saw that the colliers were all coming in a body. The whole of Doncaster had been influenced by some gentlemen whom they need not mention. ( Hear, hear )

The meeting could form some idea as to who those gentlemen were. It was stated by the person with whom he was conversing, that he had had a telegram from Rotherham, but that he was not satisfied about it. If any from that meeting attended the gathering at Doncaster, let them show that they were able to behave themselves as well as the people of Doncaster. ( Hear, hear )

He had been to Doncaster twice collecting, and had had something to go through ; they had only just cleared their expenses each time ; those who had given the first time, through the influence of the persons he had mentioned, had refused to give on the second occasion.

Another Miner stated that a gentleman was over at Mexborough on Wednesday, and said certain information had been received that the colliers of Denaby Main would tear down everything before them. He informed this gentleman that the men of Denaby Main would have as much civility about them as those who had in -formed the members of the committee that they were about to do mischief. He also told the gentleman that he could either have a guarantee from the lodge or from the district that no harm would be done to either his building or to the furniture.

The gentleman said the question would doubtless be brought up at the Town Council meeting with reference to the Town Hall being refused.

That hall was under the surveillance of the Corporation, and they had no right to refuse the men the use of it when they agreed to pay the amount charged.

A Rumour Concerning ” Black Sheep.”

The Chairman referred to a report which had been circulated concerning a number of men going to work. He asked if there was any truth in the report that on Tuesday some coal had been brought out of the pit. ( A Miner : I don´t think there has been a lump got out ).

A Miner said on Wednesday as he was going to Doncaster he saw three or four young men who had been at work during the night. As soon as they saw him they got out of the road. Whether they were sending coal out he could not say.

The Chairman said he heard that some of the men were going to work at night. There were twenty-three at work that morning, and the meeting would like to know who they were, so they could advise them to come out with the rest. They did not want twenty-three or ten to go to work, they wanted none to go, and they should advise those who were working to come out. If the did not –

( here the speaker made a pause, and loud laughter arose ) – there would be a meeting at Denaby Main some day and they would try to get there by seven in the morning. ( A Voice : take the band with you ) They would have a band and see that they would be played to work. They would not trespass on the railway, and if they could be brought out quietly they would do so. They would use no harsh means at present, and he hoped that every man would keep as quiet as he could and let the matter lie a day or two. He thought that meeting would have it´s effect, but if the men persisted in going to work at night there would be a meeting at Denaby Main in the morning some day.

( A Miner : We should send the band round and call them up.)

The Small-Pox Case – Relief Wanted. The Chairman said Powell, the man who was suffering from small-pox, was getting better. He was, however, very weak and low, and had applied for extra support. They were not in a position to support him, and as they paid rates in -directly, if not directly, he thought someone should be told off to visit Dr. Hills, of Conisbrough, and ask to see that the man was properly nourished. If Dr. Hills would not help them they should make an appeal to the Doncaster medical officer. Two men were appointed to wait on Dr. Hills and Dr. Wilson. Rumoured Interference From The Colliery.

The Chairman said reports had been circulated to the effect that the reports of their meetings were inaccurate, and he would like a resolution to be passed on the subject, as they were aware that the company would do it´s utmost to stifle their cause. They knew very well that nothing that was reported at their meetings was inaccurate, and everything that was said was truthful, and what they did at the meetings was perfectly legal. They did not wish to have false reports flying about concerning the Company, as they knew very well that the men had done nothing to cause the pit to stand.

They had had a proper fourteen days´ notice for a reduction of wages, and were going to fight the question to the utmost.

He was of opinion that it was only right that the meeting should pass a resolution to the effect that all they had done was truthful, right, legal and honest, and that the reports of their meetings had been placed before the public in right

and proper manner.

A Miner said Mr. Chambers had stated in his letter that so many inaccuracies had occurred that he had decided to write. He said the men earned a certain amount per day. The men contradicted that in toto, and they only wished they had been earning the amounts stated. No doubt certain parties had been writing under a nom de plume from the colliery for the purpose of stifling their reports. Reports reached the offices from those who attended their meetings, but there were other correspondents writing who did not attend their meetings, and it almost brought them to form an opinion that they did not know which to believe.

It was for the meeting to say that, what took place there was their correct opinion, and that was the object of the resolution.

The resolution was then carried unanimously.

The Doncaster Meeting.

A largely attended meeting was held last night in the Subscription Hall, at Doncaster, which had been let by Messrs. Stott Brothers, auctioneers, no other place being available. The meeting was addressed by Mr. Chappell at some length, and this gentleman gave a resume´ of the miners position.

He was frequently applauded during the delivery of his speech. The chair was taken by Mr. Aitchison, ex-town councillor of Sheffield.