Dispute – A ‘Scene’ at the Colliery

February 1881

February 11th

A “Scene” At The Colliery.

A “scene” which vividly brought to the recollections of the Mexborough people the serious riots of a few years back, occurred at Denaby Main on Monday afternoon.

At one o´clock some three or four hundred miners and their wives proceeded en masse to the colliery, with the expressed intention of ” giving a warning ” to the ” black-sheep” who were at work. For about an hour the crowd waited outside the colliery yard without anything unusual transpiring, but a little after two o´clock when it was perceived that the cage was bringing up the men, great excitement began to be manifest. The women especially were very boisterous and rearing themselves up – many with babes in their arms – they vowed that the ” black-sheep ” should feel their vengeance. No sooner did the non-unionists leave the colliery premises than a volley of stones and other missiles were showered upon them, accompanied by the hissing and yelling of the mob.

The workmen, however, ” took to their heels ” with all speed, followed by the infuriated men and women. A few of them managed by taking a circuitous route to their homes from the other side of the pit. As one of the miners was about to strike a non-unionist, Police-constable Midgley, the Denaby policeman, came up, and took the miner by the collar, thus preventing the blow being given. The crowd then pressed round the policeman and the miner was pulled out of his grasp. Whilst the officer was endeavouring to keep his hold of the man, his feet suddenly went from under him and he fell rather heavily upon his back. Seeing this, some ruffians called out, ” Let the b_____ have it ; kill the b_____ b_____.” The majority of the mob however, called out, ” No, no. The man is only doing his duty.”

When the constable rose to his feet he threatened to draw his staff, but he considered it policy to let it remain where it was, as he was quickly informed that if he brought it out he would feel the weight of it. He was the only `bobby´ on the spot, and it would have been folly on his part had he used any violence.

Soon after the disturbance commenced a posse of police from Mexborough came up, as did Inspector Beavers. The whole of the thirty or forty ” black-sheep” having by this time got clear of the `enemy,´ the miners and their wives rapidly retired from the ” scene,” and in a comparatively short time tranquillity again prevailed.

Later on, Sergeant Berry and two of the Swinton policemen were sent down to the pit, but their services were not required as no fresh outbreak occurred.

We understand that several of the ” black-sheep ” received some “nasty” cuts and bruises. It is stated that two or three miners have been ” spotted out ” and will be summoned.

After The “Scene”.

In expectation of another disturbance six policemen were ” billeted ” at the offices of the colliery company during Monday night and throughout Tuesday.

It was anticipated that at four o´clock on Tuesday morning another riot would take place, but this was frustrated by the manager giving notice to the ” black-sheep” not to return to work that day.

A number of men were on ” the watch ” at the hour stated, as well as at two o´clock in the afternoon, but they did not remain long, finding that their procedure on the preceding day had had the desired effect.