The Rev. T.J. Leslie writes :-
” I have just returned from witnessing a scene the like of which I hope never to see again. The poor people who have been evicted at Denaby Main are today, in this bitterly cold north-easterly wind, to be found standing around their furniture etc., in the streets. There are many groups of women and little children, some of the women have young babies in their arms, and men and boys, standing about the highway which leads from the township of Mexborough to Conisbrough.
The men are all peaceably disposed, so that the Superintendent of police and the large number of policemen he has with him have had no trouble so far as they – the men are concerned.
The owners of Denaby Main may be legally right in turning these families out of their houses, but I think they are morally wrong. The houses out of which the people have been turned today have only been built about two years, and the men were compelled by the Denaby Main company to leave houses in Mexborough from which, if they had continued to occupy them, they would not now have been evicted.
Without, however, expressing an opinion as to whether the masters or the men are right with reference to the strike, I now write to suggest that something should be done to relieve the suffering and distress of the poor families who have been evicted and who are yet to be evicted during the week.
I have been there today, and given what I could to help to get some families out of the streets. Mr. Lowe has kindly offered his large clubroom for as many as can be put into it, and I have heard that Mr. H. Waddington has also offered the use of the Assembly Rooms for a number of the women and children.
If any readers of the Mexborough and Swinton Times would like to give any thing towards the support of the evicted families, I shall be glad to be the means of conveying them.
I saw the following case of distress as I was coming away from Denaby Main this afternoon :
In passing a group of men, women and children, near the railway crossing, I heard a woman calling from the midst of the group to Dr. Sykes, who was driving past at the time ; ” Doctor, I want you to look at my baby, it is very bad.” The doctor got out of his trap and looked at the poor child, and the put his ear to it´s back, and said to her ; ” It has bronchitis. Take it and get it warmed at once.” The woman said ; ” But I am turned out, where am I to go?” He then kindly told her of Mr. Lowe´s offer, and said she had better go there.
A better or more respectable class of working men I have never met with among miners than the Denaby Main men are. They have now been out of work for fourteen weeks, and are worthy of practical sympathy.
Thomas James Leslie,
Congregational Minister, Mexborough.
April 7th 1885.