Dispute – May 15th b – Looking after the new Workmen

May 1885

Looking After The New Workmen

After the meeting leave was obtained from Mr. Sutton, the owner of the field on the opposite bank of the river Don to that on which the colliery is situated, for the men to go there and try to get a parley with the new workmen, same as they did with the Staffordshire men. Mr. Sutton gave the desired permission, and the weather being fine crowds were soon wending their way to the conceded point of vantage. They marched thither, headed by the tin-whistle band, and also among the company were a number of Manvers Main men.

The Denabyites were present in full force, and altogether the number of men women and boys in the procession would not be less than six hundred. To the enlivening strains of the band they promenaded up and down Doncaster Road, Denaby Main, and then some of them repaired to Mr. Sutton´s field, and, as it was understood that the newcomers were either Welshmen or Cornishmen it was determined to make a musical appeal to their patriotic feelings. With much earnestness the band gave

” The March of the Men of Harlech,” and afterwards ” Gary Owen, ” following with ” Wait until the Clouds roll by,” a tune which must by now have lost all it´s charm to the dwellers in Mexborough and Denaby Main.

It was left to the imagination to say what is to be done to shift the clouds which have so long overhung the locality, but amongst the crowds there were not wanting those who said peaceable means had apparently failed, the time was not far distant when something more powerful and more alarming, if no more effectual, would be tried.

Others contended that if their cause was a good one, as it undoubtedly was, it must eventually prevail, and they would only defer the achievement of their object, and bring discredit upon themselves by resorting to the means suggested. Unfortunately earth is anything but a sound conductor, and the men who were passing through new experiences at the bottom of the Denaby Main pit were too far away to be stirred by even such a patriotic air as the ” Men of Harlech.”

After a while the pulley wheels began to revolve, and spirits which had erstwhile been drooping began to revive. To the precautions which had been adopted for the visit of the Staffordshire men had been added one for the screening of those approaching to or leaving the cage from observation, and there was nothing to be seen but a number of moving boots and portions of legs. The band piped away lustily, and other methods of appeal were tried, but the newcomers might have been so many additions to the mechanical appliances instead of human beings, so little did the efforts which were made to attract their attention succeed. This was a terrible blow to the Denabyites, and all that they had to console themselves with was the rumour that the Tinsley or the Nunnery colliers, who went down the pit on Monday have since decamped.

There was another statement in circulation that three men who had come from Cornwall wished to see some of the old hands before they went to work, but it did not appear to be very well founded.

A number of the more prominent Denabyites spent several hours on the river bank, and repeatedly cast anxious glances towards the sheds in which the new hands are temporarily domiciled and to other parts of the colliery premises, but in vain ; and eventually they departed without having had their expected inter-view with ” the three valiant Cornishmen.”

The serving of a large number of summonses, which are made returnable at the Rotherham Court House on Monday next, was, of course, a prolific topic of conversation. The matter was in many instances treated in anything but a serious manner, the order in which the names are placed upon the summonses being described as the positions of a race, and, in sporting phraseology, Wathey of Mexborough, being last on the list, was described as not being in it.

Police and colliery officials manifest an even greater reticence than hitherto, and nothing definite can be obtained as to the manner in which the new hands are being housed, beyond the fact that they are known to be in the new waggon shed, which, it will be remembered, had been prepared for the Staffordshire men.

Other arrivals of new hands are hourly expected. At seven o´clock at night crowds of people are assembling in the vicinity of the pit, and many are exceed ingly sanguine, notwithstanding official assurances that the newcomers would arrive before morning.

The weather was foggy and cold.