Dispute – May 15th g – Fresh Batch of Workmen

May 1885

The Denaby Main Dispute
A Fresh Batch Of Workmen

On Sunday it was rumoured that a number of new workmen were about to arrive at Denaby Main colliery, one of the officials at the colliery having been seen to treat several men in a public house in Sheffield.

The rumour was apparently confirmed on Monday, when the police stationed at the colliery were reinforced by a strong body of men, who marched down the M.S. and L. line of rail to the colliery.

It had been discovered previously that six new workmen had been engaged at the pit, five of whom had descended the shaft, the remaining workman pleading illness as an excuse for not going down the pit. The men must have arrived at the colliery during Sunday night, as the Denaby Main men who were early astir did not notice their arrival, and it was confidently asserted that they hailed from Tinsley Park or the Nunnery collieries.

Between three hundred and four hundred workmen marched to the colliery on Monday afternoon to watch the proceedings, some of them making their way along the canal bank, from whence a view of the shaft could be obtained.

Presently the pulley wheels commenced to revolve, and when the cage reached the surface the men on the canal bank observed the five men step from it. The watchers kept strict silence and made their way back to the colliery gates where the results of their observations were made known.

Shortly afterwards Mr. B. Pope and Mr. Chambers were seen to leave the pit yard and make their way along the M.S. and L. line of rail in the direction of Conisbrough. The crowd, which was by this time largely augmented, followed along the high road, booing and groaning at intervals. Mr. Pope and Mr. Chambers were escorted by six policemen. When Conisbrough was reached Mr. Pope was seen to leave in a train for Doncaster, and Mr. Chambers took shelter in the waiting room until the crowd dispersed.

One of the officials at the colliery was subsequently noticed in the midst of a crowd of angry women excitedly waving his satchel to and fro.

The crowd then returned to the colliery gates. The watchers stated that the men had not left the colliery yard. Five cottages in Doncaster Road, Denaby Main, have been put in an efficient state of repair, and it is suspected by the Denabyites that the new workmen will reside in the colliery yard for some time, the police were occupying the cottages.

Several of the men expressed themselves in confident terms that the new work men would not stay long on account of the low wages they would earn under the employers´ terms.

It was reported that a large number of new workmen would shortly arrive on the scene.

A meeting was held on Monday night in the lodge-room of the Mason´s Arms, Mexborough. The Chairman, in opening the proceedings, said it appeared that some more `honourable men´ had arrived at Denaby Main.

Was it a fact that there were five of them ? They would not talk about `leathering´ them at the present ; peace and quietness were best. They did not want to kick up any disturbance and to get into the hands of the law. They should try to get them away as quietly and peaceably as they could. He urged all to go home, go to bed, and get up in good time in the morning. Their band would be willing to be up in good time.

There was a report that there would be some more arriving that night, but they would not believe that until they saw them. It was not wise to make a start that night, as if one began they would be tempted to follow, and they might get into the hands of the law, where they did not want to be. They should meet in the morning, and if more men were there, they should try to get to the pit when they were all `solid and sober´. If they could not get them away by those means, he did not know what they were to do. It would not be wise to let the Denaby Main men do anything wrong ; and if there was anything of the kind, they would have nothing to do with it .

A number of men went to work the other day at a place near Barnsley, and a lot of strangers were drafted off to meet them. The managers and the police were hunting them, but could not own an idea.

Everyone sympathised with Denaby Main, they had all the district with them, and if they made no bother they would win the day. He advised the men not to obstruct the thoroughfare when they met next morning, but to keep marching backwards and forwards, and above all to be orderly. They should meet at four o´clock. If those men were in the same condition as the former lot they would not be fit to go down the pit at six o´clock. It was decided to meet the new workmen at four o´clock, and if they could not see them then to wait until they came out of the mine.