Dispute – May 8th – No Black Sheep – More Distress

May 1885

The Denaby Main Dispute
Proceedings On Monday

The arrival of `black-sheep´ at Denaby Main has been the sole topic of any conversation in Mexborough and Swinton this week. It has been stated that although the miners have not been found to work at the pit, a large number of labourers are about to arrive. So far the men have behaved in a most exemplary manner. There is little doubt the men would submit to a small reduction, provided the hand-picking system were not adopted.

For the purpose of preventing men from working without the knowledge of the miners as strict watch has been kept on all trains which pass through Denaby Main. It has not been discovered that any large number of `black-sheep´ have been seen in the trains, although the number stated to be in the colliery yard on Sunday night ranged from one hundred to one hundred and fifty persons.

Nearly four hundred persons assembled at half past six on Monday evening opposite the Mexborough M.S. and L. station on the look out for `black-sheep´ it having been rumoured that a train load of miners were expected to arrive at Mexborough at that time from North Wales.

Their fears had no foundation, however, for the special train which was anticipated did not arrive. Several false alarms were given during the day, and on one occasion a number of men armed with sticks made their appearance. The miners were in an excited condition. It was also rumoured that a regiment of soldiers had been ordered to hold itself in readiness to march to Denaby Main when the new men arrived.

A number of miners visited the colliery for the purpose of watching whether any workmen in addition to the deputies emerged from the pit. They discovered one man had been working, and informed him that if he went to the pit again they would `stop his lamp´ at the same time telling him that if he went back in the morning they would be there.. No violence of any description took place.

Telegrams were despatched to the colliery districts of North and South Wales urging the miners in those localities, not to accept the terms offered on behalf of the company, some of the deputies having been tracked there, and it having been anticipated that their errand was to obtain workmen for Denaby Main.

Mr. Chappell was in Mexborough on Monday, presumably on matters which are connected with the dispute. It is thought by many of the colliers that if he had remained at the head of affairs the dispute would now be amicably settled.

Great Distress.

The Rev. T. Horsfall distributed eight hundred buns among the children on Monday. On a former occasion the anxiety to obtain the buns was so great that a crush resulted and it was feared that children would be injured. The Rev. T. Horsfall was compelled in the interests of the children to threaten punishment to some of the more prominent among those who were pressing forward.

He received the following characteristic appeal from a little girl, contained in a note –

” We have five little ones, and there is three at home, would you be kind enough to send their buns, as they got crushed last week so.”

The distress s daily increasing. The funds come in so slowly that very little can be do to say the distress and the consequence is that the house of the Rev. gentlemen who have undertaken the work of relieving the distress have been surrounded on many occasions with crowds of women asking anxiously when the next loaf of bread will be handed to them.

The following sums were received on Monday by the Rev. T. Horsfall :-

Free Church entertainment – 17s. 3d.
Sheffield Telegraph ” chapel” – 14s. 3d.
Miss Mitchell, Melton – 2s. 6d.
A Sheffield lady – 10s.

The Rev. T.J. Leslie distributed a large number of loaves on Monday, and had received the following sums :-

Stairfoot Glass Works, per Mr. Clayton – 12s.
Mr. R. Leader J.P. – £5.
Mr. J.G. Ainsworth – 3s.
South Yorkshire Iron Works, Pothouse Lane, Attercliffe – £2 4s.
Friend, Hoyland Common – 2s.
The Tupton pit of the Boythorpe collieries, per Rev. A. Foster – 18s.
” S.J.T.” Fargate, Sheffield – 10s.
Walter Beaumont, Sunderland – 10s.
” E.G.M.” per Rev. T. Armitage M.A . – £1.

He expended £8 3s. on bread on Monday. The number of families relieved was 342, containing 1,940 persons. The total amount expended up to Monday was £84 11s. 7d. being a little above the amount received. Help is very urgently needed if the prevalent distress is to be grappled with effectually