Miner’s Festival at Mexborough


Sheffield Telegraph, October 11th, 1870

Miners Festival at Mexborough

The members of the South Yorkshire Miners Association employed at the Denaby Main colliery had their annual festival yesterday.

It may be remembered that the first festival was held at the conclusion of a protracted and severe disputes, and the men now met to further cement the good understanding then arrived. At nine o’clock in the morning, they assembled, to the number of nearly 400, at their respective lodge rooms, and proceeded thence to the Masons Arms, at old Mexborough.

There a procession was formed and headed by the Wath brass band and the splendid new banner of the lodge, they marched to the Colliery, thence through Mexborough to Swinton, and back again to the lodge room. In the afternoon. they sat down to an excellent dinner.

A meeting was held in the evening in Hewitt´s rooms, over which Mr Smith, the chief manager of the colliery, presided. There was a good attendance The chairman, in opening the proceedings, said their last meeting was presided over by the Mayor of Sheffield,who heunderstood would now have been present with them had his other engagements permitted. (Hear, hear). He was glad to say that during the past year matters at the colliery had, upon the whole,been very satisfactorily. There have been a few contention between them, but they had been easily got over. If any difficulty arose there was nothing like Masters and men meeting together and talking it over with fairness on both sides. (Hear, hear). He had no doubt that in the future matters would be a satisfactorily arranged as they had been in the past. (Cheers)

Mr Normansell, who was received with loud cheers, next addressed the meeting. He expressed the pleasure it gave him to meet the managers and workmen of the Denaby main colliery together on such an occasion. It ought to be their object to do all they could possibly could to keep the peace at every colliery in the district. (Cheers.) The position they had obtained at Denaby Main, would enable them to preserve peace with their association. The employers and managers were bound to treat them with just, and if any grievance arose which they themselves could not rectify, the association was always ready and willing to come to their assistance. The position they had attained was enjoyed by very few other miners in South Yorkshire. They had had little to complain of during the past 12 months. Whenever grievances had arisen, the employers and managers had met them in a reasonable manner, and had done all they possibly could to remedy them. (Hear, hear.) Many people looked upon the Association as intended to create dissensions, strikes, and lockouts. Such was not its object. (Hear, hear.) He believed that if employers and managers met their men more frequently they would be less of strikes and lockouts than they had during the last 22 months. (Cheers, and a voice: “we should.”).

Now the masters and their  men had nothing to gain by such arbitrary proceedings, but both have much to lose. It was better develop their funds to the maintenance of their sick, their widows and orphans, and their infirm, than to the perpetuation of strife. (Cheers). Their association was now in a very flourishing condition, and it had come to the determination to do everything in its power to avoid strikes and lockouts in the future. (Hear, hear). It had a great deal of experience of them of late, and they intended if possible to rectify all grievances without again resorting to them. If all employers and managers were like those at Denaby Main all differences could be easily and amicably settled.

In conclusion, he counselled the men to act reasonably towards their employers, and then if anything unpleasant occurred they will be able with a better grace to go and ask that it might be remedied. (Cheers)