1873 – New Mines Regulation Act – Brisk Fires


December 20 th Sheffield Independant

Neglect of Duty at a Colliery

Joseph Hague, Furnaceman, of the Denaby Main Colliery, was charged with unlawfully violating the special colliery rule, number 77, by “neglecting to keep constantly clean the brisk fires connected with the ventilating furnaces of the colliery.”

Mr Taylor appeared for the proprietors of the colliery, and urged upon the bench the serious nature of the offence, and asked them to deal with it under the 61st section of the new act.

It appeared that on 1 December, at about three or four o’clock, the defendant was seen reeling about the place in which he worked with the appearance of being drunk. At about five or six o’clock he was found to be fast asleep, and it was also found that the fires had been entirely neglected. They ought to have been attended to every 20 minutes.

Mr Pattison, the manager of the colliery, gave evidence in support of the charge. He said the effect of the fires being neglected was the diminution of the air in the pit, so that the places where the men worked filled with gas and the lives of the men were endangered. There were about 70 men in the pit on the afternoon in question, and the furnaces had been neglected for about three hours.

The defendant pleaded guilty, and urged in defence, that in consequence of sickness at home he had been up all the previous night, and when he came to work he felt dizzy and unwell.

The bench, taking into consideration the statement of the defendant, inflicted a mitigated penalty of 20 shillings and costs, with the option of a month´s imprisonment.