52 Miners Hung in Cage

February 1907

Mexborough & Swinton Times, February  2, 1907

52 Miners Hung in Cage

From two o´clock to four o´clock on Thursday afternoon, January 28th 1907, was a period of suspense in at least two senses of the word. During that time fifty two miners hung trembling in the cage in which they were locked, and expected momentarily a violent end.

It was at a quarter to two when the first signs that all was not as it should be were noticed, and at that time at the Cadeby Main Colliery, the process of changing shifts was in full swing.

Suddenly, a cage ( travelling we are informed in No.1 shaft.) came to a dead stop, and the fifty two miners therein contained, were considerably upset by the concussion.

The cause of the untoward stoppage was to be found in the cotter-pin connected with the winding gear, which had broken, and without it, it was impossible to raise or lower the cage without terrible danger. Therefore the cage stopped dead and was not likely to move for a fairly considerable time.

The feelings of the imprisoned travellers was certainly not the most cheerful, and one woebegone strippling was heard to give vent to the remark, “Here´s a nice New Year for me.”

However, those above were working quickly, deftly, and surely in the aid of the entombed ones, and by way of putting a little spirit into the creatures of misfortune, proceeded to lower, for their delectation a quantity of Brandy, and other refreshments. This evidently had it´s desired effect, for when as the hour hand gradually approached the figure four, the cage was slowly hauled to the top. The men showed no signs of serious injury, though many appeared to be suffering from the exhaustion which comes of continuous mental apprehension. However they went rejoicing to their homes and respective families, and all´s well that ends well

Still, at the same time we cannot help wishing that unfortunate episode had not taken place, and we are sure that the Colliery Company had a similar feeling. Accidents like this, which run within a hairsbreadth of dreadful calamity, certainly give rise to unpleasant thoughts of what might be, and the suspension of over fifty men halfway in one of the deepest mines in the world, is one incident containing possibilities.