Scenes at Denaby Main Colliery – Arrival of Military and Magistrates – Alarming Rumours.

August 1893

Sheffield Independent – Tuesday 12 September 1893

Scenes at Denaby Main Colliery.
Arrival of Military and Magistrates.
Alarming Rumours.

There has not been such a sensational day at Denaby Main as that of yesterday since the rioting and evictions occurred in the year 1885.

The colliery company had determined that the stack of coal on the pit bank should continue to be removed in wagons by labourers on behalf of the Midland Railway Company—who purchased the whole 50,000 tons a short time ago— and that being so it was anticipated there would be an attack made on the premises. Ample preparations had been made in view of this, and it could not be said, therefore, that the officials or the public would be taken by surprise. Indeed, it has been stated for several days that Denaby Main was a pit “specially spotted” by the roving wreckers, and the manager (Mr. Chambers) and those under him have had sufficient time to do their best lo protect the property.

On Sanday night about 50 Royal Suffolk Rifles, under Captain Toombe, reached the colliery from Barnsley (having come from Colchester), and the force of police was last night further augmented by the arrival of cavalry from Barnsley. In the expectation that it might be necessary to read the Riot Act a magistrate was present at the colliery during the whole of yesterday.

In the morning Mr. G. Walker, of Conisbro’, who had been in attendance during the previous eight, was relieved by Mr. R. Stockil, of Doncaster, and that gentleman was afterwards able to leave owing to the presence of Lieut.-Colonel Cooke, J.P. Last night the latter gentleman went home, Mr. G. B. C. Yarborough, the chairman of the West Riding benoh, hiving been able to come upon the scene.

Lord Halifax, of Hickleton Hall, last night rode on horseback to the colliery and volunteered his services as a magistrate, if necessary. A number of trains were pulled up at the Denaby Main crossing in order to enable the magistrates and others to get, out or get in, and at half-past three a train stopped to enable 35 of the Riflemen to proceed to Wath-on-Dearne, the Fusiliers there having been ” called ” elsewhere.

A little incident occurred in the morning when ore of the first trains stopped at the crossing to enable Superintendent Blake to enter in order to go to Doncaster, where he wished to be present in court. The guard, indignantly: “By whose orders is this done? “A police officer on duty at the crossing shook his head sagely, and the superintendent was quietly ensconced in the carriage. The railway official waved the flag, muttering, “This is not in the regulations,” and the train glided away. But the proper steps bad been taken tor thus accommodating those officiating at the colliery.

Throughout the day, from early morning, a crowd congregated outside the colliery gates and also on the canal bank, where a good view could be obtained of the labourers energetically filling the wagons, and many persons collected on the iron bridge spanning the railway, in order to have a view of what was proceeding in the colliery yard, the red jackets of the Rifles being a special attraction as the soldiers flitted about amongst the wagons and outside the offices. Inspector Barrett, of Mexbro’, was in charge of the police at the colliery, and there were “scouts” in the district to bring any intelligence if the rioters were approaching.

There had previously been news that a gang was approaching by way of Bolton-on-Dearne. As soon as this was made known shops and inns were closed, and a party of Boltonians were on the march with formidable sticks, to meet the foe, intimating that if any rioters wished to enter that there would be the local miners to “reckon with.”

It is believed the same demonstration would be manifest at Denaby. But there has not been any necessity for it up to the present. The work of reducing the stack of coal proceeded quietly and several heavily-freighted trains left the colliery yard yesterday during the day on the Midland line, for Derby.

There was a startling rumour yesterday to the effect that, as the military and police were in such strong force at the colliery, the rioters was adopt a different course to that of risking rifle shots. Arrangements would be made at “certain places “to upset the trains after leaving the colliery, and is report was talked of in Doncaster last night thus—” a mob have decided to tear up the rails on the Midland line.” As a consequence of what was both seen and heard precautions are being taken to avoid serious consequences Last night there was still a large crowd near the colliery, owing to the hurrying up of cavalry, who had been expected from Barnsley. But there was no sign of any likelihood that they would be called into action.