Mexborough & Swinton Times – Friday 26 February 1932
Cadeby Colliery Pithead Baths.
Ceremonial Opening by Mrs. Stobart.
A Monument of Goodwill
Mr. Herbert Smith on Conversion.
Benefit To Employers Too
Cleanliness Leads To Better Feeling.
A happy spirit prevailed at the opening on Saturday of the pithead baths at Cadeby Colliery.
Owing to the illness of Mrs. Leslie, wife of Major 3. Leslie. D.S.O., M.C., managing director of the Yorkshire Amalgamated Collieries, Ltd., the ceremony was performed by Mrs. Stobart, wife of Col. H. M. Stobart, C.B.E., D. S.O., a director. Mrs. Stobart was introduced by Mr. H. H. Pickering (agent). A tour of inspection was conducted by Mr. C. J. Manning, representing the Central Committee of the Miners’ Welfare Fund.
Among those present were Capt. L. C. Hodges (general manager) and Mrs. Hodges. Major Leslie. Col. Stobart, Mr. F. J. Dundas (director), Mrs. Pickering, Mr. W, Still (manager. Cadeby Colliery) and Mrs. Still, Mr. N. Ridley (manager, Denaby Colliery) and Mrs. Ridley. Mr. E. T.Hardy (chief engineer, Denaby, Cadeby, and Maltby Collieries), Mr. R. Young (manager, Maltby Colliery) and Mrs. Young. Mr. J.H. Dunk (secretary) and Mrs. Dunk, Mr. W. Cole (traffic manager). Capt. W. R. C. Higgins (assistant sales manager), Mr T. J. Noden (clerk of works), Mr. W. P. M. Jackson (joint managing director, Yorkshire Amalgamated Collieries Ltd., and Mrs. Jackson , Mr. E. H. Frazer (Divisional H.M. Inspector of Mines). Mr. H. J. Humphreys (H.M. Inspector), Mr. Spencer Baker (Clerk, Conisboro’ U.D.C.). Mr. H. Thirlwall (Surveyor, Conisboro’ U.D.C.). Dr. J. J. Huey (Mexboro’), Dr. W. J. Maclure (Conisboro’), Mr. H. L. Smethurst (architect). Mr. R. Catterall (surveyor), the Rev. W J. T. Pascoe. (Vicar of Conisboro’), the Rev. S. Powley (Vicar of Denby), the Rev. J. Holohan Denaby).
The miners were represented by Mr. Herbert Smith (president of Yorkshire Mineworkers’ Assoriation), Mr. Tom Williams, Mr. B. Roberts (president, Cadeby branch of the Y.M.A.), and Mr. J. Madin (secretary), Messrs. J. Jerram and A. Swabey (trustees), W. Bell, D. Sheldon, R. Lawrence (Baths Committee), E. Collins, C. Moore. E Davis, and H. Saxton (Y.M.A. committee): Mr. T. Hill represented the Denaby and Cadeby Home Coal Carting Committee, and Messrs. G. Johnson and B. Gethin were present on behalf of the Denaby branch of the Y.M.A.
A Wonderful Plant.
The baths, the eighth to be erected in South Yorkshire, and the 75th in Great Britain, cost £35,000 which has been provided by the royalties levy under the Mining Industries Act, 1916. They are to be maintained by a stoppage of 3d. a week from each miner , the company are to provide heat, electricity and water at an estimated cost of about £1,000 a year. The baths are the biggest in South Yorkshire, where 43 schemes are in hand at present.
The Cadeby baths are wonderfully up-to-date and efficient. They are built on two floors and are capable of dealing with a thousand men every hour. The site is “made” from the dump from the sinking of the shaft, and the building has been erected on a raft of reinforced concrete.
Inside the entrance there are a number of drinking fountains and a boot-cleaning machine, driven by motors. On the opposite side of this compartment is boot-greasing accommodation and fountains for filling “Dudleys.” In the next department are lockers for pit-clothes, each with the number of the pitman’s lamp. There are 3024 lockers and near are shower baths fitted with taps for hot, tepid, and cold water. There are 52 baths on each floor. On the other side of the baths are another 3024 lockers for clean clothes, numbered, and separated from the pit lockers. Each locker-holder has to walk exactly the same distance from his pit locker to his clean locker.
A remarkably fine method of ventilation has been installed, whereby fresh air entering is warmed by contact with the steam pipes set round all the walls, while tans draw off the used air. Included in the scheme is a well-appointed ambulance room, tiled with glazed bricks to the ceiling. The water is heated in two large vertical boilers and passes through two calorifiers. A huge softening plant, capable of delivering 1300 gallons of water an hour, supplies the hat water to the whole installation. Work on the scheme was stared in Nov., 1930, and local labour was employed as far as possible.
After the inspection, the company adjourned to the pay sheds, where a vote of thanks to Mrs. Stobart was moved by Capt. Hodges, who said that experience in other districts was that pit-head baths bad revolutionised the family fife of the miners. Baths meant that the miners left their dirt ‘at the pit-head, had dry and clean clothes and thus derived considerable benefit in better health. “Their wives have the greater benefit in that there is no dirt and no dirty clothes after their husbands have been to the pit.” It was very appropriate that a lady should open their new baths. A. grumble he had heard about baths in other districts was that instead of going home after receiving their pay the men went to the pictures —or anywhere else without their wives. (Laughter.) Another “grouse” was that when the men left home in their clean clothes their wives did not know whether or not they were going to work. “I have sufficient faith in the wives of this district to see that that does not happen here,” added Mr. Hodges, amid laughter.
Mr. Hodges congratulated all who had taken part in the erection of the baths and remarked that they had secured “the almost perfect building.”
Seconding the motion, Mr. Herbert Smith said Mrs. Stobart was the second lady in the country to open pithead baths. From experience he could say that baths were a step in the right direction. When he was young, medical men said it was injurious to health for miners to wash their backs. Now the opinion had changed, and it was said they must wash their backs to keep healthy. (Laughter.)
“Home From Home.”
Where baths had been erected, 87 per rent. of the miners were using them. “We had some difficulty at the start. Miners would use the baths, but we secured the help of their wives and they soon solved the problem for us.” Mr. Smith added that baths had a tendency to reduce the number of compensation cases. There was less trouble in reporting slight accidents when miners bathed at the pit and the ambulance room was installed in the baths building. He stressed the fact that even the slightest of cuts should be reported. He also stressed the fact that the baths committee often came in for much criticism and abuse. Miners should remember that they were part owners of the baths. “Make these baths a home from home,” He appealed. “It has been said that we have got almost perfect building. I hope we have not, because if we begin to get things perfect the world will start going backwards. I am hoping for the time when miners’ pit clothes will be washed at the pit-head. I want to get to the time when every bit of dirt is left at the pit-head.”
Reviewing the work of the fund, Mr. Smith said that owing to short-time working their estimate at an income of £250,000 a year from royalties had not been realised. Therefore they had had to draw from general welfare funds £150,000 a year to meet the cost of their programme, which during the last ten years, was estimated at four million pounds. Prior to 1926, colliery owners had provided fourteen pithead baths and the Miners’ Welfare Fund sixteen. Since then and including the baths opened that day, they bad built 71 for the use of 117,274 workers. By the end of July, they hoped to have further schemes completed so that 175,625 miners and boys would be able to use baths.
“Yorkshire been very backward in this because we had to go a long way before satisfying ourselves about baths. They went to Germany to see them in operation there and then we had to go to Belgium and then we said we wanted them. The Cadebv baths are a credit to the contractor and builder and will be a godsend to this district.”
Mr. Smith pointed out that the Central Committee were saving nearly £100,000 a year by centralising the architectural work and nearly £50,000 per annum by buying material in bulk.