Conisborough and Urban District Powers – County Council Inquiry.

June 1898

Sheffield Daily Telegraph – Friday 17 June 1898

Conisborough and Urban District Powers.
County Council Inquiry.

A County Council inquiry of considerable importance was commenced at Conisborough yesterday, with regard the petition of Conisborough Parish Council, for constituting the townships of Cadeby, Conisborough and Denaby, or such portions may be deemed equitable into an urban district, and for the division of the district into wards. The Denaby and Cadeby Main Colliery submitted a counter proposal for parts of the townships of Cadeby, Conisborough and Denaby into an urban district such proportions being indicated on a map, deposited by the company at the County Council officers.

The committee of the County Council, before whom the inquiry was heard was composed Messrs. E. A. Mackie (in the chair), F. Hall, W. Ramsden, and G. Whiteley, with whom there was Mr. Vibart Dixon, solicitor the County Council offices. Mr. Waugh, barrister. Bradford, instructed by Messrs. Alderson, Son. and Dust, Sheffield, appeared for the Parish Council; the Rural District Council, who opposed both schemes, was represented by Mr. Bairstow, Leeds, instructed by Mr. F. E. Nicholson, Clerk ; Mr. Boyle. instructed by Mrs Broomhead, Wightman and Moore, Sheffield, appeared for the Denaby and Cadeby Main Colliery Company and the South Yorkshire Navigation Company- Mr. H H Hickmott: represented the Denaby Main Parish Council, and ratepayers and land owners of Denaby, and opposed the Conisborough application, on behalf of the Great Central Railway Company : Mr. Newstead, solicitor. Leeds, was present on of Earl Yarbrough, the lord of manor: Mr. W. Baddiley, solicitor, Doncaster, represented the Conisborough School Board: Mr. J. W. Hattersley. the Mexborough Urban District Council; Mr. Crabtree, engineer for the Doncaster Waterworks, watched the proceedings with reference to the water supply; and Mr. J. Cockburn was present on  behalf of Mr. J. F. Fullerton, who has property at Denaby. Mr. Hawkesworth. Clerk the Conisborough Parish Council, and Mrs. Kaye. Clerk to the Denaby Parish Council, were also present.

Mr. Waugh, opening the Conisborough case, said Conisborough itself was an ancient village, which, until 30 years since, had no very great amount of population. But, within the past 30 years, owing to, two large colliery works which were practically under the guidance and control of one firm, the population very rapidly increased. The whole of the area came within the jurisdiction the Doncaster Rural Sanitary Authority, one the largest rural sanitary authorities in the kingdom, and believed that under those circumstances where they large centres of population, it was not only impossible but unfair to call upon urban council to supply the requirements of a rapidly-increasing rural district. They had not the time to devote to requirements of a district like this.

Conisborough had an area of 4.298 acres. Denaby of 1,057, and Cadeby of 1,234. The population had increased very rapidly since the formation of these collieries. In 1881 the population of Conisborough was 2.706 of Denaby 1,631 and Cadeby 167, but in 1891 the population of Conisborough had increased two 4.499, of Denaby to 1,631 and Cadeby had decreased to 137. At the present time the population of Conisborough was 7,905, Denaby 1,720, and of Cadeby 140.

Mr. Boyle said there was not much difference between them, and it was agreed to take the figure at, Conisborough 8,100. Denaby 1,720 and Cadeby 140.

Mr. Waugh continuing, said the figures certainly showed that while Denaby and Cadeby combined had been practically stationary during this period, Conisborough had been increasing very rapidly indeed. The increase from 1881 to 1891 was nearly 100 per cent., and from 1891 to 1898 it was some 75 per cent. This increase had been occasioned almost entirely through the establishment of the colliery works. The Denaby Main pit mouth was Denaby, but a large number of colliers resided in what they might call the village Conisborough itself. He believed that until these proceedings were contemplated, plans were actually passed for the erection, close to the station, of some 500 additional houses, but after the proceedings were launched, the Colliery Company changed their minds to the site and situation, and passed plans for the same number of houses nearer to Denaby Main, in what was called New Conisborough. There were 1.581 houses in Conisborough. 344 in Denaby and Cadeby. It seemed to him common ground between Denaby. Cadeby, and Conisborough that urban powers ought to be granted for some portion of this district, and that the time had arrived when such powers should and the district should leave the wing of the Doncaster Rural District Council. According to the plans deposited by the colliery company, they agreed that urban powers should be granted a portion of the district, but their suggestion was that it should be confined to the collieries and works, and the workpeople in the immediate vicinity the colliery. There could not lie the slightest doubt that there was within the three districts a community having common interests, the majority the people earning their livelihood at the collieries. As showing the community interest, there was the question of the water supply, which was intimately bound with the question of sewage disposal.

The water supply of the village of Conisborough was not satisfactory. It was dependent upon springs, and the water was often carted long distances. For New Conisborough and Denaby the water was pumped in Cadeby and stored in Conisborough, and distributed partly in Denaby and Conisborough. With regard to the disposal of sewage, there was already a scheme which the sewage of and Denaby would be dealt with Conisborough. The sewage works were capable of dealing with a district between 20.000 and 30,000 people, and could deal with the needs of a far larger population than was present in the district. Owing to the way in which the colliery company constructed their roads, there was the greatest difficulty in dealing with the sewage. With regard to the lighting, there was a gas company at Conisborough and another at Denaby. The Denaby Main Company had their own works, and they supplied and part of Conisborough. All the Conisborough roads were used by Denaby, and the colliery traffic was bound to pass over the roads. There was great need for reform with reference the ashpits at Denaby. (Hear, hear.)

The Chairman, requester by Mr. Boyle appealed to the public not to show either approval or disapproval of the remarks of counsel.

Mr. Waugh, continuing, said a cemetery had been provided sufficiently large meet the requirements of both Conisborough and Denaby, the cost had been considerably greater in consequence. As regards school accommodation it had been largely increased at Conisborough to provide for the children of the colliers working the two pits. When the accommodation was enlarged 20 years ago it was thought that no further extension would be necessary for 50 years, but was soon found necessary to increase it.

If the scheme | was approved it was proposed to divide the district into five wards.

Mr. Boyle said supposing the committee did not approve of the scheme it would be a waste of time to into the question wards.

Mr. Waugh, proceeding, said that Conisborough would be divided into three wards. East. Central, and West. The East Ward would have a population 550, a rateable value of £3,970, an area of 322 acres. 110 houses, and one member: the Central Ward 3,450 people. 804 acres, ratable value £12,435. 620 houses, and four members: West Ward 4,110 people, area acres, ratable value £13.295, four members, and 861 houses: Denaby Ward population 1.720, area 1,057 acres, ratable value £20.000, 344 houses, and two members: Cadeby Ward, population people, area 1,234 acres, ratable value £11.500. 28 houses, and one member.

So far as the promoters were concerned they were not wedded entirely to their scheme. If the committee thought it was too large they were prepared have the area reduced. If the committee thought it would be better, they would be prepared to adopt the Main scheme, with Conisborough added it. Conisborough only asked that they should not be excluded from the benefits of district council.

Mr. G. White, sanitary engineer, engaged by the Doncaster Rural District Council to construct the sewage works at Conisborough gave particulars with regard the sewage disposal of the district. They experienced great difficulty in consequence off the storm water that came from New Conisborough. With that came a large quantity of grit from the roads that were under the control of the colliery company. The sewage works cost about £10.000, which was apportioned between the two are places.

Mr. T Aird Murray, sanitary and consulting engineer. Sheffield, examined by Mr. Waugh, said the present sewage works were ample for the requirements of all the houses of the district, and were capable of coping with the requirements a large population. The only suitable place for the present works was the present site. With regard the water supply, his opinion would better have provided one central authority than have it divided amongst two or three bodies.

Cross-examined by Mr Boyle: Witness said that he was told that the water supplied to New Conisborough and Denaby had been proved to really good my analysis. He did not know whether it was supplied free or not.

Mr. W. W. Norwood, the representative of Conisborough on the Doncaster Rural District Council, thought Conisborough should have had urban powers some time ago, as the Rural District Council could not possibly give the attention that was necessary tor the place. A large number of the colliery employees lived at Conisborough. He had heard Mr. Chambers, of the Colliery Company, complain of the inadequacy the sewage system.

Cross-examined by Mr. Boyle, witness said he was one the committee who came to the conclusion that the water supply Denaby and New Conisborough was good. He believed it was supplied free. He thought there would more than 200 colliers out of the 3.000 working at living at Denaby, living in Conisborough. He thought the number would be nearer 500.

By Mr Hickmott: The colliery company offered to supply Conisborough with water at 6d per thousand gallons, whereas Sheffield offered it at10d per thousand gallons, and, in addition they would have to expend a capital sum of £5000. There would be no supply to Denaby or Cadeby from Sheffield, because they did not want it.

By Mr. Bairstow: The people of Conisborough preferred to have their water from Sheffield. He did not know that the Doncaster water had been analysed on behalf of the Doncaster Rural Council, and condemn. He knew that it had been analysed by three analysts and approved.

Mr. Charles Holmes, miner, chairman of the Conisborough Parish Council, said there were between 700 and houses in the parish that were not supplied water. The people universally condemned the water which the colliery company supplied. If there was an ample and good supply lt would be to take it than go to Sheffield. There was nearly water famine last season, and water supply was a most pressing question.

By Mr. Boyle: He believed the gas was supplied by the colliery company to the houses at Denaby and Cadeby at 3s. 6d. per 1,000 whereas the price in Conisborough was 4s. 6d. They repaired the road in their district very extensively. The company had provided schools at Denaby.

By Mr. Bairstow The colliery company provided all kinds of philanthropic institutions, including an institution, school, and a public-house. (Laughter.) He desired urban powers, as to give the people fuller benefits the Public Health Act.

By the Chairman : He thought it would be better to take in all the districts they were applying for.

By Mr. Vibart Dixon: Witness thought that if Denaby and Cadeby were left out. Conisborough itself would decline take urban district powers, preferring remain under rural authority.

Mr. Samuel Whitfield and Mr. G. T. Nicholson, brewer, also gave evidence.

Mr. Caleb Kilner, glass-bottle manufacturer, said his firm employed 600 hands at New Conisborough. He was favour of the united scheme for the three parishes. He thought his firm had right to contribute their quota to the cost of administering the district.

Mr. Boyle asked witness was philanthropist, to which he replied that he could put that way if he liked.

In further cross-examination, witness said there were five partners in his firm, but he personally owned 38 louses in Conisborough. He did not count upon the rates being reduced upon his 38 houses.

A rather noisy scene ensued through Mr. Boyle saying his cross-examination that the witness was probably a philanthropist in sheep’s clothing.

Mr. Kilner took exception to the remark, and people in the room said Mr. Boyle had right to make that remark, and he would not have said had known Mr. Kilner.

Mr. Boyle afterwards explained that did not mean to suggest anything improper with regard to Mr. Kilner.

Mr. Kilner: If you apologise I accept it.

In answer to Mr. Baddiley, witness said knew of children other than colliers being turned out of the schools which the colliery company called free.

By the Chairman: He did not think the whole of the district scheduled should be included the propose urban district. Some the agricultural district should be left out.

Mr. J. Hawkesworth, assistant overseer, said the rates in 1883 were about 2s. 2 ½ d. in the pound altogether, and in 1895 about 4s. 2d. He thought the increase was due to the large number of colliers that had come live the district.

Mr. John Pagdin and Mr. G. H. Hurst also gave evidence support of the Conisborough scheme. The latter said 658 people of Conisborough had signed a petition in favour of obtaining urban powers. He did not think the Cadeby water was good and the smell and colour it were often objectionable.

By Mr. Hickmott: He had heard a petition being signed by over 800 people living in New Conisborough and Denaby in opposition to the scheme.

Mr. John Brocklesby said there was a strong feeling in the parish in favour of urban powers.

Mr. Waugh said that concluded his case, unless the committee desired further information.

Mr. Dixon said the County Council were not satisfied with regard to the water supply, and they would like to hear the evidence of Dr Mitchell Wilson, medical officer to the District Council. That was with regard to the water obtained from Cadeby.

Mr. Boyle said had some expert witnesses, who would say that the water was pure.

Mr. Dixon said it would not the first time experts had differed.

Dr. Wilson, replying to Mr. Dixon, said some time ago, in consequence of an outbreak of fever, examined the supply derived from the Cadeby boring. At the boring the water was good, but when the waters came from the taps there was some pollution in it. He advised then that should always be boiled before being used.

Cross-examined by Mr. Boyle, witness said if the water was delivered at the cottages in the same condition as it came from the boring, it would be a pure supply.

Witness promised to produce figures with regard his analysis the water at the following day’s proceedings, and the inquiry was then adjourned until this morning. There’s laddie barfing