Cruelty by Pit Lads – How Ponies Are Ill Treated Underground

December 1890

Sheffield Daily Telegraph – Tuesday 23 December 1890

Cruelty by Pit Lads

How Ponies Are Ill Treated Underground

The West Riding magistrates sitting at Rotherham yesterday Mr H W Versist, Mr R G Chambers and Mr C Wright – had before them several case in which ill-treatment of ponies used in the South Yorkshire pit was illustrated.

The first case was against Isaac Cooper, 15, employed at the Denaby Colliery, the company, who prosecuted, being represented by Mr HH Hickmott.

The defendant is a pony driver at the pit named, and on the 11th of this month was in charge of a pony named Martin. There are places provided in the workings where ponies have room to turn, but on this occasion, whilst the animals was drawing a full corf, the defendant tried to make it turn where there was not room. The pony did its best to obey the orders of the defendant, but when it could go no further the boy picked up a massive piece of wood known as a “Dick,” and through it at it, striking the pony a severe blow. He also ran up to the animal and kicked it several times. In trying to turn, the pony grazed the skin from its forehead.

Defendant was fined 20 shillings including costs

The second charge brought against William Cross, a youth, who also works at the same colliery.

Mr Hickmott stated that this case was worse on the other. About 10 o’clock on the night of the 11th, the nights stable man at Denaby went to the stables, and on getting within a few yards of the stalls heard sounds of someone beating a pony. He rushed up and found the defendant belabouring a pony named Moonlight with a hammer stick.

He was asked what he was doing it for, and his reply was, “Nothing.” It was not the pony he was in charge of, and he had no right in the stall. The pony was crouching in a corner from the blows of the defendant.

Cross had nothing to say and was fined 20 shillings and costs