Mexborough & Swinton Times – Friday 27 March 1891
A Visit To The Denaby Main Mine.
Part 4 – Dangers of the Mine – Dangerous Ground, “Careful Dick”, Narrow Escape
However, I am wandering from the workings. To return to my text. Mr. Witty took me to a passage where there was a marked difference in the temperature of the atmosphere. It was the ” return air,'” which had passed throughout the mine and was about to escape up a shaft. There was very little, if anything, that was objectionable in the smell – it resembled that of burnt wool more than anything—and my only surprise was that the heat was not greater. The air was warm, but not uncomfortably so. The heat increased as we proceeded further and we were then what was termed
It a part of the mine where only Mr. Soar and Mr. Witty are allowed to visit and that is for official inspection, and to test the state of the atmosphere. Pipes lay along the ground and there was a hissing steam a little further ahead in the darkness. I was not at all sorry to get away from the place. My guide also showed me a cabin where
“Careful Dick ”
sits. To this spot the miners have to travel—no matter in what part of the pit they may be working—if their lamp happens to go out, and Dick lights it for them. This arrangement is so as to prevent the men tampering with the lamps themselves. The lamps are all locked and only Dick should be able to unfasten them. I once nearly lost the light from my own lamp by placing it on the ground when the air swept along so quickly as to cause the lamp to tremble. I was further shown a quantity of machinery, but was so dazed by the confusion and so afraid of meeting with an accident that, what went into one ear, in course of explanations by my guide, passed out of the other!
I had a narrow escape once of getting crushed. Several corves came rushing along unexpectedly, there was a general shout from several throats ” get out there! ” and it was more by chance than good management that I had no limbs broken It was not a bad experience one way, for it shows how easily mishaps may occur and how it is not always owing to the carelessness on the part of those in the mine when they get injured or killed.