Denaby Main – Unlucky Rope Mishap

April 1935

Mexborough and Swinton Times April 12, 1935

Denaby Main
Unlucky Rope Mishap

A verdict of accidental death was returned at an inquest at the Fullerton hospital, Denaby, last Friday, on Ernest Carnell Styling (28), miner, 24, Byron Road, Mexborough, who died in the Fullerton hospital the previous Tuesday, following injuries received when he was crushed between tubs while working in the Denaby Main colliery the same day.

The enquiry was conducted by District coroner (Mr WH Carlisle), and there were also present Mr. T. Gawthrope, H. M. Inspector; N Hulley, manager of the Denaby Main Colliery; and Mr. J. T. E. Collins, Y. M. A. Branch secretary. The coroner explained that Styling left home at about 9:30 PM on April 1 to go to work Denaby colliery. At 3:45 AM the following day he was working in 2 to 5 stall of the Park gate seam, and was trapped between some tubs he was pushing and some tubs that came from behind.

Florence Eva Hughes, 24, Byron Road, Mexborough, wife of Robert Hughes, Mexborough, identified the body as that of her brother, who resided with her.


Dr. Olivia Watson, of Mexborough, said he examined styling at the Fullerton hospital at 6 AM on April 2, he was in a hopeless condition. He had a fracture at the base of the skull and was unconscious. He also had fractured ribs on the right side, both abrasions of the body, and a fracture on the right ankle. The cause of death was shock and internal haemorrhage due to his injuries. He died at 11-12 A.M.

Mr Collins; could his life been saved if he was removed to the hospital quicker? No, it was quite impossible.

Joseph Mason, 15, Hameline Road, Conisborough, deputy in charge of the district, said he sent Styling and another man to work into five stall. About 2:45 AM he was on the level seeing to the general work of the district. There were 17 full tubs standing in the 247 turn and seven tops on the level 3 yards in by the turn. To get some empty tubs into the stall these tubs had to be drawn forward. The colliers did this when the haulage boys were off the level. Witness helped them to get the tubs out. There was little gradient at this point. A man clipped the tubs on the road, and when they were coming round the turn the 10th told came off the road. Witness took off the clip and lifted the job back, and then drew the 10 tubs forward. He drew the other 7 to within 3 Feet of them, and shouted to Styling and a man named Pendlebury to push the seven tops forward.


“I then heard a shout and stopped the rope. I ran to the back end of the tubs and saw Styling pinned between the rear of the seven tubs and some of the other tubs which had run forward. The tubs which had run forward were the seven which had been standing back in by.

I pushed the tubs back and released Styling, who was not conscious. I examined him and found he was in a poor way, from shock more than anything else, as I thought. We could have not seen any injuries but he complained on reviving a little of his ankle, and we suspected it was broken. We rendered first-aid and carried him out of the pit.”

The Coroner: how is it that these seven tubs had run forward? -Because one of the hook on one of the tubs had caught them.

Witness said he afterwards examined the rope and found it was “sloughed” and it seemed to him that the end had come out of a splice. It had curled round the rope and caught on the hook as it was travelling.

The coroner: Was the rope examined before the accident? – Yes, at the beginning of the shift by the rope man.

Did you enquire about that? – I didn’t enquire because I saw them examining it. The rope man had been down to examine this rope, and I understand they had been to repair it. It was quite all right when it was running

The coroner: What would account for the rope having sloughed?- I could not say unless it was caught in a cut rail there was one at the top of gate 225.

The coroner: Would this sloughing been noticed as soon as it happened? – Yes, the rope would have been stopped straightaway.

The coroner: In your opinion this sloughing could have not taken place long before the accident? – It could not, we should have seen it on the empty side.

The coroner: When the tubs are on a level like that, you don’t do anything to prevent them running forward? – It is hardly necessary in a place like that.

Mr Gawthorpe: How far was the cut rail from the return wheel? – About 10 yards.

Do you think the rope coming round the return wheel pushed the end of that strand out? – Yes.

Mr Collins: How many men were there when the accident happened? – There would be five.

Are you sure the rope was stopped immediately? – Well, practically.

What method did you use? – The signals.

Where were the signals? – They were the full length of the level.

Where did the ambulance box and necessary requisites come from? – From 246 old gate top.

No Negligence

The coroner (to Mr Collins) are you suggesting that everything that could be done for this man was not done?

Mr Collins : I’m not suggesting from the moment of the accident that he was neglected.

Benjamin Pendlebury, minor, 20, Browning Road, Mexborough, explained that he was working in 47 stall just before the accident, and came out with the other colliers to move some tubs. He went with Styling to push a run of seven tops forward. As far as he remembered one of the men shouted: “Look out!” there is a book fast.

Witness jumped clear, but it was impossible for Styling to get out. He was on the inside of the tubs and witness was on the outside. “ I just managed to scrape out when the man shouted about the hook being fast. Someone shouted, “Stop the rope!”

It was stopped almost immediately Styling was not carried forward and there was no delay in stopping the top he was trapped and was got out in a few seconds. The other man pushed the tubs back straight away, and Styling fell out into witnesses arms. He was attended to immediately.

The coroner: It has been rather suggested that the rope was not stopped at once and he was not treated immediately?

Witness: There was not a second lost. Witness added that he was a first aid man, and could see that Styling was badly hurt.

In reply to Mr Collins, witness said he could not see who shouted, “ Stop the rope.” The ropes stopped immediately.

A splendid young fellow

The coroner, addressing the jury, said he for they could have every confidence in the witnesses. From the evidence of Pendlebury, a first-aid man, they could see that there was no appreciable lapse of time before the rope was stopped and every care taken of the man. It was a very unfortunate case, but on the evidence he did not think they could suggest neglect. He was prepared to summon all the witnesses if the jury thought necessary.

The jury returned a verdict of accidental death. Mr Hully expressing sympathy with styling relatives, said the company deeply regretted the loss of a valued servant. Mr Collins said Styling was a splendid young fellow.