Fall of Roof at Denaby Main – Man Crushed To Death.

October 1907

Mexborough ans Swinton Times, October 12, 1907

Collier Killed by Fall of Roof at Denaby Main
Mexborough Man Crushed To Death.

A sudden fall of coal in 38 stall, East Plane district, of the Denaby Main Colliery on Thursday, killed Robert Enoch Shakeshaft, collier, fifty one years of age, living at 6 Don View, Mexborough. Deceased was working with another man named Richard Benjamin Gethin, when the latter had occasion to go and fetch a `sprag´, when four yards away he heard a fall of roof, turning round he was horrified to see Shakeshaft lying on the ground beneath a large piece of coal. He shouted but got no answer, Shakeshaft was quickly extricated, but had received terrible injuries to the head, from which he succumbed immediately.

Deceased leaves a widow and eight children.


Mr. Dossey Wightman, district coroner, held an inquiry on Saturday at the Mexborough Primitive Methodist Institute, touching the death of Robert Enoch Shakeshaft, a collier, fifty one years of age, living at 6 Don View, Mexborough, who was killed by a fall of coal at the Denaby Main Colliery on Thursday last.

There were present, Mr. Mellor, H.M. Inspector of Mines, and Mr. C. Bury, manager of the Colliery.

The widow of the deceased, Sarah Ann Shakeshaft, gave evidence of identification. Her husband, she said was a coal-miner working at Denaby Main, having worked there for seventeen years.

On Thursday morning he left home at ten minutes to five. He left in his usual health. She heard of the accident about 10-30 a.m.

Richard Benjamin Gethin, said he was a coal-miner, living at Mexborough. On Thursday morning he was working with the deceased for the first day. They began work about 6-00 a.m.. The accident happened about 9-30 a.m. At that time he had occasion to towards deceased for a `sprag´. When he was about four yards away he heard something fall. He found out that it was a piece of coal that had fallen from the roof, which in his estimation weighed about two hundred – weights. With help, the coal which had fallen upon the deceased´s head, was removed and although he was then still alive he did not speak, and succumbed in about ten minutes or quarter of an hour. The deputy was about due on his round, and arrived just later. He ( witness ) said he thought the cause of the fall was a `slip´ which was quite visible after the fall, but could not be detected previously.

Cross-examined by Mr. Mellor, witness said he had seen deceased five minutes previous to the accident, when he came for a hammer for which he said he wanted, to set a prop. After the fall he found an unset prop close by. The hammer was reared up against the coal-face. He should think the man was on his knees with his face near to the floor.

The Coroner : What was he doing looking on the floor ?

Witness : He was dinting the floor preparatory to setting the prop.

The Coroner : Do I understand that the prop that was found was the one that the deceased evidently intended to set ? Witness : Yes sir.

The coal had evidently struck him at the back of the head and crushed him to the floor.

William Newbound, a deputy, concurred with the evidence that the `slip´ was not visible. He had visited the place previously at about 2-30 a.m.

The jury returned a verdict that the deceased was “Accidentally Killed.”