Fall of Roof. – Fatal Accident at Denaby –  The Inquest.

August 1912

Mexborough & Swinton Times – Saturday 31 August 1912

Fall of Roof.

Fatal Accident at Denaby.

 The Inquest.

At the Denaby Old Schools, on Thursday afternoon, Mr Frank Allen of the District Coroner, presided over an enquiry into the details surrounding the death of William Smith (20), a pony driver residing at Quarry House, Old Denaby, who was killed by a fall of roof at Denaby pit on August 28.

Mr WH.S.Witty (for the Colliery Company), Mr Guy Poole (H.M.Inspector of Mines) were present.

The Coroner said the deceased was killed in August 28 in 35’s gate, by a fall of roof.

The father of the deceased, WM. Smith, gave evidence of identification. He last saw his son at 12 o’clock on the day of the accident, when he was leaving to go on the afternoon shift . Afterwards, at 7-30 at night he was brought home, dead.

The filler, who witnessed the accident, William Hackett, of 10, Herbert Street, Mexborough, gave evidence. At 2 o’clock in the afternoon he was working in 35’s gate, killing some tubs. Deceased d was near to him at the time. As there had previously been a fall of roof at the same place, witness enquired of the charge man as to whether the roof was safe. He was told that he was safe and sound, and has he, himself, thought it safe he continued working there. Someone about half-past three, witness was filling a tub, and called deceased to “come and give him a hand.” Without any warning whatever, the roof fell down, and he heard Smith cry, “Come to me.” He found him lying with a large lump of coal over him; his head was free. The pony was killed. Witness procured assistance, and the lad was bandaged up, but he died about half an hour after .

He had worked down the pit for 20 years, but did not know how to test a root.

The charge hand in question, James Prendergast, of 30, Annerley Street, Denaby, deposed to testing the roof which, in his opinion, was safe and sound. He had been in his present position for 90 years.

Mr. Witty said he was a competent man. On behalf of the Colliery Company, he wished to express sympathy with the relatives of deceased.

The Coroner said the accident appeared to be the result of a very extensive fall of roof, which came down without any warning. The roof was examine, and the very act that Hackett went on working showed that he did not suspect any danger. Accidents in minor would occur. It was for the jury to say whether it was an accident or whether blame attached to anyone.

The jury returned a verdict of “Death by accident mused by a fall of roof.” They expressed sympathy with the relatives.