Fatal Accident at Denaby Main Colliery

April 1899

Sheffield Independent – Saturday 08 April 1899

Fatal Accident at Denaby Main Colliery

Yesterday afternoon, at the Montagu Cottage Hospital, Mexboro’, an inquest was held before Mr. Wightman touching the death of James Fenney, aged 37, who was fatally injured at the Denaby Main Colliery the previous Wednesday, and who leaves a widow and five children.

Mr. Wilson, deputy inspector of mines, was present, and also Mr. Witty, manager of the colliery.

Eliza Annie Fenney, the widow, said her husband had been a miner twenty years. She saw him after he had been brought to the hospital, told her he was going to fetch a pick and some coal fell on him; that it was an hour and a half before he was got out. He did not blame anyone. He died about a quarter to seven the same day.

Charles Steadman, filler for the deceased, said deceased told him to go for the ambulance. It was about 500 yards away to where the ambulance was. Deceased was lying on coats and jackets an hour and a half. About two hours elapsed before deceased was got out of the pit. Witness had seen the deputy, Cyrus Schofield, there that morning, about seven o’clock ; he saw the deputy later on. The deputy tested the roof. He gave no instructions. He said nothing about the place. Witness knew there was a “fault,” but he did not know there was a “slip.” Deceased knew of the “fault”; that was where the fall came from. He (witness) had known of the ” fault ” about three weeKs.

By the Inspector : We could see the “fault” all the way along. It was about 10ft. in length. There was nothing to keep it up. They needed some props to be set. It was not Fenneys duty to set them. There were no props in the place. We wanted some to set. There was one prop set.

The Coroner: You have made a strong remark. What did: you want the wood for?

Witness: In the place.

The Inspector: That does not affect the “fault.”

The witness said they wanted the props for the side; not for the “fault.” There was plenty of timber if it had been fetched.

Cyrus Schofieid, deputy, said he was at the place in question about ten minutes past seven o’clock. Deceased and Steadman and Bentley were there. Bentley was the oldest man of the three. Witness knew of the ‘fault”; it had been known of for the last three or four weeks. On the previous day he found that the men had not made up the pack. It had nothing to do with the fall. He told him about the way the pack had been left. He gave no special instructions He had told Bentley about timbering; he had specially told him this as there were many slips- about.

By the Inspector: Then was from 8ft. to 10ft. of “face.” The men wen working at it. He thought the men would get it all down. They were to do so. It was a very wrong thing for the deceased to go in front of it. Nothing would have happened to the deceased if he had kept at the end. He thought deceased must have been front of the coal getting it down.

The Inspector: Was there plenty of timber? Yes; there was plenty in the pass-bye, and even nearer than that. The pass-bye was not more than 180 yards away.

The Coroner, in answer to a juryman, said a person ought to have six months’ hard labour for not fetching timber when it was ready for him.

A miner named Bentley said the evidence of the deputy was correct. The statement of Steadman was not right about them wanting props. There were four props in the place. They could not set one.

Verdict, ” Accidental death.”