Fatalities at Houghton Main, Manvers Main & Denaby Main

October 1892

Mexborough & Swinton Times – Friday 07 October 1892

Fatalities at Houghton Main, Manvers Main & Denaby Main

Within the last few days four miners have been killed whilst following their employment in this district—two simultaneously at Houghton Main, the third at Manvers Main, and one last night at Denaby Main.

Briefly the circumstances of the fatality at Houghton Main were as follows. The unfortunate men were named PUGH and WARE, and had been at work from 2-30 on the day of the occurrence. About 7-30 the deputy visited them and things appeared to be alright then; the men were talking with each other and there no visible nor yet audible signs of danger. About eight o’clock a driver heard a groan, and he at once premised what had occurred and called for assistance. It was then discovered that a serious fall had taken place and the two men who had been seen working cheerily a short time previously were buried in the debris. The work of rescue was at once commenced, and after about twenty minutes’ laborious toil, the bodies were recovered. Of course the men were dead; by their sides were found their lamps. An inquiry into the accident revealed no cause for blame, and, it was, in the Deputy’s opinion, solely due to “a regular jump which shook the props out.” The accident appears to have been quite unique in character; both the Deputy and the Corporal severally declared that they had not in the course of their experience heard of one of a similar nature before.

In the case of the fatality at Manvers Main, the unfortunate man CANADINE was a miner of long experience. Just before the fall occurred his working place had been examined by the Deputy, who found it quite safe, there being no outward signs of danger. He was got out immediately after the accident and taken to the Mexborough Montagu Hospital, but his injuries were of so serious a nature that he died the same day. In both cases a verdict of “accidentally killed” was returned. The moral which these two sad instances clearly point out is this: Danger in coal mines is never far to seek, and miners themselves should always guard against any diversion from the path of duty. Week by week it is our painful experience that miners—or at least a goodly number of them–do not sufficiently regard the rules and provisions made for their safety. In proof of this assertion we have only to point to the cases of breaches of the Mines Rules and Regulations Acts which are heard almost every court day at Rotherham and Barnsley. Fines are inflicted as punishments; but these do not seem to minimise the number of cases.

Only a fortnight ago we reported a case where an official fined for a breach of a Special Rule at Denaby Main Colliery. His offence was that he neglected to report a breach of the Colliery Rules committed by a subordinate. After so many instances of the folly shown by miners not complying with the very rules which are primarily introduced for their own safety, the surprise is that these commissions still take place. Even fatalities do not sufficiently emphasise the matter and deter further transgressions. It is indeed lamentable that in spite of the precautions taken and the care bestowed by Government authorities with a view to minimising as far as possible the risks of coal miners, there are still to be found individuals who, by their careless conduct, exhibit a wanton disregard not only for their own lives but also for the lives of others. Still more lamentable is it that fickle Fortune should select her unfortunate victims from amongst those industrious miners who, in the pursuit of their livelihood, are steadfast to the rules and exercise every care to avoid unnecessary danger.