H. Hatton – Shocking Death of Boy at Denaby Main

July 1877

Mexborough Times July 27 1877

Shocking death of boy at Denaby Main colliery

At a 3:15 o’clock on Monday morning last a boy named Herbert Hatton, 13 years of age (pony driver) met with a fatal accident at the above colliery. While he stood looking at two men engaged at their work a portion of the roof fell upon him, killing him on the spot. His head and one arm were almost completely severed, the former hanging only by a piece of skin. His body was conveyed to the house of his parents in Denaby Row as speedily as possible.

The Inquest

On Wednesday afternoon the coroner, D.Wightman, Esq held an inquest all the unfortunate youth at the Fullerton arms, Denaby Main

The first witness called was Alfred Hatton, who said “I live at Denaby, am a Collier and father of the deceased, who was 13 years of age in March last. My son was a pony driver at the colliery. Saw him last on Sunday night at 10.30, he went down the pit at 11 and was killed at 3.15.Have seen the place where he was killed. James Hughes and William Hughes were working there at the time of the accident. They ought not to allow him to go in an unsafe place. The bind which killed my son ought to have been pulled down by those two men.”

Herbert Flinder said he was a deputy at Denaby main. Went to my duties about 1:50 on Monday morning. Saw the place of the accident. The two Hughes were working there, picking loose coal. The blind looked as solid as could be. Did not sound it as I did not think it necessary. No fall has taken their place lately. If a `bar´ had been up this would have fallen.

Mr Wardlaw (government inspector) asked if the boy had anything to do with these men witness: he had no business in the place where he got killed.

Mr Clegg: (representing the father of deceased) asked: Did you examine the place where the fall occurred?

Witness Yes I stood and looked at it

Mr Clegg: D

Did you sound it?

Witness: No as I did not think it necessary

Mr Clegg: Then you were satisfied with looking?

Witness Yes

Mr Clegg: How long did you look at it?

Witness: About a minute the men were not picking coal exactly where the boy was killed

Mr Clegg: Do you consider the two Hughes of practical miners?

Witness: I have no fault to find with them as they do their work well, the bind came from the side and not from the roof.

James Hughes said ” I live at Denaby and am a Collier. Was at work on Monday morning last at the time of the accident picking the loose coal. My brother was with me. Deceased came to us and asked “are you going to put a bar up?” And we said Ah Lad. He was then about 6 yards from us: I said don´t stand there lad, and he came nearer to us instead of going back. He would not have been killed if he had stayed where he was. I saw him killed and said “Oh good Lord the lad’s killed ” and found his head was off except a bit of skin.

Mr Clegg: How long have you worked at this pit?

Witness: About four or five months I first entered a Pit when I was nine years old. I saw the bind fall from the side

Mr Wardlaw: Why did you tell him not to come or stand there. Was it because you did not think it safe?

Witness: No, I wanted him to go to his own work

William Bates said If the men thought it unsafe they ought to have pulled it down, but if they thought it safe they were not to blame

The coroner having briefly summed up the evidence, the jury returned a verdict to the effect that deceased was “accidentally killed” by a fall of bind from the side and roof of the pit..