Lime Burners Fall – Not Cause of His Death – Conisborough Inquest

February 1937

Mexborough & Swinton Times, February 5, 1937

Lime Burners Fall
Not Cause of His Death
Conisborough Inquest

That an accident sustained in June in the course of his employment had nothing to do with the death of Joseph Bailey Watton (56), 1, Ferry Terrace, Conisborough, was the opinion of the jury at the inquest at Conisborough on Wednesday,

The enquiry was conducted by Mr W. H. Carlyle, the district coroner, Mr A. H. Jackson represented the Conisborough life company. From whom Watton was working when he sustained his accident; and Mr R. M. Stevenson, of the National Union of general and municipal workers, was present on behalf of the family.

Louise Watton, widow, gave evidence of identification. Her husband was a lime burner, employed by the Conisborough Cliff Company, and he was hurt in an accident at his work on June 13, 1936. He sustained a fractured rib. He was treated at the Fullerton hospital, but was not detained. He had not been to work since. His condition became worse, and he was admitted to the Fullerton hospital on December 2nd. He died on Sunday night. He used to complain about pain in his left side, but she did not know whether or not he had an abscess under his arm. He had been perfectly healthy before the accident.

Alfred Spalding, 9, Victoria Street, Mexborough, a charge men employed by the cliff company, said Watton and he were working together on night shift on June 13, 1936. There were two men on top of the Kilns, and about 1-30 a.m. they shouted down that someone was in the dustpan. Witness and Spalding set off to the dustpan, which was about 200 yards away, to investigate. There was a hole about 3 feet deep, 3 feet wide, and 6 yards long and about 6 inches away from the railway line on which they had to walk. The railway line was 2 feet wide, and was only used occasionally to run tubs along. The hole was lined with concrete, and was used for putting up a steel pillar.

As they went past the hole witness told Watton that they would have to watch it on the way back. When they got to the dustpan, they found two of their men there who had gone to fetch some dust. On the way back witness was about eight or 10 yards in front of Watton. There was a floodlight with three lights shining on to the hole. It was probable that Watton, blinded by this light, had not seen the hole, and had fallen straight in. There were four pieces of wood about 3 feet high in the hole, to be used as bolt holes. Watton felt on one of these on his side. He was pulled out and taken to the ambulance room, where he stayed for the rest of the shift. He complained of pain in the left side and seemed badly hurt. In reply to a question from the jury witness said there was an ambulance man with Watton.

Asked whether he did not think it would have been better if Watton had been taken home to the hospital. Witness answered that that had been left to Watton, and he had not asked to be taken away.

Old Servant.

Frederick Arthur Dresser, Hillcrest, Conisborough, foreman, for the Conisborough Cliff Company, said Watton had been with the company a good many years, and all the time he had been employed as a lime burner. In his work he had to turn a wheel and the lime, which was then liberated, came down a chute into a pan which was three or 4 yards away from him. There was a certain amount of dust given enough, but not enough to warrant the use of respirators. In his opinion it was not possible for a man to get silicosis from the dust.

He knew that Watton had been on compensation for a long time, but he did not know whether or not he had been certified as being fit for work.

At this point the coroner read a form which stated that no compensation was paid to Watton after September 12. He was certified as having recovered from his accident at the end of August, but then there were other complications.

Dr D. M. Bell said that though Watton was a patient of the late Dr Forde, he had attended him twice during the latter’s holiday at the end of June and the beginning of July. He then had a fractured rib on the right side, and a touch of bronchitis, which, in his opinion, had no connection at all with the fractured rib.

Witness had conducted a post-mortem examination on Watton on December 15. He then saw that there sixth rib on the right side was perfectly healed after the accident. There was a small scar on the left elbow, and the whole of the left arm was swollen – in his opinion this had no connection whatever with the accident at the lime works. Certain organs were sent to the county pathologist.

The county pathologist, Dr Peter Lindsay Sutherland, said that he had received the organs on December 15. After inspection he could find no traces of silicosis, and in his opinion death was due to septicaemia caused by abscesses in the kidneys and spleen. He did not think that the accident in June had any connection whatever with Watton’s death.

In reply to a question from the jury, witness said that septicaemia must have come from an open wound, and it could not have arisen from anything inhaled through the mouth.

Summing up the coroner said that death was due to septicaemia caused by abscesses in the kidneys and spleen. A verdict was returned in accordance with the medical evidence.