Mass Meeting of Denaby Miners.

November 1888

Sheffield Daily Telegraph – Thursday 01 November 1888

Mass Meeting of Denaby Miners.

Yesterday morning the Lodge room in Doncaster Rd, Mexborough, was crowded with Denaby Main miners, a meeting having been hurriedly convened to hear the report of a deputation whose presence had been requested by the manager, Mr. W. H. Chambers, that morning.

The chair was occupied by a miner, who referred to the joyful news conveyed by that mornings newspapers. The owners had found it impossible to resist the fair and honest demand of the men, and was glad that without unduly prolonging the strife they had conceded the 10 per cent. The men could tell well as well as Mr. A. M. Chambers whether the advance was due or not. In times gone by it was possible for the masters to issue false statements through the papers, but now the miners could read newspapers for themselves. (Hear, hear.)

They could see the price of coal was going up as well as Mr. A. M. Chambers, and they were well able to watch the markets which governed the selling price of their produce. They ought not only to watch the markets, but they ought to take interest in each other individually. (Hear, bear.) If the conflict which had just ceased had not been a united they might depend upon it that the decision of the meeting in Sheffield the previous day would have been far different. (Hear, hear.) The cry for the advance had been unanimous throughout all the counties, and wherever it had been claimed it had been granted, all because the men had been firm. (Cheers.)

To whom should they give credit for this advance? (A Voice: “The union.”) In the first place they should give the credit to the Yorkshire Miners’ Association (Cheers.) So far back as January last the agitation really began, when the officials saw in the future something brighter, and announced their intention of endeavouring to secure the 10 percent, advances The 10 per cent, advance meant 10 per cent, more that the miner, would have to spend with the public, and therefore he thought the public ought to grateful indeed that the advance bad been conceded (Hear, hear.) The agitation had been begun, continue and ended with the union, and the credit rested with the union men, though, of course, they were thankful that the non-society men stood by them. (Hear, hear.)

But at the same time he wished that every man had been in the union. If eight had been so they might depend upon it that the tools would never have been brought out at Denaby, because the masters knew their weaknesses better than they did themselves. (Hear, hear.) If prices went up they had right to claim a proportion of the profits for themselves. (Hear, hear). On the other hand, if they went down the owners expected their wages to go down as well (Cheers.)

Mr. John Dixon, secretary to the lodge, referred to the deputation that had waited on the manager that morning. He said the Company were fully prepared to give the advance along with the others. (Cheers.) The deputation replied that that was all that they had been asking for all along, and after one two minor points had been settled, the interview ended. The men would be expected to go down to the colliery that day and “sign” afresh, and recommence work the morrow. (Cheers.)

Mr. Dixon then proceeded refer an advertisement that had appeared in the paper the previous Friday, where it was announced that “John Jones, miner, Denaby, had £1,000 to lend. (Loud laughter.) He did not believe there was any miner, either at Denaby and Manvers, or any other pit in the locality, who had £1,000 to lend out either in large or small sums as stated. (Hear, hear.) It appeared that some Denaby workmen, anticipating the prolongation of the strike which was imminent, apply to this “John Jones “by letter for certain sums to enable them to tide over the difficulty. But all the letters which had been sent were return through the post; “John Jones, could not be found. (Hear, hear, and laughter.) Now, who was the gentleman who had put the advertisement in the paper. “A Voice: “Jack the Ripper,” and laughter.) No, it was not “Jack the Ripper.” No, it was an individual crawling about the locality which wished to injure the miners’ cause. Directly they went in for the 10 per cent, this snake in the grass came forward, and by putting that advertisement in the paper, endeavoured to make the public believe that there was Denaby miner capable of lending £1,000. (Renewed laughter.) He thought the editor of the paper ought, in all fairness to the men at Denaby and miners generally, to ascertain the author of that advertisement, and to show him up. (Cheers.)

With reference to the advance that had just been conceded, they would remember that the “kick off” in the agitation commenced at Denaby. Well, it appeared from that morning’s papers that they had got a”goal.” (Cheers and laughter.) But they ought not to be content with one goal, became when footballers came into the field they did not give up playing when they had scored one goal. (Hear, hear.) If they had to score again they should be united and determined; they might rest assured that this goal had not been got easily. There had been a considerable amount of expense, and by whom had the expense been paid? (A Voice; The union men.”) Well, if it bad been paid by the union men this time, they hoped that on the next occasion those who were now non-union men would help to pay. (Hear, bear.) They wanted to be thoroughly organised. The Yorkshire owners the previous day had come to the conclusion that they could not see their way to fight the owners of other districts and their own workmen at the same time. Therefore he thought it was far better for them to give honourably than to have continued the struggle another week or so longer, because if they had kept it on longer the owners who had conceded the advance would have been receiving the whole of the profits which the South Yorkshire owners ought to be sharing themselves. (Cheers.)

It was announced that the “ back money” (three days) would not be paid until Saturday.