Fatality – Run over by Tubs at Denaby Main

September 1906

Leonard Knight
Aged 15 Pony-Driver
Run over by Tubs Denaby Main on August 29th


On Friday afternoon, September 7th, Mr. F.E. Nicholson, the Doncaster District Coroner, held an inquiry at the Denaby Main Hotel, respecting the death of Leonard Knight, a pony-driver aged fifteen years, and lodging in Loversall Street, who was killed at the Denaby Main Colliery on Wednesday August 29th.

There were present Mr. C. Bury, manager of Denaby Main Colliery, and Mr. J. Mellor, H.M. Inspector of Mines.

The first witness called was Mr. Joseph Knight, a pit-sinker, the father of the deceased, who said he was living at present, at Kenyon Street, South Elmsall. He was a widower, and his son ( the deceased ) was employed as a pony-driver at the Denaby pit, and lodged at 55 Loversall Street, deceased had lived there since a fortnight before Easter.

Alfred Cooper, a jinnier, of 70 Annerley Street, said on the date in question he was going to work about 2-15 p.m., and was proceeding down the Montagu Plane, when he heard some full tubs running away. They were in front of the tubs and going in the same direction, he shouted and followed them. He came up to them in about thirty yards. The road was a wide one, and there was plenty of room on both sides. When he got up to the tubs he found the deceased had been knocked down, and was underneath the last one. He help extricate him, but life was extinct.

Edward Allen, a pony-driver of 43 Hallgate, Mexborough, said he was proceeding to work down the Montagu Plane, about the same time as the last witness on the date in question, when he heard the run-a-way tubs. He had a little boy with him, and he pulled him out of the way just as the tubs passed. Some men who had just passed shouted, ” Is the little boy safe ?” and he replied “Yes”. He then began to walk down the incline, and as he was walking along he found a lamp on the ground, after proceeding another eight or nine yards he came to where the tubs were, and found the body of the deceased under the first he came to. Cooper came up, and they got him out. He was badly crushed all over, and was dead when they extricated him.

In answer to the Inspector the witness said, he judged they would be full tubs when they were coming down, and pulled the boy onto the empty side. The endless rope was standing, but previously it had been running for about two minutes. As he came down the plane he noticed some full tubs were not properly coupled up. He could not say how the tubs got loose and ran away. He saw the rope bouncing, and he inferred from that, after the tubs had come down, that it must have jerked a `clip´ out, and so set the tubs at liberty, because they were not made properly safe. It was not an everyday occurrence for the rope to be started during the time men were going to their work. He had never seen it done before.

The Foreman of the jury : As a matter of fact it didn´t start ; it bounced you say and did that for about two minutes ? Witness : Yes, sir.

A corporal named George Robinson, living at Hallgate, Mexborough, said he had been working on the morning shift and was at the top of the plane, when he was informed of the accident. That would be about half-a-mile away, he proceeded to where the fatality took place, and on the way down he found a `clip´ hanging on the rope. The rope was stood at the time, it must have knocked the `clip´ out when it started. When he got to where the tubs were, the boy had been got out.

In answer to the Inspector the witness said, before they ceased work he knew that they intended to change pulleys in connection with the haulage rope. It was understood that when repairs of that description were going to be carried out, that all the tubs, full and empty, should be detached from the rope. That was in order to ensure the safety of people travelling up and down the road.

That is done so that nothing might happen when the rope is set in motion ? Yes, sir.

On Wednesday did you know that both full and empty tubs ought to be detached from the rope ? Yes, sir.

And wasn´t it part of your duty, when going out, to see that all the tubs on that rope were properly detached and made secure ? Yes, sir.

Continuing, he said he was at the top of the Plane when the rope stopped, he did not go down to see that all the tubs were off, but went to meet the other corporals. When he met them he asked them if they had taken the tubs off, and they said they had, with the exception of two. He then told them to go and take them off while he went to the top and got ready. He heard nothing further until the accident. And those men instead of taking them off went out of the pit ?

It looks like it.

Continuing, the witness said the boy must have been overtaken by the tubs and dragged a considerable distance.

The Coroner in summing up, said there was no doubt that it was an accident, as to whether or not anybody was liable, was anybody criminally liable for the unfortunate lad´s death ? So far as one could see from the evidence, there was no criminal liability. The corporals who went out of the pit without attention to these two tubs were no doubt to blame, but that was not sufficient to make them criminally liable.

The jury returned a verdict to the effect that the deceased was “Accidentally Killed.”