Mexborough and Swinton Times March 26, 1886
Serious Offence At Denaby Main Colliery.
Joseph Dudhill, Bartholomew Prendergast and James Dalton were charged with a breach of special rule 42 in force at the Denaby Main colliery.
Mr. H. H. Hickmott appeared for the prosecution, and in opening the case said the rule in question provided that no person should ride on an underground road without the consent of the underviewer or manager. The matter was before the court last week, when Dalton did not appear, and the Bench issued a warrant for his apprehension. Since then they had discovered that Dalton had absconded, and that he was in custody at Lincoln on charge of larceny. He asked the Bench to deal with the two defendants in the absence of Dalton.
On the 2nd March, about a quarter to ten at night, a lad named Morris was going down to the Montagu jinney in the Denaby pit. When he got to the top he saw the three defendants. There was a train of corves, 23 in number there. The jinney was about 300 yards long. Dalton asked Morris to take the first corf off and put the drag on the other and in order that they might ride down. Morris refused, and Dalton took the corf off the rails and reversed the drag, putting it behind the corf so that it would not stop it from running. After he had done that Dudhill assisted Dalton to put the corf on the rails again. They pushed it a little and Dalton and Dudhill jumped on the drag. Afterwards Dudhill sprang on the side of the corf, and Prendergast and Dalton remained on the drag. The oscillation at a place where the rails crossed threw Dalton off on his back on the road, where Morris found him shortly afterwards, laughing. There were no less than 30 men and six ponies to go up the incline that night, and as a matter of fact the corf passed five men who were on their way to work and who had to seek safety in manholes. A man named Worrall was sending at the time five ponies up the incline, but hearing the corf coming he had the ponies moved at once into a place of safety.
Harry Morris, a driver at Denaby pit, stated that he had to go down No. 1 Montagu jinney. At the top of the jinney there was a run of 22 corves. Witness saw Dalton and the other two defendants there. Dalton asked witness to take the tub down the jinney, but witness said he would not. Dalton lifted the tub off the road and shifted the drag from the front to the rear of the corf. They placed the corf on the rails again and got on the drag. Dudhill afterwards got on the side of the corf. He walked down the incline, and when he got to the bottom of the incline he saw Dalton lying on the road, laughing. Worrall ‘collared’ witness, and the other two defendants ran away.
In answer to the defendants witness denied that he was on the corf when it was running down the incline.
Thomas Worrall, a ‘brattice man’ at the pit, stated that on the night in question thirty men had to go up the jenny as well as six ponies. He had some ponies at the bottom of the jenny ready to go up. When the ponies were about to start he heard a noise as of a tub running very furiously down the incline. In consequence of this he had the ponies moved at once to the level. Immediately afterwards a corf ran down within about 12 yards of the bottom of the jenny, when it ran off the road and tipped up. No one was on it then.
Mr. W. H. Chambers, manager of the colliery, stated that the incline in the full corves which came down pulling the empty ones up by a rope, and that rendered the working of the incline safe and prevented the corves from attaining too great a speed. The thirty men would be placed in great jeopardy in consequence of the conduct of the defendants. There were manholes in the incline, and it would be necessary for the men to seek safety in them. If the men or the ponies had been coming up the lamed.
The Chairman, addressing the defendants, said: If anyone had been killed you would have been committed for manslaughter. You do these things without thinking. It is a most serious thing for anyone who happened in your way. You are boys, and therefore we think it would be best for your own sake to inflict such a penalty on you as you will remember for the future and make you more careful. We shall fine you 20s. and the costs each, or one month in the House of Correction.