Kilnhurst Colliery

Coal Mining in Kilnhurst

Kilnhurst colliery

Mining had taken place in the vicinity for centuries previous.  Albany colliery was a shallow workings accessed by a shaft.  The shaft marker can be seen today being amidst left and at the end of Albany Road.

Boys playing with the winding rope of Albany Pit following its closure.

Boys playing with the winding rope of Albany Pit following its closure.

Kilnhurst Colliery, formerly known as either Thrybergh or Thrybergh Hall Colliery, was situated on the southern side of the village.

The earliest colliery on the site, known as Thrybergh or Thrybergh Hall Colliery, worked the Barnsley seam from 1858, and was the site of a serious accident in 1863.[1] The brickworks, along with the local pottery, was served by a branch of the South Yorkshire Railway from 1850, this becoming a through line linking Sheffield and Doncaster from 1864.  From its sinking this line also served the colliery.  The railway junction from the main line was known as Thrybergh Colliery Junction until the early days of the 20th century when the line to Thrybergh (Silverwood Colliery) was opened and the old signal box replaced.

The colliery was connected underground with two other mining operations, Warren Vale Colliery and Warren House Colliery.  A standard gauge railway line connected Kilnhurst Colliery to Warren Vale, a continuance of the line which served Kilnhurst brickworks.

Through its lifetime the colliery had three owners.  First came Wakefield-based J. & J. Charlesworth who developed the workings with the opening of the Swallow Wood seam in 1917 and prepared the way for extraction from the Parkgate seam which came on stream in 1923, the year when Charlesworth’s were succeeded by Glasgow-based steel and coal company Stewarts & Lloyds Ltd. Under their ownership, in 1929, the Silkstone seam was opened up.  Sheffield steelmakers and Clyde shipbuilders John Brown & Company was a sub-lessee of Stewart and Lloyds and this continued following the sale to the Tinsley Park Colliery Company on 28 April 1936.  The colliery was sold, included the adjoining brickworks and a house, for the sum of £310,000.  The sinking of a new, No.4 shaft was undertaken between 1937 and 1939.

1938 Wages controvesy.

1938 Wages controvesy.

Following the Second World War in 1945, the colliery was in the ownership of the Manvers Main Colliery Company, based in Wath-upon-Dearne.  From nationalisation the colliery came under the ownership of the National Coal Board.

With a rationalisation of outlets in the South Yorkshire coalfield Kilnhurst was merged into the South Manvers complex.  The work, which took place between 1950 and 1956, saw the end of coal winding at Kilnhurst, all coal being transported underground to Manvers where it was drawn to the surface.  The colliery closed in 1989.

The 'Weight' has severely affected this Kilnhurst Colliery Roadway.

The ‘Weight’ has severely affected this Kilnhurst Colliery Roadway.

 

 

Kilnhurst Colliery late 1960's
Kilnhurst Colliery late 1960’s

KILNHURST PIT TRAGEDIES OF 1936 AND 1937

Three lives lost – Methane Gas

Extract from Mexborough & Swinton Times issue 7/2/1936.

The Sheffield District Coroner (Mr. J. Kenyon-Parker) paid tribute to the gallantry of those involved in the Kilnhurst pit disaster last week-end, when he formally opened the inquest at Swinton on Monday.

Indicating that he proposed to call only medical evidence and evidence of identification before adjourning the inquiry, the Coroner said; “I have read newspaper reports of this accident, and also a number of statements taken for the purpose of the inquest by the police.  I see that Jackson probably lost his life in going back to try to rescue the other two men overcome by gas, and I also see that as usual the workmen of the colliery behaved with the utmost gallantry in refusing to leave the pit, and in doing their best to recover the two gassed men-unfortunately, as regards two of them, unsuccessfully.  I think it right just to say these few words this morning, but I think it would be preferable to reserve any expressions of sympathy with the relatives of the deceased until the official inquest is held and a verdict returned, because I am quite sure the jury will wish to join in those expressions”.

Miners Safety Lamps
Miners Safety Lamps

 

INQUEST ADJOURNED

After taking formal evidence of identification by relatives, the Coroner adjourned the inquiry until Tuesday, February 11th.  It is not yet known whether it will be resumed at Swinton or not.  There were present on Monday, Major H. J. Humphrys, Divisional Inspector of Mines, Mr. D. Black, manager of Kilnhurst Colliery, and Mr. W. J. Hewitson (local branch of the Yorkshire Miners Association).  The Coroner said when the inquest was resumed that he anticipated that the Colliery Company would be legally represented, relatives of the dead might, or might not, be legally represented, and the Miners Association would also be represented.

Alice Callis, married, 61, Queen Street, Swinton, identified Jackson as her brother, adding that he had worked in the pit for over 20 years.  Lily Langford, widow, identified Langford, and Edwin Hammond Davis, father, identified the third victim, Davis.  The dead men are:-

William Jackson. (40), colliery deputy, 8, Rookery Road, Swinton.

Ivan Langford. (33), coal cutter, 40, Carlisle Street, Kilnhurst.

George Thomas Edwin Davis (23), belt man, 19, Harper Street, Rotherham.

Doctor C. J. Aitken said he went along to No.2 Rescue Station Base to render what assistance he could.  Artificial respiration was in progress, and continued until he assured them it was useless.  Death in each case was due to coal gas.  There was no doubt on that point, and he agreed with the findings of a subsequent post-mortem carried out by Doctor Hatherley.

NEWS OF DISASTER

News of the disaster reached the district early on Friday morning, but it was not until later in the day that definite facts were established. Shortly after ten o’clock on Friday morning an official statement was issued at the colliery to the effect that an outburst of gas had occurred in the Silkstone seam.  Some 22 men were engaged in the workings and immediately the occurrence became known, rescue operations were under the supervision of the colliery’s own team.  The management and other officials descended the shaft and remained there until later in the morning.  The bodies were recovered about four o’clock.

ON HANDS AND KNEES

Harry License said he was working in One’s Left Hand in the Silkstone seam.  They were moving their coal-cutting machine when he shouted to his mate “Can you smell anything?” License went on; “I then saw the indicator lamp showing red.  I tried it for gas, and it would not go white again, so I said; “It is time we were flitting”. I shouted to the others and ran along to warn them.  When I could see they were coming I turned round and got away from the face.  I had only just got away when I fell down and when I came round I had been pulled out by my mates.

“Jackson, the deputy, told us all to come off the face, and then he went round after the other men.  In my opinion he has given his life to save someone else’s”. License concluded: “This teaches you how to run on your hands and knees.  I scrambled along in this way for about 20 yards when I was trying to warn the others”.

Though obviously feeling the effects of their ordeal, both Brook and License were able to speak clearly of what they knew of the disaster.  Both were suffering from shock.  Brook, who was a member of the Kilnhurst Colliery Band, had a narrow escape in an explosion at the colliery about a year ago, when he escaped uninjured from the face where two men were hurt.

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SURVIVORS’ TRIBUTES

Brook said: “We were working in One’s Right Hand, in the Silkstone seam, and had just got the electric cable on the top of the face when weight came on.  I said, Let’s go out for a bit and six of us went out of the face.  We sat down some distance away, and in about five minutes we got a sniff of gas.  I jumped up and said I would fetch the others, but no sooner had I got to my feet than I collapsed.  The others brought me round, and we were just going a bit further away when I saw the deputy, Willie Jackson.  He said he was going to fetch the others.  I said I would go with him, but another man, Oswald Vickers, of Carlisle Street, Kilnhurst, went with him instead”.

“The next thing I knew was that Vickers was shouting.  I ran forward and saw Jackson lying on the ground about ten yards from me.  His lamp was on the ground near him.  Before I could do anything I was again affected by the gas myself and fell down.  Jackson must have been about 40 or 50 yards from Langford and Davis.  The others dragged me out, and when I came to again I was some distance away.  Langford was my mate, and I never imagined anything like this would happen.  I was the luckiest man alive to get out of it”.

“STRUGGLED OUT”

Oswald Vickers, Carlisle Street, Kilnhurst, who was in the affected area, but who was able to return home, also paid tribute to Jackson.  In an interview with a “South Yorkshire Times” reporter, Vickers said: “Twenty-two men were working in the Silkstone seam at the time.  Six of us got a whiff of the gas, and with the exception of Langford and Davis we worked further away from the gas as it approached us.  Then Jackson came along and told us to clear out.  We told him that Langford and Davis had hung back, apparently thinking the gas would eventually clear away.  We struggled out as best we could for probably three-quarters of a mile to the main gate, and learned afterwards that Jackson, Langford, and Davis had been overcome”.

Vickers, who is 38, is a conveyor turner.  He had been out of work for two and a half years, and on commencing at Kilnhurst about a year ago, he sustained a compound fracture of his left leg in an accident on the conveyor.  He had been back at work a little over twelve months.  Others who got out with him were Wilfred Beecham, St. Nicholas Road, Rawmarsh, and Clifford Ensor, Clay Pit Lane, Rawmarsh.  They helped also to drag Brook out.  They had been working, he said, only about three hours when they got the first whiff of gas.  Langford, who was a neighbour of Vickers, had four children.  He was 33, and had worked at Kilnhurst 11 years.

SAFETY LAMP WARNING

Willie Hudson, 67, Piccadilly, Swinton, who was also one of the men to escape, was working in a group which included License, one of the men detained in hospital.  He was working in another part of the district, and he told our reporter that they first smelled the gas as it came in from the other end of the face. ”License asked me if I could smell anything”, he said, “and as I looked down I found my lamp had turned red.  That was a sure sign of gas, and as it would not change we cleared out – fast.  Fortunately, we were not far away from the main gate.  License was telling the others to clear away when he collapsed”.

Albert Barnes, of Rotherham, also collapsed, and Hudson told our reporter how he and his mates helped to drag both License and Barnes to safety.  Doctor C. J. H. Aitken told our representative that when he was taken down the pit, rescue men kept filing past him into a branch road, later returning saying they could not get that way.  After that a call went up for hot water bottles for the injured as the management did not know at the time whether the men were dead.

The doctor said he examined Langford and found that he too, was dead.  The rescue team found that Davis was in such a position that it took much longer to get to him.  When at last he was brought back and artificial respiration tried the doctor knew he was dead.  Doctor Aitken said that the bravery and coolness of the rescue men was beyond comparison.

A team from the Rotherham Rescue Station were quickly on the scene, and apparatus was dispatched from the Wakefield Mines Rescue Station.  The pit was closed on Friday.  It is owned by Stewart and Lloyd’s, and between 800 and 900 men are employed.

 

The Pit Cage Crash Tragedy July 1937

Eighteen men dashed down shaft as cage safety fails

Eighteen men dashed down shaft as cage safety fails

Extract from South Yorkshire Times issue 30/7/1937

Tragedy visited the Kilnhurst Colliery on Wednesday afternoon, when a high-speed cage descending the 2,000 feet Number 2 Silkstone shaft with 18 men on its two decks hurtled to the pit bottom.  Twenty men in a co-ordinated cage coming up were flung into the headgear, and were saved from crashing back into the shaft by the operation of the safety catch.

One miner of all the eighteen huddled in the falling “chair” was killed.  He was on the bottom deck and when the shock of the impact came he received injuries which almost instantly proved fatal. H e was Joe Sales, 2, Apollo Street, Rawmarsh, a married man with a family of five, including three children of school age.

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The following were those seriously injured and detained in hospital:-

MEXBOROUGH MONTAGUE HOSPITAL

Arthur Spencer (54), married, Carlisle Street, Kilnhurst (injuries to left leg, very serious).

Thomas Riley (56), married, Kilnhurst Road, Rawmarsh (injuries to left ankle, favourable).

Peter Gilgallon (48), Charles Street, Kilnhurst (injuries to right leg, not serious).

James Gilliver (40), married, North Terrace, Kilnhurst (injuries to both legs, serious).

Charles Pears (43), married, Wheatley Road, Kilnhurst (injuries to both legs, very serious).

Alexander McDonald (40), single, Stewarts Road, Kilnhurst (injury to right leg, serious).

 

ROTHERHAM HOSPITAL

George Wardingley (52), married, St. Nicholas Road, Rawmarsh.

Thomas Griffiths (31), married, Clay Pit Lane, Rawmarsh.

John Veitch (61), married, Kilnhurst Road, Rawmarsh.

Horace Tuxford (45), married, Osberton Road, Rawmarsh.

Albert Barnes (38), 23, Wordsworth Drive, Herringthorpe, Rotherham.

Sam Roddis (45), Hill Top, Kimberworth.

John Griffiths (36), married, Clay Pit Lane, Rawmarsh.

John Davis, married, Bridge Street, Swinton.

Edward Gerard (51), married, Stewarts Road, Rawmarsh.

James Ensor (38), married, Clay Pit Lane, Rawmarsh, was taken to hospital but was discharged after treatment.

 

THE VICTIMS

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CONDITION OF INJURED

Enquiries made late last night at the Montagu Hospital revealed that all but Pears and Spencer were showing slight improvement, Pears and Spencer are reported to be in a serious condition.  A statement from Rotherham Hospital showed that the injured men there had slightly improved and were as well as could be expected.  Four men – Wardingley, Veitch, Barnes and Roddis – had legs amputated, and the other cases were of fractured ankles and femur.

EARLY RUMOURS

I reached the pit yard shortly after the accident (writes a “Times” reporter) after hearing a wild rumour that the death roll numbered seventeen and that the cage had crashed from a height of nearly 300 feet.  Happily, it soon became evident that the gravity of the mishap had been exaggerated.  An official testified that the depth of the cage’s plunge could not have been very considerable, and he gave assurance so far as could then be learned only one man had been killed.

At this a crowd of several hundred’s standing before the wages office sighed with relief but continued to wait in restive silence, eyes focussed upon the stationary winding gear and then on the line of eight waiting ambulance’s.  Who was the dead man? Who were in the cage? Are they seriously hurt?

A thrill passed through the crowd as the winding gear slowly began to revolve.  The first draw.  An ambulance backed into position. Half a dozen men rushed up bearing stretchers.  More waiting.  Then the ambulance came down the pit yard, carefully picking its way, and with visible relief the crowd of anxious miners, their wives, and children saw through blurred glass that the first batch of survivors were able to sit up.

For an hour and a half the work of rescue went on, and the casualties were rushed to either the Montagu or Rotherham hospitals.  Meanwhile, a team of doctors had assembled at the pit and had attended to the men.  In the words of a miner in the upper cage, all the men had “a close call, and it is amazing that more were not killed”.  Fortunately, the metal cage did not burst and the cage rest at the shaft bottom did not yield beneath the force of the crash.

HERO OF THE DAY

The hero of the day was Richard Harper, single, of 102, Clay Pit Lane, Rawmarsh, who was taken to hospital, but soon allowed home. He told of how he was on the top platform of the cage, and a second or two before the crash they all realised something was going to happen. The cage appeared to be descending quite normally until it reached a point in his opinion, about 60 feet from the bottom.  “Then something happened to the winding gear, and the cage just dropped.  I fell on my hands and knees as it began to speed towards the bottom, and it was in this action and the fact that I was near the gate that saved my life or saved me from serious injury”.

“When the cage crashed the door was jerked open and I was flung on to the landing.  I was dazed but I was able to pull myself round and help the rescue party to get the injured out.  I worked with the others until a doctor ordered me to go home.  I was very badly shaken, but I escaped with bruises.  I didn’t hear a sound from the men when the cage began to drop, but when I found myself on the lower deck they were huddled in heaps and most of them were groaning with pain.  Joe Sales was beneath a number of men on the lower deck, and I saw him pulled out”.

James Ensor, one of the slightly injured men, who was standing next to Sales on the lower deck, paid high tribute to Harper.  “He must be tough”, he told a reporter.  “I cannot admire him too much for the work he did attending to the wounded down there at the bottom”. Ensor said that the men could judge the speed of the cage, and it seemed to be travelling faster than usual.  “I don’t remember anything else until I was revived at the pit bottom.  I got away with only a sprained ankle”.

A member of the “Times”  Rotherham staff, writing of his visits to the homes of the men involved in the crash, comments:  Most grievous all was a visit to the house of the dead man.  Here the news had been broken by the eldest daughter, who is employed in the household of Mr. D. Black, a colliery official. Mr. Black had taken the girl home by car.  The widow, her eyes red with weeping, was surrounded by consoling relatives.  There are four children in all.  Sales was gassed when there was a rush of gas at the colliery in January 1936.

 

KILNHURST PIT CAGE CRASH  The “INQUEST

Extract from South Yorkshire Times 13/8/1937

“Death was due to an accident caused by over-winding.  There was an error of judgement by the engine winder”.

This was the jury’s verdict after a short retirement at the resumed inquest on Wednesday at Rotherham, on Joe Sales (54), miner, of 22, Apollo Street, Rawmarsh, victim of the cage crash at Kilnhurst Colliery on July 28th, in which sixteen other men were injured.

The evidence showed that a safety device known as a slow banker would have automatically prevented the crashing of the cage in which Sales and the other men were descending if a lever controlling the engine had been in position for winding men and not for winding coal.

The device is brought into operation when the cage goes too fast providing the lever is in the right position.

William Henry Hudson, the engine winder, admitted his responsibility for the lever being in the wrong position.

The foreman of the jury, after stating the verdict, said, “In our opinion the human element entered into it”.

REPRESENTATIVES

Mr. N. S. Robson, solicitor, was present on behalf of Tinsley Park Colliery Co., owners of Kilnhurst Colliery.  Other representatives were Mr. Herbert Smith, President of the Y.M.A.; Mr. T. W. Casey (National Winding Engineer’s Union), Mr. J. Steel Carr, solicitor, for Hudson, the winder.  Mr. E. Evans, H.M. Senior Divisional Inspector of Mines sat with the Coroner.

CORONER’S STATEMENT

The Coroner observed that the accident was one of the class called a winding or cage accident.  A descending cage bumped with some violence on the pit bottom.  The cause was undoubtedly over-winding, the descending cage going too far and being caught by the safety appliances.  Any question concerning machinery or pit working could be left to the H.M. Inspector of Mines.

The Coroner advised the jury not to ask questions on mining matters concerning mining, but he had had some experience over the many years in which he had held inquiries into pit accidents.  “An inquiry into a winding accident”, went on the Coroner, “is a particularly important one.  Happily, there is only one death in this case, though a number of other men were seriously injured.  I understand these men are well on the way to recovery.  Some have suffered the loss of a limb.  The importance, it seems to me, of an inquiry into an accident of this kind is that anything happening to a winding cage concerns not only the colliery company, but every man that goes down the pit”.

CHIEF ENGINEER’S EVIDENCE

John Henry Beaman, of Wentworth Road, Kilnhurst, chief engineer at Kilnhurst Colliery for nine years, said he went into the engine house of No. 2 pit between 7 and 8 a.m. on the day of the accident.  He noticed a slight sticking of the steam piston valve.  The engineman called his attention to this.  With this exception the engine was in good working order.  In his opinion, this was unimportant and had nothing to do with the accident.  It did not operate when men were being wound; only when coal was being wound.

That afternoon about 2.45 he heard a bump from No.2 pit yard.  He noticed that the end of the winding rope flew into the air.  He realised something serious had happened.  He ran to the engine- house.  The engineman said he was alright.  He appeared to be very calm.  Asked what had happened, he said “I don’t know”.  There was no doubt that the cage had been over-wound.  The over-winding gear had operated and applied the brakes.  The ascending cage was safely hung up already.

The slow banker was in position for winding coal.  This was wrong.  He pointed this out to the engineman, Hudson, who said, “I know it.  I admit it”.  If that appliance had been in position for winding men the accident would not have happened.  The responsibility for this was on the engineman.  The condition of the brakes was very good.  An over-speed test was afterwards made and the brakes responded.  The brakes were tested four or five times a week.  The Coroner said it was to the credit of the Company that they had installed the slow banking apparatus before they were obliged to do so by the new regulations.

SHAKING CAGE

John Rix, of 21, Victoria Street, Kilnhurst, said at 2.40 p.m. on the day of the accident he was in the bottom deck of the ascending cage.  There were twelve men on the bottom deck.  The cage seemed to go quicker when twenty yards from the top.  It went past the usual landing place up to the second landing place and stopped suddenly, dropping back a yard.  It began to shake seven or eight yards below the first landing place.  The shaking got worse, the cage bumping backward and forward “like a swing”.  Then it came to a standstill.

Witness clung to a handrail.  When the cage stopped, he opened the gate and saw it had stopped three or four feet above the top landing place.  He and another man jumped on to the top landing place.  There were shouts of “Don’t jump out”. Those on the second deck of the cage got down by a ladder.  Those on the bottom deck were helped out.

Witness had been at the pit for 46 years and had been up that shaft many times with Hudson on duty as engineman.  Nothing had gone wrong before.  There were usually twelve in each deck, said witness in reply to Mr. Smith.  It was unusual for the cage to go faster twenty feet from the surface.

Mr. Carr: Is it not the usual practice to stand erect on the decks, whether ascending or descending? – Yes.

Mr. Smith: Don’t make it general.  Some are on their knees.

Oswald Durrans, on-setter, of Mary Road, Rycroft, who has been at the colliery 25 years, said that the accident happened on the third draw of the downward cage.  He saw the cage “flash past” as he stood near the bottom of the shaft.  He knew something was wrong.  He afterwards helped to get the men out.

“STICKING VALVES”

Beaman, re-called, said it was not necessary to make a report on a sticky valve.

Mr. Smith: When is it necessary? – It is recorded.

Mr. Smith: That is what I am wanting to know.

A report book for machinery was then produced.  The Coroner read an entry for July 23rd, “Sticking valves require attention”.

Mr. Smith: This is not satisfactory.  This is reported on two occasions.  The last was on July 23rd.  The accident was on July 28th.  Witness said it was necessary to report it on July 28th.

Mr. Smith pointed out that the engine was worked with the valve.

Mr. Robson (for the owners) “The valve has no effect whatever on safety in winding men”?

Beaman: “No, it is merely to prevent steam entering cylinders when expansion can be relied on instead of quantity”.

In reply to Mr. Robson, witness said the valve was not a matter for report concerning the safe work of the engine.  The valve was working, though roughly.

Mr. Smith said he wanted the Inspector’s opinion on the question of reporting the sticky valve.

The Coroner said the Inspector could give him (the Coroner) his opinion, but could not give evidence.

“I shall have to get it elsewhere”,  said Mr. Smith.

SAFETY WINDING

Cyril Saxton, engine winder, of 118, South Street, Rawmarsh, who was on duty on the morning shift on July 28th, said a sticking valve was nothing unusual.  It happened once every six months and meant that the valves needed decarbonising, it had nothing to do with the accident.

In reply to Mr. Evans, witness said stickiness would come on over a period of six months.  When a certain amount of oil was passed through the stickiness usually went.

In the winding of men, the speed was not sufficient to bring the valve into operation.  In no way did it affect the safety of the cage.

The slow banker had never been in operation while he was winding men.  There had been no need for it.

In reply to the Coroner, Witness said the valve gear was last decarbonised eight months ago.

In reply to Mr. Carr, Witness said it depended on the winder whether the slow banker was put on. There was no notice to remind the engineman of the use of slow banker for winding men.  The engineman seated with the engine roaring, could not talk to anybody, and had to concentrate on what he was doing, hour after hour.

Slow banking was for when the speed of the cage was too great.

ENGINEMAN’S EVIDENCE

William Henry Hudson (59), of 44, Toll Bar Road, Swinton, said he made a signed statement after advice by solicitors.  He wished to give evidence.

He had worked at the colliery for 42 years, and as winding engineman since 1924.

He took over at 1.50 p.m., winding coal to 2.30 p.m., after which he wound the cage for men.  It was on the second or third winding for the men that the accident occurred.  There was no hitch till then.  It was his practice to shut off steam when cage met cage half way.  The last 200 yards he usually controlled with brakes.  He did everything in his accustomed way.

When the controller knocked off he knew something was wrong.  He went to the engine-house to see the rope was slack.  He thought that the up- cage had got into the detachment gear.  He did not exceed usual speed in his control.  He could not account for the up-cage going faster near the top.  He had had the slow banker for three years.  He worked with the lever on the right of the chair.  Three weeks or a month ago the lever was brought nearer the chair so that reached more easily.

The lever should not have been in the position for coal, as it was.  He was responsible.

He had been in the engine room for fifty minutes when the accident happened.

The Coroner: About your being alone.  When a man is sitting in the chair operating the engine, he does not want anyone to distract his attention? – No.

“I had difficulty in getting in yesterday”, observed the Coroner, referring to a visit he had made to the engine-room.

The slow banker, said Hudson, when brought into operation stopped the engine.

H.M. INSPECTOR’S VIEWS

John Edward Henshaw, H.M. Inspector of Mines, stationed at Leeds, who visited the Colliery the day after the accident, said he inspected the slow banking device.  Various tests of the engine and brakes showed they were in a very satisfactory condition.  Devices had been fixed by the Company three and a half years in advance of the new regulations which made them compulsory.

CLEAR EVIDENCE

The Coroner, summing up, said there was clear evidence that the accident was one of over-winding.  Ascending cage and descending cage went too far as a result of the over-winding.

The Inspecter (Mr. Henshaw) and Mr. Beaman had said the accident would not have happened if the lever for the slow banker had been in position for men and not coal.  Hudson, the engineman, had admitted this.

The accident therefore was brought down to the responsibility of one man.

A great many questions had been asked about a sticking valve, which on a larger scale, would be like the sticking valve on a motor car.  The jury could dismiss this point from their minds.  It had nothing to do with the accident.  The questions on this point had been properly made, but it would be for the Inspector of Mines to deal with it.

Hudson, said the Coroner, was alone, but the engine – winder was always alone.  He was like the man at the wheel on a ship.  He was not to be interfered with.

“I myself was there yesterday”, said the Coroner, “and I would be sorry to work half-an-hour in the winding chair, much less for a whole shift.  But, of course, enginemen have to work in such circumstances and are used to them.  It may be some explanation that it was a hot day and the heat may have induced the man to feel sleepy for a moment.

“What are you going to do about the engineman?  Do you consider his mistake due to an error of judgement, due to the human element, as sometimes happens to anyone, or do you consider it negligence or carelessness?  It is your duty to say so”.

“Any question of negligence you must not consider at all.  The evidence before you does not entitle you to bring that forward”.

The jury gave their verdict after a short retirement.  Sympathy with the widow, Mrs. Sales, and the family, and also with the injured was expressed by the foreman (Mr. Oswald Hepinstall, of Rawmarsh).

Mr. Robson. on behalf of Tinsley Park Colliery Co., Mr. Carr on behalf of Hudson the engine-man, and Mr. W. Hewitson, local secretary of Y.M.A., also expressed sympathy.

5 kilnhurst pit

a view of the Pit top circa late 1960,s (picture from Allan Craw)

A quote made to Allan- “This picture reminded me of the time we all had great fun sliding down the pit ‘bing’ (coal tip) on our bums. We had some laughs that day until we got home and our mum’s saw the seat of our pants. I am sure they did more harm to our rear ends than did the hill. I dont blame them because they had to make ends meet and our reckless games must have been the bane of their lives. I even recall their war-cry’ Just wait until your Dad gets home’.    Wonderful Days ”

 

The Colliery End

Colliery End - 1989.

Colliery End – 1989.