1938 – Whelpdale, Denton
Family History Researched by Paul Burkitt:
Denton Whelpdale was born in Clowne, Derbyshire on the 11th November 1898. His parents were Ernest Whelpdale (1868 – 1944) and Mary Ann Fletcher (1874 – 1955). On the 1901 Census, Denton was living with his parents at 51 Pit Row in Clowne. His father was employed as a colliery blacksmith. In 1908, Denton started his secondary education at the Shuttlewood Brockley Secondary School. On the 1911 Census, Denton, his parents and three younger siblings were living at Portland Cottages in Stanfree. His father was still employed as a colliery blacksmith. In 1920 he married Beatrice Ellen Allfree (1899 – 1984) in Bolsover. Between 1921 and 1932 Denton and Beatrice had four children – Eva, Esme, Denton & Zilpha. In 1936 he was admitted to Chesterfield hospital with an injury to his arm while working at Markham Colliery as a ripper. At the time of the disaster on 10th May 1938, Denton was working as a contractor and was living with his wife and four children at 87 Clowne Road in Stanfree. The funeral of Denton took place on 14th May 1938 in Bolsover with nine other victims of the disaster.
Derbyshire Times and Chesterfield Herald 16th May 1938
‘At Bolsover ten victims in all were conveyed at intervals into the Parish Church, were Canon J.E.Paget, vicar of Pleasley and vicar of Bolsover until three weeks ago, returned to conduct the communal service and offer words of consolation to the heartbroken relatives. After the services many of the grieved widows and relations broke down and had to be comforted and assisted by the men folk. The funerals were of D. Bann, G. C. Buckley, M. Richards and C. Silcock of Bolsover. W. Sherwin, G. Rowlands, R. Simms (Duckmanton), G. Cowley (Shuttlewood) and D. Whelpdale and J. Hadley (Stanfree). They were buried in separate graves. Canon J. E. Paget conducted the one committal service.’
Various newspapers reported the following on the 23rd May 1938
“Mrs Beatrice Whelpdale of Clowne Road, Stanfree, described how her husband, Denton, aged 39, wemt off to work on the morning shift. She had last seen him at 3.40am – about two hours before the explosion – as he left the house singing.”
Researched by Local historian Sandra Struggles:
Henry Alberry and his friend Denton Whelpdale were ‘contractors’ and worked together in the pit. They both lived in Clowne Road, Stanfree, Henry at number 6 and Denton at 87. They always ‘walked together’ to the pit. On Tuesday, 10th May they should have been on the day shift, starting at 6 a.m, but every alternate morning they started at 4am to have an early finish. This day was one of their early starts. Henry Alberry had been at Markham for 2 years having transferred from Oxcroft where, 5 years earlier his brother Albert was killed. Henry was a cycle racer and had won many trophies. He left a widow, Beatrice and two daughters, Iris and Pearl. He was 46 years old and was buried at Clowne. His friend Denton Whelpdale left a widow and four children, Eva, Esme, Denton and Zilpha. Denton was 39 years old and was buried at Bolsover.
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