Markham Colliery – Accident Reports & Inquests

Awaiting News Source: Derbyshire Times Enhanced: Peter Hipkiss

This is a list in date order of the fatal accidents at Markham Colliery. Including the three disasters (1937, 1938 and 1973) circa 250 miners were killed at Markham. The first deaths took place in 1885 and the last death was in 1974.  Please note that this page is not yet complete and therefore is subject to amendment.




1885  May.                   Turton, Isaac (24)               Fall of Coal




An accident, attended with a fatal result, occurred at Markham Colliery, one of the Staveley Company’s pits, last Tuesday, by which a man named Isaac Turton, of Brimington, lost his life. The man, who is a filler, or loader, was at work in one of the stalls, when a “slab” of coals, without any warning, fell forward upon him, crushing him on the wagon. Death resulted almost immediately. Another, and rather singular occurrence took place at the same colliery yesterday. A fall of bind occurred in the workings, and very nearly buried a young man named Edward Sales. The young fellow, however, managed to escape, but the shock or fright was such as to produce temporary paralysis. He was rendered incapable of walking, and was conveyed to his home in Bolsover in one of the company’s ambulances.

1885  May.          Clark, Benjamin Henry  (17)                 Run over by tubs                      





The adjourned inquiry into the death of the young man Clarke, who was killed in the Markham Colliery, Staveley was resumed on Tuesday at the Swan Inn, Bolsover, before Mr. Busby, coroner. Mr, Evans and Mr. Stokes, her Majesty’s inspectors of mines, were in attendance. Mr Humble, colliery manager, represented the Staveley Company. Unusual interest attached to the proceedings, as the inquiry has been twice adjourned. Several witnesses were called on Tusday, including the underviewer, Mr Humble volunteered a statement as to the number of rules in circulation. The Coroner, in a most careful summing up, said he was bound to say that he had never conducted an inquiry in which he found a more lax management from the underviewers downwards. The jury returned a verdict of “Accidental death,” and added a rider that the pit was managed in a very lax manner.

1887  October.          Pacy, John  (39)                    Timber and Platform falling down shaft.
1887  October.          Glossop, Benjamin (29)     Timber and Platform falling down shaft.
1887  October.         Smith, Alfred  (36)                Timber and Platform falling down shaft.
1887  October.         Pacy, William  (17)                Timber and Platform falling down shaft.





One of the most fearful of the many calamities, inseparable from a colliery district that have occurred in the pits surrounding Chesterfield for a considerable time, took place on the afternoon of Monday, resulting in the instantaneous death of three men and the subsequent death of another besides several receiving injuries of a more or less serious character.The scene of the accident is situated in the Parish of Sutton cum-Duckmanton and is on the Sutton Estate. Some time ago the Staveley Coal and Iron Company commenced to sink not far from their old Markham Pit, a pit on the Sutton Estate now known as Markham (No.2) Colliery, and it was during the sinking operations at this pit that the accident which has had such direful results occurred. The process of sinking, at all times a most hazardous one, had up to Monday been carried on without any accident, and Mr John Radford, who has had full charge of the work, had been congratulated on this singular immunity not long before this unfortunate calamity occurred. At the time there were eleven sinkers at work, their names being George Pacy, who was in charge of the men, John Pacy, William Pacy, Alfred Smith, Benjamin Glossop, Robert Limb, George Gregory, Henry Bradford, Samuel Leach, Robert Renshaw and Harry Clark.

The work was proceeding as usual, until about eleven o’clock, when the “skip,” “hopper” or bucket as it is termed had just been sent up to the surface. Suddenly a loud noise was heard above, and George Pacy called out to his companions that there was something coming down the shaft. The men had not time even, if they had room to move out of the way, before two heavy pieces of timber fell with terrific force on to the scaffolding just above them, causing it to collapse on one side, and crushing the men nearest to that side in a fearful manner. All the lights were extinguished  and it was impossible to ascertain the extent of the injuries. The cries pf the wounded men were heart rendering to hear, but it was some time before assistance could be rendered to them. As to the cause of the accident we gather from the statement of the officials and others that the first intimation of anything being wrong was hearing a fearful crash and it was then seen that the large iron bucket or skip as it is termed which is used for the purpose of bringing up the earthworm the bottom the shaft had been over-wound, and was to use a witness’s expression, “on the wheel.” that is, It hd been over-wound to such an extent as to be on the large revolving wheel, which was broken. It was not at first known what was the cause of the noise and accident in the shaft., but afterwards it was noticed that in its upward ascent the bucket being too large to pass between two cross pieces of timber on the headstocks had torn these off the uprights and that they had fallen down the shaft. It was fortunate that the rope did not break or the accident might have presented  a much more serious aspect. As soon as possible Mr Jos. Humble, who with his father has the supervision of this colliery, set to work, and having examined the rope and other apparatus the bucket was lowered down the shaft. The first person to come up was George Pacy, and from  the statement he made Mr. Joseph Humble descended the pit at the bottom of which a fearful sight was presented. He noticed that three men were evidently crushed to death, being fearfully  mangled, and between the shaft side and the scaffolding he found William Pacy wedged in. The men were with all possible speed conveyed to the surface. It was then found that John Pacy, father to William and brother to George, Benjamin Glossop, and Alfred Smith had been killed instantaneously. The injured, Henry Bradford, an William Pacy were conveyed with all practicable celerity to the Chesterfield Hospital, where Dr. Rose and Dr. Booth and others gave them every possible attention. It was found that Pacy’s injuries were of a more serious character, and from the first his recovery was hopeless, and he died at 3.40, ten minutes after admission into the Institution. He had a compound comminuted fracture of both legs, with extensive lacerations, as well other injuries. Henry Radford had a fracture of his ribs and extremely severe contusion of the right hip. Although his injuries are of a serious character hopes are entertained of his recovery, and he is now progressing favourably. George Pacy was treated fora contusion of the right leg. Samuel Leach was removed home, his injuries being only slight.

John Pacy leaves a wife and seven children. Benjamin Glossop, also leaves a wife and family, and Alfred Smith a wife and family. William Pacy was unmarried, being only 17 years of age.

As to the cause of the accident, George Jackson, who was in charge of the engine at the time, holds the highest character, both amounts his employers and the other workmen, and much sympathy is felt for him. It is stated that just as the bucket was reaching the top of the shaft, a fireman named John Atkinson, contrary to rule, went into the engine shed, and spoke to Jackson about some tallow for the engine, thereby distracting his attention momentarily from the indicator, causing the bucket to be overwound, which struck the headstocks, detaching the timber as stated. To give an idea of the terrific force with which the timber must have struck the scaffolding it should be mentioned that the present depth of the shaft is 440 yards. It is expected that coal will be reached in another 100 yards and had not the present deplorable circumstance occurred  it was hoped that this would have been accomplished in a period of six weeks from the present time.


The inquest on the bodies was opened on Tuesday by Dr. W.A. Walker (deputy coroner). The jury having seen the body of Pact at Chesterfield proceeded to the Markham pit where the other bodies were viewed. Evidence of identification only was taken and the inquiry adjourned until Monday next.

Mr Stokes, her Majesty’s Inspector of Mines viewed the scene of the accident to-day and will be present at the inquest.


On Monday morning last Dr W.A. Walker, deputy coroner for the Hundred of Scarsdale, held the adjourned inquest at the Arkwright Arms Inn, Duckmanton, near Chesterfield, on the bodies of John Pacy, William Pacy, Benjamin Glossop, and Alfred Smith, who were killed as reported by us last week, during the sinking operations in the new pit (Markham No.2) which the Staveley Coal and Iron Company are sinking at Duckmanton. At the opening of the inquest at the Markham Pit last Tuesday only evidence of identification was taken and the inquiry adjourned until Monday. There were only fourteen jurymen present at the adjourned inquiry, one being too unwell to attend. The foreman was Mr. Joseph Biggin, farmer, Bolsover Woodhouse. There were also present Mr Joseph Humble, certificated manager to the Staveley Company, Mr. J.H. Humble, sub-manager at the Markham Collieries and Mr. Superintendent Carline. Mr. A.H. Stokes, Her Majesty’s Inspector of Mines for the Midland District was also present and considerably aided Dr. Walker in questioning the witnesses as to their knowledge of the facts connected with the accident. The nearer relatives of the deceased men also listened to the proceedings.The jury having been re-sworn the evidence was preceded with.

George Pacy: I am the charge-man and work at Markham (No.2) pit of the Staveley Coal and Iron Co. I was at work on the 3rd October, my duty was to look after the sinkers. I waste work at the bottom the pit. I had 10 men with me. Alfred Smith was striking a drill. John Pact, Benjamin Glossop and Wm. Pacy were similarly occupied. We all began work at 6 o’clock in the morning and the accident was about 1.20 p.m. Just before the accident the sinking tub was standing on the bottom empty. The depth of the shaft was 440 yards. I heard the banksman shout down for us to send the tub or “hopper” up. I told Benjamin Glossop to ring the tub up and I steadied it itself. I was in charge of the bottom. I am quite clear that the tub left me steady, it was not swinging. I watched it go very near to the top. As far as I could see the whole of the way it went up it was quite steady. We have scaffold which we use for bricking , which is about the same size as the pit. The pit is 15 feet in diameter inside the brickwork and the scaffold would be about 14 feet 2in in diameter; When we are not using the scaffold we hang it inside the shaft and on this occasion it was about 100 yards from the pit bottom. It was hanging by a chain about twenty feet long and attached to a piece of timber bricked in the brick-work. The weight of the scaffold as near as I could tell would be about 30cwt. It was all made of wood except the bolts. I could not see the tub clear out of the top of the pit. It was about a minute after I had given over looking at the tub that I heard something coming down the shaft. I shouted to the men to get into the side as there was something  coming from the top. A piece of timber fell and I just turned my head and saw John Pacy was killed by this piece of timber. After that I heard a crash in the shaft and something fell in the bottom. Before the accident we had eleven candles burning in the bottom but afterwards we had only one left lighted, the falling stuff putting all out but this one. I lit some candles as soon as I could out and walked round to see what had occurred. I saw that the bricking scaffold, which had been hanging in the shaft, had fallen in, and other timbers besides. I found that the scaffold had struck Alfred Smith and Benjamin Glossop. They spoke before I got to them, but died in about two minutes. The scaffold had also struck William Pacy, who was alive. Two other men were injured. I shouted for the “skip” to come down and when it came down I went up in it with Samuel Leach to examine the pit side. I found nothing loose, but when I got to the bunting that held the scaffold I found it broken away, as if something had struck it and taken it clean away. I went to the top and told them what had occurred and got assistance and descended the shaft again. We got all the injured men out first and then the three dead men. I went to the Chesterfield Hospital with my nephew, William Pacy. I did not know then what had caused the accident. The scaffold is hung in the shaft during the whole of the sinking. The bricking scaffold could be taken out of the shaft each time after use, but it was more convenient to hang in the shaft and was safe enough. I have “sunk” at other places. At Kiveton it was taked out every time, but at Shireoaks it was left in. I sunk at Barlbro’ pit under the Staveley Company, where we pulled the scaffold out. At New Hartington, under the same Company, the scaffolding was left in the pit. I am quite clear abut it-The Jury: Did you ever hear any of your fellow workmen express anxiety or  alarm at it?-No- By Mr. Humble: Did you sink the shaft at Hartington that was sunk from the surface? – Yes,sir. – Did you sink the shaft from the deep soft? – No,sir, – did you work another shaft there? _Yes, but I cannot speak as to the scaffold.

Mr. Joseph Henry Humble, I am the sub-manager under the Staveley Company at Markham No.2 pit. I have made a plan of the scene of the accident, and to the best of my knowledge and ability it is the correct one.

Henry Clarke: I am a sinker at Markham (No.2) pit / I was at work there on October 3rd I began work in the morning at 6 o”clock. I was working in the pit bottom Just before the accident I saw the empty tub standing on the bottom. I heard it shouted for. I did not see it sent away. When the tub had time to get to the top I heard something falling. A piece of timber from the top fell first I then heard the the scaffold falling. I afterwards looked around and found some men dead and some injured. I helped to get them out. Alfred Smith was killed close to me on the right hand, being killed by the scaffold. John Pacy, on the last had side, was killed by the timber. Benjamin Glossop on the opposite side of the pit to me was also killed. The scaffold was hanging by a chain some distance up the shaft. I have sunk at Langwith. They did not keep the scaffold in the shaft there, it being taken out every time it was done with. I have sunk under Clay Cross Co. and they took it out there. I had no fear of the scaffolding hanging above me. It looked safe enough.-Henry Smith, father of Alfred Smith asked the coroner several questions: – Do you know if it is against the rules of the pit for the scaffolding to be hung in the pit above the sinkers? – Witness: I don’t know. I am no scholar. I could not read the rules.-In you opinion, it the scaffolding had not hung in the shaft would there have been less or more killed? – If the scaffolding had not been there I consider there would have only been one person killed. – Which would that have been? – John Pacy. _ Do you know by whose authority the scaffolding was hung in the way it was?- Idon’t. _ Do you think it would be any safer for the scaffolding to be in or out the shaft? – It would be safer to take it out.

Mr. Humble: What is the diameter of the Langwith shaft? – Fourteen feet six inches finished – And Clay Cross? – I believe about the same. It6 was at the Avenue pit where I worked – Have you sunk in any other shafts? – I sank at No. 1 Markham and at Shireoaks Pit at Clowne. The scaffold was taken out there. In Markham No.1 pit the scaffold was kept in.- Have you sunk in any other shafts of the Staveley Company? – Yes, at Ireland pit which was 15 feet. I believe we used to take the scaffold out there. – Any other shaft at Staveley? -Yes, two or three more. I sunk the Hartington pit inside. I do not know the diameter. The scaffold was left in there.- Are you quite satisfied? – I am not quite sure but I believe it was._ Have you sunk in the Hartington winding shaft to the Blackshale? – Yes, sir. – Was the scaffolding left in there? – I believe it was taken out. – What was the diameter? – I don’t know, I think between 12 or 13 feet.

Thomas Revill said: I am an engine wright and work at Markham (No.2) pit of the Staveley Coal and Iron Co. I was at work on Oct. the 3rd I commenced work at 6 a.m. I was on the No. 2 bank about 1.15. I went for the purpose of examining the winding rope. I heard the banksman shout for the “hoppet” to come up. I was within three or four yards of the pit top when the tub came up. I heard a crash and the banksman call out “he’s up to the pulley wheel.” I looked and saw the tub right on the pulley wheel. It stopped there. I saw that the hand-rail was broken. I also saw that the pulley wheel was broken, and found that two pieces of timber were missing from the headgear. I discovered that they had gone down the pit. I believed they were about twenty feet long by thirteen inches by seven inches. These would be fixed from seven to nine feet below the pulley wheel. The tub by being drawn up to the pulley wheel had struck these timbers and had pulled them away. I never went into the engine house. – After some unsatisfactory answers, the coroner cautioned the witness for levity. – The engine driver was under me.  I did not go to see the cause. – Asked the reason by the coroner he said. _ It put one in such a flutter. I did not engage the engine driver.I cautioned the driver to be steady in lowering. – By Mr. Humble: What did you do immediately after the accident? – I ran down the ladder and told Mr. Radford that the driver had “pulleyed” – gone up to the wheel. – Did not you at once go to the pulley to get the tub to the proper place? – No, the tub was down again. – Mr. Stokes: Did not that tell you anything?  It showed me that the engineman had reversed his engine and lowered the tub.

Wm. Piccavey said: I am a bandsman and work at Markham (No.2) pit, of the Staveley Co. I was at work on October 3rd.  I began work at 6 o’clock. I have been two years on the bank of a sinking shaft. A little after 1 o’clock I shouted for the tub to come up. I saw it come up and pass me as I stood on the bridge. I shouted to the engine man “hold” loud enough for him to hear. The bandsmen on the opposite side heard me, he would  be about 20 yards away. The engine man would be about 12 yards away. The tub went forward up into the two beams in the headgear and then forward to the pulley wheel. The tub had broken the two beams away from the headgear and they went down the shaft and I heard a crash. I went up to the headgear and took hold of a piece of broken timber, until Revill came and we took it down. I saw the pulley wheel was broken. The tub was lowered and the injured and dead got out of the shaft. My assistant Abraham Jones, attempted to push the bridge across, but his foot slipped off the catch and before he could recover himself the timbers had fallen down the shaft.

John Radford deposed: I am a master sinker in charge of the work at Markham (No. 2) pit. I was there on the morning of October 3rd. I heard a crash when I was about 15 or 20 yards from the pit. I looked towards the sinking pit and saw the “skip” on the wheel. I went up to the engine house door and met the engineman at the door. I said “Oh, George whatever have you been doing on.” He said ” I turned to speak to the fireman.” I said “Oh dear you have killed somebody” and I went to the pit top and heard the charwoman shout “send us the empty skip down.” I sent it down and the dead and injured were got out. I did not miss the two timbers until after the men were got out. I saw the empty tub had broken about a yard of the flange of the pulley wheel, I also found that a quantity of timber the men stood upon, and the handrail, had gone done the shaft. The whole of the damage done was solely due to the tub going up into the pulley wheel. The fall of the scaffolding was due to the timber going down the shaft and not to any fault in the scaffold. I cannot say that it is probable that if the scaffolding had been kept out of the pit that the loss of like would have been less. – Henry Smith, through the coroner, asked: Is it within  the keeping of the rules of the pit for the scaffolding to be hung in the shaft? – There is no rule for it. If the engineman had not “pulleyed” and the timber fallen upon it, it would have been perfectly safe. – Do you not think it would be safer for the workers for the scaffolding to be out? _ I do not – what with taking it in and out. – By Mr. Stokes on behalf of the coroner: I do not think that the three men who were killed would have been alive now if the scaffolding had not been there. I do not see how they could have escaped. – Were you aware of a visit of the Inspector of Mines to the shaft a short time ago? – Yes, I saw him three or four months ago. – Did he see the scaffolding in the pit at the time? – Yes. _ Did he strongly condemn it as being unsafe? – Yes he did. – Did he also point out that already one man had been killed through a scaffolding hanging in a shaft? – Yes, sir. Was this to you? – Yes to me and Mr Humble. – It was more particularly addressed to you? – Well. I don’t know. – Did Mr. Stokes leave the pit top with the understanding that in future it should be taken out? – Yes. – Did Mr. Stokes see the pit again from time  of the accident? – No- The scaffolding was not taken out? – Witness: No. – On being told that that was all that was wanted from him, witness said: You have not asked me how it was it did not come out.  -Further he stated: There is somebody above me. Mr Humble ordered me to keep it in. He said he would write to Mr. Stokes about it. – Mr. Humble said the reasons he had not asked witness any questions was because he was going to mention the matter in his evidence. He now asked the witness to state why they arranged to keep the scaffolding in the pit?

Witness: Because the men said they would as leave have it in as out. – Mr Humble: Did not the mensal that on account of the scaffolding being such an exceptionally heavy one that it would be unsafe to ride up and down on it in a pit of that depth? Witness: Yes, they did. _ Mr, Humble: I understand that you, the enginewright, and chargemen, objected to it on account of the danger of taking it out and in riding up and down the shaft? – Witness: We did not say exactly we would not have it. _ Mr Humble: No, I did not say you did, but you gave a reason to show that the danger of going up and down would be much greater than leaving it  in the pit? – Witness: Yes, and it is. – Mr Stokes: Is there any reason why the scaffold should not have been made in two parts? It appears that you took the opinion of the working men sooner than the inspector? – Witness: Mr Humble told me that he would let it stop there and he said he would write to you. – Mr. Stokes: Which he never did.  I must not let that go without contradicting it _ After further questions he said he did not take the scaffolding out of the pit Barlbro’. – Mr. Stoles: Was it a big one like this? – Witness: I think we had. I would not be sure, but we had at Ireland Pit.

John Atkinson deposed: I am a fireman working at No. 2 Markham Pit. I was at work on the morning of the accident. I went into the engine-house about 1,15 in the day. I went for some tallow. It is our duty to go in and out of the engine house. I clean the engine where the accident occurred. The engineman was winding up when I went in. I said to the engine man: George, is there any tallow and he turned his head and said “no.” A man was stood in the enginehouse when I went in. He had no business there. They call him Joe and he is a labourer. The engineman said “I have promised Joe a stick of celery: his wife’s longing.” I said “you had better give me one” but he did not answer me. I never heard “Joe” speak. I came out and was going down the steps from the engine house, when I heard a crash and turned round and saw a piece of timber going down the pit. I left “Joe” inside.

The Jury: Is there any notice on the door of the engine house?  Yes. – What does it say? – No admittance. Have you seen persons, that have no right there, in the engine-house before? – Yes, many a time.


Thomas Shore deposed: I am an enginewright working under the Staveley Coal and Iron Company. I am in charge of the engines and machinery. I live at Ireland Colliery. I examined the engine and machinery where the accident occurred soon after the accident.  There is an indicator in the engine house to indicate to the engineman the position of the load in the shaft. When I examined the indicator it was in perfect working order. It was fixed in such a position that the engineman could clearly see it. As he stood working his engine the distance between the engineman’s head and the indicator would be about five feet. The mark on the indicator for the surface is a permanent one and never altered, so that the engineman could make no mistake as to the position of the tub when coming’s to the surface,, if he is watching his indicator. The indicator box is black and the finger white, and the marks white. The brake was in perfect order. It was so good that it would stop the engine when the steam was on. The engine is geared two to one. Everything about the engine was in good working order. The engine is easily worked. I was not aware that persons who had no right in the engine house were frequently going in and out. The engineman has complete control over the engine house, and it is his duty to stop the engine, if anybody goes in and that have no right to, until they go out.

Mr. Joseph Humble deposed: The timbers that fell down the shaft were for the purpose of putting detaching hooks up. It is more than probable that if a detaching hook had been fixed to the rope in this case it would have prevented the accident. There was no detaching hook in use at the time of the accident. Its use is not compulsory by law. I shall now give orders that hooks be put up at once. – mr. Humble here explained that before the sinking they had a discussion as to the safety detaching hooks, and it was thought that it would be better to be without them during the sinking operations on account of the damage done to the ropes by them, owing to the swinging of the bucket. The engineman’s position is such that he can see from the surface of the shaft to the top of the headgear.

By the Jury: The tub was about one minute in ascending the shaft, that was the maximum speed. – Mr. Humble then confirmed Shore’s, the enginewright’s statements as to nobody being allowed in the engine-hose, and as to the indicator, & Mr. Humble then stated that he had had 30 years experience in mines, and he had sunk pits about 3,000 yards and had never had an accident whilst sinking. While he had been at Staveley over 2,000 yards had been sunk. In small shafts such as the Hartington, 12 feet diameter, they took the scaffolding out, but in sinking the deep soft they left the scaffold in, and in the Markham they did so; simply because they considered it was safer to hang it in the pit then bring it out. After Mr, Stokes’ visit he decided it should come out, but the sinkers thought it would be very dangerous to ride up and down on it, and it was absolutely necessary that a man should go up and down with it. He saw there was a very large amount of risk in a man doing so, a greater risk than in it hanging in the shaft and he told the men that for the time it could be left in the shaft and he would write to Mr. Stokes. He was sorry to say that he from inadvertence neglected to do so. If it had been suggested to him to have the scaffolding divided into two parts he would certainly have adopted it. They had not used any smaller scaffolding in the Staveley pits since he came there and they had not used anything else except in the smaller shafts.- Mr. Stokes said it was the first time he had ever heard of the scaffolding hanging in the shaft and when he saw it at Staveley he condemned it.

George Pacy recalled said he had never known anything of any sorts to fall down the shafts previous to the accident.

Joseph Stokes said: I am a labourer, and work at Markham No.2 pit. I live at Bolsover, and was at work on the day of the accident. My duties were looking after the “shoots.”  They are about ten yards from the enginehouse. I knew that it was against the rule for anybody to go inside the engine house. I was there about one o’clock on the day of the accident. I had been in the engine house about three minutes before the accident happened. The engineman shouted me in two fetch him a bucket of water. I did not remain talking to him. I had been in the habit of taking a bucket in every day. No conversation passed between me and the engine driver on that occasion. The stoker came in. The conversation about celery took place an hour before the accident and I was then outside the engine house and the pit was standing. I was just coming out of the engine house when the accident happened. – By the Jury: The engineman has never ordered me out.

George Jackson was then called into the room and the coroner told him that a serious charge might result from the enquiry and cautioned him as to what he might say.  He asked him whether he wished simply to make a statement or to be sworn or to say nothing, for what he did say would be taken down and might be used in evidence against him. Jackson said he would be sworn and give his evidence.

He deposed: I am an engine-driver and have charge of the engine at Markham No.@ pit of the Staveley Co. and live at Seymour. I am 24 years of age and have worked for the Company ten years. I have been in charge of an engine two years. I have never had any accident before this occasion. My sight is good. On October 3rd about 1.15 I was in the act of winding an empty “hopper” up the pit, and the fireman, John Atkinson, came in and distracted my attention by asking me for some tallow for the engine. Before I could avert the accident it happened.

The Coroner: How do you know the tub was getting near to the top of the shaft? – I have an indicator. – Were you working by it? -Yes, until my attention was drawn off. – Was your indicator in good order? – Yes.

This was all the evidence, and Dr. Walker proceeded with his summing up the evidence. In doing so he pointed out that there were only two things they had to consider, as to whether the bucket was accidentally overwound, and whether it was overwound so as to lead them to bring in a verdict of manslaughter. These were the two alternatives. There was no other. He then read an extract on the law of manslaughter.

The Jury were then left to themselves, and after half an hour decided upon their verdict, which was to the effect that the men’s deaths were the result of accidental overwinding, and they recommended that the scaffolding in the pit should be taken out for the future, and also that safety detaching hooks be used, and that the door be in the side instead of at the back of the engine house.

Mr, Humble informed the jury that he would have the door of the engine house placed at the side as suggested by them.

The Coroner read a communication he had received from the Midland District Miner’s Fatal Accident Association, expressing regret at the deplorable accident that had taken place, and stating that had deceased been members of the Association their widows would have now been in receipt of £1 2s. 6d weekly. Dr Walker thought it was very desirable  for all men engaged in such dangerous employment to be members of some such association. – Mr. Humble said he was acquainted with this and other societies, and was quite in favour of them and he would be very glad if the workmen were in them.

Some surprise has been expressed at the verdict, and although the engineman, Jackson, bears a very high character, it was generally thought that a more serious verdict would have been returned.

The enquiry lasted 51/2 hours.

1887 October.                         Widdowson, John. (36)                                   Fall of Roof




On Wednesday a serious accident happened at the No. 1 Markham Pit, near Staveley, which has since terminated fatally. A man names John Widdowson was working in his stall in the above named pit, when a large quantity of bind or “clod” fell upon him and seriously injured him. He was conveyed to the Chesterfield Hospital where he succumbed to his injuries on the following day.

An inquest was held on the body at the Hospital (Yesterday) Friday, by Dr. W.A. Walker, and there was also present Mr. A.H. Stokes, H.M., Inspector of Mines, Mr. E.W. Markham represented the Compant. James Widdowson, father of the deceased, identified the body as that of his son, John Widdowson, aged 36 years. Deceased lived at Marsden Moor, Staveley, with witness, and was a collier, working at the No.1 Markham Pit. He last saw his son alive on Tuesday morning. He was then going to work at the Markham, No.1 pit

Hy. Adams, collier, New Whittington, said he worked at No.1 Markham Pit. He was at work on the 22nd inst. near the deceased, but in the next stall to him. He was about 8 yards from the deceased. Witness and deceased were holing. About 8.30 he heard a fall of “clod” from the roof. He called out, but got no answer, and he then went to the deceased. Witness found him with his head on the floor and the “clod” on top of him. Assistance was procured and the deceased was got from under the dirt. He saw his face was hurt and he complained of his legs being hurt. Deceased was at once conveyed to the bottom. After he was taken away witness noticed the sprays in the stall where Widdowson had been working and they were set right. Witness did not think the pack was made up properly. A slip in the roof was, in his opinion, the cause of the accident. There were no shots fired anywhere near that morning. They worked with lamps. Deceased did not say anything about the accident. He considered the place was quite sufficiently timbered. Witness did not see any bars set where the bind fell. If there had been any bars set it might have prevented the roof from falling, but he could not say for sure.

Herbert Gee, collier, Marsden Moor, who worked at Markham No.1 pit, said he worked in the same stall as the deceased. He heard the “clod” fall, and with the assistance he got deceased out and took him to the Hospital. Witness said if bars had been set it would have certainly prevented the roof  from falling, but they were not needed.


1890 March.                            Kirby, James (27)                                          Fall of Roof





On Wednesday an inquest was held at the Crown Inn, touching the death pf James Kirkby (27), who was killed on Monday in the No.1 Markham Colliery (Duckmanton), belonging to the Staveley Coal and Iron Company, Limited, by a fall of bind.

Charles Kirkby, of Staveley and Walsall, stoker to the Hope Colliery Company, identified the body.

John Henry Clayworth, the deputy at the colliery, said the deceased was a Stallman in No. 80 stall.  on the morning of the day in question witness examined the roof, and found it to be in good condition. He saw the roof where the bind afterwards fell, and it appeared sound. About twenty minutes to three witness told the deceased to set a prop on the left hand bank. About three o’clock he was told there had been an accident, and went to No. 80 stall up the right hand bank and found there had been a fall of roof, extending north up to the gate end, about three yards down the stall. He saw the deceased in the gate moaning and shouted  to witness to get him away. He extricated him, and he died soon after reaching his home at Speedwell Terrace. He saw that deceased had taken out a prop, and had begun to take out a second, and the bind must have fallen whilst he was doing this. There was a break in the roof running to a feather edge, and if deceased had sounded the roof before taking down the second prop he would have discovered it. Witness had told deceased to take one prop down before he left the pit, but said nothing about a second one.

James Shenton gave similar evidence, and the jury returned a verdict of “Accidental death.”

Kirkby was a Staffordshire man, and leaves behind him a widow and two children.

1890 September.                   Hinton, Arthur. (13)                                        Run over by rubs




An inquest was held before Mr. C.G. Busby, at the Miners’ Arms Inn, Brimington Common. touching the death of Arthur Hinton, a lad, who was killed though being knocked down and run over by a tub full of coal at the Markham No.1 Colliery.

From the evidence it appeared that as the deceased was attempting to unclip from an endless rope a tub which was being drawn by it, he missed his footing and fell underneath the wagon, being run over by it. Several people saw deceased underneath the wagon gave evidence at the inquest, and the jury returned a verdict of “Accidental death.”

1891 May.                          Speed, Charles  (30)                             Crushed by wagon on surface.





An inquiry was held on Monday last at the Albert Inn, Staveley Woodthorpe, aged 30, who was employed at the Markham Colliery, Staveley, and who was crushed to death between the buffers of wagons on Saturday.

John Thomas Bennison, labourer, Barrow Hill, said that hw was working near the deceased on the day when the accident happened. Deceased went away for a shot time, and he left his work about quarter of an hour afterwards to seek him. He found him crushed between the buffers of two wagons in the siding. His body was upright. He called for assistance, and they got out the deceased by lowering the wagons.

Jos. Jones said that on the day named he was engages lowering some wagons. They joined some others. A short time afterwards he saw some of the men taking the deceased from between the wagons he had lowered and those that were standing. He was dead when released. A verdict of accidental death was returned.

1891 November                  Knowles, John S. (20)                                                    Fall of Roof





On Wednesday Mr C.G. Busby held an inquest at the Arkwright Arms, Duckmanton, touching the death of John Knowles (20), late of Stonegravels, coal miner.

Walter Knowles, of Eyre Street, Chesterfield, Stallman, identified the body as that of his late brother, who was killed on the 10th inst., at the Markham No.1 colliery. He was a coal miner and lived at 26, Albert Street, Stonegravels, Chesterfield. On the 10th he was in the pit when the accident happened. He in company with John Edwards examined the stall before they war to work. He sounded the roof and bind which afterwards fell. There were three props set opposite to the good end. He heard deceased knocking, and the next he heard was a heavy fall. He ran to the place, and at first saw nothing but the bind. He moved a large stone, which had fallen, and found deceased with a lump on his head. He was quite dead. He was extricated and taken out of the pit. There was plenty of timber about where the accident occurred – Jno. Edwards, coal miner, James Garner, night deputy, and Ernest Edwards, deputy, gave similar evidence, after which the jury returned a verdict of “Accidental death.”

1895 October.                   Quinn, Patrick  (32)                                                    Fall of Coal




An inquest was held yesterday at the Chesterfield Hospital before Mr. C.G. Busby, touching the death of a collier named Patrick Quinn, aged 34, who lived at Stonegravels. The deceased was at work on Friday morning in the same stall as his brother, at the Markham No.1 Pit, when a fall of coal occurred crushing the deceased against a prop and causing fatal internal injuries. A verdict of “Accidental death” was returned.

1897 May.                         Rodgers, Henry (52)                                                   Fall of Roof




An accident which proved fatal occurred at the Staveley Company’s Markham No.1 Pit yesterday morning, about 4 o’clock, to Henry Rodgers, a miner, aged 51. Along with his son, he had about finished work, having commenced his employment overnight on what is commonly known as the “night shift,” and was in the act of knocking a prop out when some of the roofing gave way, and before he could escape clear the poor fellow was buried underneath the debris. His son immediately saw the danger his father was in, and asking if he was hurt, received the reply, “I’m done,” and death followed directly after. The body was removed in the company’s ambulance to the residence of the deceased in Chesterfield Road, Staveley. Deceased leaves an invalid wife and two sons. He was well known in spring circles in Sheffield and district, especially amongst pedestrians, and when the Sheffield handicaps were popular he assisted in the training of several winners

1898 April                   Mosley, Herbert (26)                                                     Fell down shaft





About noon on Wednesday Herbert Mosley, son of Mr. Geo. Mosley a small farmer of Staveley, Netherthorpe was working for the Staveley Company at the Markham No.2 pit, when he was killed (as is alleged) from the breakage of some scaffolding. Deceased was a blacksmith, 24 years old, unmarried and resided with his father. An inquest was held on Thursday, before Mr. C.G. Busby, coroner, at the New Inn, Netherthorpe.

The jury returned a verdict of  “Accidental death.”

1898 August.                   Foulks, Arthur  (14)                                                    Run over by tubs




On Thursday afternoon, a man named Arthur Fox, late of Brampton, employed by the Staveley Company at the above pit, sustained very serious injuries from an accident, and was promptly sent on to the Chesterfield Hospital, where he has since died.

1899  February.                           Brooks, George Ernest (38)                                   Fall of Roof




Mr. Busby, coroner, yesterday, held an inquest relative to the death of a miner named Geo. Brooks, aged 37 years, who was killed on Monday whilst following his employment at the Markham Colliery belonging to the Staveley Coal and Iron Co.,Ltd. Joseph Harwood, a fellow workman, stated that whilst deceased was at work a quantity of coal, probably about 4.5 tons in weight, suddenly fell and buried him. He shouted, but there was no answer. and when extricated Brooks was quite dead.

The jury returned a verdict of “Accident death.”

1899  June.                                   Wallace, Walter  (13)                                    Fall in Roadway





An inquest was held at the Molders’  Arms, Staveley, on Wednesday, by Dr. A. Green, the deputy coroner, touching the death of Walter Wallace, aged 13 years, who died from injuries received whilst following his employment at the Markham No. 1 Colliery. of the Staveley Company, on June12. – Mr. H.R> Hewitt, assistant inspector of mines, was present at the inquiry; Mr. H. Gregory, represented the Staveley Company, and Mr. J. Haslam, secretary of the Derbyshire Miners’ Association, was also present.

Walter Wallace, miner, Lee’s Buildings, Staveley, identified the body as that of his son Walter, who was a pony driver at the Markham No. 1 Colliery. Witness saw his son after the accident, and in reply to his question as to how it occurred, he said that he was putting a locker in a tub as it was running along the rails, and either the wheels or the tub caught a prop, which fell, and a fall of roof occurred which buried him. Deceased had been a pony driver for three months but had worked in the mine since November last.

John Hughes, Collier’s row, Staveley, said he was a corporal at the Markham No. 1 Colliery. He was lighting lamps, and the deceased was driving full tubs down the gate, when witness heard a crash. A junction boy named Marsden told witness that a bar had fallen out. Witness asked where the driver was, and the lad replied that he was under the dirt. Witness obtained assistance, and deceased was got out at once and taken to the top. Witness examined the roof before work was commenced that night and it appeared safe. In reply to Mr. Hewitt, witness said the accident happened in a pass-by, where there were two sets of rails – one for full tubs and the other for empties. The road was about 10ft. 6in. wide. There were bars on both sides of the one that fell. The timber in the vicinity had not been moved during the five months witness had worked at the mine. The pony driven by deceased was a quiet one. If the limbers had struck the prop witness would not have heard the noise. There would be a clearance of twofer between the tub and the prop. After the accident one tub was off the road, and one on. He did not think it was likely that the tub had struck the prop.

By Mr. Haslam. The limbers or shafts were neither bent or broken. If the money had stepped out of the rails the limbers could have struck the prop?

Witness: Yes. After deceased was got out he told that was how the accident happened.

Tom Otter, roadmap at the same colliery, who helped to clear the roof from off the deceased, said he was got to the pit bottom within ten minutes the accident. – Enoch Briddon, deputy said the roof was sound when he made his examination before work was commenced. He did not see the accident, as he was in another part of the mine when it occurred.

By Mr. Haslam: The prop that fell had been erected for two years, and it would require a smart blow to knock it out. If the limbers struck it that would be likely to knock it down.

A verdict of “Accidental death.” was returned.

1899  August.                                  Hunter, Arthur (17)                                    Run over by tubs





Mr.Busby, District Coroner, held an inquest at the Elm Tree Inn, on Saturday, on the body of Arthur Hunter, son of Wilfred Hunter, Millhouses, Staveley. Deceased, who was employed as a pony driver at the Markham Colliery, was run over by some tubs on Thursday afternoon. Mr. Hewitt, Government Inspector of Mines, Mr. Haslam, secretary of the Derbyshire Miners’ Association, and Mr, Gregory, manager of the Markham Colliery, were present.

A verdict of “Accidental death” was returned.

1901  September.                        Bush, James  (38)                                         Fall of bind




Staveley Collier Killed

About noon yesterday a collier named James Bush, employed at Markham Colliery, belonging to the Staveley Coal and Iron Co., was killed by a fall of bind. The deceased, who resided at Whittington leaves a widow and four children. Immediately after the accident the pit ceased work for the remainder of the day.

1904  March.                               Burrows, William (30)                                Fall of bind





Dr. Green held an inquest at the Chesterfield Hospital yesterday on the body of a miner named William Burrows (30), who died on the 29th ult., as the result of an accident at the Markham Colliery, belonging to the Staveley Coal and Iron Company. A quantity of bind, weighing about 2cwts., fell on the deceased while he was engaged in pulling down a pack. Fourteen ribs were broken, and his spine was also fractured. The pelvis was smashed.

Mt Henry Gregory, the manager, said in reply to a question from Mr Stokes, the Government Inspector, that the accident would not have happened in all probability if a prop had been set, as required by the rules. The deceased had holed nine feet without setting a prop; the rule stipulated six feet.

The Coroner said the deceased appeared to have deliberately risked his life by disobeying the rule. He had paid the penalty with his life. That was the sixth case of fractured spine they had recently had at the hospital, and he believed they all came from collieries. A verdict of “Accidental Death” was returned.


Contractor Neglects to Obey Orders and Loses  His Life


“It seems this man deliberately risked his own life in disobeying a clear rule of the pit, and he has paid the penalty with his life.”

In these words, Dr. A. Green summed up the evidence given at the inquest at the Chesterfield Hospital, on Thursday, on the body of Wm. Burrows, aged 30 years, who, whilst following his employment at the Markham Pit of the Staveley Coal and Iron Company on February 29th, was crushed beneath a fall of roof, and expired whilst being conveyed to the hospital. Mr. A.H. Stokes, H.M. Inspector of Mines, and Mr Henry Gregory, representing the Staveley Company, were present at the inquiry.

James Barber, colliery deputy at the Markham Colliery, and residing at Markham Cottages, Duckmanton, identified the body as that of his son-in-law, who was a road contractor at the Markham Colliery.

Samuel Lamb, dataller, residing at Calow, said he had been working for the deceased on No. 106 level, and was standing seven or eight feet away from him at the time of the fall, on Monday night about a quarter to nine. The deceased was taking out some pack at the side of a manhole, and witness was working on the other side. Deceased went round the manhole to cap the pack, and try to  get down. He appeared to go round behind to see what was holding the stuff. Then the fall occurred. The pack ought to have fallen after it was holes and capped. The stuff fell on the top of the deceased and buried him all over except his feet. About 2cwt. of stuff fell; it was a mixture of rock and bind that fell. Witness shouted for assistance and deceased was got out in about two minutes. He did not appear to be seriously hurt, but seemed stunned.

The Coroner: There are five cases of fractured spine in the hospital at the present time: I believe they are all colliery cases.

Witness said they conveyed the deceased to the hospital as quickly as possible, and witness was not aware that he was dead when they reached the hospital. He was told deceased was dead before he left hospital.

Questioned by Mr. Stokes, witness said deceased was on day wages at the time of the accident, and was in charge of the work. He had been in the manhole and trying in vain to get the stuff down. He had holed five or six feet., he believed. He did not think he had holed as much as nine feet. He hah had a sprig set previously, but had taken it down  before the accident happened. He did not think that at the time the fall occurred the deceased was underneath shovelling the dirt away.

Do you know that his shovel was found with the body? – I don’t know; we usually have a shovel.

Supposing he had been shovelling, would he have been doing wrong? – He was not shovelling.

Should he not have re-set the spray before doing so? – No answer.

Luke Lamb, dataller, 25, Arkwright Town, said he was gobbing in the Doe Lea District, about 300 yards from the scene of the accident. He was fetched from the gob to assist to carry the deceased out of the pit. He did not see anything of the accident, and did not assist to rescue deceased from the fall.

Edward Davidson, 32, Markham Cottages, Duckmanton, said he was night deputy in the Doe Lea and Lougecourse districts of the Markham Pit. He went on duty at seven o’clock, and examined the place where the accident occurred about half an hour before it happened. Deceased was standing in a refuge hole when witness passed through, and was capping the pack. Deceased was a throughly experienced man and a good workman.

By Mr. Stokes: He had holed about seven feet in length, and from eighteen inches to two feet in depth. He had no spag set. The manhole made a loose end.

Why didn’t you have a sprag set? – Because he was getting the pack down at the time.

He was holing the roof above? – Yes. He was uncapping the pack at 8.15, and I didn’t think it was necessary to have a sprag set.

If he was taking away the support, was it not necessary to have a sprag? – He was knocking the pack down  – He was knocking the pack down and I didn’t think it was necessary to have a sprag set.

You know that if he had holed six feet he was required by the rules to set a sprag? – Yes.

Wasn’t his shovel found within a foot of the side of the manhole, indicating that he was shovelling at the time? – Yes.

If a sprag had been set, is it not possible that it would have held the top up? – It might have done, but I was not there to give him instructions at the time.

Wasn’t it his duty, if he was going in front, to have a sprag set there? – Yes.

But he hadn’t one set, had he? – I don’t know.

Mr Henry Gregory said he was manager of the Markham Pit. He had measured the holing, which was nine feet in length, from two feet down to six inches in breadth, and about a foot in length.

Mr. Stokes: His shovel was found under the bind with him, wasn’t it? – Witness: Yes.

From the position of the body and the shovel would it indicate that he was shovelling dirt from the holing at the time of the fall? – I should say so.

Should he have been doing that without having a sprag set? – No, he ought to have had a sprag set.

Supposing he had had a sprag set, and the stuff had failed to come down, should he have re-set the sprag before doing what he was doing? – Yes, he should have re-set the sprag before even going underneath to look.

If he had set the sprag is it probable that it would have prevented the accident? – I don’t think it could then have occurred.

Was there a sprag near at hand? – Yes, he had been using one.

And by the rule he was required to set a sprag there? – Yes.

Should not the deputy have insisted upon a sprag being set there half an hour previously? – It is just possible that if the deceased was getting the pack down at that time he would not require one.

Supposing he was uncapping it at the time he should have had a sprag? – Yes, if he was under the bind trying to look for the road-break. But if he was taking the side pack out, and it was his intention to see the whole pack side, he was all right. But if the deputy had any thought of his going under the bind he should have ordered him to set a sprag.

In this case all the coal had been worked away there, and it would be broken strata? – Yes; they are always instructed to take every care when working on the side of these road-ways.

There is a necessity for extra precautions? – That is so.

The Coroner: Probably the deputy did not think he was going underneath again? – I should say not.

Dr. Conolly, the house surgeon, said the deceased was dead when admitted to the hospital at eleven o’clock p.m. A post-mortem examination showed that 14 ribs had been smashed. There was a great deal of external bruising about the pelvis and spine. There had been extensive hemorrhage. The hips were both dislocated, the pelvis smashed, and the sine fractured extensively. Death was due to shock and hemorrhage.

The Coroner, in summing up, said that was the sixth case of fractured spine at the present time. “It seems,” he added, “that this man deliberately risked his own life in disobeying the clear rule of the pit, and has paid the penalty with his life.”

The jury returned a verdict of “Accidental death.”

The deceased was a well-known in local cricket circles and was a regular playing member of the Markham Colliery team. He had only been married for 16 months, he wife being the daughter of James Barber, a deputy at the Markham mine, and he leaves one child.

1905  May                       Beresford, Walter. (15)                             Run over by tubs.




Walter Berresford, aged 15, who lived at Chesterfield Road, Staveley, died yesterday on his way to the Chesterfield Hospital. He had been run over by a train of trucks at Markham No.1 Colliery, both legs being broken and his chest and head severely crushed.

An inquest was held at the Chesterfield Hospital on Saturday on the body of Walter Berresford (15), who was employed as a clip fastener on the endless rope at Markham No.1 Pit Staveley. Mr W.H.Hewitt, assistant inspector of mines for the Midland District, was present and Mr. R.W. Cuthbertson, manager of the mine, attended the inquiry. The corporal of the district in which the deceased was employed (George Henry Kaye), noticed the rope jerk, and on proceeding to ascertain the cause, found the deceased lying on the roadway. He had evidently been run over by ten full tubs. In reply to Mr. Hewitt, Kaye said he thought the accident was caused by two tubs creating four others, the deceased attempting to “clip” the front pair without stopping the rope.

Dr Coundley, house surgeon, said there was a scalp wound ten inches long, the chest awas crushed in on both sides, the collar-bone was smashed, and both legs were fractured above the knee.

A verdict of “accidental death” was returned.

1906  March                   Eyre,John (39)                             Fall of bind.




Crushed to Death at Markham Pit

On Wednesday, an inquest was held at the S Helen’s Inn, Stonegravels, Chesterfield, touching the death of John Eyre, aged 39, of Brunswick Street, Chesterfield, who whilst following his employment as a Stallman at the Markham Colliery of the Staveley Company was crushed to death by a large slab of coal on Monday afternoon. Mr H.R. Hewitt, Inspector of Mines, attended the inquiry, as also did Mr. Cuthbertson, manager,  Mr. Ottewell, under manager of the pit, and Mr Barnet Kenyon, assistant secretary of the Derbyshire Miners’ Association.

Fred Jones, moulder, 45 Brunswick Street, Chesterfield, identified the deceased as his son-in-law, who was a strong healthy man.

Walter Atkins, 33, Chapel Street, Whittington Moor, said the deceased worked with him in stall 84 at the Markham Pit, where the fatality occurred about 2.30p.m. on the previous Monday At the time witness was holing and the deceased was getting coals five or six yards away by wedging, Suddenly witness heard a “bump” followed bu a fall of coal, and coming out of the hole he heard the deceased say, “Oh! Wait, do come and liberate me,” Witness replied,  “Jack, lad. I can’t come because all the ‘muck’ is coming.” He shouted for assistance, and in a couple of minutes men arrived but they had to stand aside until the roof had ceased falling before they could get near the deceased.  The men then commenced to get him out. He was standing up, pinned against the side of the “pack” by a slab of coal, and a quantity of dirt, which crushed his chest. It was impossible to move the coal slab, and deceased had to be cut out, a task which occupied from 20 to 30 minutes., and when hot out he was quite dead. He had worked for nearly a year in the same stall.

Mr. Hewitt: Why couldn’t you go to him at the time?

Witness: The roof was falling, and when it had finished I could not see him. Another man named Howard had got to him at the other side and had commenced to get him out.

When did you last see deceased before the accident? – About a quarter of an hour. He shouted to me to go to him and asked my opinion how he should get off a large corner of coal. The web was eight or nine feet in width, and having pointed out a break in the coal, I suggested that he should “undercut,” so that the coal would fall away from him.

Did he raise any objection to this method? – No, but he neither said he would adopt or reject it. From the place where he was afterwards found do you think he was carrying out the advice you gave him? – No, sir.

If he had taken that advice do you think he would have been alive to-day? – Yes, I think he would.

From the position he was in and the position of his tools can you tell what he was doing? – Only that he was standing in from of the coals and wedging them.

Whereas if he had carried out you suggest he would have been out of danger? – Yes.

You don’t know where he had the wedge? – No. The coal came down on “a natural slide” and overlapped him. The was I recommended would have been a little harder work for him He was an older man than me and I gave in to him.

Bt Mr. P. Cain (a juror): By doing as he did deceased was not breaking any rule of the mine.

Harry Boyce, 17, Albert Street, Whittington Moor, the loader in the stall, said he was three yards from the deceased when the fall occurred. He had given three or four blows at the wedge when the “bump” pushed off a slab of coal, which pinned him against the “pack.”

Answering Mr. Hewitt, the witness stated that the first time he had seen deceased get coal in this manner was immediately before the fall. Had the coal between the face and wedge dropped he would have been perfectly safe, but more coal than he expected came down, and he was pinned by that which fell beyond him. The “pack” against which he was pinned, was a yard from the coal face, and being made to the end of the stall there was no escape for him when the coal rolled over.

William Howard, Newbold Moor, assistant deputy at the pit, said he arrived at the scene of the fall three minutes after it happened, and was the first to get to deceased, who was pinned against the “pack.” Half an hour elapsed before he was released, and he was then dead. It was the witness’s opinion that deceased was not working in a proper position to get the coal, and had he been at the face he would have been beneath a new”an” good roof., and out of reach of the falling coal.

In replying to Mr Kenyon, witness said that if no more coal than expected had come down then deceased would not have been hurt, but a slab the full six feet deep of the stall fell owing to a break.

The jury returned a verdict of “Accidental Death” the Coroner remarking that no one appeared to be to blame for the accident.

The jury handed their fees to the widow, who is left with a large family of young children.

1907  December                  Jewitt, James (60)                                               Fall of Roof




A Slight Fall at Markham Colliery

Dr. A Green, coroner for the Hundred of Scarsdale, conducted an inquiry at the Poolsbrook Hotel, on Wednesday afternoon, concerning the death of James Jewitt (60), of 9, Poolsbrook, who died on Monday, following an injury he sustained on Friday of last week. At the inquest there were present Mr. A. H. Stokes, H.M. Inspector of Mines: Mr. R.W. Cuthbertson, manager of the pit; and Mr. J. Ottewell, under manager.

George Jewitt, 9, Poolsbrook, a detaller, identified the body as that of his brother, who was also a detaller, and lodged with witness. Deceased was a widower, with five married daughters. On the 6th inst., the day of the accident, deceased came home about six o’clock in the morning, calling out, “George, come.” and he said he had been hurt on the head by a lump of dirt, and that he had travelled the 90 minutes walk home by the help of two men.

The Coroner: Did he suffer great pain? – Yes, he had pains in his head.

Witness added the he went straightaway to bed without washing himself, and about seven o’clock he became unconscious, and at 8.30 witness sent for a doctor.

Why didn’t you send for a doctor before? – I did not know what to make of him. I went to the pit to report the matter to the deputy.

By the Coroner: Deceased afterwards “raved” in bed, and at two o’clock on Sunday afternoon he came downstairs and sat down, saying he was tired of being upstairs and wanted “a change.” Deceased then appeared as though he had his senses one minute and lost them another. Deceased died about half-past one on Monday.

The Coroner: How did he seem when he went to work on Thursday? – First rate.

Mr Cuthbertson: can you tell us why he stopped off for a week ending November 23rd? – He was not well.

He stopped away the week ending 21st of September? – He would never go on the club.

He only averaged three and a half days a week. Can you tell me how that is? – No.

Has he been to a doctor? -No.

George Wells, Brimington Common, a dataller, said he was working with the deceased at the time of the accident, which occurred about four o’clock on the 6th inst. when deceased was trying to liberate a bar across the roof.

The Coroner: What happened? Witness:There was a little bit dropped from the roof and hit him on the side of the temple.

How big was it? About as big as a coconut.

Have you ever seen a coconut? – Well, a time or two. (Laughter)

Witness went on to say that deceased did not say anything at the time, but two or three minutes after he complained of a pain in the head. He didn’t do a “deal” after, but when he sat down he stopped altogether. At a quarter past four witness and deceased left together, this being about quarter of an hour before the proper time. Witness gave deceased some assistance in going out of the pit, a distance of over a mile.

How did deceased seem when he got to the top? He was no better and complained of his head.

Mr Cuthbertson: Did you see the piece fall? Witness: No.

Have you noticed that the roof where Jewitt was standing was covered over with timber? – I cannot say.

You saw the place this morning, there was not much between timbers? – No.

Dr. R.B. Scott, of Staveley, said he arrived at the deceased’s house about eleven o’clock on Friday last. He was in a semi-conscious condition and was very restless, whilst he complained of a pain in his head. Witness noticed that there was a bruise on the head and he formed the conclusion that he was suffering from concussion. On Saturday deceased seemed a little more conscious, but witness was doubtful as to him recovering. He made a post-mortem examination of the body. All internal organs were healthy, except the heart, which was weak, but he did not think this had anything to do with death. There was extreme congestion over the brain, and there was also a blood clot at the base of the brain, but no bones were broken. Deceased, in his opinion, died from cerebral hemorrhage, caused by the rupture of a probably diseased artery, and he thought the accident accelerated death.

Mr Stokes:And if it had not been for the fall of bind he would be living today? – Witness: I should say the fall indirectly caused his death.

At Mr. Cuthbertson’ suggestion.

Dr.A. Court (Staveley), who was present at the post-mortem examination, was called, and said the blow could not have directly broken the artery. Deceased could not have lived much longer with the artery in such a state as it was.

A Jurer: Do you think that with the blow deceased jerked his head back and that caused the artery to break? – Witness: It must have been very nearly ruptured then.

The doctor added that Dr. G Booth (Chesterfield) was also present at the post-mortem examination on behalf of the Derbyshire Miners’ Association, and he said that the man died from disease. Anyhow, the Association had not sent a representative to the inquiry.

A verdict of “Death from natural causes, accelerated by a fall of bind,” was returned.

1908  December                  Tipler, John Samuel(16)                                           Pony fell on him




A shocking fatality occurred early this morning to a youth name Tipler, employed at the Staveley Company’s Markham Colliery as a putter. It appears he was fetching a train tubs from the workings, when through some unexplained cause the pony he was driving fell on him. He was suffocated.

1909 February.                Fullwood,  Joseph (25)                                                   Roof fall.





Dr A. Green, Coroner, conducted an inquiry yesterday afternoon at the Railway Hotel, Whittington Moor, into the death of Joseph Fullwood, aged 25,of St. John’s Square, Newbold, was was employed as a stableman at Markham Colliery, belonging to the Staveley Coal and Iron Company. The proceedings were attended by Mr. H.R. Hewitt, H.M. Assistant Inspector of Mines, and Mr. Barnett Kenyon, representing the Derbyshire Miners’ Federation.

Benjamin Stephens, of  Arkwright Town, stated that on Tuesday he was holding a light while deceased knocked out a prop. Deceased first cut the prop through with his pick, and then gave it a blow with his hammer. The roof suddenly gave way, and deceased was partially buried, 35 minutes elapsing before he could be extricated. By that time he was dead.

In reply to Mr. Hewitt, witness said they had drawn about 30 props that day, and in some cases the roof fell when the props were taken out. With the exception of about four, they got them out with a ring and chain, which made the operation perfectly safe. Witness said he asked deceased why he did not use the ting and chain for the other four, and deceased answered that he thought there was no need. No extra trouble was involved using the ring and chain. They were being paid by the day and not so much per prop. He knew of the rule of the colliery that no prop should be drawn without the ring and chain.

Albert Cooper, of Duckmanton, the day deputy, said deceased was a careful, experienced workman, and he had never had cause to caution him for not using the ring and chain.

The jury returned a verdict of “Accidental death.”

1909  February                 Perry, Samuel  (43)                                                 Fall of bind.





The details of an accident which unfortunately had fatal results, were given at an inquest which was held by the Coroner (Dr. A. Green) at the Chesterfield Hospital on Thursday. The victim was Samuel Perry, 43 years of age, who resided at 80 Poolsbrook and worked as a stallman at Markham Colliery. There were also present at the inquiry: Mr. H.R. Hewitt, assistant inspector of mines, Mr. R.W. Cuthbertson (colliery agent), Mr. J. Neal (colliery manager) and Mr. B. Kenyon (representing the Derbyshire Miners’ Association.

Mr Perry of 80, Poolsbrook, identified the body as that of his brother, who was separated from his wife, lived with the witness. The deceased had two children, but the children and his wife were living in America.

Charles Wm. Every, stallman, said that he worked with the deceased in 72 stall, and at the time of the accident, on the 9th inst., he was about eight or nine yards away from the deceased. The first knowledge he had of the accident was when he heard the deceased calling for help. He noticed that the deceased’s nose had been broken, and also his left leg.

The Coroner: Was he covered with bind?

Witness:Yes, with some “false”bind from the roof.

By the Coroner: Witness asked the deceased how he felt, and he said “I feel very badly.” In reply to a question as to how the accident happened, he replied, “I was pulling some muck.”

The deceased was admitted to the Chesterfield hospital about 5 o’clock in the morning.

The Coroner: Where did the accident happen? – In the new tub road.

Mr Hewitt: From the position in which you found the deceased, did you form any opinion as to how the accident happened?

Witness: My conclusion was that he had not judged his distance properly.

That he had pulled the bind down on himself? – He must have done.

By Mr Hewitt: From the time the deceased started work he had done nothing but pull loose bind down, and set timber to make the new road safe.

Wm. Martin, of Old Whittington said that he did not know anything about the accident until the last witness called him. About 2cwt. of bind had fallen on deceased’s legs and the lower part of his body.

Dr. Davidson, house surgeon, stated that the deceased’s both thighs were fractured, and his nose was also broken. He died from shock, the result of his injuries.

Willie Mason, the night deputy, said that he was of opinion that the accident was due to misjudgement on the part of the deceased.

A verdict of “Accidental death” was returned.

1909  March.                    Stevenson, Thomas  (55)                                        Fall of bind.




A man named Thomas Stevenson, John Street, Brimington met with an accident at the Markham Colliery, belonging to the Staveley Coal and Iron Company, Limited, yesterday morning. He was pushing a tub, when he accidentally ran against a prop, knocking it out, and thus causing a quantity of bind to fall on him: seriously injuring his back. He was conveyed to the Chesterfield Hospital, in the Company’s ambulance, Where he was detained.

Dr. A Green, district coroner, held an inquest at the Chesterfield Hospital, yesterday, concerning the death of Thomas Stevenson (55), of 35, John Street, Brimington., who met with an accident whilst following his occupation as a stallman at the Markham Colliery on March 26th and died on Saturday.

Deceased and another stallman named Michael Kelly, of 8, Bamford street, New Whittington, were working in the same stall, when the accident occurred. Kelly was getting coal from the face, and the deceased was engaged in talking a full tub out.  In order to do this he had to twist . the tub round a corner, and in doing so it caught a prop and knocked it out. About a cwt. of bind fell down on the deceased.

i reply to questions, jelly said that the prop was set all right, and there was ample space fo the tub to pass between the props. Witness thought the deceased twisted the tub too soon, but he had full control over it.

A verdict of “accidental death” was returned.

1909  April.                      Shepherd, Frederick William,  (24)             Roof Fall.





Dr. A. Green (Coroner) conducted an inquiry at the Mount Zion Sunday School, Chatsworth Road, Chesterfield, yesterday, into the death of Frederick William Shepherd, aged 24, of 17, Florence Lane, Chesterfield, who was killed by a fall of roof on Monday morning while at work in No. 3 Pit of the Markham Colliery, belonging to the Staveley Coal and Iron Co. No one actually witnessed the accident, but the evidence showed that it had been caused by a “slip” of about two tons, which caught the deceased in a stooping posture and inflicted terrible injuries to his head, killing him immediately. A prop had been set in the centre of the piece that fell, but through the deceased getting out coal at the face the piece shifted and ran the prop out.

A verdict of “Accidental death” was returned.


“He was aiming at his own destruction,” was the remark of Mr H.R Hewitt, the Inspector of Mines, at the inquest on Wednesday on the body of a young miner named Frederick William Shepherd, of Florence Lane, Chesterfield, who was killed by a fall of roof in the Markham Colliery early on the previous Monday morning.

The observation had reference to the statement that the deceased, in making room in the coal face for the fixing of a bar, liberated “a slip” in the roof which crashed down upon him, killing him almost instantaneously.

It was stated that only on that day Shepherd, at his own request, had been transferred from another “shift” to that on which he was engaged when he met with his death.

Dr. A. Green conducted the inquiry on Thursday, at Brampton. There were also present Mr H.R. Hewitt (inspector of Mines), Mr John Neal (manager of the Staveley Coal and Iron Company), Mr Barnet Kenyon (representing the Derbyshire Miners’ Association). The deceased’s father, Robert Shepherd, a confectioner, of Wheatbridge Road, Chesterfield, gave evidence of identification. He stated that his son was unmarried. Deceased was a strong man and enjoyed good health..

The Inspector: How long had be been working at the pit?

Witness:six or seven years.

Harry Kipling, of 26, Bentick Road, Shuttlewood, who was working about five yards from the deceased when the accident occurred, said the two men were engaged in No. 3 stall of No. 2 pit. Witness was getting coal from the face to put on the conveyor, and did not see the accident happen.

The Coroner: What was the deceased doing at the time?

Witness: I should say he was getting coal. His pick was found embedded in the coal face. “I heard a fall,” added witness. “I shouted, ‘Are you right?’ but I didn’t get an answer, and, seeing no light, I went to find out what had happened. I found him on the floor with his head and shoulders buried in debris.”

The Coroner: Was he quite covered with the coal?

Witness: He was in a kneeling position with his head and shoulders buried, under bind, which had fallen from the roof.

He (witness) secured assistance, and in two minutes the deceased was liberated. “He ‘gurgled’ about twice,” said witness, “but he did not come to at all.”

The Coronner: What made the roof fall?

Witness: There was a slip came out.

How much fell? – About two tons.

Was the timber forced out by the fall? – I believe so, but I couldn’t say how many props I should think there would be two props.

In answer to the Inspector, witness said the deceased was engaged in work similar to that in which he was engaged, namely, filling the conveyor from the coal face.

The Inspector: It is a mechanical conveyor and no tubs are used in the stall?

Witness: Yes.

You think at the time he was killed he was getting coal from the face? – I think so. His pick was found stuck in the coal.

You say the fall came from a “slip” Was the “slip”  running towards the face? – Yes.

Is the “slip” exposed right away to the face? – Yes. the thickest part is in the middle.

The slippery side of the “slip” ran right into the coal face? – Yes. It ran both sides.

Do you think that the work he was doing just managed to liberate that end of the “slip” – It might have done. I should think it would.

Was the “slip” running in any other direction? -It was running towards the catch-props. And that made it look more like a pot hole? – Yes, only it was long.

Can we assume that if another bar had been set it would have held it up? – I can’t say.

Why wasn’t there another bar set? – There wasn’t width enough.

And he was making the width necessary for a bar to be set? – Yes.

Witness added that when he reached the spot he picked up a prop which was lying beside the deceased and tried to stop the conveyor with it. He assumed the the prop had been set under the stone which fell from the roof. The catch-props had been set in regular distances, about three feet six inches apart, or less. The stall was three feet three inches in height.

The Inspector: Therefore a man working at the coal face would be on his knees?

Witness: I should think he would be in a stooping position.

Can you work there standing on your feet?  I should be crouching.

How were you working at the time? – I was on my knees.

In answer to the Inspector, witness said the accident occurred about quarter to three in the morning. Evidence was given by the stallman. Walter Bennett, of 65, Barrow Hill, Staveley, who stated that the deceased had been working on the opposite shift, but came under him (witness) on Sunday night in order to get a short shift.

At the time of the accident witness had gone down the bank, and was 50 yards away from the spot.

The Coroner: Had you left any instructions with him as to what he had to do? No.

He would take his instructions from you, wouldn’t he? – They are all supposed to set their props.

You are charwoman of the stall and responsible for the timber? – Yes sir.

And you had given no instructions as to what work he was to do when you went down the bank? – No , sir.

You didn’t know at all what he was doing? – I knew he was getting coal and filling it on the belt when I left him.

Asked to describe the slip, witness said one end of it had rested on the coal face. He had not known of this slip before it fell.

The Coroner: How much timber was run out by the fall?

Witness: One prop.

You didn’t get any bars up at this place? – No, we were getting away more coal so that we could set another bar.


Is it a good roof there? – Yes.

How long before the accident was it that you sounded it? -Half an hour.

What did you sound it with? – I sounded it with a pick, and it seemed all right.

The Inspector: It was the duty of the deceased to set catch props when he had got width enough? – Yes, sir.

And it was your duty to follow down with the bars? – It was my duty to see that the bards were set.

Was there width enough to set a bar there after he was killed? – I don’t think so.

Didn’t you measure it to see if there was room or not? – There was not room.

“That’s what I want to get at” said the Inspector. “If there was room there ought to have been a bar.”

Witness agreed that the deceased, by removing coal from the face, had liberated the slip.

The Inspector: He was aiming at his own destruction.

Mr Hewitt added that only that morning he noticed that the slip had extended further yards down, but the witness said he had not seen it.

The Inspector: Then we can’t blame you.

The Coroner: How many props would there be under the stone which fell?

Witness: One

And that would not be enough to hold it up? – It did not prove too be enough.

The deceased’s father asked witness if it was possible for a fall to be heard when the conveyor was at work.

“It has been complained to him that the signal was given and it was ten minutes before they took any notice.” he said.

The Coroner: It is stated that they got him out in two minutes.

The Inspector (to witness): Is there a big noise made by this conveyor?

Witness: Yes, sir.

And a man would not hear any cracking or settling of the roof? – No.

John Henry Rogers, of &4, Pottery Lane, Whittington Moor, ho was responsible for the setting of the bars in the stalls, said there had hardly been room to set a bar where the deceased was working. He had examined the roof, and had considered it very sound to work under. The distance between the props was about two feet six inches.

Dr. R. Goodwin remarked that all the rules of the pit seemed to have been observed. There is no evidence of carelessness on the part of anybody.” he said.

A verdict of Accidental death” was returned.

1909  April.                                  Shaw.                                                    Fall of bind.




A sad fatality occurred at the Staveley Coal and Iron Company’s Markham Colliery this morning. It appears a man named Shaw, of Brampton, employed as a filler, was engaged filling a tub when a fall of bind occurred, killing him instantly. Shaw, who was a single man, had only been at work two hours when the fall occurred. This makes the second fatality that has occurred at the pit recently.

1909  September                       Fletcher, Fenton. (17)                               Fall of bind.




Pony Driver Disobeys Rules

A sad fatality occurred at the Markham No. 1 pit of the Staveley Coal and Iron Company, Ltd., on Thursday, the unfortunate victim being Fenton Fletcher (17), who lived with his father, Henry Fletcher a bricklayer, at 22, Riber terrace, Boythorpe Lane, Chesterfield.  The lad was a pony driver, and immediately he entered stall No. 52 a piece of coal  which had been previously holed, and which was supported with sprays, suddenly fell over, pinning his head between it and a prop, and killing him on the spot.

The inquest held at the Boythorpe Inn, Chesterfield, yesterday afternoon, when there was present Mr. W. Walker, H.M. Inspector of Mines and Mr. F. Hall, representing the Derbyshire Miners’ Association.

According to the evidence of William Hassell, of 50 Catherine street, Brampton, a loader, the deceased entered the “gate” and asked whether witness had any tubs full. Witness answered in the negative, and immediately afterwards there was a fall of coal, which came down without the slightest warning. On going to the place he found the lad with his face pinned between the coal and a prop. He was quite dead

In answer to Mr. Walker, the witness said the coal had been holed, and was supported by sprags. There did not appear to be any break in the coal, and no attempt had been made to draw the sprays. Pony drivers had no right to enter the stalls, and the orders were to send them out should they do so. He could not offer any reason whatever what the deceased should enter the stall after being told that no tubs were ready. Deceased had not come to give witness any message about anything.

The stallman, Thomas Shaw, of Poolsbrook, told the Coroner that the sprigs were properly set and tight: in fact, the coal had been holed for a week. He could not give a reason for the fall of coal except that there was a sudden weight upon it. Had a double row of sprags been set under the holed coal it would have been safer, but if there had been in existence he could not say whether they would have prevented this accident. The weight of the fall would be about two tons.

A verdice of “Accidental death.” was returned.

1910 November                                Sheldon, Wilfred (22)                                         Run over by tubs





Whittington Moor Man killed in Markham Pit.

After assisting a mate to put a tub on the rails in Markham No.1 Pit, Wilfred Sheldon met a terrible death through the pony unexpectedly starting off.

Sheldon was caught by the belt, and dragged a distance of nearly 30 yards. He only lived ten minutes after the accident.

The fatality, which occurred on Friday, was inquired into by the Coroner (Dr. A. Green) at Whittington Moor on Monday.

John Sheldon, Nelson Street, Whittington, brother of deceased, stated that deceased was twenty years of age, and was a corporal and pony driver.

The principal witness was Geo. Smith, 117, Poolsbrook, who said he was engaged as a pony driver at the same pit. On the day referred to, one of witness’s tubs ran off the line. Deceased happened to pass at the time, and he (witness) asked him to lend a hand to get it placed in position again. After the tub, which was the first of two, had been placed on the line, witness shouted to the pony to “back,” but the animal, evidently mistaking the word, started off at a fast trot.

Sheldon was caught by the belt, and pulled along with it for a distance of over 27 yards. Deceased only lived about ten minutes. The pony, he said, was a restless animal, and always showed great eagerness to start off immediately it had been coupled to the tubs. He had driven it for seven months, and had no accident with it before.

“If you say ‘whoa,’ ‘” asked the Coroner, “would he stop?” “No, sir.” was the reply.

Dr. Green: A dangerous pony.

Corroborative evidence was given by Samuel John Barnes, stallman, Abram Cook, deputy, at the conclusion of which the jury unanimously returned a verdict of “accidental death”

1911 December                           Tomlinson, Antony (15)                                         Crushed by tubs



Driver and Pony Pinned

Sad Accident at the Markham Pit.

Injured Lad’s Objection to a Stretcher

A shocking  accident as the result of which a pony and a driver were pinned, occurred in the Markham No.1  pit on Saturday. The pony was safely released, but the driver, a lad named Anthony Tomlinson (15) of Rose Villas, Bent Place, Staveley, was fatally injured.

An inquest was held at the Parish Room, Staveley, on Tuesday, by Dr. A. Green, the District Coroner. At the inquiry, there were present Mr. E.W. Frazer,of Sheffield (H.M. Inspector of Mines), Mr Barnet Kenyon, of Chesterfield (representing the Derbyshire Miners’ Association), Mr. J. Neal (manager of the colliery and Mr. J. Ottewell (under manager).

The body was identified by William Tomlinson, Rose Villas, Bent Place, Staveley, a stallman, and father of the lad.

There was no eye witness of the accident, but a lad named William Henry Sandall, a rope boy, residing at 115, Poolsbrook, was the first to find the deceased after the accident.

The accident he said, occurred about 11 o’clock on Saturday morning, and the deceased was working on the main haulage road leading to the top of the “funny.”

“i heard a scream from the “jinny top,” said Sandall, “and I went to the place about forty yards away.” There he found the pony off the road and the boy Tomlinson was pinned between the limmers of the tubs and the “pack” at the side, and he (Sandall) was unable to move him. The pony could not move its collar was fast against a prop and the roof.

The tubs had to be moved before the pony could be moved. Having unharnessed the pony in order to release the collar, he pushed the limmers on one side and succeeded in getting out the boy.

“could he help himself?” asked the Coroner.

“No. he walked with his arm round my neck” said Sandall.

With the assistance of another lad named McGowan, he was able to get Tomlinson away from the pack.

The Coroner questioned Sandall regarding the “character” of the pony, and Sandall at first described it as quiet.

“But,” he added, “if you hit init would dance about. Sometimes if you touched it with a whip it would bolt.”

The Coroner: I should call it a bad-tempered pony.

A Painful Journey

“We took the lad to the wheel,” said Sandall, “and then he went down the ‘jinny’ in a tub.”

“Not a very comfortable way of travelling when he was injured.” remarked the Coroner.

At the bottom of the “jinny.” added Sandall, Tomlinson got out of the tub and walked up another “jinny,” with his arm round his (Sandall’s) neck.

They waited three or four minutes for the deputy, who asked Tomlinson to get on to a stretcher which had been procured, but the lad declined to do so.

Afterwards they saw another deputy, who “forced” Tomlinson to get on the stretcher, in which he was taken to the pit bottom.

The Coroner: It was a long way for him. Mr Frazer: 2,300 yards.

Sandall added that Tomlinson was taken to the office, and was afterwards removed home.

The Coroner: Did you think he was seriously hurt?

“I did not think he was as bad as he was,” replied Sandall.

There were three lockers in the tubs, said Sandall, and mr.Neal remarked that the gradient at that particular place was three inches in the yard.

“When he was placed on the stretcher there was no physical force used?” asked Mr. Frazer, and Sandall agreed that the boy was persuaded to be placed on the stretcher.

Dying Boy’s Version

According to a corporal named Wilfred Brooks, 176, Barrow Hill, who had a conversation with Tomlinson after the accident, the lad told him that the pony was standing with two full tubs and “he touched it, and the pony started and shoved him into the bank.”

The injuries to the lad were described by Dr. A.S. Album, of Staveley. He was called to see the boy at his home, he said, and found him suffering from severe contusions on the left side of the abdomen and had a great deal of shock, from which he died on Sunday morning.

It was a great pity, the Coroner remarked to the jury, that the boy walked so much as it exaggerated the shock from which he died.

The jury returned a verdict of “Accidental Death,” and Mr. Neal, on behalf of the Staveley Coal and Iron Co., expressed his sympathy with the relatives of the boy. It was a matte, he said, they very much regretted, but he could not see that they could do anything to prevent similar occurrences. If such had been the case, the Company would have been only too pleased to have taken up the matter.

Mr. Kenyon remarked that there had been no evidence of neglect on the part of any one, and he did not see how such an accident could have been foreseen or prevented.

The Coroner and jury also associated themselves with the remarks of Mr. Neal and Mr. Kenyon.

1912 February                             Glossop, Oliver (16)                      Run over by a wagon on the surface



Fatal Neglect of Rule

Youth Killed at Staveley Pit

Run Over by Full Wagon

The non-observance of one of the special regulations governing the moving of wagons and locomotives on railway sidings resulted in a fatal accident at the screens of the Markham No.1 Pit of the Staveley Coal and Iron Co., Ltd. in the early hours of Saturday morning.

The victim was a waggon trimmer named Oliver Glossop, aged 16 years, who lived at 111, Church Street, Old Whittington. He was on the night shift, and in addition to his ordinary duty he and others employed at the screens had to attend to a large fire burning between two sets of metals, and which was used for the drying of the scotches or brakes used when waggons filled at the screens were lowered down. Going to the fire at five o’clock on Saturday morning, the deceased stood within the set of metals upon which a full tub of coal was to be moved. In charge of this was a young man of 22 years, named James Bargh, of 126, Poolsbrook. Prior to commencing to lower the truck down the slight incline, Bargh should have given a warning according to the rule. He did not do so, however, and although the screens are well lighted with electricity and by the fires, the deceased failed to see the approaching waggon, or hear it owing to the noise made by the screening machinery, and, as Bargh was on the opposite side of the track, he could not see the deceased . The latter was struck down, and, falling across the rails in a doubled-up position, his body stopped the progress of the wagon. The consequence was that he sustained horrible injuries – in fact, Dr. A. Green, the district coroner, described them as the most shocking that he had seen for a considerable time – and death took place on Sunday at Chesterfield Hospital.


At the inquest held in the Board Room of the Institution on Monday, Mr. H.R. Hewitt, H.M. Inspector of Mines, was present, in addition to Mr. F.W. Scorah (Messrs. Neal and Co., Sheffield), representing the National Amalgamated Union of Labour, of which deceased was a member; mr. F.A. Walker (Chesterfield), on behalf of the deceased’s relatives; and Mr. Jno. Neal, the manager of the colliery.

Following the evidence of identification by Walter Glossop, the deceased’s brother, Bargh was called, and the vacant manner in which he explained the accident and answered questions occasioned considerable surprise, for, although 22 years of age, he confessed that he was unable to read, but could write “a bit.”

It was gathered from his testimony that when the wagons had been filled at the screens and had been trimmed, they were lowered one by one down the incline to a point 20 yards distant, from whence they were taken in charge by a shunter.  About five o’clock on Saturday morning he put down the brake lever of a full waggon, but did not peg the lever, and picking from the floor a brake stick, he ran after the waggon. He heard the deceased shout out. He afterwards got the assistance of other men, and the waggon was prised back off the lad, who was pinned across the lower part of the body between the wheel and the rail.

Cried for his Mother

“Was it a loud scream?” asked the Coroner.

“Yes,” answered Bargh, “and shouted for his mother.”

Mr. Hewitt: Before you started the waggon did you give a warning to any person who might have been in front?

Witness: No.

Do you think that if you had gone in front of the waggon you would have seen him? – Yes.

There was a good light from the fire and electric lamps? – Yes.

Do you remember having some special rules dealing with sidings given to you? – No.

Have you seen them posted at the colliery? – No.

During the last eight or nine months – (the rules came into force in June last) – have you been instructed as to what you were required to do before moving waggons? Has the foreman told you of any special regulations you had to carry out in moving wagons on sidings?  – I have had a paper.

Have you read it? -I can’t read.

Did you have it read over to you? – Yes, by my mother.

The Coroner: Did you understand the rules when they were read? – Yes, sir.

Are you sure you understand? – Yes, sir.

Can you write? – A bit, sir.

Me Hewitt read the rule, and the witness declared that he understood it.

No Warning

” And you gave no warning before you started this waggon?” said Mr. Hewitt, and the witness answered “No”

Mt Hewitt: You knew this rule was in force, but did not carry it out? – No.

Was there a noise from the working screens? – Yes.

Such a noise that if the boy had his back to the waggon he could not hear it coming? – Yes.

Yet you did not go in front of the waggon to see if there was anybody in the way? – No.

Is it your practice to go in front to see if the line was clear? – No.

Answering Mr. Scorah, Bargh agreed that it would have been better had he obeyed the rule. It was two months since it was read over to him, and he did not remember how many regulations there were altogether or any particular one of them.

The screens foreman, William Priestley Brown, of Markham Cottages, Duckmanton, said the deceased had been doing the work of a waggon trimmer since July last.

The Coroner: The last witness does not seen very bright. Is he?

Witness: He is all right at the work he does.

“He makes a very stupid witness, but he may be confused. He cannot read, and can only write a bit, so that does not say very much for his intelligence. Do you think he is able to grasp the meaning of the rules, which he says have been read to him by his mother?” proceeded the Coroner.

Witness: He has done his work all right. Have you had any reason to complain of the way in which he has done his work?  – Not up to now.

Dying Lad’s Statement

Proceeding, the witness stated that when he went on duty at 6.20 a.m. on Saturday he heard of the accident. Deceased had been made as comfortable as possible in the coach-house, and a doctor had been sent for. The latter arrived between 7 a.m. and 7.30 a.m. Deceased was conscious, and, answering a question as to what he had been doing, he replied; “I was mending the fire, and Bargh rode a waggon down and it knocked me down.”

Bargh should have looked in front of the waggon before moving it, and when questioned he stated that he had shouted out a warning. Whenever witness had been on duty at the same time, Bargh had always looked to see if there was anybody in front of the waggon.

To Mr Hewitt, the witness replied that the truck had travelled from ten to eleven yards before the accident happened.  Since giving copies of the rules to the deceased and Bargh, he had often spoken to them, about them, but never had to complain of their non-observance.

The manager of the pit, James Ottewell, of Markham, said the coach-house was completely equipped for dealing with cases of accident. When he saw the deceased he, as an ambulance man, recognised that the injuries were very serious. Glossop had lost a large quantity of blood, his clothing being saturated, and a portion had been driven into a wound. As the bleeding had stopped he (the witness) refrained from making a detailed examination, so as to avoid the danger of re-starting the bleeding. He proceeded to treat him for shock, and made him as comfortable as possible in front of a large fire and with tot-water bottles.

The Coroner: Do you think it advisable to employ a shunter who cannot read the rules?

Witness: I was not aware that he could not read. If I had known that he would have been moved at once, A person who cannot read is not a fit subject to have to deal with printed rules.

Dr. F.C. Pridham, the senior house surgeon, said the deceased was much collapsed, and suffering from severe lacerations of the right thigh, a fracture of the left thigh, and much bruising of the abdomen, and death occurred on Sunday.

The jury returned a verdict of  “Accidental death.” but did not add any rider censuring the witness Bargh.

Mr. Neal extended the sympathy of his Company and himself with the relatives of the deceased lad.



1912 August                                Whitehead, Alfred (27)                                           Roof fall.



No Warning

Heavy Fall of Roof at Markham Pit

Brimington Man Fatally Injured

The resumption of work in a stall at the Markham No.1 pit of the Staveley Coal and Iron Co., Ltd., after it had been set down for a few shifts owing to “weight,” was marked by a fatal accident.

The deceased was Alfred Whitehead aged 37, of Old Manor House, Brimington, a married man with six children and he died in Chesterfield Hospital from a fractured spine, caused by a fall of roof. The inquest was held at the Institution on Saturday afternoon, by Dr. A. Green, the district coroner, when there attended Mr. Abbot (H.M. Inspector of Mines), Mr. J. Ottewell (undermanager) and Mr. Barnet Kenyon (representing the Derbyshire Miners’ Association)

After Martha Ashley, the wife of Henry Ashley, of 24, Sunny Springs, Chesterfield had described her brother as a strong healthy man.

Evidence of the accident was given by Ladis Siddall, of Mount View, Chesterfield Road, Staveley. Witness, who was a stallman, said the deceased worked with him as a filler. The part of the pit where they worked had been standing a few days because of the “weight” on it, and Thet resumed on the afternoon of Monday, August 26th. They reached the stall about 3.15p.m., and the accident occurred at 5.30p.m. Deceased and he were assisting to empty a tub of bind with which they were to build a pack in the left hand bank. They had thrown six or seven pieces of bind into the pack when

The Roof  “Flashed” Down

without any warning and pinned Whitehead.

How much fell? – About 1.5 tons. It buried him completely, with the exception of the top of his head. It just missed my head when it fell.

“That was fortunate for you,” observed the Coroner.

Siddall proceeded to state that the tub did not touch any prop. Assistance was quickly obtained and the deceased was soon extricated. Ambulance men rendered first aid and he was removed on a stretcher to the pit bottom., and on reaching the surface the ambulance and doctor were in attendance. Deceased was able to tell them where his spine was injured and he was unable to use his legs.

The Coroner: When you got into the stall did it seem safe? – Yes, sir.

Was there any movement? -No.

Had you enough timber set? -Yes.

Timber according to rule? – Yes.

Had you examined the roof lately? – I examined it on my side of the stall directly I went in. The stallman on the other side had to examine the roof there, and one, a man named Onions, did so. The deputy, Waller, was through the place just before the accident, and he made no comments.

In reply to Mr. Abbott, the witness said that the last time the stall was worked previously was on the Thursday night. Before they went in on Monday they had to see the deputy who reported that the stall was satisfactory.

Mr. Abbott: Was the prop knocked out by the tub or throwing a packer against it? Witness: I did not see any packers strike it, but I can’t see anything else that could have caused the prop to come out. It must have been the packers that did the damage.

Had you sufficient timber of suitable length to set if necessary? – Yes.

Was Whitehead an experienced man? – Yes, he had been working in the pit for years.

And the place was quite “easy”?  – Oh. Yes.

The Coroner: you think that the knocking out of this prop was the cause of the falling roof? -Yes.

It must have been set loosely then? – Oh no. The “weight” makes a lot of difference to props – the grinding of the floor for instance.

Mr. Abbott: Did you notice if there was any slips? – There was a break right round the stone, but it could not be seen until after the fall. The stone had cut off inside two props and when the prop underneath it went, of course the roof “flashed”

The dimensions of the fall, Mr. Ottewell stated, were 6ft. 2ins. by 3ft. long, and it was about a foot thick at the greatest part.

Siddall added that the fall consisted of strong dry bind.

Benjamin Waller, of Shuttlewood, a deputy, said he had not examined the stall before the men went in.

The Coroner: Don’t you think that would have been the wisest thing to do? – It had been examined by the day deputy.

It was not your duty to examine it? No, not previous to them going in.

What time did the day deputy, Wm. Sawyer, examine it? -Two hours before the men went on the shift.

What was his report? – That it was all right.

And safe for work? – Yes.

He entered that in his book? -Yes.

And you saw it? – Yes.

The witness added that he inspected the stall half an hour before the accident and it appeared safe. It was well and sufficiently timbered.

Dr. J.A. Andrews, acting house surgeon at the Hospital, said the mans’s spine was fractured near the top and he also had a fractured at the front part of the skull. Death occurred at 10.30p.m. on Thursday.

The jury retuned a verdict of Accidental death,” the coroner remarking that no blame was attached to anybody.

Mr. Neal on behalf of the Staveley Company. expressed sympathy with the widow and family in their bereavement.

1916 January                             Shemwell, William Henry (30)                           Roof fall.


1917 April                                   Atkins, Alfred (40)                                          Fall of Roof





One stallman was killed and another injured by a double fall of roof at the Markham Colliery, Sutton-cum-Duckmanton. The story of the tragic occurrence was told at the inquest on Alfred Atkins (40), 20, Belmont Street, Whittington Moor, the inquiry being conducted by the Chesterfield Coroner (Dr. A. Green) at the Primitive Methodist Schoolroom, Whittington Moor, last week, and was attended by Mr. Frank Lee (Derbyshire Miners’ Association), Mr. H. Gill (National Association of Colliery Deputies), and Mr. W.R. Wilson (manager)

Formal evidence having been given by Walter Atkins, licensee of the Brickmakers’ Arms, Brimington Moor, a brother of the deceased, there was called Wm.Lenthall, 28, Castle Street, Bolsovr, whoa a miraculous escape from meeting with his companion’s fate. Looking pale and nervous, he had his left arm in a sling, it having been fractured at the shoulder. He stated that about four o’clock on Saturday morning they were in stall 134 in the Palterton (No.2) district and were engaged in twisting out a full tub at the jig gate. A little dirt dropped, and he said, “what is going off, Alfy?” They listened, but did not hear anything, and deceased replied, “I think it is alright.” Then, without any further warning here was a heavy fall of rock, and bind which completely buried the deceased and pinned him down by the foot, and fractured his left arm. Almost directly afterwards there was a second fall, about six tubfuls of roof falling in all. Atkins


from under the debris, but witness was unable to liberate him as he was fast and in great pain. He, however, shouted and Whistled, but his cries could not be heard by those working in the next stall. Fortunately, the night deputy (Samuel Martin) came along, and with assistance, liberated witness in about five minutes. The men then set to work to free Atkins, but when he was recovered he was dead.

Witness could hazard no opinion as to what made the roof fall. He did not regard the roof at the place where the accident occurred as being especially bad. It was well timbered, an additional prop having been set.

Samuel Martin, the night deputy, 35, Scarsdale Road, Carr Vale, said he was last through the place at 12.20a.m. The roof was then well timbered and safe for work. Deceased was an accomplished and experienced workman.

In answer to Mr. Lee, witness said four slips were visible, and the place was particularly well timbered to meet the danger. Four bars were run out by the fall. The whole district was a bad roof, but this was the worst stall he had, and in consequence he took every precaution. He attributed the fall to a sudden weight.

A verdict of “Accidental death” was agreed upon, and Mr. Wilson on behalf of the Staveley Company, expressed sympathy with the bereaved family. Atkins, he said, was a very experienced and thoroughly competent workman and one whom they could ill afford to lose.

The Coroner and jury associated themselves with the sentiments expressed.


Amidst every sign of respect and esteem for one who was always ready to give a helping hand in any worthy object, the remains of the deceased were interred in Old Whittington Churchyard, the Rev. H. Russel officiating.




Returned from Front to Die in Pit



A fall of roof which occurred at Markham No.1 Colliery, Duckmanton, on Monday, involved the death of William Doughty (21), of 2, Markham Cottages, Duckmanton, a youth who served four years in the army, and who gained the Military Medal. He was demobilised in January of this year.

At the inquest held at Markham Colliery office, on Wednesday, evidence of identification was given by deceased’s father, William Doughty, a deputy at Markham No.1 Colliery. He said his son had been gassed twice while in the army.

The stall who was working with deceased at the time  the fall occurred, William Henry Turner, 181 Southmoor Road, Brimington Common, said he had just dismantled a boring machine with which they had been boring holes for shots to bring down the side. Deceased went to pick up his pick, when a large piece of stone bind, weighing about a ton, fell on top of him. The roadway was five feet high, but the place from where the bind fell was only two feet above the ground level. It took him, with assistance, over half an hour to extricate the dead body. Doughty’s face was terribly smashed.

Replying to Mr. Fraser, Inspector of Mines, witness said he had examined the place twice previously, and thought it was all right. There were two sprays set, but they were run out. They were not broken, and he afterwards found there was a break in the rock which, had split and allowed the huge piece to fall.

The deputy, John Cater, 23 King Street, New Brimington, said he examined the place of the accident at eleven o’clock before the accident happened at 12.15 p.m. He though the place secure, and could not now think of anything which could have prevented the fall occurring.

The Coroner (Dr. A. Green) said it was a particularly sad accident. He was a young man who had served his country with distinction for four years, and it was doubly sad that he should come home to meet his death like that.

A verdict of accidental death was returned.

Mr. W.R. Wilson, the colliery manager, expressed, on behalf of the Staveley Coal and Iron Company, and himself, sympathy with the relatives of deceased. He had lived among them at Markham and was perhaps more under the management’s eye than most workpeople. He was a very good and able lad, and was making good progress towards advancement, and he felt it very deeply that he should have his career cut short in that fashion.

Mr. H. Widdowson, the foreman, on behalf of the jury, expressed his desire to associate himself with Mr. Wilson’s remarks, as did Mr. Frank Lee and Mr. H. Gill, the secretary of the National Association of Colliery Deputies.

1925 June.                       Butler, John Samuel (45)                           Fall of Roof





Inspector of Mines and a Pit Fatality

At an inquest at Chesterfield Royal Hospital yesterday, on John Samuel Butler (45), miner, Arkwright Town, who was fatally injured by a fall of roof at Markham No.2 Colliery, H.M. Inspector of Mines (Mr. R. Yates, Nottingham) said it was an act of suicide to use a prop in the way in which one of the witnesses admitted doing.

George Vaines, Prospect Terrace, Brockwell, Chesterfield, coal cutter driver, said he fastened the haulage rope of his cutting machine to a prop, which was pulled out, causing a fall of roof which buried Butler, who was working on the road.

In reply to in Inspector Yates, Vaines admitted that it was an error of judgement on his part in not fixing an anchor prop. He had, however, deputed Arthur Hodgetts, Speedwell Terrace, Staveley, to watch the prop for signs of its giving away, and all went well for two hours.

Hodgetts agreed that it was “rather risky” to fasten the machine haulage rope tp a single prop set under a bar.

The Inspector said it was absolute folly- an act of suicide- to use a prop in the manner described, and he could not believe that a practical man would have done it. He had never before heard of it being done, and it was distressing in these times to find such a thing possible.

The Coroner (Dr. A. Green), in recording a finding of “Accidental death,” said Vaines made the mistake of attaching the haulage rope for a machine weighing two tons to a prop without setting a safety prop, and Hodgetts also erred in not warning Butler, who, unaware of the danger, was at work under the prop. “Besides an error of judgment,” remarked the Coroner, “there was a certain amount of carelessness.”

Mr. E.P. Bastide, solicitor to the Staveley  Company, said it was especially sad that the accident should have resulted the death of a man who had nothing to do with the arrangements which led to the disaster. One would not have thought that it was possible in these times to omit such an ordinary measure of precaution as Vaines admitted having failed to take

1928 May                                   Hall, Richard Henry  (63)                         Rub over by tubs




Chesterfield Miner’s Sad End in Markham Pit

The circumstances under which Richard Henry Hall (63), of 33, Rockford Land, Stonegravels,  Chesterfield, came to be killed while following his employment as a miner in Markham No.2 Pit belonging to the Staveley Coal and Iron Co., were investigated by the Coroner (Dr. A. Green) at the Albert Street Mission, Stonegravels on Friday last week.

Evidence of identification having been given by a son, Albert Dawson Hall, waggon blacksmith, 32, Sanforth Street, Newbold Moor. Thomas Fearn, 158, Arkwright Town, a rope hand engaged in the same pit was called. This witness stated that about 9 a.m. on the previous Wednesday the man Hall was engaged cleaning up a “gate.” He was left a tub in which to put the dirt, the wheels being locked so that it would stand on the slight gradient. Witness subsequently gave Hall a hand to fill the tub and this completed, he asked if he were ready for the other tubs being lowered. Hall then went down the “gate” to get into a refuge hole, and witness pulled the bell wire to give the haulage driver the signal for the tubs to be lowered.

When the tubs got within five or six yards of the tub of dirt witness signaled for them to be stopped in order that the stationary one could be taken away.  As they did not stop he signaled a second time, but still the tubs did not stop and went on to bump into the stationary tub and push it to the bottom. Upon getting to the bottom witness saw Hall’s lamp under the third tub and on shouting got no answer. He immediately went for assistance.


Answering Mr. R. Yates, Inspector of Mines, witness replied that none of the tubs were bumped off the rails. The Inspector: That would indicate there was no excessive speed.

Further questioned, witness stated that when Hall said “right” he took it the man was clear and that the time was right to come down with the tubs.

In reply to Mr. E.P. Bastide, representing the Staveley Coal and Iron Co., in regards to the calling out of “Right,” witness said that was what they always did.

Mr. Bastide: It is the natural thing to do when the man says “Right” to make for the refuge hole.

Joseph Inns, 23, New Hall Road, Brampton, the haulage driver, spoke of receiving the signal to lower the tubs and did so. He received no further signal to stop them.

The Coroner, referring to the last witness: The boy has said that he signaled twice. What do you say to that?

Witness: Well, I did not receive them.

Answering further questions by the Coroner, witness said possibly the communicating wires might have got stuck.

Questioned by Mr. Bastide, witness replied that he no right to leave his place and acted on nothing but signals. He had not had the apparatus go wrong before.

The Coroner: The boy may not have signaled hard enough.

Mr Bastide: That was possible.

It was added by Mr. Bastide that the apparatus was tested afterwards and the signals were all right.

Albert Hodgson, 12, South Crescent, Duckmanton, the day deputy, said at the time he was in the next stall to where the accident happened. Hall was found fast between the corner of the manhole and the tub of dirt with his neck broken and skull fractured. Witness tried the signals after the accident and found them all right.

Witness said he always gave instructions that as soon as the boy was ready to come down the “gate” with the tubs the men were to go in a refuge hole and stop there until the tubs had passed. He had told Hall on sending him off that morning.

Mr Bastide: Irrespective of the signal. he had plenty of time to get into the refuge hole?

Witness: Yes.

The jury having returned a verdict of  “Accidental Death,” Mr.Bastide, with whom was Mr. H. Curry, manager of the pit, on behalf of the company and officials, expressed sincere regret at the occurrence and sympathy with the widow, whom he understood was an invalid, and with the other members of the family.

Mr. J.E. Smith, who represented the Derbyshire Miners’ Association, on behalf of the men engaged at Markham No.2 and the Derbyshire Miners’ Association, associated himself with the expression.


The internment took place at Brimington Cemetery on Saturday and was preceded by a service at deceased’s home, conducted by Mrs. Liddlelow, president of Chesterfield No.1 National Spiritualists Church, of which Mr. Hall had been a member.






One more £100 insurance claim has been paid promptly and willingly under the “Sheffield Independent” Free Insurance Scheme, and one more reader has written to express her appreciation of the benefits of the scheme.

The sum of £100 has been paid to Mrs A.M. Hall, of 33 Lockoford Lane, Stonegravels, Chesterfield, widow of Mr. Richard Henry Hall, who was killed at Markham No2 Colliery of the Staveley Coal and Iron Company.

Mr Hall, who was very popular among his workmates, was killed in the pit by a string of tubs which ran into him while he was at work. He was well known in the Chesterfield district, where he had lived for about 35 years and had made many friends among amateur gardeners. He was born in Salford, and had worked for the Staveley Coal and Iron Company for 25 years.

Mrs Hall is very glad her husband was a registered reader of the “Sheffield Independent.”

She writes:-

Dear Sirs,

Please accept my thanks and gratitude for the payment, and the promptness with which my late husband’s claim was settled. I wish your paper every success.

Yours faithfully,

A.M. Hall.

1928 December                       Mellard, George Herbert (33).                 Roof Fall




Staveley’s Miner’s Death

Rescue Efforts Appreciated by Staveley Co

Smart work in a cramped position by workmen at Markham No.2 Colliery in what proved to be a vain attempt to save the like of a comrade who had been buried by a fall of roof was acknowledged by Mr. E.P. Bastide, the Staveley Coal and Iron Company’s solicitor, at an inquest at Staveley on Wednesday on George Herbert Mellard, aged 33, a charwoman coal-cutter, Worksop Road, Staveley, who was killed by a fall of roof while at work in the pit early on Tuesday morning. The inquest was conducted by Dr. A. Green, the Chesterfield and District Coroner, who sat with a jury, of which Mr. A. Dodd was appointed foreman. Others present at the enquiry were Mr. H Curry, manager of Markham Collieries, Mr. F. Lee, M.P., representing the D.M.A., and Mr. J. Hall, H.M. Inspector of Mines.

Mrs. Marion Mellard, the widow, gave evidence of identification: and Cyril Benjamin Thompson, aged 14, conveyor engine attendant, Bentick Road, Shuttlewood, who witnesses the accident, explained that he was attending to his conveyor and was about two or three yards from the deceased in No. 172 stall of Doe Lea district. The roof of the stall was only 2ft. 3ins. high and Mellard was on his hands and knees changing picks in his coal-cutting machine when the roof collapsed without warning. Deceased was completely buried and witness only escaped by a foot. About a dozen workmen were about ten yards away.

The Coroner: Was there any timber to keep this low roof up? – Yes, the fall occurred between two bars

Mr. Bastide: Was the conveyor in motion when the fall occurred? – Yes.

Would the noise of the engine be sufficient to prevent you from hearing a crack? No.

Do you think that if the fall had given any warning you would have heard it not-withstanding the running of your engine?  Yes.

What did you do when the fall occurred? I stopped my engine, called to the men near by and ran for help.

Arthur Munday, South Crescent, Duckmanton, a deputy at the pit, said he examined the roof of the stall two hours before the fall and considered it was adequately timbered and barred, and quite safe. There was also plenty of props ready to hand for use when the coal-cutting machine moved on.


In reply to the Coroner, witness said the fall was a very heavy one – probably weighing between 3.5 and four tons. The body was extricated in ten minutes.

The Coroner: It must have been very difficult work to remove that big fall in such a cramped place.

Witness: It was, but I put ten men on the job.

What were his injuries? – His neck was broken. A large piece of bind had struck him on the back of the neck and forced his head forward.

Can you suggest anything which might have prevented this accident? No. The roof was very good and it always has been in that particular stall.

Was Mellard an experienced workman? – He was one of the best.

Mr. Hall: Do you think that the coal cutting machine had cut under and eased the coal face and allowed a bar to fall a bit? – I should not dispute that.

Mr. Bastide: Suppose that piece of roof had been loose when you examined it, do you think you would have discovered the fact? – Yes, I think I would have discovered it.

You do not think from what you saw that the deceased could have had any warning? – No, I do not think he had any warning.

You have been in this district for some years. Have you ever known a fall to occur in this stall before? – Never before.

In reply to Mr. Lee, witness agreed that it was not easy to detect when a large piece such as that which killed Mellard was loose. As a general rule when it was tapped it would sound solid.

The jury returned a verdict of “Accidental Death,” and on behalf of the Staveley Company and the manager and officials at the colliery, Mr. Bastide expressed deep sympathy with the relatives of the deceased. Mellard, he said, was regarded by the manager as one of the best coal cutter’s employed at the pit. Mr. Bastide also expressed the appreciation of the Company for the great efforts the deceased’s comrades, made to save his life. The fall, he said, was one of the biggest ever known, but the men who extricated him worked to such purpose that they got out the body in ten minutes. The fact that they were working in a very cramped position made their performance all the more creditable, and it was to be regretted that their magnificent efforts were in vain. Mr. Lee and Mr. Dodd, on behalf of the jury, also expressed sympathy with the widow and family.

1929 April                       Temprell, Charles Edward (55).            Tapped in a screen pulley wheel.





Machinery Started While Being Repaired

After a protracted inquiry, a Coroner’s jury at Markham Colliery, Staveley, testier, returned a verdict of  “Accidental accident” and expressed the view that no one was to blame for the death of Charles Edward Temprell (55), screen hand at the colliery of North Crescent, Duckmanton, who was trapped in a pulley wheel on the screens on Monday and crushed to death. George Edward Brown, another screen had, said he was helping Temprell to put a spare belt on the pulley wheel of an electrical motor. Witness was standing on the wheel untying the spare belt and Temprell was leaning against the wheel. An electrician was repairing the switch of the motor. The wheel on which he was standing suddenly began to revolve without warning, and the witness saved himself only by holding on to a girder. Temprell was caught in the wheel.

Bernard Onions, the electrician, said he did not know that the switch he was repairing operated the machinery on which Temprell was engaged. He thought the switch operated machinery at the other end of the screens, and he looked towards this machinery to see if anyone was on it before he let in the switch.

1929 June                                    Tuxford, Benjamin (46)                Caught in Machinery




Cause of Fatal Break in Beam at Duckmanton Pit

Unsuspected dry rot in a beam was found at an inquest yesterday, at Chesterfield, to be the cause of a fatal accident at Markham (No. 2) Colliery, Duckmanton, of the Staveley Coal and Iron Co., which resulted in the death of Benjamin Tuxford (46), labourer, of 18, Markham Road, Duckmanton.

The evidence showed that Tuxford, Walter Whelpdale, John Ashley, of Poolsbrook, Frank Marples, 48, Moorfield Lane, Bolsover, and Archie Duckmanton, Barrow, were detailed on Thursday to unload from a lorry a pit cage weighing 48 cats. by means of the “cat gallows.” The cage was suspended from the middle of the beam and lowered to within two feet from the ground, when the beam broke and the 20 feet high brick pillars, supporting it collapsed. Whelpdale, Tuxford, Marples and Duckmanton were struck by falling masonry.

George Farrow, 32, Markham Cottages, Duckmanton, chief enginewright, said the beam was painted and externally it looked good, but the accident revealed that dry rot had set in. Such a beam should have lasted 40 years, whereas it had only been in use 10 or 12 years, and should have a break strain of 28 tons.


Dr.W.Beatty said Tuxford had a compounded fracture of the left leg, two severe scalp lacerations, and abrasions on various parts of the body. When he had recovered somewhat from the shock it was necessary to amputate his leg as it was so badly smashed. He died on Friday.

The Coroner said the examination of the beams ought to be the definite job of someone, and a thorough examination ought to be made at regular intervals and not casually as had been the case.

The jury recorded a verdict of “Accidental death” and added a rider that the beam should have been regularly and thoroughly examined.

1930 January                                    Dixon, George (38)                Roof Fall




Staveley Miner’s Brave Act

Markham Colliery Fatality

The courage of a Staveley miner in attempting unaided and at great risk to himself to rescue a colleague buried by a fall of roof was commended at an inquest at Marsh Lane on Tuesday on Geo. Dixon, aged 38, miner, School Lane, Marsh lane, who was killed at Markham No.2 Colliery on Friday. The inquiry was conducted by Dr. McCrea (the Chesterfield and District Coroner), who sat with a jury, of which Mr. J. Keeton was appointed foreman. Mr. E.P. Bastide represented the Staveley Coal and Iron Company, and Mr. R. Ringham, agent at Markham , and Mr. A.L. Flint (h.M. Inspector of Mines) were also present.

Henry Dixon, father of the deceased, gave evidence of identification, and John Parsons, 29, Speedwell Terrace, Staveley, who was working with Dixon, described the accident. Parsons explained that he and Dixon were engaged in re-legging girders in the Shuttlewood plane of  the xxx coal seam. Thet were about to set a leg, and witness was looking for a good foundation, when suddenly they were both buried. He liberated himself and got away from the fall. He shouted to Dixon and asked if he were all right, but getting no reply, he returned to the fall and removed a lot of dirt from Dixon, who asked “Is that you,Jack?” Witness replied “yes,” and then cleared all the dirt away from Dixon’s face. He whistled for help, and two men came running up, and he sent one in each direction to get more assistance. When help arrived, as much as possible was cleared from Dixon, but one large lump which was holding the fallen girder down on him took a lot of moving. Dixon, however, was released in 15 to 20 minutes after the fall and he was then dead.

Coroner: Was the weight on his body?  – No, it was on the back of his neck.

Mr. Flint: How long had you been working at this place when the fall occurred? – Only about one minute.

Mr. Fint: Will you tell me as near as you can what you did during that time? – When we first arrived we started to remove small dirt out of the middle of the road to get a good foundation for a centre prop, but before we could do so, down it came. The girder was “jocked” in at one end.

Mr. Flint: You had not removed any material from above the girder? – No, none at all.

Mr. Flint: There was no sign of any previous fall? -No, no signs at all. What was Dixon doing at the time? – I was not taking particular notice; whether he was watching me clearing out the dirt or not I could not say.

Mr.Flint: How long were you working up the fall alone? – About four or five minutes. There was some ris, perhaps, of a further fall? – Yes. Can you account for the fall? – No. I cannot. Can you suggest anything which might have prevented it? – No. I don’t think it could have been prevented.

It just happened to be a coincidence that you arrived there at the moment it came? – Yes.

Answering Mr. Bastide, witness said that the end of the girder which fell was wedged in the rock without other support, but he could not say that the accident was caused by the rock being disturbed in some way. He was quite sure Dixon did nothing to disturb the end of the girder in the rock.

William Bates, 48, South Crescent, Duckmanton, a deputy, said the place appeared to be perfectly satisfactory when he examined it at 3 p.m. on the day of the accident.

The Coroner: What is your opinion of the cause of the accident? – I think a sudden bump caused the accident. There is nothing to lead you to believe that anything occurred from what they had been doing? -No.

Mr. Flint: There was some considerable risk in getting the fall clear, and it was rather plucky of Parsons and the other? – Everyone who was there was plucky.

Mr. Flint added that Parsons’ actions at the time were very commendable. It was very courageous of him to go back to the fall after he had been buried and remain there for five minutes alone trying to extricate his comrade.

The jury returned a verdict of “Accidental Death” and Mr. E.P. Bastide, in expressing sympathy with deceased’s relatives, also paid tribute to the good work Mr. Parsons and Mr. Bates did in endeavouring to extricate Dixon. The work was particularly dangerous, and their conduct was very courageous, and was appreciated by the Staveley Company.

The Coroner: It is typical of our miners to take no account of themselves when a comrade is in danger. They only think of the man they are trying to rescue.

1930 September                                    Goucher, Walter (35)                Roof Fall



Poolsbrook Miner’s Death in Chesterfield Hospital 

Accident at Markham Colliery

A verdict of “Accidental Death” was returned when Dr. R.A. McCrea (District Coroner) conducted an inquiry at the Chesterfield Royal Hospital on Tuesday on the body of Walter Goucher (35), who died in hospital on Friday as the result of an injury received whilst working at Markham No.2 Colliery on September 14th. Deceased who lived at 56. Staveley Road, Poolsbrook, enjoyed local fame as a sportsman, and gained several medals as a member of Calow football and cricket clubs. He leaves a widow and three boys.

Present at the inquest were Mr. J. Hall (h.M. Inspector of Mines), Mr. E.P. Bastide (solicitor to Staveley Coal and Iron Company), and Mr. R. Ringham (agent Staveley Coal and Iron Company).  Percival Booth, a blacksmith’s striker and brother-in-law of deceased, gave evidence of identification.

Dr. H.E. Pooler, stated that that Goucher was admitted to the hospital on September 14th suffering from shock and a fractured spine. He made good progress for nine days, when his condition became much worse, and on Friday he died from exhaustion following paralysis brought on by a fractured spine.

Frank Whitehead (24), Poolsbrook, who was working with deceased at the time of the accident, said that Goucher and he had just turned the coal cutting machine round when he heard Goucher shout “Oh!” Witness stopped the machine and went to the back of it where he found Goucher lying under a fall of roof. There was a lump weighing between four and five hundredweights on his back. Witness levered some of the weight off and fetched assistance. Goucher was conscious, and was talking to keep his spirits up.

In reply to Mr. Hall, Whitehead said it was necessary to take props out when the machine was turned round, and in this case one prop was taken out at a time and replaced as soon as possible. He did not think it was necessary to put “lids” on the props.

Joseph Thomas Doxey (37), 3, Duckmanton Road, Duckmanton, deputy, said he was summoned to the scene of the accident and Goucher said to him, “I think my back’s broken, Joe.” He had never known of a similar accident, and it was his opinion that it was not necessary to set the iron bars as the proper precautions had been taken. Deceased was a good workman of 22 year’s experience in that pit.

The Coroner returned a verdict recoded above.

Mr. Bastide, on behalf of the Staveley Coal and Iron Compant, expressed sympathy with the bereaved family.


The funeral took place on Wednesday at St. Peter’s Church, Calow. The Rev. C.H. Fisher officiated.

Ancestry Profile:  Walter Goucher. Please note that this is only available with a current Ancestry subscription.

1930 November                         Lavender, Joseph (54)                             Run over by tubs




Brimington  Man’s Tragic End

Fatality at Markham Colliery

The discovery on Thursday last of the body of Joe. Lavender (54) lying under some tubs at Markham No. 1 Colliery where he had been employed as a rope hand for over 30 years was investigated by the Chesterfield district Coroner (Dr. R.A. McCrea), who sat with a jury at Speedwell Mission Hall, Staveley, on Friday. Mr. Hall, H.M. Inspector of Mines, Sheffield, watched the proceedings, and also present were Mr. E.P. Bastide, representing the Staveley Co., Mr.J. Spencer, J.P., on behalf of the Derbyshire Miners’ Association,  Mr. R. Ringham, agent for Markham Collieries and Mr. H. Kirk, manager of the colliery.

Leonard Fletcher, 75, Wood Court, Hollingwood, deceased’s son in law said Lavender lived at 54, High Street, Hollingwood. He last saw deceased on Sunday when he appeared to be his normal health.

Oliver Young, driver, 21, Soresby Street, Chesterfield, said he had been working on the Sutton plane in the top hard seam on November 6th, and he saw deceased at about 9.45 a.m. with a set of full tubs. He had eight tubs on his clip and was walking in front of the set.

Mr Spencer: He had always done his work carefully and quite efficiently so far as you could judge?

Witness: Yes.

Had he his proper number of tubs on his clip? He had not exceeded his number? No – he had eight.

Joseph Hudson, 29, Staveley Road, Poolsbrook, stated that he was working in a “scouring” about 20 yards from the spot where the accident occurred. Deceased had passed him shortly before the accident walking about two yards in front of his set of eight tubs. About three minutes later witness heard a deputy named Tomkinson shouting for assistance, and immediately hurried to him, finding Lavender between two lines of tubs, his eight full ones and a set of empty ones. He was between the fourth and fifth tubs of the full run and was quite dead.

The pass-bye was dark, and deceased’s lamp was under the fish tub. He was in a hunched-up position with his head forward and nearly touching the ground.

By Mr. Spencer: The road was a fairly good one to walk on and deceased’s tubs were all on the road. In reply to a question from a juryman, witness said it was usual for a man to walk in front of his tubs.

Geo. FredK. Tomkinson, deputy. 40, South Crescent, Duckmanton, spoke of finding deceased. He said he went to the pass-bye to see how many empties were available. There were a few empty tubs in the pass-bye, and when he raised his lamp to count them he noticed something which looked like a lump of rock between the line of empties and the eight full tubs. On going to remove it he found it was Lavender. His right leg was between the fourth and fifth full tubs, his other leg was just clear, and his body was bent forward. With Hudson’s help he extricated deceased, who was quite dead.

By Mr. Hall:  The eight full tubs were standing along side the empties. There was not a great deal of clearance between the two sets of tubs, only about nine or ten inches. The haulage rope was running at the time, its speed being no more than a slow walk. The deceased man’s clip was fastened to the link of the first tub and detached from the rope. Witness could not think how deceased came to be trapped between the two lines of tubs. Lavender usually walked well in front of his tubs. He suggested that deceased might have become trapped in some way as he was detaching the clip, which might have been passing over a splice in the haulage rope, thus proving difficult to get off. The haulage rope, witness went on, ran very steadily without jerking.

Mr. Spencer: There are times when one cannot liberate the clip as easily as one would like?

Witness: Yes.

The Coroner suggested that deceased might have been trying to take the clip off just as the full tubs were about to pass the empties. Whilst so engaged he might have slipped and received some injury sufficient to produce unconsciousness. It was possible that so long as Lavenders’s body was not a direct obstacle it could have been carried on the full tubs between the two sets.

Tomkinson agreed with the Coroner that Lavender might have met his death in this way and the jury returned a verdict of  “Accidental death.” They expressed sympathy with the relatives of the deceased man, and Mr. E.P. Bastide, associating himself with the expression on behalf of the Staveley Company and the officials and other employees at the colliery, said Lavender had worked at Markham Colliery over 30 years, and was regarded as a very efficient man. On behalf of the Derbyshire miners Mr. Spencer joined in the condolences, observing that deceased was highly respected and a careful workman. In his opinion, the man slipped and became fast between two tubs. It was to be regretted, especially in view of his experience and his time of life.


The funeral was at Brimington Cemetery on Monday and was preceded by a service at Brimington P.M. Chapel, conducted by the Rev. Humble, Brimington. The hymns, “Rock of Ages” and “Jesu, Lover of My Soul” were sung, and Miss Edith Bower (niece), played the organ as the cortege entered and left the church.


Ancestry Profile:  Joseph Lavender. Please note that this is only available with a current Ancestry subscription.

Family Connections: Joseph was the uncle of Harry Lavender who was killed in the 1938 disaster at Markham Colliery on 10th May.

1930 November                         Beddingham, George William  (53)              Crushed by Tubs



Arkwright Town Miners’ Tragic End

How an Arkwright Town miner was crushed to death between his set of tubs and a brick wall was described to Dr. R.A. McCrea (the Chesterfield district Coroner) and a jury at the inquest at Arkwright Town Institute  on Friday on George William Beddingham, aged 53, of 157, Arkwright Town, who was killed when working at Markham No.2 Colliery on the previous day. Mr. A.L. Flint, Chesterfield, H.M. Inspector of Mines , attended, and there were also present Mr. E.P. Bastide, solicitor for Staveley Coal and Iron Co. ; Mr J. Lynch, Chesterfield, representing the Derbyshire Miners’ Association; and Mr. H. Kirk, manager of Markham Colliery.

J.E. Sissons, 157, Arkwright Town said deceased was his father-in-law, and was employed as a dataller at Markham No.2 Colliery. He was a very healthy man and his eyesight and hearing were both good. Witness had never known Beddingham to complain of faintness, and when he left for the colliery on Thursday he appeared to be quite well.

Samuel Swain, 151, Arkwright Town,a haulage corporal at the same pit, deposed that he was working on the Shuttlewood plane on the afternoon shift on Thursday. He was instructed to clear the full road to make room for a coal-cutter jib. Witness saw deceased with a set of 22 tubs on his clip and everything was then in order. After giving some instructions witness went round the Bell Roller turn and found Beddingham trapped between his set of tubs and the centre dividing wall. He immediately stopped the haulage rope and called for assistance. Deceased was quite dead-end the first four of his tubs were off the rails.

By Mr. Flint: Between the time witness first saw Beddingham and the time of the discovery of his body no mishap had occurred and witness had been along the road five minutes before and it was clear. Before deceased rounded the Bell Roller turn Swain had followed his set of 22 tubs for some distance and had noticed no jerking of the haulage rope. The road was quite level and he could not account for the accident. When he first saw him deceased was walking three yards in front of his set, and so far as witness was aware he would not have any occasion to turn back to his clip. He had never known any tubs to get off the road or slip at all at that bend. There was ample room for a man to walk upright on the road. A centre wall, about 50 feet in length, ran along the road at the bend in order to guide the empty tubs round the outside of the bend and full tubs on the inside of the bend. The road for the full tubs was four feet wide, and the width of a tub was about three feet.

By Mr. Bastide: Witness followed deceased for about 20 yards before he got to the bend, and did not notice any unsteadiness or giddiness. He had known Beddington for about six years, and they had worked together for some four years. Deceased always attended work regularly and never complained of his health.

Herbt. Parsons, 9 Duckmanton Road, Duckmanton, colliery deputy, stated that he was practically on the spot when the accident occurred. He was on the Shuttlewood plane and had just got to the point where the jib was to be moved from one road to another when he met Beddingham with a full set of tubs, followed by Swain. Soon afterwards witness heard Swain’s shouts, and on hurrying back he found Beddingham lying between the two roads about ten yards the other side of the Bell Roller turn. An examination of the turn disclosed blood stains on the brickwork and deceased’s cap was picked up a few yards from the point where the stains commenced.

By Mr. Flint: The clip was always put on the front of the set and a back clip was unnecessary, as the road was dead level. There were about 18 side rollers at the bend for the purpose of guiding tubs round, and witness considered the turn a well constructed one. He questioned whether it could be improved upon. Regulations required refuge holes at intervals of not more than 20 yards, and at that particular bend they were placed about ten yards apart. Witness had never heard of any previous mishap at that bend.

By Mr. Bastide: It was only in isolated cases that tubs were moved 22 at a time. The full tubs on deceased’s clip had to be moved to make room for a jib, otherwise they would not have been moved at all on the afternoon shift, which was a non-turning shift.

Harold Kirk, Duckmanton, manager of the Markham Colliery, stated that the distance between the supporting wall and the dividing wall was four feet. There was a space of nine or ten inches between the edge of the tubs and the dividing wall, and it was within this space that the deceased was carried some distance and crushed to death.

The Coroner observed that the blood marks on the brickwork showed the deceased had been crushed and carried along by the tubs. It would seem that the man fell for some reason and probably the end of a tub pinned him and took him along. It was impossible to determine whether he turned dizzy and fell and so became trapped or tripped and fell.

The jury, in returning a verdict of “Accidental death.” expressed sympathy with the family and other of Beddingham’s relatives, and Mr. Bastide, on behalf of the Staveley Coal and Iron Co., associated himself with the expression. Beddingham he said, had worked for the Company for a very long time and had always been regarded as a highly efficient workman. Mr. Lynch also joined in the condolences


The funeral took place at Duckmanton Church on Monday, the “Last Post” and “Reveille” being sounded at the graveside by Drum-Major W. Hopkinson, 6th Basttalion Sherwood Foresters.

Ancestry Profile:  George William Beddingham. Please note that this is only available with a current Ancestry subscription.

1931 July                                       Mellors, Herbert  (63)  Fall of Roof




Herbert Mellors (63), miner, of Bolsover, while at work in Markham Colliery, yesterday, received a fractured skull, and died a few hours after removal to Chesterfield Royal Hospital.

1932 Mar                                     Stevens, John (46)                                   Fall of Bind


Ancestry Profile:  John Stevens Please note that this is only available with a current Ancestry subscription.