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 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.

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.

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 November.             Fahey, Thomas   (29).                                       Fall of roof.





Barlbro’ Miner Fatally Injured in Markham No.1

The Inquest

Stating they thought every precaution had been taken, the jury returned a verdict of “Accidental death” at the inquiry, conducted by Dr. R.A. McCrea (Chesterfield and District Coroner) at the Chesterfield Borough Police Court on Friday, into the death of Thomas Fahey (29), Cottam Row, Marlboro’, who was trapped by a fall of stone while following his employment as a stallman at Markham No.1 Colliery on Tuesday.

There were present at the inquiry Mr. A.I. Flint (H.M. Inspector of Mines), Mr E.P.Bastide (solicitor to the Staveley Coal and Iron Co., Ltd.), and Mr. R. Ringham, colliery agent).

Dennis Fahey, %4, Mitchell Street, Clowne, said his son was strong and healthy. He saw him at the Chesterfield Royal Hospital, but deceased did not say anything about the accident.

Dr. T.P. Binns said deceased was admitted sufferings from a complete fracture of the spine and severe shock. There were extensive abrasions on his back, and he had also a compound fracture of the ankle. He died on November 30th from shock and a fracture of the spine.

Walter Blower, 63, Poolsbrook Road, Duckmanton, said he was working along with the deceased in 33s main gate. They started to blow down the ripping, and put the first in the pack hole. Witness proceeded to draw a prop, deceased standing about six feet away. The prop was almost to safety when there was a fall of stone from the roof, which struck Fahey on the back. Deceased, prior to the accident, was standing between two props, and these “ran out.” Witness shouted for help and began to liberate Fahey, but 20 minutes elapsed before he was completely free. A stretcher was waiting, and he was conveyed immediately to the pit bottom.

Mr. Flint: What was the height of the place?

Witness: Four feet to four feet six.

Did you see any break or slips in the roof? – There was a fault.

Mr. Bastide: The place was rather bad ground?

Witness:There was a fault.

Albert Edward Henshaw, colliery deputy, Duckmanton, said he examined the place were deceased and the last witness were working. Fahey was putting the dummy end of the pack on at the time. He passed again about 3.20 a.m. when they were getting still props out. Shortly after, he heard a fall and, going to the scene, found deceased under the dirt, and he assisted to liberate him. The pack was completed and right to the roof, and he himself would probably have stood where deceased was standing when struck by the fall. Deceased was an experienced and very good workman.He had no suggestion to improve the safety of the place, but after that accident he would advise men to stand further away from the pack.

The Coroner said deceased was standing between two props, and the jury had heard that witnesses would have stood there themselves. thinking it was safe.

A verdict of “accidental death” was returned, the jury adding they thought every precaution had been taken.

Sympathy with the relatives was expressed by Mr. Bastide, who said deceased made good time and was regarded by the company as an efficient workman.


The funeral took place at Barlboro’ on Monday, Fr. Kendall, Spinkhill, officiating.

1933 October                          Platts, George  (52)              Contents of aerial bucket fell on him




Aerial Ropeway Mishap at Markham Colliery Tip

Staveley Man Killed

How the contents of a bucket traveling on a wire rope 100 feet high fell upon and killed George Platts  (52) 24, St John’s Road, Staveley, while he was working on a tip at Markham Colliery on October 19th, was described to Dr. R.A. McCrea (Chesterfield and District Coroner) at an inquest which he conducted at Chesterfield on Monday.

The proceeding were watched by Mr J. Hall (h.M. Inspector of Mines, Sheffield) and Mr. E.P, Bastide (for Staveley Coal and Iron Company). The Coroner sat with a jury.

Sarah Jane Platts (50), the widow stated that her husband was a colliery surface labourer employed at Markham Colliery. He enjoyed good health, and on October 19th he went to work as usual, and the next occasion she saw him was in Chesterfield Royal Hospital. The deceased spoke to to her, but he did not say how the accident was caused. “he was in terrible pain, and I was with him when he died,” she added.

Dr. J. M. Wrigley said that deceased was admitted to the Chesterfield Royal Hospital at 4 p.m. He was suffering from extreme shock and internal hemorrhage, and the 9th, 10th, 11th ribs were fractured. The cause of death was shock following internal hemorrhage.

John Samuel Waller (38), colliery surface labourer, 236, South Moor Road, Brimington, said he was working with the deceased beneath the aerial ropeway along which buckets filled with refuse were travelling to the tip. One of the buckets missed the catch, which automatically causes it to tip its contents, and it traveled to the tower and then upset.Witness saw what was happening and shouted to the deceased “Look up.” Continuing, witness said: “I dipped for my own safety, and so did my mate (the deceased). and the next thing I saw was


on the ground. He was 17 to 18 feet from the base of the tower, and he was on his knees face downwards” Witness added that having dragged deceased to safety, as other buckets were unloading refuse overhead, he treated him for shock and summoned assistance. The accident, in witness’s opinion, was due to the fact that the buckets evenly balanced, so that when it reached the catch it remained on an even keel and failed to upset its contents until it reached the tower.

Asked by the Coroner if this was a frequent occurrence, witness replied that it happened occasionally.

Stanley Birch, colliery enginewright, Markham Cottages, Duckmanton, said that it was part of his duties to look after the aerial ropeway, and he made an examination of the apparatus and found everything in order at 11.30 a.m. that day. He also attributed the accident to the fact that the bucket was evenly balanced when it came in contact with the catch.

The Coroner said he felt something should be done to obviate such occurrences in the future.

Mr. Hall: I am satisfied that if it could be done, the Staveley Company would do it.

The Coroner suggested that perhaps a mechanical warning could be given when a bucket failed to operate, and Mr. Bastide promised to place the suggestions before the Staveley Company.

Following a short retirement, the jury returned a verdict of “Accidental death,” and expressed their sympathy with the widow and family. These expressions were endorsed by Mr. Bastide, who said that the deceased had worked for the Company all his life and was always regarded as a very efficient workman and the Company regretted that they should lose his services in sync an unfortunate manner.


The funeral took place at Staveley cemetery, following a service in Trinity Methodist Church conducted by the Rev. F.A.Tomlinson.

1935 March                           Yarnold, Daniel  (42)                                      Fall of Roof




Comrades’ Gallant Efforts To Rescue Barrow Hill Miner

Completely Buried by Fall

The courage of a party of miners at Markham No.1 Colliery in working for three-quarters of an hour liberate a man completely buried by a collapse of the roof with dirt falling around them all the time was warmly praised at the inquest on Friday on David (Daniel) Yarnold (42), 217 Barrow Hill. Yarnold was dead when he was eventually freed.

His fellow-miners who behaved so  bravely in liberating him, are: – John Halfyear, Hartington Road, Sprital; Charles Speed, Renishaw Road Mastin Moor; Leslie Stephens, 71, South Crescent, Duckmanton, the deputy; Clement McConnon and John Burns.

Philip Yarnold, the dead man’s brother, gave evidence of identification. He said his brother was not married.

Half said that on Wednesday March 13th, he was working at No.4 Conveyor Unit with Yarnold. Yarnold was getting coal when a piece about seven yards long came down on him and the roof collapsed. Witness was just on the edge of the fall, about three yards from Yarnold. Both lamps were buried in the fall, and witness was left in darkness. He could do nothing except shout for help, which cam immediately. Stephens, the deputy, was on the scene almost at once. It was half an hour to three-quarters before they were able to get Yarnold out. They had plenty of timber. The roof had seemed particularly good; better than usual. He noticed a “slip” after the accident. Two bars and a catch prop were knocked out by the fall.

Speed said he was working about 12 yards from Yarnold. He heard the fall and then Halfyear shouted “Stop the belt.” He passed this on and hurried to the scene, found Halfyear in the dark. Assistance was there in “next to no time.” When they had shifted some muck they saw Yarnold’s head and shoulders. He was pinned by a large piece of stone across his buttocks.

Stephens said he had visited Yarnold and Halfyear several times before the accident. On his second visit he found Yarnold had set the timber witness had told him to set on his first visit. The roof seemed quite sound, and witness was quite satisfied with it. When he was called to the scene he found Yarnold completely buried by a fall weighing 50 to 60 tons. It was very difficult to liberate him. There was no sign of life when they freed him. Witness did not think anything could have prevented the fall. Yarnold was one of the best men in the pit. He was very experienced and was usually picked out when there was any special work.

Dr. J.B. McKay said Yarnold died from shock following severe injuries. He sustained a fracture of the pelvis and internal injuries.

The Chesterfield and District Coroner (Dr. R.A. McCrea) said the fall was one of those accidents caused through a “slip” being absolutely hidden. Everyone did everything  possible to rescue the trapped man. The deputy gave instructions for a stretcher to be brought and for ambulance aid.

The jury returned a verdict of “Accidental death.”

Mr.E.P. Bastide, solicitor to the Staveley Coal and Iron Co., Ltd., on behalf of the Company and the management of the colliery, expressed deep sympathy with Yarnold’s relatives. His family had done very noble service for the Company. His father had worked for them all his life and now retired on pension, and Yarnold himself had worked for the Company from being a boy with the exception of his war service. He was regarded as a special man, and for any work of extreme difficulty his services were sought by the management. Mr. Bastide said he wished to pay a special tribute to the deputy and Halfyear, Speed, and two other men, Clement McConnon and John Burns, for their noble service in trying to get Yarnold out. During the whole of the half to three-quarters of an hour they were trying to free him dirt was falling around them, and they ran a very serious risk. It must have required considerable courage especially on the part of Halfyear, who had miraculously escaped the fall itself. Their action was a great credit to them. Only a quarter of an hour after they had liberated Yarnold a further fall of 15 tons occurred. The Company deeply appreciated their services.

Dr.McCrea said the men had maintained and enhance the reputation of the Derbyshire miner. There was no braver man and no man was prepared to take greater risks to help his comrades than the Derbyshire miner.

Mr Yarnold enlisted in the Royal Fusiliers in December 1914, and continued in the Service until 14 days after the Armistice. He was awards the Military Medal and bar, and in 1916 was promoted to the rank of sergeant for gallantry in the field.


The interment took place in Staveley Cemetery on Monday, preceded by a service in the Zion Methodist Church, conducted by Rev. E. Isherwood. The hymns sung were “The Radiant Morn” and “Jesus, Lover Of My Soul.”

1935 July                                    Hewerdine, John Hedley                                           Crushed by tubs.




Chesterfield Man Fatally Injured in Markham Pit

A verdict of “Accidental death” was returned at the inquest conducted at Chesterfield Borough Police Station on Tuesday by the Chesterfield and District Coroner, Dr. R. A. McCrea, on John Hedley Hewerdine (35), 83, Tapton View Road, Chesterfield, who died in Chesterfield Royal Hospital on Saturday, following an accident in Markham Colliery the previous day.

Eileen Hewerdine, the widow, said that her husband was a steel prop official at the Colliery. On July 26th he went to work on the dat shift, and about one o’clock the same day she received a message to go to the hospital, where she saw her husband. He was not unconscious, but he did not answer her when she asked him what had happened.

Dr. Fleming said that Hewerdine when admitted to hospital was suffering from multiple abrasions of his head, right side and legs. He was deeply shocked and almost unconscious, and remained in the same state until he died the following day. The cause of death was shock due to internal injuries and a fracture of the skull.

Arthur Lindley (21), 2, Bridle Road, Stanfree, a haulage hand at the colliery, said that his work consisted of dropping empty tubs into 3’s gate. These empties had to cross the “full” road to get into the gate. On July 26th he had been helping Hewerdine to take out some props from a train of timber which was being sent into 3’s gate. These props were to be divided between 3’s and 5’s units, and they had to be loaded into the empties. He saw a set of full tubs approaching and took out the knot. The set was about 15 yards away, and at the same a set of empties was entering the turn. He crossed to the other side of the road and then saw the full tubs bump into something, and he immediately shouted for the rope to be stopped. The front tubs seemed to leap forward and then run away owing to a coupling breaking. He went down to the junction and saw Hewerdine lying on the ground between two sets of rails. An ambulance man was immediately sent for.

Frederick Barnard Inkersall, Brimington, said that the set of 12 full tubs passed. As the front tub approached the roller it seemed to strike it, and those following seemed to jump into the front tub. The rope was promptly stopped and all the tubs jerked out, and a coupling at the back of the fifth tub broke. He then heard a collision between the five runaway tubs and the empties, and went to the junction and saw Hewerdine partly underneath a tub. The set of full tubs was held by a clip both at the front and back, and the first bump occurred. The back rope would have held the tubs had not the coupling broke.

Stanley Smith, 79, Newbold Moor, Chesterfield, and Albert Brown, overman, 21, Duckmanton Road, Duckmanton, also gave evidence.

Following a shot retirement, the jury returned a verdict of “Accidental death” and the foreman said they wished to express sympathy with the widow and family.

Mr. E.P. Bastide, who represented the Staveley Coal and Iron Co., said that Hewerdine had worked for the company all his life, and the company was looking forward to having the advantage of his services for many years. They had hoped he would have a bright future and had recently appointed him to the position he held owing to the excellence of his work. The company was very sorry to lose him in such a tragic way., and expressed sympathy with the relatives.


The funeral took place at Newbold Church, Chesterfield, on Wednesday.

1935 September                       Chambers, William Henry (47)                                   Fall of Roof




Chesterfield Stallman Fatally Injured In Pit

The Inquest

A verdict of accidental death was returned at an inquest conducted by the Chesterfield & District Coroner (Dr. R.A. McCrea) at Chesterfield on Tuesday, when with a jury he inquired into the circumstances surrounding the death of William Henry Chambers (47), 42, Crown Yard, New Whittington, Chesterfield, a stallman employed at Markham Colliery No.2 who died in the Chesterfield Royal Hospital as a result of injuries received, when a fall of rock occurred in the district in which he was working in the pit on September 25th.

The proceedings were watched by Mr. R. Ringham (Agent), Mr. J. Hall (H.M. Inspector of Mines) and Mr F. Lee (Assistant Secretary to the Derbyshire Miners’ Association).

Ellen Chambers, the widow, said that her husband left home at 5.30a.m. on September 25th to go to work, and at 3.30p.m. the same day witness saw him in the Chesterfield Royal Hospital.

Dr. Locke (Chesterfield Royal Hospital) stated that Chambers was admitted at 2.45p.m., suffering from a fractured spine.  The spine was reduced and the deformity corrected, but the spinal cord was damaged. Chambers died on October 13th.

John Gaunt, 53, Arkwright Town, stated that he was working in the Shuttlewood District of the pit about noon and he was talking to Hobson, the shot-firer, about having a shot in his coal. Chambers was working about 12 yards away. Suddenly they heard a crash. Hobson turned away and shouted “Are you all right?” but he received no reply., whereupon he rushed to the spot where Chambers had been working. Hobson called witness and he (witness) found Chambers lying practically face downwards with a piece of bind weighing about six hundred weights on top of him. Chambers was liberated as soon as possible, and following treatment and the arrival of the deputy, he was conveyed on a stretcher to the pit bottom and then to the surface, where a doctor was waiting.

Witness did not know what Chambers was doing prior to the accident. “We had our backs turned to him,” he added.


William Albert Hobson, shot-firer, The Sycamores, Hill Top, Duckmanton, said that he was working in the No. 7’s conveyor unit and at mid-day he was talking to the previous witness regarding the question of firing a shot. Just prior to that witness had passed Chambers who was shovelling coal on to the belt. He was standing between the bar and catch prop. “I asked him what his roof was like and he said “like a bell” added witness, who said he moved on to talk to Gaunt and subsequently heard the crash. On running back witness “took the weight” of the stone which was lying on top of Chambers and shouted for assistance. Witness examined the place afterwards and found that the fall was about 12 feet long. It had knocked out the catch-prop and one bar.

Arthur Jones, deputy, 44, South Crescent, Duckmanton, said that he first visited the spot at 8.15 a.m. He was quite satisfied with the working conditions where Chambers were employed. Witness’s second visit was at 11.15a.m. when Chambers was having his “snack”. Witness asked him what the condition of the roof was like, and he replied, “Its champion, t will not be long before I shall be out.” Witness should say that in his opinion Chambers was kneeling when he was struck by the fall. He supervised Chambers being placed on the stretcher and as he could see his injuries were serious, witness arranged for a doctor to meet the stretcher on its arrival at the surface. This was done.

Mr. Hall questioned witness regarding the position in which he placed Chambers on the stretcher and witness replied that Chambers was placed on his back.

Mr. Hall: Did you hear anything about carrying a man on his face?

Witness: Not until afterwards.

Mr. Lee remarked that opinion varied greatly regarding whether a man should be placed on his face or back when he had sustained certain injuries.

The Coroner said that it was extremely difficult to make a hard and fast rule about that. It might be better in some cases to place a man with injuries to his back on his face, and on the other hand it might be just as well to place him on his back. It all depended on the position of the fracture.

Mr Hall said that he was not casting any reflection on Jones’s capabilities as an ambulance man.

Jones proceeded to state that he was a fully qualified member of the ambulance brigade etc., whereupon the Coroner turned to him and remarked. “You carry on as you have been doing until you are told different. You did quite right.”

Without retiring, the jury returned a verdict as stated and sympathised with the relatives.

Mr. Ringham said Chambers was a very careful and well esteemed man and one who could ill be spared.

Mr. Lee also associated himself with the remarks.


The interment took place in Whittington Parish Churchyard yesterday (Thursday), The Rector (the Rev. E.A. Cropton) officiated.

1936 September                   Crehan, John (54)                                          Fall of Roof




Started Work After Discharge From Hospital Felling “Better Than Ever”

Markham Pit Accident Recalled

The story of a miner at Markham No.1 Colliery who returned to work after being discharged from hospital, whence he had gone after being struck on the head with a lump of stone, and subsequently stated that “he never felt better in his life” and that he could not see why he had been taken to hospital, but who was later found unconscious and died, was related at an inquest conducted by the District Coroner (Dr. R.A. McCrea), who sat with a jury, at Chesterfield on Saturday.

The man was John Crehan (54), who lived in lodgings at Longlands, Bolsover.

Thomas Crehan., giving evidence of identification, said that he last saw his brother alive in 1926, owing to the strike, his brother went home to Ireland.  Witness added that he and his brother (who was unmarried) had not corresponded much of late.

Patrick Ford, unemployed colliery surface worker, 34, Townsend, Bolsover, said Crehan and he had been life-long friends. Crehan worked regularly on the night shift. On Sept. 20th when witness saw him he was in his normal state of health. A day or two later he heard he had been taken to Chesterfield Royal Hospital as a result of an accident at work. He visited him and Crehan said that a piece of stone flew out and caught the bridge of his nose, and he had had to have it stitched. Crehan was in hospital about ten day, and when he came out he seemed quite well, and said that he was.

In reply to a question by the Coroner, witness said that Crehan made rather light of his injury.

Ford went on to say that Crehan started work again on October 13th, and appeared to be perfectly all right. He had been in Crehan’s company every evening since, and he had never complained except about a cold. This was true of the evening of October 28th. On the following day he was informed that Crehan had come home from work and had collapsed. He went to his home and found him lying on the floor in the living room in an unconscious condition. That was at 7.30a.m. He went to the hospital with him in the ambulance and he had visited him, but he never recovered consciousness.

Witness once more emphasised that he had never heard Crehan complain about his health before.


Dr. H.D. Flemimg, of Chesterfield Royal Hospital, said Crehan was admitted on Sept. 21st suffering from a severe laceration of the forehead, which extended deeply down to the bone. It started from the bridge of the nose and curled upwards over the left eyebrow. Altogether it was about three inches long and it had been bleeding profusely. There was no sign of a fracture of the skull, and he was treated and discharged on the 30th.

The doctor added that his patient complained of a headache on the right side the day after he was admitted, and his lasted a day or two. He was quite fit when discharged.

He was again admitted on the 29th of the nest month, when he was unconscious and completely paralyzed in all his limbs. His condition became worse and it was thought an operation to relieve pressure on the brain might possibly afford him some hope. The operation was performed and he improved immediately as a result, but he relapsed again and died about one and a half hours after the operation.

On October 30th witness conducted a post mortem examination along with two other doctors, and found there was no fracture of the skull but a very large hemorrhage in the right ventricle, which had extended widely from the central cortex to the right side. The left side of the brain was free from hemorrhage. The hemorrhage, in his opinion, had caused death, but Crehan, he said, had had a slight previous hemorrhage, probably at the time subsequent to the accident. The cause of death was cerebral hemorrhage following an injury to the head – a laceration of the forehead.

The Coroner asked the doctor if it would have been possible for the man to have had a light hemorrhage and have recovered sufficiently in ten day to resume work without it showing any signs.

The doctor replied that it would. Such cases were rare, but they had been recorded before. An injury to the head might produce an injury to the brain in quite a different part.

He was asked it if were possible that the hemorrhage was due to any other injury, and the doctor replied that there was no signs of another injury but the laceration. The only other possibility was that it was a spontaneous hemorrhage that had nothing to do with the accident. That was possible, but from their findings he thought there was no doubt that the primary cause of death was some small hemorrhage prior to his collapse.


Frederick Henry Hill, 20 Poolsbrook Road, Duckmanton, said that on Sept. 21st he was at work with Crehan. At about 2 a.m. they commenced to bore a shot hole. They sounded the roof and were satisfied with its condition, and with permission they proceeded to bore, standing side by side. At 2.20 p.m. when the hole was completed, a lump of stone fell and struck Crehan on the front of his helmet and knocked it down over his eyes. Crehan said to him: “See if it caught me. Is it bad?.”

Witness went for the deputy and the ambulance box. The deputy came straight away and dressed the wound, and then ordered Crehan out of the pit, witness going with him. Crehan did not want to go and persisted that he was all right. The deputy insisted on him going out, and Crehan then wanted to walk into the ambulance, but the attendant would not let him.

Hill added that the lump of stone weighed about one and a half hundred weights. He saw him in hospital at 2.30 p.m. on Sept 23rd, when he said that he did not know why they were keeping him there.

He resumed work on October 13th without a word or a murmur as to his injury. He worked night shifts until October 28th, and carried out his duties in the ordinary way. On the morning of the 29th he saw Crehan for the last time, when he said what a beautiful morning it was.

This witness also stated that Crehan treated his injury very lightly and grumbled about being sent to hospital at all.

The deputy, John William Lievesley, North Crescent, Duckmanton, said he visited the scene of the fall about 11 p.m. on Sept. 20th, and again about an hour later, and he found everything satisfactory. At 2.20 he was at the gate end when Hill came and told him of the accident. He immediately went back with him and found Crehan bleeding rather badly. He bandaged the wound. Crehan said: “Is it cut badly” and witness replied: “Rather bad, but I have seen worse.”

Crehan did not want to go out of the pit, added Lievesley.

He examined the place where they had been boring, but found nothing out of the ordinary, except that a piece of stone had been dislodged, and this, he thought, had been done by the vibration of the drill. He further stated that Crehan was an experienced workman. On October 14th he said to him: “Are you all right?’

Crehan responded: “I never felt better in my life.”

He worked every night shift until the 28th, and never made any complaint.

It was stated that his helmet was not damaged except for a minor scrape. The Coroner said that the doctor’s evidence was most important, and repeated it.

The jury returned a verdict of “Accidental death,” the foreman stating that they were unanimous that the accident was the sole cause of death.

Sympathy the Coroner remarked that there was no doubt that if the man had not had his helmet on his skull would have been smashed in by the blow to glance and prevented a direct blow.

1938, May               79 Miners Killed.                                       Explosion
1938 August                 Simpson, Alfred (33)                               Crushed by tubs




Alfred Simpson, aged 35, a married man of 179, Woodland road, Sheepbridge, was killed at the Staveley Coal and Iron Company’s Markham No.4 Colliery last night.

It is believed that he was caught fast in the cage with some empty tubs and was dragged backwards. He was found at the bottom of the 60ft. sump, and was so severely injured that he must have died almost immediately.

1939 January                Goodall, Benjamin (45)                         Fall of Roof




Victim of Fall of Roof at Duckmanton Pit

Inquest Verdict


Without retiring, a Chesterfield jury on Friday returned a verdict of  “Death by misadventure” on Benjamin Goodall (45), 8, Shaw’s Row, Brampton, Chesterfield, who was injured on Tuesday week by a fall of roof at the No.4 pit of Markham Colliery, Duckmanton, and died shortly after admission to Chesterfield Royal Hospital the same day.

The inquest was conducted by the Chesterfield District Coroner (Mr. F.D. Worthington) and also present were Mr. I.G.E. Leek (Worksop), H.M. Inspector of Mines, Mr. B. Mather (representing the widow), Mr. C.M. White (representing the colliery) and Mr. H. Kirk (agent to Markham Colliery).

Henry Goodall (21), son, a haulage hand at Markham Colliery, said that he and his father, who lived at the same address, were both on the day shift, and on the day of the accident went to work together. About 3 p.m. witness was told his father had been involved in an accident and he went to the ambulance room and later rode in the ambulance which took his father to hospital.

Dr. R.S. Hawkins said that Goodall on admission at 3.30 p.m. was very shocked and completely unconscious. His pupils were very constricted but this was due to some morphia administered by an outside doctor. Witness ordered his immediate removal to a ward, but he died within five minutes without regaining consciousness.

A post-mortem examination was made on the following day. There were very few marks of external violence except laceration of the left shoulder and abrasions of the right arm, but there were two fractured ribs on the right side near the spine, the left kidney was completely pulped and there was a fracture of the pelvis.

Death was due to internal hemorrhage following extensive damage to the left kidney, accelerated by shock from other injuries he had sustained.


A description of the accident was given by Stanley Gill, Stallman, 29, Mansfield Road, Hasland, Chesterfield, who was a working alongside Goodall and was himself caught by the fall. Gill, whose head was still partly covered with plaster, said they were working in deep hards seam, not a yard away from each other, and were busy at the coal face filling coal. Having advanced some distance from their last bar, they would in the ordinary way have set a catch prop but decided upon another bar on account of the roof, in which a slip was visible.

“We had actually commenced this and we had a bar up and prop up,” went on Gill. “Ben had his back underneath the bar, and I was ready to strike with the hammer to tighten up, when the fall occurred.”

Witness said that both of them were caught by the fall, and he himself was momentarily dazed from a blow on the head, but just scrambled clay. Goodall also got clear but then collapsed to his knees, and was taken into the gate, where he received first-aid treatment.

The fall, which was broken up on the floor, was of about 10 cwts. Gill added that the deputy made an inspection at 12.30 (about three quarters of an hour before the fall) and after sounding the roof with his stick, appeared satisfied. The slip was not then apparent and so the deputy had given no specific instructions for setting the bar. There was ample timber at hand, and the bar they were setting was the only timber knocked out by the fall.

Mr. Leek: You decided the roof would hold while you set the bar?

Witness: Yes, sir.

Can you think of anything more you could have done to prevent the accident? – I think it was one of those accidents which could not have been avoided.

Have you since been working in any different way to avoid a similar occurrence? – We have thought of nothing fresh.

Edward Bond, stallman, 130, Chatsworth Road, Brampton, who was working a few yards away, said the fall occurred just as described by the last witness. He immediately went towards them and found Goodall on his knees apparently hurt, but conscious. He added that the roof was generally good at that place.

The deputy in charge, John Dowds, 16, South Crescent, Duckmanton, said that when he made an inspection of the place about 12.20 everything was in order and there was no slip visible. Since the accident he had made another examination and found the fall was of about 10 or 12 cwts. The surrounding roof was quite good but he discovered a distinct sign of a slip which was evidently the cause of the fall.

As stated the jury’s verdict was “Death by misadventure,” the Coroner remarking that this was one of those unfortunate occurrences which could not possibly have been foreseen.

The jury and Mr. White expressed sympathy with the relatives of the dead man, and Mr. Mather on behalf of the widow, acknowledged the remarks.

1939 October                 Hill, Ernest (25)                                       Crushed by tubs




Duckmanton Haulage Hand Fatally Injured

Accident in Markham No. 1 Pit

The Chesterfield and District Coroner (Mr F. D. Worthington) conducted an inquest at Chesterfield on Tuesday on Earnest Hill (25), haulage had, 84 Poolsbrook Road, Duckmanton, who died in Chesterfield Royal Hospital on Thursday week, following injuries received in Markham No. 1 Pit the previous Monday. Evidence of identification was given by the dead man’s brother-in-law, Ernest Owens, 67, North Crescent, Duckmanton, a belt turner at Markham Colliery. He said that Hill was a single man. When he saw him in hospital he was conscious, but did not give him any account of the accident. Dr. S. Scher, house surgeon at the hospital, said that Hill was admitted at 2.10 p.m. on October 2nd. He was suffering from shock due to internal injuries and a fractured forearm.


He was operated upon the same afternoon for internal injuries.  He died on October 5th at 9.55 p.m. Death was due to peritonitis and pneumonia, following an operation for multiple laceration and a rupture of the small bowel. The operation in itself was quite successful. He rallied after it, but complications set in.

Ralph Coleman, haulage had, 59, Arkwright Town, said that on October 2nd he was on the day shift working at 3’s junction, Blackshale seam, Markham No. I Pit. The accident happened about 12.45 p.m. At the time there were about 32 stationary trucks at the junction. It was his job to lower these tubs to the junction. Hill was standing close to the stationary tubs, and his job was to assist the tubs over the point as they drawn into the bend. A bump suddenly came from the back, and the first tub was derailed. This brought it up against the corner of the brick wall. It cause others behind it to “heel over.” Hill was five or six yards from him (witness) when this happened. The tubs seemed to catch Hill against the side of the road and then they righted  themselves. He (witness) found Hill lying on the ground. He complained of pain in his stomach. Help was at once sent for.


In answer to Mr C. M. White (representing the Staveley Co.) witness said that he was present when the accident was re-staged for his Majesty’s Inspector of Mines. None of the tubs on the pit ten became derailed. Joseph Wainwright, another haulage had, of 56, Poolsbrook Road, Duckmanton, corroborated the previous witness’s statement.

A third haulage had, Harry Goodfellow, 191, Poolsbrook, said that he was engaged in “knocking off” the empty tubs. He heard a run of empties come on the road and he moved forward to knock them off. There was actually 16 tubs on the run. The tubs he “knocked off” ran further than he expected as the stationary tubs had been moved further than he thought. The consequent bump was harder than usual. He would not have expected that bump to derailed the first stationary tub.

The Coroner said that he was satisfied that no blame could be attached to anyone. It was quite probable that the truck was actually derailed before the bump occurred.

A verdict of “Accidental death” was returned

Expressing sympathy with the relatives, Mr. White, said Hill had worked at the pit since he was a boy and was one of the best haulage hands.

Mr. C. W. Scott H.M. Inspector for Mines and Mr H Kirk (colliery agent) were present at the inquiry.

Mr Hill was well known as a footballer, having play for the Markham and Bolsover clubs.

1939 August               Farndon, William Henry (42)            Fall of Roof




Chesterfield Miner Caught by Fall of Flamper

Accidental in Markham Pit

William HenryFarndon (42), stallman, 49, Church Street North, Old Whittington, Chesterfield, was on the day shift at Markham No. 1 Colliery on Friday. He had finished his own work and was helping a fellow-workman where there was a fall of flapper and he received injuries from which he died almost immediately.

The Chesterfield and District Coroner (Mr. F.D. Worthington) conducted an inquest at Staveley Council Offices on Tuesday.

Mr. C.W. Scott, H.M. Inspector of Mines, was present, as also was Mr. H. Kirk (colliery agent) and Mr. M.C. Hanna solicitor to the Staveley Company.

The widow, Mrs. Annie Farndon gave evidence of identification and said that she last saw her husband alive at 4.10 a.m. on Friday.


Dt. J.B. McKay, Bolsover, said that he was called to the pit about 3.5p.m. He went down the pit and met the stretcher party coming out. He formed the opinion then that Farndon was dead. On examination in the ambulance room he found that the man had a severe fracture of the skull. Death was due to severe laceration the brain caused by the fracture of the skull.

William Randall Harrison, 94, Searston Avenue, Holmewood, said that on Friday he was working with Farndon who had finished his own work and was assisting him with his. The coal had been cut and they were putting it on the conveyor belt. Farndon was using a pneumatic pick to dislodge a piece of coal, and he (witness) was about four feet away from him at the time of the accident. He had his back to him when he heard a fall and turning around found Farndon lying on the ground with his face to the coal face. It was a fall of about two tons and a piece of flapper was on Farndon’s head.  He called for assistance and they had no difficulty in releasing him. First aid was rendered. He never murmured or even shouted. He was breathing when he (witness) first found him, but he though that he died as he was taken along the coal face on the way out.


Witness said that part was well timbered. The bars were in proper position. The fall came without warning. He did not detect any slip or break.

Herbert Harrison, stallman, 24, Park View, Harland, Chesterfield, said he was working with Farndon and the last witness (his brother). At the time of the accident he was three or four yards away. He did not see the fall but heard it. He agreed with his brother that the part was properly timbered.

The deputy John Nsylor, 68, North View, Carr Vale, said that he examined the place where the men were working about 2 p.m. He was well satisfied that it was well timbered. He did not find any sign of a break and could not account for the fall which weighed between two and three tons and was mainly composed of clamber.

The Coroner returned a verdict of “Death by Misadventure.” and expressing sympathy with the relatives said that no blame could be attached to any of the workmen.


Mr Hanna associated himself, on behalf of the Company, with the expression of sympathy and said that Farndon was a very diligent and reliable workman. He was well thought of in the pit and by the officials. His diligence was exampled by the fact that he had finished his own work and had gone to help his fellow workmen.

Born at Newbold Moor, Mr. Farndon had resided at Old Whittington since the time of his marriage. In his younger days he was a keen local footballer, and his interest in sport was maintained in a non-playing capacity. A prominent member of the St.John Ambulance Division at Sheepbridge, he was also attached to the first aid post at Swanwick Memorial Hall. He held the office of Woodward to the Whittington Moor Court Fowler Lodge of the Ancient Order of Foresters. He leaves a widow, one son and one daughter.

Mr. Farndon regularly attended Whittington Parish Church, where the funeral took place on Tuesday, the Rector (Rev. E.A. Crompton) officiating.

1939 August             Wing, Charles  (37)                             Fall of Roof




Miner’s Death Three Months After


Charles Wing (37), 39, Hill Top Road, Old Whittington, a stallman at Markham No.1 Black Shale pit of the Staveley Company, was sitting near the coal face having his “snap” when a large piece of bind fell on him from the roof, and fractured his spine. This was on August 31st and although he made good progress from his injuries, bronchial pneumonia supervened, and he died last Saturday.

At the inquest at Chesterfield yesterday, C.M. Halkin, North Road, Duckmanton, stallman, and Harry Orwin, Arkwright Town, deputy, said there was no sign of any break in the roof.

Mr. C.W. Scott, H.M. Inspector of Mines, asked Orwin: “Don’t you consider it rather a dangerous place to sit against the coal face to have your snap.”

Orwin: I thought it was about the safest place he could have chosen.

The Coroner (Mr.F.D. Worthington) recorded a death by misadventure.

1940 April               Beardsley, William (63)                        Crush by cage




Staveley On-setter Fatally Injured at Markham Pit

Unusual Accident

How an on-setter was fatally injured when he was trapped by a cage in Markham Colliery was described at an inquest held at Staveley U.D.C. offices on Wednesday on William Beardsley (63), 26, Duke Street Staveley

Mary Elizabeth Smith, 26 Duke Street, Staveley, who gave evidence of identification, said that Beardsley lodges with her mother.

Maurice Clark, 7, North Grove, Duckmanton, telephone operator at Markham No.2 Pit, said that at 6.25p.m. on April 1st he was asked to find the on-setter Beardsley, and on going to the pit bottom he noticed a shovel on the sump boards. On making a close examination he found Beardsley on the sump boards with the chair of the cage resting on his back. He was in a sitting position with his head bent forward, and his legs and head clear of the cage. Witness informed the bandsman on the surface and in response to his instructions witness signaled for the cage to be raised and stopped. The signals were obeyed, and the cage moved steadily off the man. Witness then went for help.

Mr. M.C. Hanna on behalf the Staveley Coal and Iron Co., congratulated Clark on his coolness, attention and diligence on the occasion of the accident.

John Thomas Poole, 29, South Crescent, Duckmanton, Haulage had employed at Markham Colliery, said that it appeared as if Beardsley must have gone to the sump board to remove something with a shovel, and from the position in which he was in when witness saw him, the cage apparently descended on top of him. Witness immediately got him out and sent for a stretcher and blankets. Beardsley appeared to be dead.

Witness added, in reply to Mr. C.W. Scott, H.M. Inspector of Mines that it would be incorrect for Beardsley to go under the cage without giving a signal “eight” unless an emergency had arisen.

The Chesterfield and District Coroner (Mr. F.D. Worthington): Supposing he had dropped his shovel, would you expect him to go and get it without a signal

Witness: Yes, sir.

You mean the risk is so slight, it would be taken? – Yes.

But really there would no be any risk attached to it.

Witness answering the inspector, said that when once a bandsman had charge of both chairs he would give no signal of a change in intention. As a precaution, it might be advisable.


Mr. Hanna: There is a strict regulation that the on-setter must signal “eight” to the top before anyone goes on the sump? – Yes.

Of course, we all know people do take risks in coal mines, but the fact that he might have reached for his shovel without signalling would be contrary to instructions? – Yes.

Leonard Griffiths, 87, Poolsbrook Cottages, Staveley, a bandsman, said that he did not receive the “eight” signal or any signal from Beardsley. If the “eight” signal had been given it would have gone through to the winder.

Wotness, in reply to the inspector, said that Beardsley would have expected the cage to go up but instead of that the cage went down. It would not be usual to let the on-setter know of the change of intention.

Witness agreed with Mr. Hanna that if he had to let the on-setter know of any change on intention that would destroy the value of the regulation always to ring “eight” in all circumstances. The safest thing to do was to follow out the regulation.

William Henry Makin, 36, Brookbank Avenue, Chesterfield, engine-winder at Markham Colliery, also stated that the signal “eight” was not given.

Dr. J.B. McKay, Bolsover, said that he saw Beardsley in the ambulance room at Markham Colliery. He was dead, and the injuries were a broken neck, a fracture of the spine and multiple fractures of the ribs. Death was almost instantaneous, and the injuries were consistent with a heavy weight on the back.

The Coroner said he was satisfied that the signal “eight” was not given by Beardsley, and that if he had given the signal, which was the signal he was required to give by the regulations, that accident could not have happened. It was possible to have many regulations, and where they had got one which was plain to carry out and was in itself sufficient to prevent an accident, it would be foolish to try and add fresh regulations, which would make it more complicated. He returned a verdict that death through misadventure was due to a fracture of the spine and multiple injuries

Mr Hanna is associating himself with the Coroner’s expression of sympathy with the friends and relatives, said that Beardsley had worked for the Staveley Coal and Iron Company for 50 years, and he had been an on-setter for 20 years. He not only had a long record of service but he was regarded as a very worthy diligent workman, who was well liked. He had never before had an accident and it was all the more tragic that he took what in his (Beardsley’s) estimation was a slight risk, which led to a tragedy in circumstances, in which he would never allow anyone else to take a similar risk.

And J.S. Spencer, on behalf of the Derbyshire Miners’ Association, added his tribute and sympathy.

1940 September      Barthorpe, Samuel (40)                          Fall of Roof




Inquest on Chesterfield Miner

The story of how a Chesterfield miner, pinned by a fall at Markham Colliery on Monday, escaped severe head injuries by wearing a helmet, and subsequently died in Chesterfield Royal Hospital the same day during an operation for minor injuries to his right hand was told at the inquest yesterday (Thursday) afternoon conducted by the District Coroner (Mr F.D. Worthington).

The man was Sanuel Barthorpe (40), stallman, 16 Milton Crescent, Chesterfield. Evidence of identification was given by the widow, Mrs Violet Barthorpe.

Dr. A.J. Freese, casualty officer at Chesterfield Royal Hospital, said that he saw the man when he was admitted about 1.40p.m. on Monday. He was unconscious and had deep lacerations to his right hand and a bruise of the left arm. He was suffering from concussion. He became fully conscious about 4 p.m. and at 6.45 p.m. he was taken to the operating theatre. He did not appear to be suffering from shock, and there were no signs of injury to the brain. The operation had been in progress about 10-15 minutes when the man suddenly stopped breathing. Artificial respiration was administered and injections given but without response. After about a quarter of an hour, he was transferred to the iron lung, where he was kept for three quarters of an hour, but of no avail. A post mortem examination was performed the following day and disclosed that the man was perfectly healthy. There were no signs of xxxxx which there would have been if there had been any obstruction in the respiration. He (witness) was perfectly satisfied with the manner in which the general anesthetic was given. Death in his opinion was due to heart failure.



The funeral of Mr Samuel Barthorpe (40), of 16, Milton Crescent, Chesterfield a miner at Markham Colliery, who did in Chesterfield Royal Hospital on Monday week, took place at Boythorpe Cemetery on Saturday. The Rev. E.H.T. Parker officiated

As was reported in the Derbyshire Times last week, Barthorpe was injured as the result of being pinned by a fall at Markham Colliery the previous Monday. He escaped severe head injuries by wearing a Helmut, but was taken to hospital suffering from concussion and minor injuries to his right hand. About two hours after he regained consciousness an operation was performed in the middle of which he collapsed and died from heart failure. At the inquest a verdict of “Death by misadventure,” was returned.

Mr Barthorpe was born in Chesterfield and was well known because he and his father, Mr Frank Barthorpe, assisted Mr. Gascoyne (newsagent) of Gluman Gate, to deliver newspapers for about 20 years. After leaving school he worked for Mr. G.E. Clark, the horse dealer, before joining the Army in the last war. With the Sherwood Foresters, Barthorpe saw service in Ireland at the time of the rebellion and was also a member of the Army of Occupation in Germany after the war. He had been a miner at Markham Colliery for the last four years and was formerly at Glapwell. He leaves a widow and three children.

1941 February        Claude Sharman (24)                                 Trapped between cage and baulk




Duckmanton Man Fatally Trapped

At an inquest at Chesterfield Borough Police Court on Monday on Claude Sharman (24), married, 8, Markham Road, Duckmanton, who was fatally trapped between a cage and a baulk in Markham Colliery, it was stated that the accident was due to an unfortunate combination of circumstances which led to a premature warning being given to a winder.

Herbert Gladwin, 19, London Street, New Whittington, Chesterfield, an onsetter, said that he was working on the top deck of the cage at the pit bottom of the Deep Hard Seam, and his job was to see to the running on of the full tubs. Claude Sharman was working under his charge, and Sharman’s duty was to run off the empties. The cage had landed in the pit bottom, and witness ran two full tubs on to the chair. While witness had his back to him Sharman went on to the chair in order to help pull the tubs in. Then without any warning the cage went away.

John Roberts(16), Shuttlewood said that the hooter did not go before the cage suddenly went away.

Mr. M. C. Hanna (representing the Staveley Coal and Iron Co.) congratulated the boy on showing great presence of mind in that emergency. He kept his head throughout the performance, said Mr. Hanna, and he did all he could to help the injured man.

James William Kirkland, 48. Welbeck Road, Bolsover, said that he was catch lifter on the bottom deck, and his onsetter was Wilfred Kay. Witness pressed on the hooter button, but he never heard the hooter. He had never before known the chair go up without the hooter blowing.

Wilfred Kay, Southmoor Road, Brimington Common, the onsetter, who was in charge of the bottom deck, said that he pressed his hooter button when he had his attention drawn to the movement of tubs behind him. Then because he thought the hooter had gone he signaled the banksman. He never anticipated anyone being on the cage.

Witness, in reply to Mr. C.W. Scott, H.M. Inspector of Mines, said that an inter-locking device was going to be introduced to prevent such an accident happening again.

Dr. Robert M. Bernard, assistant casualty office at Chesterfield Royal Hospital said that death was due to shock following internal hemorrhage and multiple injuries.


The Chesterfield and District Coroner (Mr.F.D. Worthington), in returning a verdict of “Accidental Death,” said that the man was trapped between the cage and the baulk on the signal to the winder being given prematurely. He expressed sympathy with the relatives and also with the onsetter, Kay, who to a large extent was a victim of circumstances in that case. It was unfortunate that the mistake which he made should have had fatal consequences, and that had only been the case through someone else making a mistake at the same time.

Mr. Hanna said the accident was due to a combination of very unfortunate circumstances – through rules which had been designed to prevent such an accident not being carried out. Kay was regarded by the Company as a very loyal and faithful and careful workman., who was highly respected. He was deserving not only credit for owning up frankly to having made a mistake, but of sympathy that the mistake should have had fatal consequences.

Mr. Hanna said that a suggestion had been made that some safety device should ve used which would prevent a similar accident. Some years ago the system of four bell pushers was introduced to prevent such an accident, but as it had broken down every effort would be made to stop up the loophole.

1941 June                 Button, William Greystone  (34)             Fall of roof





Fall of Roof at Markham Pit

A verdict of “Death by misadventure” was recorded by the Chesterfield District Coroner (Mr F.D. Worthington) at an inquest at Staveley on Monday on William Graystone Button (34), 2, North Grove, Duckmanton, timber drawer at Markham No. 2 Pit, who was killed by a fall of roof early on Saturday morning.

Dr. J.B. McKay said that Button died as a result of a broken neck.

Thomas Ed Dicks, packer at the pit, said the deceased had completed drawing off timber in the waste below a fault when witness heard a scream for help and found Button in a crouching position. He formed the opinion that deceased would be going to a new place to work when the fall occurred. Witness never heard the fall. Witness was satisfied with the timbering where the fall occurred.

John McCann 56, Arkwright Town, said that he did not hear a fall.

Thomas Horton, 26, South Crescent, duckmanton, deputy, said that it was a faulty roof where the fall occurred, but the system of timbering was adequate to control it. He was satisfied that the fall was not caused by Button drawing timber.

In reply to questions by Mr.A.L. Flint (Mines Inspector), Horton said steel bars and props were used. Wood props had been set between bars, but he had no reason to take them out that night.

In reply to Mr. M.C. Hanna (representing the Staveley Co.), Horton said an extra pack had been set under the fault and the bars were set every four feet, although the regulations stipulated every five feet.

Mr J.S. Spencer (D.M.A.) associated himself with tributes of sympathy with the dead man’s relatives expressed by the Coroner and Mr. Hanna.





Arkwright Town Boy’s Death in Pit

A verdict of accidental death was returned at an inquest held at Staveley on Tuesday on a 14-year-old boy, Cecil Webb, 81 Arkwright Town, who  was fatally injured when two loaded colliery tubs trapped him during the day shift in Markham No.2 pit on Monday. The boy’s work at the time was to couple the tubs and mark them, and it was while he was lifting a coupling of one of the tubs that he was trapped between the vehicle and another one which he had not noticed approaching.

FredK. D. Down, 91, Arkwright Town, said that when he sent down a tub he heard a warning given which was loud enough for Webb to hear. Everything went off normally, and it was not a fast running tub. Webb was trapped between the end tub and the approaching one. He had never known Webb couple tubs while they were running.

Joe Clarke: deputy, of 24, South Crescent, Duckmanton, said that Webb was efficient. He would expect him to hear a warning.

Dr. J.B. McKay, Bolsover, said that Webb was dead when he saw him in the pit on Monday. His death was due to a fractured base of the skull and a fractured spine.

Wm. H. Webb, father of the dead boy gave evidence of identification.

The Chesterfield and District Coroner returned the verdict as stated above, and added that no one was to blame for the accident.

Mr. M.C. Hanna, on behalf of the Staveley Coaland Iron Co., expressed sympathy with the relatives

Mr.H. Kirk (Agent for Ireland and Markham Collieries) and Mr. A.L. Fint (H.M. Inspector of Mines) attended.





Arkwright Town Miner Fatally Injured

After having worked in the pit for 53 years , George Mills (64), 78, Arkwright Town, popularly known by his workmates as “Tabby,” was killed at Markham No.2 Colliery on Monday.

At the inquest at Staveley on Wednesday, Ernest Alfred Owen, gummer, 67, North Crescent, Duckmanton, said that he found Mills lying in the gate near the gear head. He had a piece of bind on his legs. Assistance was obtained and he was liberated within five minutes, but died on the way out of the pit. Nobody heard the fall. The piece of bind had fallen between two bars.

Albert Robinson, 189 Poolsbrook Cottages, the deputy, said the roof seemed safe when he examined it, but after the accident he found a hidden slip. Mills was engaged in clearing out small coal from under the gear head.

Dr. J.B. McKay said that Mills suffered a fracture of the left leg, fractured ribs, fractured pelvis and laceration of the head.

Evidence of identification was given by the widow, Kate Mills.

Mr. H. Kirk (agent for the Staveley Coal and Iron Co., Ltd.) expressing sympathy with the relatives, said that Mills, who was a capable and highly conscientious workman, had been with the Company practically a lifetime.

Returning a verdict of “Death by disadvantage,” the District Coroner (Mr. F.D. Worthington) said the Company was taking added precautions in view of the accident, but there was nothing to suggest that every proper  precaution had not been taken already.






Inquest on Chesterfield Miner

“Death from accidental causes” was the verdict by the District Coroner (Mr. F.D. Worthington) at the inquest at Chesterfield on Friday, on William Cole (28), miner, 22, Arundel Road, Chesterfield, who was trapped between an empty tub and the side of the road at Markham Colliery Deep Hard Seam on June 22nd. Cole who was admitted to Chesterfield Royal Hospital was unconscious, severely shocked, and had multiple injuries about his body. His condition deteriorated steadily, and de died the same day. Evidence by George S. Stimson, High Street, New Whittington; Oswald Hardy, Newbold Road, Chesterfield; and Willis Fish, deputy, South Crescent, Duckmanton, was that a tub fouled the points at which Cole was working. This tub consequently heeled over and pinned Cole down.

Mr Cole leaves a widow and two children. The funeral was at Newbold Church on Saturday.

1943 December                  King, Albert (40)                                    Fall of Roof




Chesterfield Miner Caught by Bind

A verdict of  “Death from Misadventure”  was recored by the District Coroner (Mr. F.D. Worthington) at an inquest at Staveley on Monday, on Albert King (40), miner, 16 Parker’s Yard, Chesterfield, who was fatally injured when a piece of stone bind, weighing a cwt, fell upon his head and neck in Markham No.4 pit on Friday.

Alfred Carter, 109 Arkwright Town, said that he was working four or five feet away from King, who was clearing out the gear head. About 1 p.m., King was working on his knees, using a shovel, when without warning, a piece of stone “flashed” from the roof, and hit King between the head and neck. The weight would be about one cwt or more.

Wilfred Clarke, deputy, 12 Westwood Avenue, Staveley, said he was in charge of No.5’s unit, and when he saw King, he was in a kneeling position, with a piece of bind weighing about a cwt. on his head and shoulders. It was only a matter of seconds before it was removed. An examination had been during that shift, and the only possible redress would be to set corrugated iron on the roof, so that some warning would be given.

Dr. J.B. McKay, Bolsover, said that King died in the ambulance room from shock following severe head injuries and probably brain injury.

Evidence was also given by Herbt. Holmes, Marsden Place, Chesterfield, King’s brother-in-law. Mr King had been at Markham Colliery since 1938, previous to which he had been employed at Grassmoor Colliery. He was well known in Chesterfield, giving part-time assistance at the Buck Inn, Holywell Street, Chesterfield. He leaves a widow and a daughter.

The interment took place at Hasland on Wednesday.

1944 November                Savory, Francis. (38)                               Fall of Roof




Brimington Miner Employed at Markham No.4

“we must look upon this man as having given his life for his country at this time,” said the District Coroner (Mr F.D. Worthington) when he held an inquest at Staveley on Wednesday on Francis Savory (38), 75, Ringwood Rd., Brimington, a stallman employed at Markham No.4 Colliery. He was killed instantaneously by a large fall of stone in the colliery on Sunday. Mr Worthington said his employers spoke highly of him, and they could ill afford to lose such workmen. Their sympathy went out to the relatives.

Mr. M.C. Hanna for the Staveley Co., said Savory was one of the best type of workmen. He had worked for the company since he was a boy. He had been a charge-man for 10 years, and was held in high regard both by his employers and his workmates. Mr. H.W. Winn joined in the expressions on behalf of the D.M.A.

Returning a verdict of  “Death by misadventure.” Mr Worthington said there was no question of neglect. It was an unavoidable accident.

Arthur Wallace, 44, Fern Av., Staveley, stallman timberer, stated that he was working near Savory in the No.1 unit of the deep hard seam in No.4 pit. The cutting machine had just gone past when a gob-leg came out. Savory started to reset it. Whilst he was engaged on it witness heard a bump and a shout. On going to investigate, he found Savory in a kneeling position, with a large piece of stone, six feet in length, pinning him by the shoulders. Assistance had to be obtained to extricate him. Witness was quite satisfied with the timbering.

Eric Goring, “Beryck” Rectory Road, Duckmanton, deputy in the unit, said he examined the place an hour before the fall, when the machine had another 30 yards to cut. The timbering was quite satisfactory. After the accident he found two bars had been run out and one displaced. Savory was charge-man and one of the most experienced men he had.




There was a serious accident in the Blackshale Seam of Markham No.1 Colliery on Monday morning, when a run of full tubs, moving slowly, collided with two young underground fitters who were working on the haulage. Lewis (sic) Henry Sallis (21), Markham Cottages, Duckmanton, was killed instantly as a result of a fractured neck and extensive lacerations. James Fitchett, (22), 16 New Bolsover, received an ankle injury and is detained in Chesterfield Royal Hospital.

The District Coroner (Mr. F.D. Worthington) opened the inquest on Sallis at Staveley on Wednesday. Medical testimony was given by Dr. J.B. McKay (Bolsover), and by the father, Henry Sallis, who is a ripper also employed at Markham No.1 Colliery.

The proceeding were then adjourned sine die, the Coroner stating that it was impossible to say when the injured man would be able to give evidence

Sympathy with the bereaved family was expressed by the Coroner and Mr. M.C. Hanna (on behalf of the Staveley Co.).



Resumed Inquest on Duckmanton Miner

The fatality which occurred in the black shale seam of Markham No.1 Colliery on December 11th last was the subject of a resumed inquest held by Mr. F.D. Worthington (district coroner) at Staveley on Friday. Whilst two underground fitters were repairing a stone duster machine on the main haulage road they were run into by a train of full tubs. Louis (sic) Henry Sallis (21), elder son of Mr. and Mrs. H. Sallis, 21, Markham Cottages, Duckmanton, was kilts instantly as the result of a fractured neck and extensive lacerations, and James Edwards Fitchett (22), New Bolsover, received a complicated ankle injury. He was able to attend the resumed inquest, being driven to and from the hospital by the Coroner in his car, assisted in and out of the Council Room by Sgt. Pegg.


It was agreed that the two men were working in a dangerous position, with full and empty tub trains passing by at irregular intervals. As a precaution, Geoffrey Alan Ellcock (18), 72. Sutton Hall Road, Carr Vale, Bolsover, was stationed at a refuge hole 15 yards from the fitters to shout warnings of the approaching tubs, which were acknowledged by their loud replies. Fitchett said he heard no such warning, probably due to the rattle of empty passing  or his being engrossed in his job. The full tubs knocked Sallis and himself down, before either had the chance of reaching safety, Mitchell being dragged about 30 yards before he could scramble clear.


Evidence was also given by Ellcock, who said he gave warning of the approaching tubs, but did not receive the usual acknowledgment; and by Clarence Brown, Duckmanton, the haulage deputy. The latter stated that the safety precautions had been satisfactory in the past, and he could not suggest any additional precautions which might be adopted.

The Coroner, however, suggested that a second boy could be detailed to a position closer up tp the men working in these dangerous positions, and added that the Staveley Company would undoubtedly carefully consider anything which would ensure absolute safety.



Notts. Assizes Action

There was a sequel at the Notts Assizes to-day to an accident at the Markham No.1 Colliery, near Chesterfield, in which one man was killed and another received a severe leg injury.

The Staveley Coal and Iron Co., owners of the colliery, were sued by Mr. Henry Sallis (father and administrator of the estate of the later Mr. L.H. Sallis), of Markham Cottages, near Chesterfield, and Mr. James Edward Fitchett, formerly living in lodgings near the colliery, who claimed damages alleging that defendants had failed in their statutory duty by not having in force a safe system go working.

The plaintiffs were represented by Mr. P.A. Sandlands, K.C., and Mr. T.T. Dinning, while Mr. Arthur Ward, K.C., and Mr. A. J. Flint appeared for the defendants. Mr Sandlans, opening the case, remarked: “If ever there was a case of a defective system, I should say this was one”


He added that on December 11th 1944, Sallis and Fitchett were sent into the pit by the charge man to repair the lever for operating the stone-dusting machinery. Sallis was just out of his apprenticeship, while Fitchett had been a fitter for a few years. The lever was situated on the road, where full tubs were running in sets of eight. Fitchett, he added remarked that it was a dangerous job, and the charge hand sent a youth to keep watch.  This youth was to warn the men when full tubs were coming, and so enable them to reach safety. As long as no empty tubs came by simultaneously, on the other road, the arrangement worked. Fitchett saw the full tubs coming when it was too late to do anything about it. He was dragged for some distance before he managed to signal the tubs to stop. It was then found that Sallis was lying dead under the sixth of the eight full tubs.


Fitchett had a severe injury to the ankle, which would prevent his returning to his job as underground fitter. He would have to do sedentary work.

Giving evidence Fitchett said that when he protested that the job was dangerous the charge hand said he would get it done by the nightshift when no tubs were running. Nevertheless two days later Sallis and witness were detailed to do the job. There was no lighting on this part of the road. They worked by the lights on their helmets.

Answering Mr. Ward witness admitted that at the inquest on Sallis he said he was satisfied all safety precautions were taken. Re-examined by Mr. Sandlands he said he meant before the time of the accident.

Mr Henry Sallis, father of the deceased, said he was employed at the same pit. He maintained that it was unusual foe repairs to be done with the haulage rope working.  Two underground fitters also gave evidence that it was not sound pit practice to do repairs whilst the tubs were running.

For defendants, Mr. Ward called the evidence of several mining experts to prove that it was the accepted practise for such repairs as this to be done while the tubs were running. It was stated that the colliery company had offered Mr. Fitchett suitable alternative employment.




Mr Justice Denning gave his reserved judgment at Birmingham Assizes in the case heard at Notts Assizes which arose from an accident at Markham No.1 Pit when one man was killed and another seriously injured. He awarded £500 to Mr. Henry Sallis, whose son L.H. Sallis was killed, and £1,468 to James Edward Fitchett who was injured. Details of the case were reported on Nov 30th. The Judge granted a stay of execution for 21 days pending the question of an appeal by the respondents the Staveley Coal and Iron Co. The plaintiffs were represented by Mr. P.E. Sandlands K.C. instructed by B. Mather and Co, Solicitors Chesterfield.




“Accident Which Ought Not To Have Happened”

Coroner’s Criticism of Deputy

“An accident which ought not to have happened” was the view of the District Coroner (Mr. F.D. Worthington) at the inquest on Monday on William Edward Unwin (49). 115, Poolsbrook Cottages, Poolsbrook, who died in Chesterfield Royal Hospital on Saturday morning from the effect of injuries received at Markham No.1 Colliery on Thursday week, when he was trapped by a run-away tub.

The evidence revealed three extraordinary circumstances attached to the accident – the uncoupling of the runaway tub, the manner in which it overcame the sting poits and the later overcoming of the “jack-catches,”


Returning a verdict of “Death from accidental causes,” the Coroner ought not to have occurred if all proper precautions had been taken. It seemed to him that a proper routine examination in accordance with the regulations would have revealed that the spring at the points was missing. It appeared from the evidence that if that spring had nor been missing the accident would not have occurred. The clipper-on, Schofield, had noticed that the spring was missing and frankly admitted that he ought to have reported it but did not.

“I think, however,” added the Coroner, “that there’s less blame to be attached to him and I find it much easier to pardon him than to pardon the deputy who failed to ascertain that the spring was missing. It is tragic that this should have had a fatal result. The safety of the men is absolutely dependent upon a routine examination being properly and carefully carried out. Men appointed to be deputies are chosen as being particularly responsible and conscientious in that type of work. I think most deputies are and I think this deputy realises that himself”

Mr. M.C. Hanna (for the Staveley Coal and Iron Co., Ltd.) said it was an accident which was very much regretted, and he agreed that it was one which ought not to have happened. Much reference has been made to the safety devices which were in use. If anybody assumed that any device was absolutely safe then one could say that if the spring points were entirely safe there would be no need for “jack catches.” Three extraordinary circumstances had contributed towards the accident, and another unfortunate feature was that Unwin was trapped when he was going towards what he considered the safest refuge, whereas it was in effect the least safe.


Eric Watson Nixon, 64, North Crescent, Duckmanton, said that Unwin was working with him relaying track on the empty side of the main plane. Shortly before mid-day, witness heard a “runner” coming down and, shouting a warning to Unwin, he took refuge in the telephone hole on the full side. They did not know on which track the “runner” was coming. Unwin remained a second or two to tap a joint that was out of place and he then rushed towards refuge, but the full tub was on him just before he reached the telephone hole. He was carried with it and trapped against stationary tubs.

Ronald Schofield (18), California, Barlboro’, clipper-on at 9’s junction, said the runaway tub was first of a run of six and must have become uncoupled but unnoticed as it was breasted by the other tubs. He would have expected it to have been stopped by the spring points. He had examined those points at the beginning of the shift and again 20 minutes before the accident. They were properly set to turn a runaway off the rails, but the spring was missing. He should have reported this to the deputy, but he forgot all about it. Despite the missing spring, however, the points should have thrown the tub off the rails. There had been no tubs come up to turn the points the other way. He could give no explanation why the points were not effective.


The haulage deputy, Stanley Brough, 38, Lime Avenue, Staveley, said that when he examined the spring points after the accident they were in the correct position for derailing a runaway but the spring was missing. The tub had caught the set of “jack-catches,” but they had been asked to do too big a job. A sleeper had been split and a bolt displaced with the result that the tub had passed over.

Brough said that he examined the points before the accident and found them in the correct position but he did not notice that the spring was missing. A proper examination would have revealed this, but he was in a hurry and his examination was a cursory one on that account. The tub must have jumped the pints and he agreed that without the spring there was more likelihood of this occurring. He could not suggest how the spring came to be missing. If it had been knocked out by accident it would have been found somewhere in the vicinity. The other alternative was that it might have been deliberately removed for some other purpose, but his enquiries had failed to reveal any evidence pf this.

Dr. A.S. Jones, casualty officer at Chesterfield Royal Hospital, said Unwin suffered a compound fracture of the lower ribs. An operation was performed on the elbow. A post mortem examination revealed the cause of death as shock following crushing injuries of the chest, laceration of the lung and the fractured elbow accelerated by cerebral embolism.

Mr. Unwin, a native of Harthill, came to live at Poolsbrook about 25 years ago, and had worked at Markham Colliery about 30 years.


The funeral took place at Staveley Cemetery on Wednesday, following a service at St. Albans Church Poolsbrook.






Fine miners were killed and one injured in Markham Colliery last night. The accident occurred on the main haulage road in Markham No. 4 Colliery, owned by the Staveley Coal and Iron Co., at Duckmanton, near Chesterfield.


The following official statement was issued last night:

“It is with deep regret that the management have to report a serious accident at Markham No. 4 Colliery in which five men have lost their lives. “The accident occurred on the main haulage road whilst repairs were being carried out on the haulage rope return wheel.The men were struck and killed by the haulage rope.

“The cause of the accident is being investigated by company officials. H.M. Inspector of Mines and the Officials and Workman’s Inspector for the Derbyshire area of the National Union of Mineworkers.”


Those killed were:

Alfred Carter, aged 47, contractor, of Arkwright Town

Ebenezer Whitworth, aged 42, stone duster, of Middlecroft Road, Staveley

Fred Powers, aged 36, shot firer, of Springwood Road Holmwood

Arthur Bayley, aged 31, overman, 0f South Crescent, Duckmanton

Walter William Gettings, aged 40, shot firer, of Racecourse Road, Whittington Moor, Chesterfield

The injured man is John William Usher, aged 49, fitter, of North Grove, Duckmanton. He was admitted to Chesterfield Royal Hospital, along with Barley and Gettings, who died shortly after admission.

Alfred Carter’s elder son, Walter, was working in the pit as a bricklayer at the time, but he was not informed of the accident until he arrived home two hours later.



Inquest on Five Victims Tomorrow

It is expected that the inquest on the five miners killed at Markham No.4 Colliery, Duckmanton, will be formally opened at Chesterfield tomorrow and adjourned after evidence of identifications been given

The only survivor, John William Usher, a 49-year-old fitter of Duckmanton, was reported to-day to be a “shade better.”

The accident is believed to have been due to the breaking of a chain attached to a wire cable holding the return haulage wheel in position  while it was being replaced. The cable recoiled with such violence that it swept the repair gang off their feet.

The night shift worked as usual in view of the national need for coal.

This is the fourth disaster that has occurred at the Markham group of collieries.

On November 19th 1933, 14 miners were killed and eight injured in the explosion; on January 21st 1937, there was a loss of nine lives in another explosion; and on May 10th, 1938, 79 miners lost their lives and 40 were injured in the third explosion.


Pit Death-Roll Increased

The death-roll from Tuesday’s accident at Markham Colliery, Duckmanton (near Chesterfield) is increased to six by the death last night of the last remaining injured man.



Inquest Story of Pit Tragedy 


When the inquest was resumed at Chesterfield today on the six victims of the disaster at Markham No.4 Colliery, Duckmanton, a working model built to scale by Mr. Eric P. Dodsworth, of Bolsover, an engineer at the colliery, of the main haulage road in the deep hard seam, where the accident took place on June 18th, was exhibited.

Edward Bennett, Wellington Street, New Whittington, a rope man, explained that the broken return haulage wheel was being replaced and the steel endless rope was lashed by chains to the tub rails on both the full and empty side to secure it.

Subsequently the chains on the loaded side were replaced by sylvesters. Such repair work was considered dangerous.

Ernest Froggatt, a contractor, of Station Road, Clowne, who was working on the repairs, said that without warning there was a crack and a spark and the rope flew down the haulage road, catching the deceased, who were standing in the loop just in front of him. Witness did not hear any warning to the men to stand clear because the rope was going to be pulled by the engine.

1951 February              Thompson, Fred  (65)                                         Fall of Roof




Death of Mr. F. Thompson

A Chesterfield miner was trapped by a fall of roof and killed, soon after speaking to his son, who was working near by, at Markham No.2 Colliery on Wednesday. He was Mr. Fred Thompson (65), husband of Mrs Charlotte Thompson, 670, Sheffield Road, Whittington Moor.

Born at Charleston, Yorkshire, he had lived for 60 years on Whittington Moor, chiefly at the fore-going address. He was a member of the D.M.A., and was shortly to receive a certificate for 52 years’ service at local collieries, having been at Markham No.2 for 32 years and earlier at Glapwell and Seymour. He was associated with ApperKnowle  Wesleyan Church.

He leaves a widow, four sons and three daughters.

An inquest has been fixed for t0day (Friday).



Chesterfield Miner’s Accident at Markham

A 65-year-old Chesterfield miner, who had been in the coal industry for 51 years, was killed by a fall of roof two weeks before he intended to retire, it was stated at a Chesterfield inquest on Friday.

The jury returned a verdict of  “Accidental death” on Fred Thompson, 670 Sheffield Road, Whittington, who was killed at Markham No.2 Colliery on Wednesday week.  Dr. A.A. Forrester, Group M.O E.M. Division, NCB said that death would have occurred very soon after the accident.

William Grainger, 13 Blacksmith Lane, Calow, who was working near Thompson when the accident occurred, said he had his back to him when he heard the waste come away and the roof fell in. he heard Thompson shout and found him buried in dirt up to his waist. he was unconscious.

Assistance arrived and Thompson was released after a few minutes. Everything seemed quite safe before the accident and there was no sign of danger.

Albert Whittam, deputy, Poolsbrook Cottages, Poolsbrook, said he examined the place where Thompson was working about three-quarters of an hour before the accident and everything appeared quite normal. He did not think the accident could have been foreseen.

The District Coroner (Mr. Michael Swanwick) said there appeared to have been a sudden and unexpected fall of roof. Thompson was setting a “splendid example” by carrying on at his age at a time when every man was needed in the pits.

Mr. Walker representing the National Association of Colliery Deputies said Thompson was thinking of retiring in a fortnight’s time. “It is really tragic that a man should be cut off just at a time when he was looking forward to those few happy years” he added


Mr, Thompson leaves a widow, four sons, three daughters and 11 grandchildren. The funeral was at Newbold Churchyard on Monday.

1951 March              Pressley, William  (44)                                          Fall of Roof




Fall of Roof at Markham Colliery

Because he could not recover his balance in time after being knocked forward by a slight fall of roof at Markham No.4 Colliery on Saturday, a 44 year old ripper failed to avoid a second and much heavier fall, which crushed him to the ground and killed him.

Hearing details at the Chesterfield inquest on Tuesday of the accident which caused the death of William Pressley, “Glenhurst” West View Estate, Hillstown, the District Coroner (Mr. Michael Swanwick) commented: “Despite modern improvements and every precaution there still remains in the miner’s life that element of risk which cannot be foreseen.”

A verdict of “Accidental death” was returned by the jury.

Medical evidence was that Presley died from shock and internal damage to the brain. It was stated that death would have been instantaneous. An examination revealed fractures of the top of the skull and neck, head wounds, one of them six inches long.

Albert Bean, ripper, Eastmoor Road, Brimington, a brother-in-law of the dead man, said that he was working with Pressley and a deputy in No.2’s unit of the north district when the accident occurred. The men had fired two of four shots when it was found necessary to adjust a bar.

John Smout, deputy, North Crescent, Duckmanton, said that when Pressley went to re-set the bar a small piece of dirt fell on his neck causing him to lurch forward and lose his balance. Before he could recover a large piece fell and crushed him to the floor.  “The second fall would not have got him if he had not lost his balance after the first fall,” witness stated.

Mr Pressley was born at Carr Vale. and lived fun Duckmanton for a time before coming to Hillstown. He had worked at Markham Colliery for 21 years. He became a special constable in Hillstown at the outbreak of war – duties he carried out until up to the time of his death. A Keen supporter of Chesterfield F.C., Mr Pressley had not missed a home match for many years. He leaves a widow and two children The funeral service was at Hillstown Methodist Chapel yesterday (Thursday). followed by interment at Oxcroft Lane Cemetery.

1952 November              Coupe, Frank. (22)                   Crushed by a crane on surface




Inquest on Shirebrook Man

“we fee that not sufficient care was taken and hope that the Factory Regulations will in future be strictly enforced,” said Mr John F. Tattersall, Forman of the jury, when a verdict of Accidental death” was returned at the inquest yesterday (Thursday) on Mr. Frank Coupe (22), painter and decorator, 8, Central Drive., Shirebrook.

Coupe was killed in the Area Workshop at Markham Colliery, Duckmanton on November 4th, when he was struck by the cab of a mobile crane and fell 15 feet from a ladder to the floor.

Dr. H.O. Hughes. stated that death was due to multiple injuries, including a deep laceration penetrating the lung.

Coupe’s assistant, Raymond Ward (22). 54 Austin Street, Shirebrook, said they began at 8 a.m. on the Tuesday morning to paint the crane supporting a horse-shoe riveting machine. Coupe was 15 feet up the ladder with one foot on the ladder and one foot on the roof structure.

Ward said that although they had been warned of the mobile crane on the previous day, there had been no warning on the Tuesday. He had noticed the crane moving backwards and forwards before the accident, but he did not know whether Coupe had noticed it. The Cab caught him in the back, dragged him over and he fell to the floor. They had kept well clear on the Monday because of the warning.

Asked by Mr. L.C. Jenkins for the N.C.B. if it would have been possible to have painted the jib from the ladder Ward said that it would have been more difficult.

William Elliott Malia (48) crane driver, 3, Brook Vale, Brampton told the jury that when he reached the position with the crane, just past the foreman’s office, he felt a bump and stopped the crane immediately. He looked out of the cab and saw someone lying on the floor.

He should have been warned of anybody working in his path, he said. Coupe had warned him on the Monday. He was looking across the shop from his cab and could not see the painters. He had been along there about half and hour earlier and had not seen anyone.

In answer to a member of the jury, Malia said there were no electrical hooters on the crane to give any warning.

According to Factory Regulations, said James Millward (32), plating shop foreman, “Joyburn” Main Drive, The Park Wingerworth, if a man was working in a dangerous place the crane driver should be warned to keep at least 20 feet away. When anyone was working in a dangerous place, he usually took the key from the crane and handed it to the man working there.

“I would not have done that on Tuesday,” Millward said. “The job could have been done from a place of safety. I saw no difficulty in doing the work from the ladder.”

He was not there at the time, he added. In answer to Mr. J. Kitts for the N.U.M., he said that in his absence it would be the duty of his assistant or another foreman. Millward said that warning notices in the path of a moving crane were not necessary under statutory requirements.

Addressing the jury the Coroner (Mr. M.R.E. Swanwick) said that he felt that the safety regulations should be tightened up. No blame could be attached to the driver.

“This is an accident that should never have happened,” he said.

Sympathy with the relatives was expressed by the foreman of the jury, the Coroner, P.S Peat (Staveley), on behalf of the police, Mr. W.R.T. Farmer for the N.C.B. and Mr. J. Kitts for the N.U.M.

1953 May              Passey, Eric Thompson  (50)                                  Fall of Roof




Fatality at Markham No.2 Pit

“it appears to me that this was an accident which could not have been avoided, and is one of the risks which miners are called upon to face at their work,” said Mr Michael Swanwick (Chesterfield District Coroner) in his summing up at an inquest held at Chesterfield on Tuesday, on Eric Thompson Passey (50), ripper, Ash Bank Cottages, Chesterfield Road, Duckmanton, who died from injuries he received when he was trapped under a fall of stone in Markham No.2 Colliery on Friday.

The Coroner sat a jury and there were also present: Mr. F.C, Mackie (H.M. Inspector of Mines), Mr. Lawrence C. Jenkins, for the N.C.B., Mr. J, Kitts, for the N.U.M. and Mr. J. England, for the National Union of Colliery Deputies and Overmen.

Evidence of identification was given by Theodore C. Bluff, Ash Bank Cottages, Duckmanton, who said that Passey had lodged with him since 1933.

Dr. H.O. Hughes said that he saw Passey in the Ambulance Room at Markham Colliery on Friday night. He was then dead, and death was due to shock caused by multiple injuries, which included a fracture and dislocation of the spine.


James Clifford Davidson, deputy, 26 Chesterfield Road, Arkwright Town, said that he went on duty in No.6 unit on Friday, as ripping, packing and turning over deputy, and found everything in order at the loader gate. Passey was a member of a team of six men at work there. He was a regular ripper, but he was the market man in that stall. The team were then preparing for firing of the lip. At 4.00pm. four holes were fired, singly. He saw the lip dressed, the roof girder set, and the girder set to the face of the lip was on two blocks, with two stalking members to the side of the road. He returned  last 5.20 and found most of the dirt had been removed, the gate side boxes had been completed and the two stalking posts were set to the floor from the lip shoulder. Passey was filling the last of the dirt on to the conveyor, before the prop was set under the stone, which fell on him. he had just left them when he heard a shout and went back to find that the stone had fallen, trapping Passey. The stone had been tested and seemed to be quite secure.

John Parsons, chargeman ripper. 129 Speedwell Terrace, Staveley, said that he was working near Passey, and they were removing the last of the dirt underneath it. He did not think that the stone would fall. Had not Passey been under the stone clearing out the dirt he (witness) would have been.

In reply to questions by Mr. Kitts, witness said that “L” boards were not used there, In his opinion the accident was one which could not have been avoided. No Safety device could have been set until the dirt had been cleared. He felt that the present system of timbering was quite adequate.

Evidence of a similar nature was also given by William Stone , 16, Church Street, Calow, who said that he did not think anything could have been done to avoid that accident.

In his summing up the Coroner made the statement quoted above and said that everything appeared to have been done in accordance with normal practice. The stone had been tested.

Without retiring the jury returned a verdict of  “Accidental death.”

Sympathy with the relatives was expressed by the Coroner, Mr.Kitts. Mr. England and Mr. H. Wright, manager at the colliery.

Mr Passey was a native of Tamworth, but had lived for 23 years at Duckmanton, where he stayed with the late Mr. George Bluff and Mrs Bluff.

The interment took place on Wednesday in Calow Churchyard.

1953 September              Bailey, John Leslie  (16)                                  Manriding Accident




Bolsover Boy Fell from Car

The question of overtime worked by boys at Markham Colliery No.1 was raised at an inquest at Chesterfield on Friday on John Leslie Bailey, 16-year-old trainee miner, of 95, High Street, Bolsover. Bailey was killed instantly when he fell from the paddy mail at the colliery at 2.35 p.m. on September 22. The jury returned a verdict of “Accidental Death.”

“I hope the management will consider the question of boys doing overtime” said Mr. Frank Varley, Secretary to Markham Colliery Branch N.U.M. The boy could have been drowsy , he said and rolled off the car. He added that if there had been more space between the pipes at the side of the haulage road and the car he might have rolled clear.

Dr. H.A.Forester, the N.C.B. Area Medical Officer, said death was instantaneous and was caused by shock following multiple injuries.

Sidney Johnson (16), of 43 Cavendish Street, Staveley, a friend of Bailey, said he had been chatting to him when he turned and saw Bailey falling off the car. He heard a scream and shouted to stop the car. Before then Bailey was quiet and seemed tired. Bailey had always appeared in good health and he had never known him to faint.

Harry Craig of 99 Manvers Road, Beighton, said he was sitting behind the two boys. He saw Bailey fall forward and he made a grab for him but he fell between the cars. He could not account for him falling out as he was sitting close to the other boy.

Colin Dilks, a deputy, of 54 North Crescent, Duckmanton, said all the safety appliances were in order. In reply to a question he said that where the accident occurred the pipes were only 1ft. 10 ins. from the car. It was the narrowest section of the 2,900 yard car road. He agreed that if there had been more room Bailey might have fallen clear.

The Coroner, Mr. Michael Swanwick, said that there appeared to be no evidence to show how this unfortunate accident had occurred. The boy had fallen at a place where there was only a small space between the car and the pipes. It was important for young men to enter the industry and it was particularly unfortunate that the young lad should have met his death in this way.

Mr. A. Belfitt the Colliery Manager, said he had no doubt that in due time Bailey would have made a first-class mineworker.

The jury decided that any expenses and fees should go to the next of kin.


The funeral service of John Leslie Bailey (aged 16), son of Mrs B.R. Bailey, 95 High Street, Bolsover was held at Bolsover Parish Church on Saturday. John had attended the Welbeck Road School, Bolsover, before commencing work at Markham Colliery.

1954 December              Apletree, Frederick Powell (69)                                 Injured in Drum Hole




Let to Death of Duckmanton Man

An accident at Markham No.1 Colliery on December 21 last year was recalled at the inquest on Tuesday on Frederick Powell Apletree, 69 year-old engine cleaner, 25, North Crescent, Duckmanton who died at his home on Tuesday week. For, on December 21 Apletree had been found sprawled over a girder in a drum hole at the Colliery. He was taken to hospital , the jury was told, and detained nine days. He received treatment for concussion and severe laceration of the scalp.

After hearing the evidence of six witnesses, the jury returned a verdict that Apletree had died as a result of the accident.

Dr. H.O. Hughes (Bolsover) said that at Chesterfield Royal Hospital, Apletree was treated for a severe laceration of the scalp and concussion. He was discharged nine days after the accident – and made a good recovery. After eight weeks he went back to work. “I had reason to suppose he had recovered from the accident,” said the doctor. The witness added that he was called to see Apletree on March 18, for Apletree was unwell, with headaches and an aggravated cough. On March 20 he collapsed as a result of mild coronary thrombosis. His condition rapidly deteriorated and he died on March 22

Dr. G.L Dunlop, a Worksop pathologist, said that he carried out a postmortem on Apletree and found that death was from heart failure, with brain haemorrhage as a contributory cause. “In my opinion,” said the pathologist. “the accident in December was a contributory factor to his death.”


Ronald William Apletree, miner, East Crescent, Duckmanton, said that after the accident his father had complained of pains in the head and neck – but he seemed to get better, and he returned to work. Later, said witness, he seemed “worn out” – but he was strong-willed and had the tendency to make people believe he was in better health than he really was.

All his father would say about the accident, was: “The rope hit me twice.”

Mr James Moodie Whitford, engine cleaner, South Crescent, Duckmanton, said that on December 21 he was working near the drum hole when he heard a groan. inside the drum hole he found Apletree sprawled over a girder. In answer to a question, Whitford said that Apoletree could have been “bumped” by the rope.

Mr Reg Robinson, winding engineman, Penrose Street, Arkwright, said that Mr Whitford shouted him across and he saw Apletree  sprawled across the girder. In answer to a question, Robinson said Apletree had “often cleaned the drum hole during winding operations.”

Mr Harry Bray, The View, Poolsbrook, spare winder, said that he went with Robinson in answer to Whitford’s shout and saw Apletree in the drum hole. “He had a terrible injury to the head,” said Bray. Bray added: “Apletree had been doing this job for almost 14 years – once a week.”

The Coroner, Mr. Michael Swanwick, told the jury that they had to decide whether or not the accident some months previously hah had any bearing on Apletree’s death.

After an adjournment in jury decided the accident had been the cause of death – and recommended that cleaning should not be undertaken during winding operations.

Born in Newton (near Alfreton), Mr Apletree had lived at Duckmanton for the past 17 years. Before he came to Duckmanton he had worked at Tibshelf Colliery. He was for many years on the Committee of Tibshelf Co-operative Society. He leaves a widow, one daughter and five sons.

The funeral took place on Saturday, the interment being in Staveley Cemetery following a service conducted by the Rector of Duckmanton, the Rev. N.K. Brownsell.

1955 May.                 Vickers, Ernest (24)                                Fall of Roof




A well-known Holymoorside man, Mr. Ernest Vickers (24) of 15, Heather Way, was killed in an accident which occurred at Markham Colliery on Tuesday.

Mr. Vickers was working underground at the time when there was a fall of stone which buried him. Rescue efforts were started immediately, but he was dead when the rescue party reached him.

The circumstances were reported to the District Coroner (Mr. M.R. Swanwick), and the inquest was opened at Chesterfield yesterday and adjourned until Thursday next. Only formal evidence of identification, which was given by the father, was taken.

Mr. Vickers, was the youngest son of Mr. William Vickers and the late Mrs. Vickers, of 15 Heather Way, Holymoorside, and was well known in the village, where he had lived for a number of years. After leaving school he worked on local farms, but about eight years ago he began work at Markham Colliery, where he had been employed ever since. Just over two months ago he was married to the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. L. Ludlam, of Springfield Farm, Holymoorside. His widow is manageress of the Strand Library in Elder Way, Chesterfield. The funeral will take place tomorrow.



Inquest on Holymoorside Miner

Shortly after he had taken over as mate in a coal-cutting operation underground at Markham No.1 Colliery on May 24, a 24-year old Holymoorside miner, was killed by a roof fall. This was stated at a Chesterfield inquest yesterday. The jury returned a verdict of “Accidental death” on Ernest Vickers, 15, Heather Way.

George Shaw (29), 88, Thirlmere Road, Newbold, Chesterfield, a coal-cutter , said that on the morning of Tuesday May 24 he went to the number eight face at Markham Colliery. The coal-cutting machine there appeared to be in order and they began cutting, continuing for about 35 yards. The face was properly timbered with steel and wood props, and steel bars and roof conditions were normal. After cutting the 35 yards he turned the machine off and “fitted” it to the right-hand end of the face. He changed the picks and racked the jib in the cut.

At one o’clock he was asked by the overman to complete cutting the face. His mate, George Nash, could not help to complete this work, so Vickers was asked to be his mate until cutting was completed. Witness fixed the gummer  and guard to the machine and put the haulage rope on the drum. He ran the rope out along the face and decided to set the staker (a steel rail about five feet long) about 12 yards from the machine. It was placed where they had previously turned the machine. He examined the place where the staker was to be set and it appeared to be safe. There was two steel bars and one wooden bar, with steel and wood props under them.

Witness went back to the machine controls and ran the rope on to the drum until the end was by Vickers. He told Vickers to “tighten up”. He opened the machine air valve and tightened the rope. The rope was just taking the full strain when he heard a bump. He shut off and released the tension on the rope. He went up to the face and saw that there had been a fall of roof.

Witness continued: “I could see Vickers’s lamp under the fall with a large stone on Vickers himself. I cleared the small stones away. Vickers was on his knees in a doubled position, with the stone on his back. He could not release the stone, so he went for assistance. Several men came, and they released Vickers at about 3 p.m. Witness added that he had not had Vickers as a mate before.

George Hobson (51), 9, South Crescent, Duckmanton, an acting overman, said that on the morning of Tuesday, May 24, he instructed the previous witness and his mate, George Nash, to complete cutting the number eight face. He saw them start work in the morning, and he was there when the machine  was turned into the right-hand corner. He arranged for Shaw to complete the cutting and Vickers replaced Nash, who had to go away on a visit to a hospital. Vickers had been employed as a coal-cutter before and was an experienced workman.

Dr. H.A. Forrester (Area Medical Officer, N.C.B.) said that death was due to shock, multiple fractures of the ribs, a rupture of the lung and a fracture of the spine.

William Vickers, the father, also of Heather Way, Holymoorside, identified the body.

1961 June.                 Rodgers, Ernest Beresford                      Fell down Pit Shaft




Duckmanton Man Killed at Markham


A 49-YEAR-OLD colliery worker was killed yesterday when he fell down the 2,076-ft. deep pit shaft to the Black Shale seam at Markham N0. 1 Colliery.

He was Ernest Rodgers, 61 Poolsbrook Road, Duckmanton, charge bandsman, who was working on the winding gear at the pit top. His assistant, Mr. G. Flowers, made a desperate attempt to catch him as he fell, but missed.

Just how the accident occurred is still being investigated, but it is believed that Mr. Rodgers was working on the top deck of the pit cage when it began to descend. His fall may have been caused when he attempted to jump from the moving cage while it was still near the surface.

Police and a mines’ inspector were called in and the shaft had to be temporarily closed. Mr. Rodgers had been working on the night shift and was nearing the end of his shift. Men coming on the day shift had to be sent down the No. 4 shaft. The accident occurred about 5 a.m. yesterday.

Mr. Rodgers leaves a widow, a son, John (19), who is an apprentice electrician at Arkwright Colliery, and a daughter, Anne (15), who is at school.

The family had been planning to go to Scotland on holiday this weekend.

1962 June.                 Rodgers, Reginald (63)                               Trapped by tubs.



Pit Tubs Fell on to Clowne Miner



Advising the jury at a Chesterfield inquest on Friday to return a verdict of “Accidental death” on a Clowne miner who died after a pit accident, the Deputy Coroner, Mr. G.A. Hotter said, “Your only other verdict would be manslaughter. But to return this you would have to be satisfied that death resulted from criminal neglect.”

The miner was 63-tear-old Mr. Reginal Rodgers of 23 Rectory Road, Clowne, who died in Chesterfield Royal Hospital after having his leg trapped by tubs at Markham Colliery early in May.

At the inquest a 16-year-old haulage hand admitted disobeying a colliery notice about the number of tubs which should be sent down a road linked together.

But the Coroner in his summing up, commented: “I do not think that this boy displayed any criminal negligence. You have heard from his superiors that it was normal practice to do what he did – although there was a notice stating otherwise. It would appear therefore that your verdict should be one of “Accidental death.”


Describing the accident, a trainee fitter at the colliery, 17-year-old Geoffrey Tom Sadler, of 10, Church Street, Staveley, said that Mr. Rodgers was standing at the junction of a main road and a side road. “I think he was waiting until the tubs had been drawn out of the side road into the main roadway,” he said. “But as the tubs were passing him they bumped together and three dropped over on to Mr. Rodgers.”

“Mr. Rodgers was still standing.” said Mr. Sadler, “but his leg was trapped. I went to get help.”

The haulage hand, Michael Paul Woodhead, of 35, North Crescent, Duckmanton, said that he was drawing 37 empty tubs out on to the main road to be returned to the pit bottom. “I looked to see if there was anybody coming and I saw Mr. Rodgers.” he told the inquest. “he was standing as though waiting until I drew the tubs out. I started them moving and looked back down the road. I saw the tubs sliding over on to Mr. Rodgers.

Questioned by the Coroner, the boy admitted that a notice nearby stated that no more than 10 tubs should be sent down a road linked together. “I had 37 on,” he said, But I was only drawing them out of the main road together. When I got them there I was going to separate them into sets of the right number”

Mr Albert Ernest Davies, the shift overman, of Poolsbrook Road, Duckmanton, said that it was normal practice for all the tubs in the side road to be drawn on to the main road together. He also told the inquest that the gradient of the side road was steeper than usual. “At that time it was under alteration, The gradient is much less now.” he said.

Mr. Davies added that he supervised work to release the trapped man and made arrangements for him to be sent to hospital.


Dr. M.A. Lecutier, pathologist said that Rodgers had a compound fracture of the lower bones of the leg. “Death was caused by a pulmonary embolism due to thrombosis of the leg veins which followed the fracture.” He stated.

The jury returned a verdict of “Accidental death”

1964 August                Wood, Dennis Alfred. (29)                      Caught by coal cutter



Miner killed in pit accident


MINER Mr.Dennis Wood and his young wife, Shirley had almost completed plans for their new dream home. They had been promised a plot of land. They had chosen the  type of house they wanted.

But on Saturday the plans were shattered when Mr. Wood (29), was killed in a colliery accident. the news was broken to his wife at the home of her mother, where she had gone for a birthday celebration. Mr. and Mrs. Wood, whose home was in Danger Lane, Chesterfield, had been married eight years. Later this week, Mrs. Wood was still too upset to talk. Her father, Mr. J. Leggett, who lives off Longedge Lane, Wingerworth said: “we were all gathered for my wife’s birthday party when the news came. It is terrible.”

He added “Only the other day we were talking about the house Dennis and Shirley were going to build a few hundred yards from our home. Everything was ready for the work to begin. Now this has happened I do not know what we shall do. They were such a happy couple. They had plans for the future. Now their dreams have been shattered.”

Jury’s verdict

After hearing about the accident, which happened underground at Markham No.4 Colliery, an inquest jury yesterday returned a verdict of “Accidental death.” The jury heard the Coroner, Mr. Michael Swanwick say that Mr. Wood had adopted a dangerous practice in moving a coal-cutting machine.

Mr. John Higginbottom, of Redvers, Bullers Road, Chesterfield, told the inquest that he was working with Mr. Wood. He said that Mr. Wood had attached the cutting machine to a stationary conveyor. “this was not the regular practice.” said Mr. Higginbottom. “But the conveyor had been stopped by a lock-out system.”

Also working with the team was Mr. Alistair Manton, of West View, Hillstown, who said that he had stopped the conveyor with the lock-out system. He said he left the lock-out system on and the conveyor should not have started, but somehow it did begin to move and pulled the cutting machine towards Mr. Wood.

Dr. I. McKenzie, pathologist said that Mr. Wood died instantly. He had multiple injuries consistent with severe crushing.

The jury added a recommendation to their verdict that a safety device should be added to the key and lock which operated the lock-out system.

1969 May               Bates, Stuart Leslie (22)           Electrocuted on the surface


Inquiry follows electrocution at Markham Colliery

National Coal Board officials are still making enquiries into the death of a 22-year-old Bolsover man who was electrocuted at Markham Colliery on Saturday when he fell across electric switchgear carrying 6,600 volts.

Mr Stuart Bates, of 9 Searston Avenue, was working in the power house at the colliery looking at some equipment when he fell. Only son of Mr. and Mrs. L. Bates, of 17 Wickins Place, Mastin Moor, Mr. Bates was educated at Middlecroft Secondary School, Staveley and had been an electrician at Markham Colliery for seven years.

Mr. Bates had only been married for 18 months. His wife, Patricia (23), works as a machinist at Prew Smith Ltd., Bolsover.

An inquest was opened and adjourned at Chesterfield on Tuesday after evidence of identification was given by his father.

Cremation at Brimington yesterday, followed a service at Staveley Parish Church conducted by the Rev. A. Batsleer.

1971 April                Neep, William Henry  (57)                 Caught in Machinery


Renishaw man killed in pit accident


A Renishaw man was killed on Sunday in a surface accident at Markham No.1 Colliery at Bolsover. Mr. William Henry Neep (57), of 18, The Wynd, Renishaw was found trapped beneath a tub elevator he was operating. The accident happened at about 10 a.m. and Mr. Neep was certified to be dead on examination at the colliery.

Mr. Neep had worked at the pit since the age of 14. He was a member of Renishaw Miners’ Welfare and before moving to Renishaw lived at Mastin Moor. He leaves a wife, son, daughter and one grandchild.

1974 February                Palmer, Charles Hubert (41)                 Fall of Roof



Miner Charlie Palmer, statistic No 7,768

Charlie Palmer will not be voting in this election. The Co-op will be seeing his widow today to arrange his funeral.

A family man, friend, good neighbour, and a fine miner was Charlie. He was killed by a rock-fall on the last shift before the strike – just ten minutes before knocking off time. He was the 7,768th miner to die in pit accidents since 1947.

His wife Violet had gone to meet him in the car at the end of their road, overlooked by a slag heap – all that is left of the now-closed pit where Charlie started work at fourteen. He never turned up.

When Violet saw shocked relatives and saddened workmates collecting outside her neat semi-detached home, she knew with a pit wife’s instinct that something was wrong.


They were married thirteen years ago – she a miner’s daughter, he the son of a collier who had left the pits. Straight away they took out a mortgage on their home in Milward Road, Loscoe, Derbyshire, bright with do-it-yourself decorating.

The couple settled immediately. If anything mechanical in the neighbourhood went wrong people would say: “Take it to Charlie.” He was always good with his hands.

There, in a bay-windowed house where the curtains are now drawn, Charlie and Violet raised three children – Denise, now eleven, Elaine, nine and Gavin, five.

Charlie – he would have been forty two next Friday – used to work all the overtime he could get. He wanted to so that he could run a car and take his family for a holiday – somewhere different each year. Violet never went out to work.

At weekends they would go down to the local miners’ welfare. At their age, they were just learning to dance. Just before the local pit closed, Charlie left to join a team of specialists opening up new faces and roadways at other collieries. Sometimes he worked with water over his wellingtons, and occasionally he stripped to his underpants because it was so hot underground.

“You never get bored in this job,” he used to tell his wife. Recently – even before the ban – he’d not been doing much overtime except on rush jobs. “Five days a week is enough down a mine,” he would say.


Never a year went by without Charlie having some time off work with an accident or illness. He’d been back only three weeks when he was killed. Hr had been six weeks off with an injured leg. Before that, in the summer, it was nine weeks off with an injured foot.

Charlie’s gross pay was £36.79. If the miners had settled, instead of going on strike, it would have meant £2.57 extra for him.

Only last week he’d smiled when someone in the union had shown him a poster advertising £120 a week for men building new underground tunnels in London.

His wife said: “we had been talking for weeks about him coming out of the mines and getting another job, but deep down I don’t think he ever would have”

Charlie was certainly no activist. He voted Labour and seldom went to union meetings. His home was too far away from the last pit were he worked – Markham. You remember Markham ….. eighteen miners died there seven months ago.

Charlie voted for the strike. His wife said: “I’d have been cross if he hadn’t. They should be the highest paid workers in the land.”

It took four men to lift off the rock and carry him to the ambulance room.



Noe Mr. Eric Varley, Labour candidate for Chesterfield, has written to Mr. Heath, putting these questions:

“Can you tell me whether Mr. Charles Palmer was one of those extremists who, according to you, are trying to take over the country?

Do you really think that your offer of 7 per cent, on the basic pay – which you pretend is really 16.5 per cent – was enough to compensate him for the risk he took?

Do you really think that your offer to increase death benefit from £300 to £500 is adequate compensation for his wife?”

On top of that lump sum, it should be reported, Violet will get the ordinary State widow’s benefit, plus £4.63 under the mineworkers” scheme. For the first six months the family’s total income will be £20.48 per week. Then it will drop to £17.93.

But Charlie left much more than that. A lovingly kept family and home, and happy memories of those holidays he worked overtime to get.

Charlie Palmer will not be voting in this election. The Co-op will be seeing his widow today to arrange his funeral.



Party leaders pay tributes to the miner who became a symbol of the pay fight

Party leaders wrote their own sad epitaphs yesterday on the life and death of Charlie Palmer. Premier Edward Heath told of his sorrow over Charlie, the last miner to die before the pit strike began, and the 7,768th killed since 1947. And Labour’s Harold Wilson spelled out the stark contrast between the pay of a top company boss and the earnings that Charlie could expect, if only he were alive today.


The tragedy of Charlie killed by a rockfall at Derbyshire’s Markham Pit, became an issue in the wrangling over his former workmates pay strike – the strike for which 41-year-old Charlie himself, had voted. His story was told in Tuesday’s Daily Mirror, headed: “Miner Charlie Palmer, statistic No. 7,768.”

And yesterday, Mr. Wilson pointed out that while the pay demand of Charlie and his colleagues was being denied, the chairman of the Rank Organisation, who already earns £55,000 a year, was given a £10,000 pay increase. It Charlie had lived, he would have faced twenty-eight and a half years’ work to get that £55,000 said Mr. Wilson.

“His wage increase was vetoed by Mr. Heath,” the Labour leader added in a speech at Kirkby, Lancs.

“The chairman’s £55,000 was considered not enough and he got another £10,000.”

Mr. Heath expressed his personal sadness when he replied to a letter about Charlie from Opposition spokesman Eric Varley.

He said: “I have always recognised that the miners carry out a difficult, dirty, dangerous job with bravery and devotion. I’m saddened that the pits should have claimed yet another like in the long and distinguished roll of honour since the war of those who work underground. I send my deepest sympathy to Mr. Palmer’s widow and his family in this tragic time for them.”

Mr. Heath’s tribute came on the day after hundreds of miners said their own moving farewell at Charlie’s funeral. But that was where the Party leaders ended their unity of feeling over Charlie.

Once again, they clashed over how the miners’ strike should be settled. Mr. Heath said that he could not accept Mr. Varley’s view that the Government had been carrying out “a vendetta against the miners”

He went on: “that is a travesty of the truth. “It is time you put the facts before your electorate.”

Mr. Heath said that under Labour miners’ average cash earnings went up by £8.50. But if the miners accepted the present offer, their earnings since 1970 would have gone up by £20 a week.

He restated the Government’s arguments on why they believe that the miners should accept the offer. He still hoped that they would respond.

But Mr. Wilson attacked the Prime Minister for rejecting his plans to find a settlement. He said that Mr Heath had a chance to take the miners’ case out of election politics. He accused him of “petulantly stamping his feet.”

Mr. Wilson said: “he is squandering the nation’s economic strength for squalid Party advantage.

Meanwhile, in the strike-bound coalfields, they were still mourning for Charlie Palmer Statistic No. 7,768.