Inquest Reports From Newspapers -
Re Eastwood Colliery Fatal Accidents
Nottingham Journal - Friday 25 July 1835
On Wednesday, at the house of Mr. William Bentley, the sign of the Moon and Stars, in the parish of Eastwood, on view of the body of Benjamin Rice, aged thirty years. The deceased was a person employed in one of the coal pits belonging to Doctor Manson, of Nottingham, and about eight o’ clock on Tuesday morning, he was engaged in hanging on the corves with soft coals which is one hundred and seven yards down the shaft, and fifteen yards below that is the bed of hard coals. He was in the act of drawing a box full of bind and dirt to the side of the shaft to hang it on to the chain for the purpose to be drawn out of the pit, and he had a leather belt round his waist, and a chain was hooked to his belt at one end and the box of the bind to the other end; he was pulling the box and walking backwards, when the chain slipped off the hook at his belt, and he fell backwards over the scaffolding to the bottom of the shaft, a distance of fifteen yards. The deceased breathed when he was found at the bottom of the pit, and he was conveyed to the top as quick as possible, and attended by Mr Smith, the surgeon, who bled him in the arm and gave him some brandy, and afterwards recommended that he should be taken to the Nottingham Infirmary, and some of his fellow workmen got a cart and some straw and blankets and started for Nottingham, but as they were going through Eastwood parish he died; This was about two hours after he fell. The belt and chain had been examined and found safe; the chain must therefore have slipped off the hook in consequence of it not being properly hooked. Verdict. “Accidental death”.
Nottingham Journal - Friday 04 March 1836
On Sunday last an inquest was held before C. Swann, Esq. at the house of William Bentley, the sign of the Moon and Stars, Eastwood, on the body of Joseph Fletcher, then and there lying dead. He was between elven and twelve years of age, and on Saturday last, with about half a dozen boys was riding on the capstan at a coal pit at Eastwood, the property of Dr. Manson. The capstan is used to let down the rope into the pit. As the rope descended, the speed of the capstan increased, and at length the velocity was so great that the deceased was thrown off against a post, part of the frame work of the capstan and before he had time to fall to the ground, one of the arms of the capstan struck him on the back of his shoulder, by which he was thrown five or six yards; by the fall he broke his leg and injured his back. The deceased was taken up apparently dead and never spoke afterwards. The other boys were also thrown off but fell to the ground without receiving any injury; they were told to lie still till the capstan had done going round. The overseer of the pit had previously told them to go off, or they would be killed. Verdict “Accidental death” with a deodand of one shilling upon the capstan.
Derby Mercury - Wednesday 03 May 1837
Inquest before Mr. Whiston Jun, Coroner. On Thursday last, at Ilkeston, on the body of David Bostock, whose death was occasioned the previous day from injuries received that morning whilst employed in a coal pit at Eastwood, in the county of Nottingham, where there was an accumulation of wildfire. The deceased had a very serious fracture of the skull, and other serious injuries, on various parts of his body, and , was, shortly after the explosion taken, on a board, to his residence at Ilkeston, a distance of three miles from the place where the accident happened, and there lingered several hours, but was quite insensible. The jury returned a verdict of “Accidental death”, and at the same time expressed their deep regret that a person injured in the way deceased was, should have been allowed to be removed from the place, and particularly without the concurrence of a medical gentleman stating that no danger would arise in consequence of such removal.
Nottingham Journal - Friday 02 November 1838
Inquest before C. Swann, Coroner, at the Sun Inn, Eastwood, touching the death of John Bradshaw, aged 19 years. The deceased worked in a coal pit belonging to Dr Manson, of Nottingham, and on Monday the 1st October, about eight o’ clock at night, as he was doing some over work in clearing the dirt out of a heading in the pit along with another man, named Henshaw, a loud explosion was heard, accompanied by a great flame, just where he was at work. A man who was at work fifty yards off felt the coal slack blow past him, and saw his candle go out; and in a few minutes deceased came up to him and said ”Oh dear, I wish I had never gone there”. When a light was brought he complained of being very badly hurt, and on examination it was discovered that his clothes were very much burnt. He walked by himself to the bottom of the shaft, was drawn out of the pit and walked home, although his arms, neck, face, and small of his back much injured by the fire. Several remedies, prescribed by Dr Manson for men suffering in the way he was, were applied for about a fortnight, but he continued getting worse, and Mr Davenport, surgeon was called in Tuesday the 16th; he was then in a very feeble and irritable state, arising from the burns, and his arm was in a high state of erysipilatious inflammation; there was a small wound on his back, and appearances of other burnings, which
had healed up. Mr Davenport, tried his best to save him, but the inflammation turned to mortification, which terminated his existence on Monday afternoon the 22nd ult. During the last two days of his life he bled from the bowels through his nose, eyes, and mouth, and must have suffered great agony altogether. The explosion took place in consequence of a boy, aged about eleven years, who had care of a door, not shutting the door, which caused the current of air to draw the wrong way for the men’s working, and the foul air proceeding from a fault in the coal, came in contact with the candle blaze, and immediately exploded. One of the workmen stated that there were no safety lamps in the pit to work by, but there were certain doors put up to create different currents of air, so as to make safety lamps unnecessary, and the men did not like to work with them as they gave so bad a light. If the boy had shut the door as he should have done, the explosion would probably not have taken place; but there have been harmless flashes since deceased was hurt, although the door was kept shut. If the overlooker of the pit had seen the door open, he would have beat the boy, as it is his the overlooker’s business to see that each one does his work correctly, and with safety to other workmen. Verdict. “That the deceased died in consequence of being accidently burnt in a coal pit”
Nottingham Journal - Friday 25 November 1838
An inquest was held on Tuesday, before Mr. C. Swann, the County Coroner, at Eastwood, upon the body of a collier, named John Phillips, who met his death under the following melancholy circumstances. It appears that on the morning in question, shortly after three o’ clock, deceased and Robert Sisson, of Ilkeston, collier, went together to work in a pit of Messrs, Barber, Walker, and Co, at Eastwood, and as usual they and other men stood at the pit mouth until their turn to descend. Deceased and Sisson and two other men put themselves in the chains, and were turned down the pit shaft, when they had got about forty yards down, the deceased fell from the chain to the bottom of the pit. Sisson’s attention at the time was fixed upon the ascending chain so he did not become aware of the accident until he heard the crash at the bottom. On getting to the bottom they found the deceased quite dead, he having one thigh and several ribs broken. Just after they were swung off at the top of the shaft to go down,
the deceased said May the blessing of God go with us; if it does, it will be well with us living or dying; and in less than a minute he fell. Sisson’s could not say positively how he fell, but he was of the opinion that the chains of the men’s tackle got within the other, and when the deceased got in the chains, he seated himself between the chains instead of seating himself within the chains, and that while they were descending he must have shifted his body a little and caused the chains to slip from each other and separate, and then he would fall to the bottom. There was no doubt that his death was quite accidental. It is a common expression amongst colliers to say when going down a pit “the Lord is with us”. The deceased was sixty five years of age and has left a wife and family. Verdict. “Accidentally killed by falling down a coal pit”.
Nottingham Journal - Friday 25 November 1838
An inquest was held on Tuesday last, at the house of William Bentley, the Moon and Stars, Eastwood, on view of the body of George Severn. Abraham Syson, aged fourteen years, son of Francis Syson of Ilkeston, collier, deposed that he had worked at a coal pit at Eastwood, belonging to Dr. Manson, for about a year and a half, the deceased had worked at the same pit for about three quarters of a year. His business was to drive the asses. Yesterday morning about six o’ clock when it was dark though they had fires burning around the pit bank the deceased went along with about twenty others to the pit, to go down and work. When they were standing about the bridge tree, Matthew Henson, who had care of the bridge tree, went to push it over the pit, in order that the men and boys might fasten themselves in the chains to go down the pit. While Matthew Henson was about twelve or fourteen yards off the bridge, the deceased went to the side of the pit, and immediately held his arms out to lay hold of the chain without looking to see if the bridge tree was over the pit or not and he put his foot out to step upon the bridge. The bridge not being then put out, he fell down the pit, which is one hundred and twenty one yards deep. There is generally a bit of a scramble among the boys to see who shall get into the chains and go down first; though it makes no difference whether they go by the first or second bantle. It was the duty of Matthew Henson to have pushed the bridge over; he ought to have had the bridge tree pushed up on Monday much earlier than it was. The deceased was the son of James Severn, of Cotmanhay, collier, and was nine years old. The deceased was taken out of the pit immediately afterwards quite dead. His forehead fractured, his right thigh, and left leg and arm were broken. Verdict. “Accidentally killed”
Nottingham Review - Friday 15 November 1844
On Saturday morning an inquest was held at the house of William Oldershaw, the Broad Oak, Strelley, on the body of Joseph Reeves, collier, aged twenty years who was killed in a coal pit the property of Messrs. North, Wakefield, and Morley, on the previous morning about five o clock, by a piece of bine or roof suddenly falling upon his head. The bine might be three quarters of a hundredweight. No blame was attached to anyone. Verdict “Accidentally killed” by the roof or bine falling upon him.
Nottingham Review - Friday 10 August 1849
An inquest was held at the Rutland Arms Inn, Ilkeston, on the 4th instant on the body of Solomon Beardsley, who came to his death under the following circumstances, He was a collier employed in a coal-mine at Eastwood belonging to Messrs. Barber, and Walker. On proceeding through one of the gates of roads to his work, on Tuesday morning, the 31st with a naked candle lighted in his hand, the inflammable gas ignited. He was so dreadfully burnt that he died in consequence on the Friday following. From the evidence the mine was a good deal infested at the time with foul air, and the owners had sufficiently guarded against it by air gates and a furnace at the bottom of the shaft, there was no person appointed by them, as in some of the neighbourhood collieries, to attend especially to the furnace. This duty seems to have evolved on the men working in the mine. There was no fire on Monday or Tuesday, and in consequence, the current of pure air in the pit was deficient, and the gas accumulated: hence the accident. The men are not in the habit of using safety lamps unless danger is apprehended. The jury returned a verdict of “Accidental death”, with a request to the Coroner to state the circumstances of the case to the owners of the mine, which was done accordingly.
Nottingham Journal - Friday 12 April 1850
On Friday last, an inquest was held at the Moon and Stars, Eastwood, on the body of Joseph Bradley, aged 31, collier, Kimberley. William Naylor, a collier, residing at Eastwood, proved that the deceased worked at one of Messrs. Barber and Walker pits. On the previous Wednesday evening, he went to his work at about twenty miutes to six. He was employed at “heading” which was performed either by blasting with gunpowder or with a pick axe. Bradley had been employed at this description of work for some time, and was perfectly aquainted with his business. At half past nine it became necessary to blast, and the deceased buried the charge apparently in the usual manner. The witness did not see him light the charge, but immediately afterwards he heard the report, and a lad called out to him that “something was amiss”. He immediately ran to the spot, and saw the deceased lying senseless on the ground. He was raised up and a surgeon sent for, but before he arrived the man died. Verdict, “That the deceased was accidently killed by the discharge of some gunpowder used in blasting coal”
Nottinghamshire Guardian - Thursday 19 April 1855
John Pearce Stapleton
On the 9th and by adjournment on the 16th, Mr. Coroner Swann held an inquest at the Three Tuns, at Newthorpe, to inquire into the death of John Pearce Stapleton, a collier, twenty years of age. The deceased it appeared was employed in in a colliery belonging to Messrs Barber, and Walker, in the parish of Greasley, and on the Wednesday preceding the first day’s enquiry he was assisting to replace a train of coals which had got off the line, when a portion of the bind fell upon him, and he sustained such severe injuries upon his abdomen and hips as to cause his death. A verdict in accordance with the evidence was returned.
Nottinghamshire Guardian - Thursday 15 November 1855
On the 2nd and by adjournment on the 7th last, an inquest was held at Eastwood, on the body of a collier named Zachariah Farnsworth, who died from injuries which he had received by the bine in a coal pit accidentally falling upon him. A verdict in accordance with the evidence was returned.
Nottinghamshire Guardian - Thursday 17 October 1861
Yesterday an adjourned inquest was held before, C. Swann Esq, coroner for the county, at Mr Hogg’s the Moon and Stars, in the parish of Eastwood, touching the death of Walter Brown, a collier, who was killed in the Manson’s field pit, belonging to Barber and Walker, at Eastwood. From the evidence of the witness, it appeared that the deceased was at work, on the 7th instant, in the pit, and struck some coal called a bank. A boy named Allen, told him the coal would fall upon him, and he had better come out of the bank; but deceased struck the coal, and it fell on his leg and knocked his head against the sprags. When picked up, the deceased breathed once or twice, and a great deal of blood flowed from him. The jury after a few minutes consultation returned a verdict of “Accidently killed”
Nottinghamshire Guardian - Friday 07 August 1863
An inquest, at the house of Samuel Shaw, Eastwood, was held by Mr. C. Swann, Esq, County Coroner on the body of Willard Naylor, aged nine years and ten months. James Williamson, of New Eastwood, engine man said, I am the engine driver of Manson’s coal pit at Eastwood worked by Messrs. Barber, Walker, and company. On Friday last, the workmen gave over work at half past five o’ clock. Jonathan Cheetham was the banksman, and he left the pit at the same time. Before he left he ought to put up the iron fence near the shaft to prevent any accident. He left without putting it up. I did not know at the time it was not put up. About twenty minutes to six o’ clock T was in the furthest fire hole, and I heard a tram running on the gang-way at the top of the hill, and I ran to see what it was. When I got against the drum, I saw three lads standing up in the tram, whilst it was running very fast down an incline towards the shaft I ran forwards and saw the tram run into the pit. As soon as the first wheel of the tram got into the shaft the first lad fell out of the tram down the shaft. The second lad sprang into a truck which was hanging over the pit, the third lad jumped out of the tram. The first lad was named Naylor, the second lad was Samuel Garratt, and the third was Gibson. Garrett and Gibson were not hurt, but Naylor was killed. John Shaw, collier found the lad covered with dirt. His skull was smashed, and his head was quite flat, his right leg was broken, and his bowels on the right side hung out of his body. The pit is one hundred and fifty yards deep. Verdict “Accidentally killed” by falling down a coal pit shaft.
Nottinghamshire Guardian - Friday 24 October 1873
Mr Coroner Heath held an inquest on Tuesday at the Lord Raglan Inn, Newthorpe Common, relative to the death of John Small, a collier, who was killed on Monday last. According to the statement of Robert Hazledine, of Eastwood, he and deceased were stallmen working as butties in the No. 4 soft coal stall at the Eastwood Colliery. The pit was formerly called Kings pit. There were twelve stalls in the soft coal, and they counted upwards. There were two planes or inclines in the soft coals stalls. The first incline leading from the bottom being about 100 yards long, and the second about 150 yards above the first leading into No. 3 and No. 4 soft coal stalls. On Monday he and deceased were working together in No. 4 stall. About a quarter past twelve o’ clock they gave over, and two other men who were working in another part came to them to go up the pit. The deceased came down the first incline in safety, and at the bottom, or nearly so they were overtaken by a man called Naylor. Small called to Naylor to go up first as he had a light, and Naylor did so. They hurried to get to the bottom as they were short of time. They had to get to the bottom by half past twelve o’ clock, that being the time when the drawing up began. Witness and Naylor got to the bottom before the incline commenced to work, and three men were then on the chair waiting to go up. He and Naylor and Knighton got on at once and went up, leaving the deceased behind. Witness had told the hanger on and the locomotive man that the deceased was following, when one of them said it was time to commence working the incline. Witness was out of breath with running, and they had not been on the chair above half a minute before they were drawn up. Deceased was a careful man and he had never known him to down an incline while the jigging was going on. It would be dangerous to do so. James Carman, of Cotmanhay, said he was in charge of the place, but he did not hear Hazledine say anything about the deceased following him. About twenty to one o’ clock the “jigging” began, and the trams had gone about twenty yards when the signal to hold was given. Witness went to the place and found the deceased lying upon the rails. Three of the trams lay off the road, and the body of the deceased was upon the chain. Witness could see the trams bump against the man’s head, and when he got to him life was extinct. William Walters said he saw the deceased start, and told him he did not think he could get out of the way. Deceased went down the incline, and at the usual time witness commenced to “jig” it being his duty to do so. The jury returned a verdict of “Accidentally killed”.
Nottingham Journal - Thursday 31 December 1874
An inquest was held on Tuesday, by Mr. Coroner Heath at the Moon and Stars Inn, Eastwood, on the body of a boy named Samuel Mann, aged twelve, whose death was the result of an accident. It appeared the deceased worked at the Eastwood Colliery his duty was to open doors for the passage of the trams. For some reason or other a horse suddenly started on Monday morning and he was knocked down. When he screamed out the animal stopped. Nevertheless, on being picked up he was unable to speak, he died the same night at his parent’s house. The jury returned a verdict of “Accidentally killed”.
Nottinghamshire Guardian - Friday 20 August 1875
On Tuesday afternoon an adjourned inquest was held by the County Coroner, Mr. Heath, at the Sun Inn Eastwood, respecting the death of a collier named Luke Holmes, aged forty three years, who was accidentally killed in the Eastwood Colliery on Friday last. It appeared from the evidence that on the day in question deceased, who was a contractor, was at work on the main road down Eastwood pit when one of the walls fell upon him, covering him up to his loins. He was extricated as soon as possible, and taken up the pit, but died in a few hours. Several witnesses were called including the deceased’s son, who was there at the time, a verdict was returned that on the 13th last, deceased was accidentally killed by the falling of a wall upon him while employed on the main road of the pit.
Nottinghamshire Guardian -Thursday 18 January 1878
An inquest was held on Monday afternoon by the County Coroner, Mr. D. W. Heath, at the Lord Raglan Inn, Newthorpe Common, on the body of a man named Thomas Leverton, forty five years of age, who was killed on Wednesday morning last in the Eastwood Colliery. Deceased it seems, was employed as a stallman in No 13 stall of the above colliery, and whilst working there on Wednesday morning last a quantity of bind fell upon him, injuring him fatally. The roof under which he had been working had a short time before the accident been tested, and found to be quite safe. The books kept at the colliery were examined by the Coroner, but no entry of the accident was made in them. The Coroner remarked that it was a serious omission, and ought to have been entered. A verdict of “Accidental death” was returned.
Nottinghamshire Guardian - Thursday 29 March 1878
On Monday evening an inquest was held at Mr. Booth’s, The Ancient Druids Inn, Cotmanhay, before Mr. W. H. Whiston, Coroner, on the body of William Bostock, aged fourteen, whose death took place on the 22nd instant, from injuries received at the Eastwood Colliery of Messrs Barber and Walker, in May last. From the evidence adduced it appeared that the youth was employed as a pony driver in the pit and that the horse knocked him down on the main road and “jutted” the shafts of the tram against his head. He had been attended to by medical men ever since, and Dr, Crackle gave it as his opinion that deceased died from injuries to the brain. A verdict was returned in accordance with the medical evidence.