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Inquest Reports - Outcropping

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Outcropping - Open-Casting

Inquest Reports From Newspapers - Re Open-Cast Fatal Accidents

Derby Courier - Saturday 21 May 1921

Charles Wray

Whist working on an outcrop seam of coal on the Blackwell Rural Council refuse tip, Charles Wray, a miner, of Mount Pleasant, Newton, was killed by a fall of clay early on Monday morning. An inquest was held at Tibshelf, on Wednesday, by Dr, Albert Green. Sidney Blower, of Mount Pleasant, Newton, stated that about three thirty, on Monday morning, he and Wray, who was his stepfather, were getting coal on the refuse tip. Wray was working with another man in a hole sunk down about eight feet. There was no timber set. Suddenly a fall of clay occurred and buried Wray. It was the first time the deceased had been to the place. It took about three quarters of an hour to get Wray out, when extricated he was dead. The coal pickers on the tip took their own risks. On this particular morning they were getting coal for their own use not to sell it. In answer to Superintendent Fennell, witness said the circumference of the hole in which the deceased was working was five or six yards. Other men had worked in this hole for about three weeks. The Coroner: Did you think it safe without any timber? We had only got a foot under not enough to set timber. George Arthur Tebbs, Bamford Street, Newton, who was working in the hole with Wray, said they had taken about a ton of clay off before starting work, and after that they considered it safe. Wray was struck as he was bending and had no time to cry out. Superintendent Fennell: As a practical coal miner you thought it safe? I did. What do you estimate the weight of the clay which fell?.  About two tons and Wray was crushed face downwards. The Coroner recorded a verdict of “Accidental death”.

Nottingham Evening Post - Wednesday 29 June 1921

John Frederick Soar

Mr. A. N. Whiston conducted the inquest on John Frederick Soar, aged seventeen, of 130, Loscoe Road, Heanor, the victim of the outcrop fatality on Sunday last. The father, James John Soar, said he covered the shaft, which was twenty three feet deep, with doors and planks. There was no smell of gas on Saturday night. The next morning he warned deceased not to go near the shaft, a few moments later he heard another son say the planks had been removed. Hurrying to the shaft, he saw deceased at the bottom. He immediately descended, but in trying to lift deceased he was overcome by the fumes of the gas. Dr Eames, said death was due to asphyxiation. The Coroner brought in verdict to this effect commending the father, his sons, and a man named Pattison, for their plucky attempt to save the deceased.

Derby Daily Telegraph - Friday 13 June 1922

Joseph John Toulson and George Merrick

A tragic occurrence involving the death of two miners named Joseph John Toulson and George Merrick, and injury to a third took place in a small outcrop shaft in Mouse Park Wood, near Chesterfield on Thursday night. Merrick was let down the shaft to fix a piece of air piping, after being lowered some distance he was overcome by gas, and fell to the bottom. Toulson volunteered to go down, and he too was overcome by gas fumes and also fell to the shaft bottom. The third man Walter Wilkin then descended to rescue his mates. He succeeded in getting hold of Toulson but was compelled to release his hold owing to gas. When brought to the surface he was found to have received an injury to his back, he was also severely gassed. The bodies of the two dead men were recovered later

At the inquest held on 15-06-1922 at Chesterfield a verdict of “Accidental death was returned.

Nottinghamshire Guardian - Thursday 27 July 1926

George Bucknall

The tragic accident on Saturday whereby George Bucknall, age thirteen years, of 6, Soudan Terrace, Hawthorne Street, was buried by a fall of earth from a tip adjoining Clifton Colliery was inquired into yesterday at Leenside. by the City Coroner Mr C. L. Rothera. it will be recalled that the boy in company of ana compangion named Samuel Pykett, thirteen, of 5, Soudan Terrace, Hawthorne Street, went to the tip for the purpose of getting coal. It was while they were in a hole previouslt dug, that the fall occurred. Pykett narrowly escaped death. The father of the dead boy James Wilson Bucknall, a stallman at Clifton Colliery said on Saturday he was told his son had been buried near Clifton Colliery. He went ther as quickly as possible and found Pykett buried up to his shoulders in the hole. We got my boy out first the other last. My son was complerely buried two feet deep. According to the Coroner witness the boys appeared to be in a kind of dug out. Pykett said they had been ther an hour before help arrived. It was the first time witnes had known his son to go to the tip for coal.The survivour Samuel Pykett, said he and the deceased went fo coal.One bag had been filled and taken home. They made a second journy to the tip and after getting into one hole, they enrered abother a sort of cavefor a distance of two or three feet. The roof gave way before we knew where we were, he added. We were level with each other. It buried me to the top of my head I could see a mall hole which I breathed through. I worked my way up to the top, I had to be dug out by another boy. Bucknall was about two feet beneath the soil. The Coroner: How long were you in that predicament before anyone came to you? Witness: About an hour. Did it seem like an hour to you, or was it ten minutes? Witness; I don’t know. He added that they were by themselves and were at the tip for about two hours. The jury returned a vedict of “Accidental death”.

Nottingham Evening Post - Monday 16 August 1926

Reginald Davison

A verdict of “Accidental death” was returned at Chesterfield on Reginald Davison, aged thirty four, of Top Row, Callow, a miner, who was killed by a fall of clay when outcropping on Thursday night. Herbert Clifford Davison, brother, said he had just come to the top of the hole where outcrop coal was being worked at Calow and his brother was preparing to follow him when he spotted the clay begin to move, and it fell in. His brother was killed on the spot, and John William Wright, of Lower Alley, Callow, had a narrow escape. Wright said he owed his escape to Clifford Davison shouting. Look out Jack. He just managed to get out of the way when the clay buried his foot. The collapse was due to heavy rain.

Nottingham Journal - Friday 03 September 1926

John Henry Ross

The death of a miner named John Henry Ross, sixteen, of 6, Henson’s Row. Old Basford, as a result of injuries caused by a fall of earth in an outcrop pit at Trowell Moor, near Ilkeston, on Monday night was investigated by the Deputy City Coroner, Mr. W. S. Rothera, at the Nottingham General Hospital yesterday. Ross was working with another Basford miner named Richard Flecknow, when the fall occurred. Both were imprisoned for several hours before they could be released, and Ross died in the hospital on Tuesday, Flecknow is still a patient with severe injuries. Mr. F. Berryman represented Mr. S. Fretwell, owner of the land on which the outcrop pit is situated. Catherine A Ross, sister in law of the deceased, of Prior Terrace, High Street, Old Basford, said Ross was ordinarily employed at Newcastle Colliery. George H Hancock, a miner of Bell’s Terrace, Cheltenham Street, Old Basford. said he and three others including Ross were working where the accident occurred. He started working there last Sunday. The shaft was newly sunk to a depth of about fourteen feet, and coal was then being got. There were other outcrops in the field. All four were paid by Mr Fretwell, at £1 per ton for coal got out of the shaft. The money was shared. There were three men paid five shillings and sixpence each and Ross had three shillings and sixpence. When witness came out of the pit on Monday the timber was very safe and, in his opinion adequate. Holes were made for the feet in the shaft. The coal seam was eighteen inches thick. Ross and Flecknow went down about ten p.m. and fifteen minutes later there was a shout. The roof is coming in. Three men in another shaft who had nothing to do with their party, were got out. Ross and Flecknow who were in a lying position, were buried up to their waists. He went down the shaft, and with others helped release them. It was necessary to sink another shaft about four yards away, and fourteen or fifteen feet deep, in order to get them free. It was impossible to get at them down the shaft where all the weight was. They were released at seven fifteen the following morning and at once taken to the hospital, both were then conscious. In reply to Mr. R. Yates, inspector of Mines, Hancock said he was a stallman at Cinderhill. When the accident occurred they were trying to make another shaft so that if anything happened they could, flee both ways. None of the timber was broken before the accident but after the accident he found a bar was broken.
Samuel Fretwell, a money lender, in Little Hallam, Ilkeston, said after he had proved coal in the field about a dozen people came to him wanting him to delve for it. The arrangement was that they should take all the risks and he would buy the coal at £1 a ton, and supply them with all the timber. The party sank three shafts. Props and bars of the usual dimensions, supplied by a colliery company were used. Medical evidence was given that Ross died on Tuesday from shock, following injuries consistent with being buried under a fall. In summing up the Coroner said that the men were experienced miners, and the timber appeared to have been properly fixed. A verdict of “Accidental death was returned”.

Ripley and Heanor News - Friday 21 January 1927

William Henry Allen

Last Thursday, Mr. A. N. Whiston, County Coroner, held an inquest touching the tragic death of William Henry Allen, of 36, Burnt House Road, Heanor, who lost his life in an outcrop pit on Wednesday. Mr. W. T. Hartley, Inspector of Mines, was present, also, Mr. Colin Johnson, Superintendent of the North Midland Rescue Station, and Mr. G. L. Brown, manager of the rescue Station. Sarah Jane Welbourn identified the body and said the deceased had lived at their house for fifteen years. Deceased was a mining contractor and was forty years of age last Saturday. He had worked on the outcrop which was at the back of the house. The land belonged to the deceased. Thomas Singleton, miner, of Thorpe’s Road, said deceased and William Welbourn, William Wakefield, and himself, were at the outcrop pit. About twenty minutes to eight o’ clock on Wednesday morning witness went down the pit, but in consequence of the damp returned about, ten a. m. He did not go down again. Soon after two o’ clock deceased went down to bring up some tools. Witness protested, but deceased said he would go. Witness made arrangements for deceased to signal him. He was to shout. He shouted once and witness started to wind him up. When he had got up about ten yards deceased fell off the chair. Witness saw him fall and told his mates, he put it down to the black damp. He shouted down but received no reply. Deceased had told witness he would be all right. They made several attempts to rescue him but failed. Mr. Welbourn, tried damp cloths, but could not get any distance, so they telephoned the North Midland Rescue Station, Ilkeston, and the body was removed. The pit was about twenty yards deep. The lifting apparatus consisted of a wooden roller windlass with a wire rope attached, and the chair a board riveted with chains attached to it. Witness had noticed the black damp plenty of times before. Deceased was a carful man and understood the work. In answer to the Inspector, witness said ten minutes previously they tried a lighted candle but it went out at about ten yard down. Deceased was not tied to the chair. Witness did think it was asking for trouble, but deceased persisted in going down. They were sinking another shaft for which deceased wanted the tools. William Welbourn, miner of Burnt House Road, corroborated the last witness. They tried to prevent him going down but he was keen on fetching out the tools. Witness made desperate attempts to get down to him, but the damp was too much. In answer to the Inspector, witness said he could only get down two or three yards. Deceased was the head man. Colin Johnson, superintendent of the North Midland Recue Party, stated he received a call at two forty, they arrived at the pit at three five. They prepared two men on the way. One man was lowered and deceased was lashed to the rope and brought up at three thirteen p.m. They tried artificial respiration. The doctor was there and he examined the body he was dead. They still tried respiration for half an hour. Dr, W.H. Turton, stated he was at the pit head when the body was brought up, but he concluded the man was dead. In his opinion death was due to suffocation by carbon-dioxide, which had a very quick effect. The Coroner in summing up paid a tribute of praise to Mr. Welbourn, also the very efficient and smart way in which the members of the rescue party rendered every possible help. His verdict would be “Accidental death”. H. M. Inspector, said it was suicidal for a man to go down a mine where this gas was present. He also expressed great praise for the speed and smartness in getting to the pit.