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Nottinghamshire Coalfield


Midland District Miners Fatal Accident Relief Society


In other sections of my data base, I have touched upon the distress and catasropic consequences upon the loss of the breadwinner in a pit accident. No working man in whatever occupation was entitled to compensation for death or serious injury following his employment. In coal mining districts men formed their own individual clubs usually named Field clubs, electing the officials and making the club rules. A weekly payment was paid by the member, in the event of his death at work all funeral expenses were paid. This was usually the best that could be achieved for an individual member. It was only when a large scale calamity occurred involving a massive loss of life, that the local town worthies i.e. Mayor and other civic dignitaries would open a public subscription fund to raise money to help the dependents of the dead, besides funeral costs widows and children were granted a weekly sum to live upon. Often these funds remained active for many years, while ever funds were available and dependents still lived. Both the Field clubs and the embryonic Midland Miners fund rules insisted on a claimant being a member of which ever organisation the claimant belonged to. There was no obligation on membership, and in its long history the MDMFARF did not achieve total allegiance of all miners,  even in 1951 the then chairman commented that there were still 27 pits non members of the fund. From its inception in 1883 with less than 5,000 members it grew to over 70,000 in the later years. The initial subscription of 1d increased over the years as did the benefits to the subscribers. The Fund was always managed by professional persons, miner’s representatives had place on the board as the fund progressed in size, even with the advent of Nationalisation of the industry, the funds chairman was a high ranking member of the N C B.

In June 1954 benefit’s payable were subscriptions per member 2d per week
Widows 8s 6d per week
4s each child up to school leaving age
£10 funeral benefit
If unmarried £40 to next of kin
Paid if death travelling to and from work and at Work
The following pits were reported as non members re NUM council minutes
Linby, Annesley, Newstead, Clifton, Sherwood, Hucknall 1 and 2, Wollaton, Radford, 

Following are newspaper reports of the funds published meetings, with the newspaper and date of such from 1883 until 1900

The Derby Mercury

Wednesday, May 30, 1883

ACCIDENTS IN Mines are the prolific source of such an amount of suffering and poverty, that we hail with peculiar satisfaction the formation of the Midland District Miners' Fatal Accident Relief Society, a society which has its head office in Derby, and embraces in its operations the counties of Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire, and Warwickshire. The founders of the society are sensible that the survivors of sufferers by great colliery accidents, involving great loss of life, are often liberally provided for by the munificence of the public but at the same time it in known that in the case of the majority of accidents less fatal in character and resulting in the loss of one or two lives only, the survivors, are almost or entirely neglected; a small contribution from the Field Club, or the owners, or other sources, and perhaps the burial expenses, usually representing all the assistance received. To find a remedy for this the society, above named, has been started, it has the support of the colliery owners, and the rules have been prepared with great care. Every possible means have been taken to ensure its stability, and the association which is essentially a  workman's society, will relieve all the local clubs of the death-rate and subsequent liabilities, and will not interfere in any way with the present working of them. The advantages offered by the society are within the reach of all the miners and workmen "employed in or about coal or other mines and quarries in the midland district, and the subscriptions are as small that the poorest can afford to pay them. We seen the rules, and we hope to hear that those for whose benefit the society is established have availed themselves very generously of this organization, which is eminently adapted for teaching the important lesson of self-help.

The Sheffield & Rotherham Independent

Saturday, June 09, 1883

Inauguration Of A Miners' Fatal Accidents Relief Society - On Monday a meeting was held at Mr. Saunders Offices, Wardwick, Derby, at which a society, called "The Midlands Fatal Accident Relief Society," was inaugurated. The Society was registered on the 12th of May, and is placed under a large board of management of which Mr A Barnes, M.P., is the chairman. His Grace the Duke of Devonshire is president of the society.

The Derby Mercury

Wednesday, July 4, 1883

THE MIDLAND DISTRICT MINERS' FATAL ACCIDENT RELIEF SOCIETY - A meeting of the board of Management of this society was held at the Registered Office in the Wardwick, Derby, last week.  The Secretary (Mr. Saunders) reported that up to the present the following Collieries had entered members:- Pinxton (Derbyshire), 865 members; Manners (Derbyshire), 107; Linby (Nottinghamshire), 500; Hawksbury (Warwickshire), 290; Coton Park and Linton (Derbyshire), 172; New Heanor and Marlpool (Derbyshire), 60; Grassmoore (Derbyshire), 1,280; Stanton Iron Company (Derbyshire), 1,083; Riddings (Derbyshire), 192; Barlow (Derbyshire), 50; total number of members 4,599; and several other collieries promised to send in their returns of members to be enrolled in a few days. The Chairman (Mr. Walter Salmond) said a telegram had been received from his Grace the Duke of Devonshire consenting to accept the presidency of the society. He (the chairman) was very pleased indeed that his Grace had consented to do so, because this would be of great help to the society. Mr. White said that an impression had got abroad amongst many of the workmen that the society had been set on foot for the purpose of evading any claims that might be raised hereafter under the Employers' Liability Act.  He wished to take the opportunity of stating emphatically that no such intention existed.

Leicester Chronicle and the Leicestershire Mercury

Saturday, May 03, 1890; page 6

THE MIDLAND DISTRICT MINERS FATAL ACCIDENT RELIEF SOCIETY. - The quarterly meeting of this society was held at Derby on Tuesday last. It took place at the office of Mr. Sanders, the secretary, in the Wardwick, and was well attended. Mr. W. Salmond occupied the chair, and amongst those present were Messrs J. A. Longdon (Blackwell collieries), T. D. Croudace (Clay Cross Collieries), W. Beresford, J. Clamp, T. Fletcher, T. Gamble, W. B. Haque, R. Hallam, J. Lee H. Lowe, G. Radford, A. Saxton, Gervase Searston, H. Starkey, J. Wilden. Letters of apology for their absence were read from Sir J.G.N. Alleyne, Bart, Mr. John Jackson, Mr George Lewis, Mr Henry Lewis, Mr J. C. Colver, Mr. R. G Coke, Mr. Robert Howe. TheChairman in the earlier portion of the meeting, mentioned that he had, as requested, sent a letter of thanks to the Duke of Devonshire, who had kindly accepted the presidency of the society; and some routine business having been transacted, attention was directed to the various details of organisation and management. Another fatal accident was reported and referred to the secretary for the necessary investigation, and that gentleman also received instructions as to payment to widows who might remove to a distance. Several of the manager present reported considerable acquisitions to the membership roll, and letters were read from others intimating that in course of time there would be further large additions. The secretary reported that at present, the members numbered 8,376 but since he had made the calculation many more had joined. The secretary also reported that the 1,952 Midland Railway 5 per cent preference stock had been duly transferred from the trustees of the Hartley fund to the trustees of this society.

The Sheffield & Rotherham Independent

Tuesday, June 24, 1884


At the Mansfield County Court yesterday, before Mr. S. B. Bristowe, judge, Mary Bucklow brought an action against the Midland Miners' Fatal Accident Society to recover £23 owing to the death of her husband from what was alleged to be an accident in a coal mine. Mr. W. H. Stevenson, of Nottingham appeared for the plaintiff, and Mr. Parker Rhodes of Rotherham for the defendants. It appeared that the husband of the plaintiff had worked for the Stanton Iron Company for a great number of years, and about 14 years ago he met with an accident. He received 8s per week from the colliery club for 40 weeks.  He eventual recovered, and met with one or two minor accident subsequently.  Some time ago the Midland Miners’ Fatal Accident Society was formed, and they undertook for the payments of one penny per week per workman to relieve the local colliery club of all cases where fatal accident took place, the local club to still continue to pay for sickness and other accidents.  On the 29th of November last, Bucklow, while in pursuit of his employment slipped on some iron plates in the pit and wrenched himself.  This brought on sever hernia, and although he was attended by Dr. Standeu and other medical men, he died in 9 days. – Mr. Rhodes contended that it could not be termed a fatal accident, and it was also held that the authorities of the colliery were not aware that any accident had taken place. In addition to that, the notice was not sent in at the proper time. – After a mass of evidence the case was allowed to be withdrawn by consent of both parties for a mutual understanding to be come to; and it afterward transpired that the case was settled on payment of £26 and costs, the plaintiff to forfeit the right of a claim of a pension of 5s per week for her lifetime.

Nottinghamshire Guardian

Friday, October 24, 1884; page 5

The Midland District Miners’ Fatal Accident Relief Society. – The Finance Committee of this society, which, although only established 15 months, is doing much good work, have issued a report in which they state that since the last quarterly meeting there has been an addition of workmen form four collieries, viz, Albert Colliery, Boythorpe Colliery, Ilkeston Colliery and Wollaton Colliery, which with the increase at other collieries, give an additional number of 1,234 members, according to the latest returns, and there are now 12,465 members on the books. During the past quarter there have been five fatal accidents. The committee further report that the registrar has finally settled and passed the amended rules. Under Rule 47, all disputed claims for compensation have now to be settled by arbitration instead of by the County Court, so that it will be necessary for the Board of Management to appoint five persons as arbitrators, none of them being directly, or indirectly, beneficially interested in the funds. It will be remember that at the last quarterly meeting the Board of Management desired the Financial Committee to advance a further sum of £500 and left the description of the investment to their discretion, subject to the rules. The committee thought that it was desirable to secure a rather larger interest, if possible, than could be obtained from Midland Railway Preference Stocks, and accordingly an advertisement was inserted for two weeks in the local newspapers, offering £500 trust money, at 4 ½%, but no application has been received. The committee therefore consider it would be better to arrange for an investment in other than a mortgage accurity, but in as much as the funds in hand have been increased over £500, during the last quarter after satisfying all claims and paying all expenses, the committee suggest that the sum of £1000 should be invested instead of £500, and they await the instructions of the Board of Management before taking action. This will make up a sum of £4000 invested. The subscription from leasers are generally being increased, and the committee have every confidence that eventually they will amount to a satisfactory annual payment. As to the remission of school fees for children of widows receiving benefits from this society, application has been made to all the School Boards and other schools where the children attend. In two cases the fees will be remitted at first for a period of six months; in other cases the applications appear to be favourably received, and the committee trust that most, if not all, will meet a similar reception, and that a remission of the fees will be obtained.



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