7 March 1903
AT WOODPARK COLIERY, BARDSLEY
Two Colliers Crushed to Death – “Born to come
to such and End”
An inquest was held at the Half Way House, Bardsley, on
Tuesday forenoon, by Mr J F PRICE, district coroner, on
the body of Robert WADDICOR, collier at Woodpark Colliery,
Bardsley, residing at Whiteacre-road, Hurst, who was crushed
to death by a fall of the roof whilst working in the mine
on Friday morning. There were present at the inquiry Messrs
GERRARD (HM Inspector of Mines), Jesse BUTLER (miners’
agent), W W MILLINGTON (manager of the colliery), P THOMPSON
(surface manager), E BRADBURY (under manager).
Betsy WADDICOR, wife of deceased,
residing at 157 Whiteacre-road, said deceased was 52 years
of age. She last saw him alive on Friday at 5.45 when
he left home, apparently in the best of health, to go
to work where he began to work soon after the stoppage
of the Astley Pit, Dukinfield, about 18 months ago. He
had worked in the pit ever since he was 12 years of age,
and he never made any complaint as to any danger to which
he was subjected.
John Henry WILLIAMS, 38 Jermyn-street,
Ashton, collier, said he had worked along with the deceased
for about 18 months. They began work at seven o’clock
on Friday morning about 400 yards from the bottom of the
shaft, in the wagon road. Witness was about 2½
yards from the deceased, and they were both working at
the face of the coal. The night foreman had been round
to make his inspection.
About 9.20am deceased was engaged
in coaling, and was getting the tops off when witness
suddenly heard a fall, and deceased called out “Oh,
Jack, I’m done for.” Witness ran to him and
found him lying flat on his stomach with two large stones
lying on his back. He moved one stone, and then ran for
assistance, and they removed the other stone. It took
two or three minutes to extricate deceased, and when taken
out of his position he was quite dead.
The stones had fallen from
the roof. Witness could not account for the fall, and
he could not see anything to account for it. There was
no slip, and the roof was well propped, each of the props
being within the regulation distance, about five feet.
There were 10 props altogether across the coal face. Before
commencing work witness sounded the roof, and it seemed
all right. He could see nothing afterwards to account
for the fall, and he heard no warning at all.
On Saturday morning when he
went down the pit along with the inspector, he noticed
a slip at the coal face. He did not think anything could
have been done at the time to prevent it. The props would
have had to been very close together. Some of them were
only 4 feet 6 inches apart. – By the Foreman (Mr
KERFOOT): Deceased was a practical man. – By a Juryman:
Deceased’s life could not have been saved, as he
was dead when the stones were removed. It was necessary
to go for assistance.
By Mr GERRARD: It did not give
deceased the least warning. The position in which he lay,
and the fact that his pick had been thrown aside showed
that he had been caught by the roof whilst in the endeavour
to run away. It took three of them to remove the last
stone. Deceased had been an under manager at a pit, and
he had had considerable experience.
The Inspector commented upon
the large number of deaths occurring as the result of
falling roofs, and produced rules framed for the protection
of the men. He referred to the long experience of the
deceased, and said he knew him very well, having gone
along with him on many occasions in years gone by to investigate
similar occurrences to that which caused his death. –
A Juryman said the deceased was not a man to throw a chance
The Coroner said it appeared
to be an error of judgment. – The Inspector concurred
with this, saying that he knew the deceased well. The
manager of the pit had very kindly agreed to reduce the
distance separating props. It was apparent that deceased
had seen the slip for he had pulled the coal off for 5½
yards. A verdict of accidental death was returned, the
jury being unanimously of opinion that no one was to blame.
An inquest was subsequently held on the body of Edwin
TAYLOR, collier at Woodpark Colliery, residing at 27 Oldham-road,
Waterloo, who was crushed to death by a fall of roof whilst
at work in the mine on Monday morning.
Thos. PHILLIPS, miner, residing
at Wakefield Cottages, Bardsley, said he had worked with
deceased at the colliery for about two and a half years.
They commenced work together about 6.30 on Monday morning,
at the west side of the colliery, and were getting coal.
Where they were working was about 60 yards from the spot
where Robert WADDICOR was killed on Friday.
The fireman came round in the
morning and examined the workings, but did not give any
instructions. About twelve o’clock witness tested
the roof by tapping it, and in consequence he remarked
to TAYLOR that he thought it was “giving a little.”
Deceased at once tapped the roof over his place, and shortly
afterwards witness heard a fall. He did not hear deceased
call out, so he ran to the spot and saw that deceased
was completely buried by a large fall of stone from the
There would be between four
and five tons of stone and dirt. Witness called for help
and got him out, and he was then quite dead. The roof
had fallen apparently as the result of a slip over the
centre of the wagon road, and the stone had broken off
at the end of a prop. The props were set at a distance
of about four feet from each other. Witness could not
see how the fall could have been prevented. At the moment
when the roof fell deceased was in the act of getting
By the Foreman: Deceased had
not time to get out of the road before the roof fell upon
him. The roof fell from the coal face. – By Mr GERRARD:
Witness and deceased were working about four feet apart.
– By Mr BUTLER: Deceased had been working at the
coal face for about two years, and had always been attentive.
He had “coaled” and “wagoned”
on and off. Witness had had no cause to complain.
Alice TAYLOR, wife of the deceased,
said she last saw her husband alive on Monday morning
when he left home at 5.50 to go to his work, being then
in his usual health. He was brought home dead about 1.30pm
the same day. He had worked in the pit all his life, and
formerly worked at Limehurst Colliery. He was 31 years
of age. He was upset about WADDICOR being killed on the
Friday previously, and said he was born to come such an
end, and that it would be his luck.
Mr GERRARD accounted for the
accident in the same way as WADDICOR. The foreman described
it as a singular coincidence. The jury returned a verdict
of “Accidental death.”
FARMERS’ ASSOCIATION ANNUAL DINNER. -
At the Ashton County Police Court on Wednesday, Thos.
BARROW applied for an hour’s extension of time at
the Dog and Partridge, Bardsley, on the occasion of the
Farmers’ Association annual dinner on March 10th.
– The application was granted.
– A charge of gaming at Waterloo on February
12th, was preferred against youths named Ernest PARKER,
William PARKER, ROBINSON, BRIERLEY and BUCKLEY. –
Sergeant LEEMING deposed to seeing defendants card playing
in Back Buckley-street, on the Sunday in question. –
Ernest PARKER, who had been up three times before, was
fined 5s 6d and costs, and the others were fined 5s for
WRESTLING AT OLDHAM.
– On Saturday, at the Oldham Borough Grounds,
E BEASLEY and Emmanuel SIMPSON (alias Mann Bouf), formerly
of Bardsley, but now of Oldham, met to wrestle the best
of three falls, Lancashire style, at catch weight, for
£15 aside. After twelve minutes BEASLEY obtained
the first throw by pulling his opponent backwards, and
forcing him out to his back. After a short rest, they
were at it again, and the wrestling was rather rough.
After 19½ minutes BEASLEY got the second throw
with the “hand and muscle.”
A LOCAL BUTCHER AND
HIS VISIT TO BELLE VUE. – Lees SLATER,
butcher, of Waterloo, was charged at the Manchester City
Police Court, on Wednesday, with being drunk and disorderly
in Hyde-road, West Gorton. – Two officers told the
Bench that on the previous day the defendant was very
drunk and disorderly, and was refused admission to the
Belle Vue Gardens because he was drunk. – SLATER
denied this, but one of the officers went further, and
stated that defendant was so drunk that he was obstinate,
and would get into Belle Vue if it cost him a ----- £1.
– He now expressed his sorrow, but said the constables
had exaggerated the case. – The Bench fined him
10s and costs, or 14 days.
FROM ASHTON WORKHOUSE
After His “Bacca” at Stalybridge
On Wednesday afternoon, at Stalybridge Police Court, Joseph
OWEN, a demented-looking individual, was placed in the
dock on a charge of deserting from the Ashton Workhouse
and taking with him clothing (which he now wore) the property
of the Ashton Poor Law Union. – Prisoner: Guilty;
I went to see if I could get some “bacca,”
and would have gone back if I had got some. I have seen
others get over the wall beside me. – The Clerk:
Did you desert? – Prisoner: Yes, but I did not get
over the wall; I went through the gate.
Mr SHORE, workhouse master,
said prisoner was one of those men who caused a great
deal of trouble to the workhouse authorities. Severe restrictions
were enforced through the smallpox epidemic, and his (Mr
SHORE’s) instructions were that if any inmate left
the house without authority he should take legal proceedings.
OWEN was in the habit of absconding, and after securing
the names and addresses of inmates of the hospital he
would visit them and procure tobacco, sweets, &c,
then return and tell the men in the day room what he had
Prisoner: I had not been to
anyone’s house. – Inspector BAMFORTH: Not
this time, perhaps.” – Prisoner: No. Not this
time. – (Laughter.) – Mr SHORE added that
prisoner was a bad character. Alderman SIMPSON elicited
from the master that it was easy for an inmate to abscond
if he was so disposed.
Constable George LAWTON stated
that at 5pm on Monday he was in Melbourne-street, when
he saw the prisoner going towards Grosvenor-square. The
officer spoke to Mr CROSSDALE (guardian), and learned
that the man had no right to be out of the workhouse.
Mr CROSSDALE questioned OWEN who admitted having “got
over the wall for some bacca.”
Prisoner, who was very voluble
and had repeatedly to be checked in the course of the
hearing, now told the justices that his brother had said
he could do no good with him, and that the workhouse was
the best place for him. When I was working “they”
would put onion leaves and other things in my tea, and
played other tricks upon me. – Alderman SIMPSN:
That has nothing to do with the offence with which you
Prisoner: I had no “bacca”
and if I had got some I would have gone back. –
Alderman SIMPSON: Don’t you know it is contrary
to the regulations to leave the workhouse without leave?
You might have gone where there is smallpox and taken
the disease back. – Prisoner: I will not do it any
more if you let me go back.
It was stated there existed
already a series of convictions against prisoner (chiefly
in Ashton), and he was sentenced to one month with hard
labour. He was reminded by the chairman that if he repeated
the offence he would in all probability be more severely
ESCAPADE AT DUKINFIELD
Where they Tame Lions
At the Dukinfield Police Court on Thursday, before Messrs
W E WOOD and J PICKUP, a man who gave his name as Patrick
HEAHY, spectacle hawker, Oldham, was in the dock charged
with being drunk and disorderly in Birch-lane on Wednesday.
He pleaded guilty.
Superintendent CROGHAN said
although the prisoner had pleaded guilty, he would like
the Bench to hear some evidence. The prisoner was brought
to the police station on Wednesday, close to one o’clock.
He was violent, and refused to allow two constables to
search him. He was searched, however, and subsequently
complained of his elbows being hurt, and asked for a doctor
to be called in. Thinking it possible he might have been
injured in the struggle, inasmuch as he was very violent
and necessitated two men to hold him, Dr PARK was called
He gave it as his opinion that
the man’s elbow was somewhat hurt. He asked the
doctor’s opinion as to how long since he considered
the injury had been inflicted, and he replied it was at
least 24 hours. The prisoner alleged it was the police
that did it, but the doctor said that was impossible.
There was no blame attached to the police, and if the
prisoner was injured at all whilst in the hands of the
police it was due to his own unreasonable violence whilst
being searched and placed in the cells.
Constable KENNY was the called
and stated that at 12.30 noon on Wednesday he was in Birch-lane
and saw prisoner in the street opposite the New Inn. There
were a number of people standing about, and the prisoner
was wanting to fight. He was drunk, and witness spoke
to him about his conduct, and then he threatened what
he would do at him and refused to leave the road. Witness
took him into custody and the he became very violent,
but with assistance he was got to the police office.
Robert WARHAM, manager at the
New Inn, said he saw the prisoner in the house, offering
a pair of spectacles for sale. He had had some drink and
was not fit to be served. He wanted to fight one of the
men in the house and behaved like a madman.
In reply to the Bench prisoner,
who now seemed calm and subdued, said he was a spectacle
maker by trade, and at present resided in Oldham. When
he got to the police station they closed the door, and
one of the officers pulling off his overcoat said, “We
tame lions here.”
Then the sergeant and another
punced and knocked him about something cruel. The superintendent
came and stopped them. He could not remember all was done;
he was not very drunk, but they aroused his passion by
Mr WOOD: That is a very serious
statement to make against the police. – Prisoner:
It is true, sir. My arm is hurt through the police officers
twisting it, and the sergeant punced me in the ear (pointing
out an injury).
Superintendent CROGHAN: There
was no more violence used than necessary. – Prisoner:
You were not there to see what was done until the last
minute. Three of them were in the cell, and you made them
go out. – Superintendent CROGHAN: It took three
men to put you in the cell.
Constable KENNY said prisoner
told them that four men could not put him in. –
Mr WOOD: If you seriously charge the police. – Prisoner:
I am not charging them at all. – Mr WOOD: If you
think unnecessary violence has been used upon you I am
prepared to adjourn the case to have you examined by a
doctor and the whole matter inquired into.
Prisoner: I don’t want
to say any more about it. – Mr WOOD: When a man
the others cannot very well be gentle. When a man is under
the influence of drink he is perhaps more violent than
he otherwise would be, and assaults the police. Have you
anything more to say? Prisoner: No, sir. – Mr WOOD:
Do you know anything about him?
Superintendent CROGHAN: He
is in possession of a pedlar’s certificate from
the Metropolitan police which will expire next month.
I communicated by telephone with the Oldham police, and
he is not known at the address he gave. His wife is here.
Mr WOOD: We are quite satisfied
you (prisoner) are guilty of being drunk and somewhat
violent, and you may have suffered more at the hands of
the police than otherwise you would have done had you
not been so rough. We can hardly believe the police deliberately
knocked you about in that way. – Prisoner: They
did knock me about.
Mr WOOD: Perhaps they were
obliged to, but I take it the magistrates are always anxious
that the police should not unnecessarily knock any prisoner
about because they know if there were anything of the
sort done they would certainly make full enquiry of it.
If you persist in saying they willfully knocked you about
we will decide the case now, but fully inquire into it.
We are satisfied you are guilty of having been drunk and
disorderly, and fine you 2s 6d and costs, hoping it will
be a warning to you. – Prisoner’s wife came
forward and paid the money.
MILL TO BE CLOSED
Our readers will learn with regret, and perhaps with no
degree of surprise, that the Cockbrook Mill, belonging
to Reyners Limited will be closed. The information is
all the more to be regretted when it is remembered that
only recently Mr HALLAM’s mill, in Delamere-street,
was partly destroyed by fire, and very soon the Portland-street
Mill will close its doors.
The Cockbrook Mill is an old
concern and, as one of the heads said yesterday, “it
has no chance with modern factories,” hence the
decision to close. Several syndicates have already inspected
the premises with a idea of using the mill for ring spinning
instead of mule spinning; other prospective buyers have
suggested the pulling down of the structure and rebuilding
on the same site, whilst, still further, others have thought
of taking over the mill as a going concern.
It is, in the event of the
latter course not being resorted to, extremely likely
that Reyners Limited will strip the mill of its best machinery
and convey this to their larger concern, the Albion Mills,
There has been a desire expressed
on the part of both the Ashton and Stalybridge Corporations
to widen the road at the point near Cockbrook Mill, and
should the premises be taken possession of by other employers
this would form a valuable asset.
The mill is one of the oldest
in the country, documents relating to it being in existence
under the date of 1826. In this connection it might be
of interest to state that Mr F REYNER, father of Councillor
F REYNER, JP, was born in the year 1801, and came to this
district from London as an infant.
Cockbrook Mill has been
partially destroyed by fire on two occasions, and each
time the premises have been enlarged and re-built. Fully
100 hands will be affected by the closing of the mill,
which contains 20 pairs of mules and covers an area of
22,000 square yards.