Archived Extracts

the Hucknall Morning Star


a weeks news dated - January 29th 1886


  BURROWS -On Jan. 25th, infant daughter of Edward Burrows, Hucknall Huthwaite.
  EVANS -On Jan. 23rd, Ernest, son of Joseph Evans, Hucknall Huthwaite, aged 2 months.
  MAYFIELD -On Jan., 20th, Samuel Mayfield, Hucknall Huthwaite, aged 57 years.
  RILEY -On Jan. 25th, John, infant son of Tom Riley, Hucknall Huthwaite.
  WHITE -Jan. 21st, Alfred, son of Alfred White aged 4 months, Hucknall Huthwaite.


  The District Coroner (Mr. D. Whittingham) held an enquiry into the circumstances connected with the death of Samuel Mayfield at the house of Mr. Kesteven, the Peacock Inn, Hucknall Huthwaite, on Friday afternoon. The deceased, who worked at the Silver Hill Colliery, belonging to the Stanton Coal and Iron Company, was injured there on the 22nd December, and died on Wednesday last. Mr. J. Hey, manager, represented the company.
  The coroner, in addressing the jury, said that some time ago it was his painful duty to conduct an inquiry at that house into circumstances connected with the death of a little child; but of the many cases that had come under his notice he had seen nothing to equal the deplorable wretchedness and depravity connected with the present case. He had visited the house where the deceased had died, and had never in his experience seen anything so appalling as he then witnessed. The state of destitution really beggared description, and he could not sufficiently describe the state of misery which must exist in the house, and the exceeding immorality of the people living there. He thought that when the jury visited the place they would agree with him that he had not exaggerated the case, for it would touch their hearts when they saw poor little childre lying on a bundle of rags without a particle of bedding close to the corpse, which lay in the house place. He understood that the woman and these children had been sleeping there since Wednesday, and there were several other persons in the house. He asked the jury not only to view the body, but to go through the house and see the state of matters which he had described. There was nothing upstairs but rubbish, and how the people could have lived under such circumstances he could not understand. The him it seemed a sad thing that poor little children should be brought into the world to suffer as there poor little things must have done.
  The jury, having visited the house, stated on their return that the coroner had not exaggerated the case in the slightest degree.
  The evidence of a woman named Barlow, who had been living with the deceased for the last 16 years, went to show that he came home on the 22nd of December, having met with an accident in the Silver Hill pit, in which he sustained five broken ribs. He complained that his "butties" would not let him place the tub in which he was loading coal in the position he wished, saying that had they allowed him to do so, the accident would not have happened. The reason the deceased did not marry her, was that he was already married, and his wife threatened she would imprison him if he did so, although that woman was herself married before her marriage with the deceased. In further evidence the witness stated that she and the children had slept with the deceased in the houseplace since he died.
  The Coroner observed that he could not imagine such a condition of things, and asked the woman why she allowed the little children to be placed so near the corpse; in reply to which she said "he" (meaning the deceased) would not hurt them.
  John Underwood, living at Stanton Hill, one of the "butties" in the pit, described the accident to the deceased, from which it appeared that Mayfield was loading coal in No. 8 stall, which was on an incline of three inches to the yard. He pulled the tub nearer to his work, but in doing so evidently miscalculated the distance between the tub and the prop behind him, the consequence being that the tub caught him in the side and crushed him against the prop.
  A loader named Samuel Hickton gave corroborative evidence, and Mr. Josiah Ball, employed as underviewer at the pit, stated that deceased had been used to the work he was engaged in at the time of the mishap.
  The jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death."


  Many of you have no doubt heard about the terrible colliery disaster that happened at Marrly, in South Wales, a few days before Christmas. Over ninety five were lost, and many were injured amongst the 773 men and boys who were in the colliery at the time. It was a sad Christmas, therefore, for many of the women and children, who had probably looked forward to enjoying a happy Christmas at home. The men and boys who get our coals for the fires which make our homes comfortable and cheerful in winter times have to run many terrible risks, and ought to have our sympathy. Let us go


  Some few years ago I went down a colliery. If I had not gone down and seen the wonderful place myself, I never could have imagined that what I saw was true If I had been told of it. I will try to tell you what I saw. It was a very deep pit near Dudley, in Staffordshire. There were not many houses near it, and those that were near were very poor houses. We went up a rough and bad looking lane to reach it. There was an "engine" house full of the big engines that draw up the coals from the bottom of the pit and let down the men to work in it, and a very high chimney, such as is to be seen near to all great engines. But all these were on the outside in the sunlight and the bright fresh air. In a moment we had to leave all this, and we were going down a deep, dark shaft, where all was so dark that I could not see the man who stood by my side. We were soon at the bottom, and very pleased I was to step out the cage in which we went down. It seemed to me that we were going out of the world. It was so dark, so silent, so terrible. When you grow to be men, if you can go, go for once down a coal pit, and you will then thank the brave men and boys, who every working day or night, go to get coal for the fires in our homes, and to work all the steam engines that are in the world.


  You have all seen the gas coming out of the coal as it burns in the fire-grate. It will burst into a flame and burn for some minutes, out of a little bit of coal. But in the "Coal Mine" it sometimes comes out in a thick stream and fills the long passages, and if by any means a light gets to it there is a terrible report, and all the men and boys, if not killed at the moment, have to run for their lives to the shaft to be taken out. Sometimes a part of the roof will fall in, and then many will be buried alive. But every one who can runs to the shaft to try to get out. And sometimes when they reach the shaft they find the cage that should take them up has been blown to pieces. Then they all have to wait - sometimes for hours, sometimes for a whole day and night, and sometimes for days.
  If often happens that many never reach the shafts, but fall down and die on the road. And many, at the risk of losing their lives, will stop to look for some one they love. A brother will stop to look for a brother, a father for his son, - I don't know how far we were down in the earth, but it was so black and dark one was afraid to move, until a man came to us with some lamps, but there were only little specks of light. Everywhere was the blackest of darkness. A black night, the darkest room, no darkness is like being in the middle of the earth, and here the men and boys were at work.
  I had heard and read about coalpits, but I never thought they were such wonderful, or such terrible places. I will tell you.


  First we saw the great dark stables, where the horses were kept. Then we went down a very long and narrow passage, it seemed for a quarter of a mile. On each side was a great wall of cal, black as ink. In the middle of this narrow passage was a little railway on which the trucks full of coal were drawn to the shaft to be taken up to the top. Then we saw the men at work - one here, another a little further on, each man having by him one of the little lamps that looked like stars in the long dark passage. Some of the men were lying down, others were kneeling, but all were picking away at the coal that was everywhere. Then we reached two great doors. Passing through these we came to another long passage, where were numbers of other men all busy at work, and all as black as the coal they were getting. In the second passage, or second part of the "pit" it wa so hot I was glad to go forward. We passed through another large gate, and were in the third part of the pit, which was very much hotter still. The men told me that the further they go in the earth the hotter it is.
  Here was a great space; it seemed large enough to build a number of houses in the earth. Hundreds of men could work here, and the little lamps could be seen every where; they were all as busy as are the people in the streets of a town. The little railway waggons went away full of coal, and then the empty ones returned to be filled, and so on.
  But sometimes there comes a terrible explosion of gas. I thought of this, and how awful the place must look after a disaster. -Uncle Jack.


  This match was played on the ground of the latter on Saturday last, and resulted in a victory for Hucknall by 5 goals to 2. ... Teams:-
Church: Turner (goal), J.G. Ellis and F. Beardall (backs), L. Allsopp, Burton, and Sprittlehouse (half-backs), T. Hill, captain, and W. Smith (right wing), Boardman and G. Bradder (left wing), B. Hill (centre).


  The general halfyearly meeting of the above society was held in the Independent schoolroom, Mount street, on Monday evening. Mr. S. Stevenson presided, and there were a good attendance of members. The forty-seventh halfyearly report was read by Mr. E. Straw, secretary, from which it appeared that the society was in a flourishing condition. Having recently purchased the business premises from Mr. Charles Plumbe, a new grocery and provision store has been opened in New street, besides which the society have branches in Cursham street, Mount street, Parliament street, Bullfield, Kirkby, and Hucknall Huthwaite. During the past halfyear thirty new members have enrolled and sixteen withdrawn, making the present number on the register 1012. The receipts for the halfyear from the various stores amounts to £8113, an increase from the previous halfyear of £532, which considering the severe depression in trade is very satisfactory. After paying wages, officers salaries, a nett profit has been realized of £582 14s. 2d., which the committee proposed to be returned to members in their purchases at 1s.8d. in the £ and 10d. to non-members, leaving a balance of £5 8s. 2d. to be carried to the reserve fund, which now amounts to £578 10s.6d. After the report had been passed it was unanimously decided to have the tea and entertainment at Easter as usual. A vote of thanks to the chairman brought a very interesting meeting to a close.

Written 08 Dec 12 Revised 08 Dec 12 © by Gary Elliott