East Anglian Ancestors

Norfolk & Suffolk genealogy

A fatal fall – Shireoaks Colliery

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Shireoaks CollieryMy great grandmother’s first husband died young, but new records from ancestry have revealed how he died.

Charles Inman was born in North Anston in 1874.  He married my great grandmother, Harriet Herrington, in 1905 but by the time of the 1911 census, she was shown as a widow with 4 young children to support.

The Ancestry link to the Coal Mining History Resource centre reveals that Charles Inman was killed in a mining accident at Shireoaks Colliery.  On 4th June 1910 he set off for work in his occupation as Dataler. This job involved service work and the construction and maintenance of mine roadways.  The work was casual and a dataler was paid by the day.  Regrettably, on this particular day Charles was setting up a prop on the overhanging side of a road way when a large stone fell & killed him.  The accident was reported in the Sheffield Telegraph:

Early on Saturday morning during driving operations necessary for the installation of a compressed air engine in the more distant workings of the Shireoaks Colliery.  Charles Inman, of Lindrick Dale, was killed.  He was engaged in driving a wedge, when, without any warning, a piece of stone, about a tone weight, became dislodged from the roof, and struck him on the head, killing him instantaneously.  His fellow workmen escaped injury.  Deceased, who was 36 years of age, leaves a widow and four children.

Charles was the only fatality at Shireoaks Colliery in 1910 although road maintenance must have been nearly as hazardous as mining itself as there was another fall in the roadway in 1908 that took the life of Thomas Barrowcliffe and a previous accident in 1904 killing Henry Marrison.

A subsequent tragedy in 1912 involved my relative, John Cuff, who was also killed in Shireoaks Colliery.  John was recorded in the 1911 census as a coal miner hewer working underground in the mines.   At the time of the accident his occupation was listed as Stallman.  On 27th September 1912 he was walking along the gate road to his stall with 3 other men when he found the roof was ‘biting’ slightly.  As he was examining it, a large stone fell from the roof and buried him. Another man suffered a dislocated ankle, but Cuff was the only fatality that year.

From the time the colliery was sunk in 1856 to the time it finally closed in 1990, there were 75 fatal accidents.  A statistic indicative of the dangerous trade of the coal miner.

Author: Jacqui Beard

Wife, mother, & property/finance professional having an obsession with genealogy bordering on the unhealthy. I live just north of Cheltenham with my family, a grumpy border terrier and four plump, friendly chickens. When not "playing with dead people," as my husband so charmingly puts it, I can be found pottering around the garden or writing.

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