A national coal strike beginning on March 1, 1912, and involving a million men in the industry, aimed to win a minimum wage for each coal mining district.
In the Yorkshire coal field no coal was drawn anywhere after four o’clock on Thursday afternoon. The Cadeby Colliery men, some of whom are seen here, ceased work at the end of Wednesday morning’s shift. After 40 days and a national ballot the miners returned to work.
This ballot was precipitated by the passing of the Coal Mines (Minimum Wages) Act 1912. This stipulated that in future, minimum wages were to be negotiated by local boards on each mining district. Each board was to have a neutral chairman. Returning to Cadeby Colliery, miners found it in a bad condition and coal was not drawn there for about a week.
The first sod of the new Denaby Main Colliery was cut in 1863. The owners John Buskingham Pope, a London coal factor and George Pearson, a railway contractor, leased the land from Thrybergh Hall’s Fullerton family. Interestingly, coal had been mined as a surface outcrop at Denaby in medieval times, and in 1847 there was a reference to a close there called coletypes.
After overcoming considerable problems with water, the Barnsley seam was reached 449 yards below ground. It was the deepest seam in Yorkshire and well over nine feet thick.
The colliery, and other service industries which sprang up, drew a large variety of workers to the area.
Also the colliery was well sited adjacent to the Sheffield & Lincolnshire Railway and the River Don. During the 1870s Denaby’s population reached 695, an increase of 492 on the figure for 1861. At this period there were around 100 colliery-built houses.
A proportion of the colliery housing was built at 49 to the acre, and in some instances 10 people were living in a four-roomed house. None of the houses had bathrooms, water closets or hot or cold running water. Night soil men emptied the earth closets and middens weekly.
Martin Gaskell stated in the Town Planning Review of October 1979 that Edlington was not developed on the picturesque lines of Woodlands, but the houses were well-built and convenient, with gardens at the front and yards at the rear.
According to Professor Patrick Abercrombie, joint author with TH Johnson of Doncaster Regional Planning Scheme (1922), the way in which the work was carried out ‘left everything to be desired’.
ME and A Lawrence in the Worker’s Education Journal South Yorkshire Historian No.1 (1971) described the scene at the time of the houses’ construction: “The first street of houses to be completed was given the name of Staveley Street, and for a time the village was known to the outside world simply as Staveley Street.
“The roads were like a quagmire, as bricks for the houses were brought from Conisbrough and Balby by traction engines.”
The picture shows a scene in Duke’s Crescent.
Hatfield Colliery has become the first in the country to take on a Swedish look in the pithead baths, wrote the Sheffield Telegraph on May 6 1971. The idea for the sauna came from miner John McGarvey, who told the pit’s consultative committee how impressed he had been by sauna baths on a tour of Scandinavia.
The committee, comprising NUM officials and colliery bosses, investigated the suggestion and later decided to go ahead and spend £500 on a sauna bath made by a Doncaster firm.
“The money has come from the charity and welfare fund which is jointly run by the union and management,” said Frank Clark, Hatfield NUM branch secretary.
But while the men sweated it out in the sauna – as many as 12 at a time – women and girls employed in the offices and canteen were told there was no hope of them being allowed to use the facility.
Terror struck Hickleton Colliery on September 24, 1962 when a 40-year-old miner died, buried beneath rubble. Frantic efforts by colliery rescue workers saved the lives of five other miners, but wives and children who stood a nine-hour vigil at the pit gates, were stunned as news of the death of bachelor miner Charles Littlewood reached the crowd. The men were buried when about 20 feet of roof in the Parkgate seam suddenly collapsed without warning showering down a cloud of dust, rock and coal.
Two of the trapped men were rushed to hospital and detained. Both pictures were taken on the same day; he top one shows miners looking on as Harry Pickering is taken to an ambulance. On June 5, 1964 two men were killed in a pit top conveyor belt accident at Hickleton Colliery.
The victims were repairing the steel conveyor belt leading to the washing plant. The belt started up suddenly. Killed were 52-year-old Louis Crossley and Arthur Longbones, aged 57.