Tupton Collier Killed by an "Iron Man.
Taken from the Derbyshire Courier - 16 November 1901
Mr C G Busby, J.P., held an inquest on Monday at the Chesterfield Hospital,
on the body of William Brooks, aged 35, a New Tupton collier, who died in the
institution as the result of injuries received in No. 9 pit of the Clay Cross
Company, on October 28th. Mr A H Stokes, HM Inspector of Mines; Mr W B M
Jackson, J.P. (representing the company); Mr James Haslam, J.P. (representing
the Derbyshire Miner's Association, of which the deceased was a member); and Mr
Elliot Smith (Mansfield), who represented the coalowners' Association, were
Mr George Wharton, (the manager of the colliery) described the cutting
machine used in the mine, and stated that the teeth of the cutting wheel were
about four and a half inches long. Deceased had had charge of the machine for 18
months, and had previous knowledge of such machines.
Herbert Goddard said he and the
deceased were engaged in putting new cuttersinto the coal cutting machine when
the accident occurred. Witness was in front and deceased in the rear of the
machine. When four of the 24 cutters had been inserted, it became necessary to
slightly revolve the cutter wheel which under holes the coal face. The deceased
therefore switched on the electrical current which operates the machine. The
machine suddenly srung back away from the wall, and the cutters caught the left
leg of the deceased, At the same moment the lamp carried by the deceased was
extinguished, leaving the stall in darkness. Witness, as quickly as possible,
switched off the current. He found the deceased sitting on the cutting machine,
and blood had flowed from his left leg below the knee. First aid was rendered,
and he was sent to the hospital.
Mr Stokes: Can you turn the cutter
wheel round without turning on the current? - Witness: No.
Not by means of a bar or anything? -
Was he, then, doing right in
switching on the current to turn the wheel? - Yes.
Is that the way you always do it? -
Mr Smith: You have a sort of oak
block to put onto the coal face where it is cut? - Yes.
Was there a block of wood near the
cutters then? - Not that I am aware of.
The coal face shows a mark where the
cutter struck and rebounded. That being so, don't you think it is likely that
this block of wood was in the way, and that the wheel began to revolve it came
into contact with the block of wood? - I don't know that there was any wood
Mr Haslam: I you opinion how could it
catch the coal? - As soon as the wheel started it would catch the coal and shove
the machine out.
Mr Haslam: I can not see what it
Joseph Holmes deputy, said he
examined the machine the day after the accident. He found a "half thick" - a
block of wood, wedge shaped - between the rail nearest the coal face and the
machine, The wood had been chipped by the cutter.
The Coroner: What do you think
happened? - I think one of the cutters caught this piece of wood and forced the
machine back. Mr Stokes: Can these cutters be put
in without turning on the current? - I should say not.
Could you turn the wheel with a bar?
- Not enough, I think, to get in all the teeth.
The Coroner: You never had an
accident with this machine before? - No.
Mr Haslam: Was the hole cut
sufficiently large? - There could not have been a better hole as regards room.
Dr Molyneox, house surgeon, said
death was due to shock resulting from a compound fracture of the left leg, which
Verdict, "Accidental death"