Barnsley Chronicle November 23, 1907
Fatal Fall of roof at Houghton Main
Joseph Wilden aged 32, a miner, residing at 29 Havelock St, Darfield, was killed on Saturday morning at the Houghton Main colliery by a fall of roof. He was working in the Billingley number two district at the time, building a pack, and to the miners were at work close by, but did not actually see the fall. Although Wilden was quickly extricated, he only lived a few minutes.
The inquest took place before Mr Kenyon Parker on Monday evening, at the Darfield Wesleyan Schoolroom. Mr Jim Miller, HM Inspector of mines; Mr C Liddell, manager of the Colliery; and Mr T Illsley, representing the miners Lodge, were present.
The deceased’s widow identified the body,
George Rushforth miner 28 Snape Hill Rd, Darfield said he was working with the deceased on Saturday morning and the accident happened at 12.30 noon. Witness did not see the fall, but he heard Wilden shout, “Come and get me out, Rush; I am fast!” He went to Wilden and found him lying on his left side under a solid mass of falling coal. Witness could just see his knees.
It being impossible to get Wilden out by himself, he secured assistance, and the man was cut out in a few minutes. He did not speak, and died about two minutes afterwards. Two or three minutes previous to the accident, witness saw deceased stuffling some small into a pack. In witness’s opinion, he was not in danger. Wilden was a very careful man.
By the inspector: No timber came down with the roof.
A juror: do you think the making of the pack had anything to do with causing the fall?
Witness: Yes, I think the old pack gave way whilst the new one was being built.
Harry Johnson, miner, of Darfur Bridge, said he was within three or 4 yards of deceased when the call drop, but he did not seek fall. The call at fallen from the pack corner. The place had been examined by Wilden and himself about 1030 the same morning. Shortly afterwards Wilden commenced a shovel between the timber into the pack. Witness was packing at the time, but he did not hear any “bump.” He believes that the call broke off between the timber and the pack corner.
The Coroner: If you had that job to do over again, would you do it the same way?
Witness (after some hesitation): Yes; because it was on the pack and across the timber. I dare and gone and stood under it six months.
The inspector: Did you see no danger in the work that he was doing? – No.
Do you think that the work he was doing had anything to do with the coal falling? – No, sir.
Reply to further questions, witness said the “soft” were cut before the props were drawn.
Robert Thompson, deputy foreman, said he visited the working place of deceased at 1045. There was nothing unsafe about it, and he had no fault to find with the men. When he again visited the place, after the accident, he observed a “pothole.”
The inspector: Did you notice that the coal had come over the last pack that had been built?
A verdict of “Accidentally killed by a fall of call” was returned.