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The Derby Mercury - Wednesday, May 26, 1852

Inquest Before Mr. Mozley, Coroner

Inquest On Wednesday last, the 19th inst., at Mapperley, on the body of Samuel Mee, aged 26 years. Deceased was an ironstone getter, and on Tuesday morning he was at work in an iron-stone pit at Mapperley. While ascending the shaft of the pit - which was 46 yards deep - in the usual manner, in an iron basket or tram, and when he was about half way up, deceased fell from the tram to the bottom of the shaft. His skull was severely fractured and his brains dashed all about.

Deceased had the same morning complained of a pain in his head, and it is thought he must have turned light headed in going up the pit and then fallen from the tram. There did not appear to have been any defect in the machinery, nor was blame attributed to anyone. Verdict: Accidental death 

The Derby Mercury - Wednesday, February 16, 1853
Inquest Before Mr. Whiston, Coroner

On Saturday last, the 12th inst, at Ilkeston, on the body of Joseph Winson aged 60 years who died that morning, from the effects of being exposed to the air the night previous. He had left Derby for Ilkeston about 3 o’clock in the afternoon but did not reach home.

About 2 o'clock in the morning, as a collier was proceeding to work, the deceased (apparently very much intoxicated) was seen on the footpath leading from Mapperley to Ilkeston. At about 6 o’clock in the morning some colliers found him near this same footpath in a field and appeared to be in a dying state.

On being found means were used for the purpose of producing warmth, but without any good effect, he expiring shortly afterwards.

The jury being satisfied that death had been occasioned from being exposed to the night, which was a very severe one, returned a verdict that the death was caused through inclemency of the weather.

The Derby Mercury - Wednesday, January 3, 1855

Smalley Petty Sessions Tuesday Dec 26th
Before Sir H. S. Wilmot, Bart, J Radford, and J Oakes Esqrs

John and Thomas Harvey, Shoemakers, were charged by Samuel Bennett with assaulting him at Mapperley, on the 14th inst - case dismissed on defendants paying half costs.

John Harvey, miner, was charged by Iliza, wife of Wm. Stafford, with assaulting her at Mapperley. Case dismissed, complainant paying costs

The Derby Mercury - Wednesday, April 18, 1855

Smalley Petty Sessions

Trespassing in Pursuit of Game - W Roe and C Purdy, of Mapperley, were charged by C Bonnington with killing and taking game at Mapperley on the 5th inst. - J Durow, who lives near Mapperley Wood, and looks after the game of W D Lowe Esq, on the night of the 5th inst, heard the report of a gun and ran to see where it was and saw C Purdy with a gun and he took up a dead hare; had known him from a child; Durow was against the lane and saw C Purdy pick a hare up, and also saw W Roe throw stones at a hare to drive it towards C Purcy; he was in J Fletcher's close - Defendants proved that they were not at the place stated - The case was dismissed.

The Derby Mercury - Wednesday, January 7, 1857

Smalley Petty Sessions
Trespassing in Pursuit of Game

Wm Roe, Mapperley, John Cope and "Staffordshire Jemmy" of Ilkeston were charged by C Bonnington, gamekeeper to W D Lowe Esq, with trespassing in pursuit of game on land occupied by Mr Isaac Potter, Mapperley, on Dec 15th - the same were also charged with doing damage to several fences by breaking them down. - Defendants did not appear, and the service of the summonses being proved, they were convicted in the following penalties; Roe 41, and 19s 4d, costs, John Cope and "Staffordshire Jemmy" 21 each and 19s 4d costs each.

The Leeds Mercury - Saturday, March 7, 1857


A fearful explosion of fire-damp occurred about ten o'clock on Wednesday morning, at Shipley, 8 miles from Derby, in a pit belonging to Alfed M Mundy Esq, which caused the death of three men and two boys, and was productive of injuries, more or less severe, to thirteen other persons.

The pit is known as the hard coal pit, and situate about the middle of the village. It is 234 yards deep, and is divided into 12 working stalls.

All the men were at work when about ten o'clock three explosions of fire-damp occurred in the No 9 stall, extending their way, by blowing down a door, about halfway over the No 7 stall but the greater part of the casualties were occasioned in the first names stall. The men in the other parts of the pit never perceived an accident, noticing only a slight disturbance in the air and no damage of moment was done to the workings. The men continued to work in the stalls until noon, many of them in entire ignorance of what had taken place.

The cause of the accident is supposed to be a break in the roof of No 9 stall and the sudden emission of gas from it. The pit had been properly inspected in the morning, and all was apparently secure, until the time mentioned. Mr Hedley, Government Inspector, was at the neighbouring colliery of Bennerley at the time of the explosion, and hearing of it hastened to the scene of the catastrophe. By noon the bodies of the unfortunate miners were got out of the pit, and the survivors were attended to without delay, by two surgeon assistants.

John Starbuck, miner aged 24 years of Cotmanhay, who has left a widow and four children, one of whom was burnt at the same time, the youngest having only commenced work that day
Abraham Stabuck, miner aged 43 years and brother of the above who has left a widow and seven children
Abraham Starbuck jnr., trammer aged 13 years, son of the last mentioned also of Cotmanhay
Job Richardson, miner aged 26 years of Shipley, the sole support of his grandmother; and
Thomas Henshaw, trammer aged 15 years of Cotmanhay, a boy.

Dangerously hurt
John Purdy, miner aged 36 years of Mapperley, (died later)
Joseph Fowkes, miner aged 20 years of Tagg Hill (died later).

Severely injured
Joseph Johnson of Langley
Thomas Severn of Shipley
Thomas Baker of Shipley
William Hawley, Mapperley
Thomas Hart, Cotmanhay.

Slightly injured
Joshua Wood, Langley
John Starbuck, Cotmanhay
William Shaw, Cotmanhay
William Hand and
Isaac Roe, both of Mapperley, were likewise burnt

THE LATE COLLIERY ACCIDENT AT SHIPLEY, NEAR DERBY.—We mentioned in the Morning Post of Friday that a serious colliery accident had occurred at Shipley, near Derby, involving the loss of five lives, and inflicting serious injuries to many other miners.

Another of the unfortunate men, John Purdy, of Mapperley, has since died, and on Monday an inquest was held before Mr. Mazley, coroner. The evidence was to the same effect as that adduced at the previous inquiry instituted before
Mr. W. Whiston, coroner.

Some of the workmen considered that the explosion took place in consequence of the ignition of fire-damp by naked candles, but Mr. Woodhouse, the engineer, and Mr. Hedley, the Government inspector, arrived at a different conclusion after a careful inspection of the mine. These gentlemen thought that some gunpowder had in the first instance exploded in a box which had been used by the stall men for the stores of candles, powder, etc., and that this caused considerable concussion of the air, and brought gas out of the wastes upon the lights at the face.

The jury returned a verdict of accidental death, and recom­mended the use of “locked lamps"—a recommendation which has been carried into effect by the proprietor of the pit.

The disaster was reported in the 'Derby Mercury' the 'The Morning Post, London' and the 'Glasgow Herald' amongst others.

(Trammer:- Trammers work as assistant miners. They fill and haul the tubs, and bring materials to support and equip the mine workings More mining terms at HealeyHero website)

From: Joe Henshaw
Subject: Re: Newspaper article
Sent: 31 Jan 2012

Often practice was for a family to work a particular stall, often all the menfolk, thus an incident such as this meant the women and children were left with no-one to provide for them.

The coal referred to would be the Deep Hard, which was worked extensively at the Shipley pits in conjunction with the Deep Soft.  The depth suggests the original Woodside Pit was the location, opened in 1847 and located North of the Woodside Pumping Station and under the old American Adventure car park.  The Deep Hard was 10 yards further down at Shipley Deepfields (near Michael House School).

Original Shipley Woodside was a tandem shaft working the aforementioned coals, and the arrangement was meant to reduce incidents such as these via better ventilation.

From: Joe Henshaw
Subject: Re: Newspaper article
Sent: 6 Feb 2012

You may find the following a useful addition, in respect to the working of coals around Shipley, particularly the Deep Soft and Deep Hard.  As already stated, they were often worked together at pits such as Shipley Woodside (the original No.1 sinking), Shipley Newcastle, Shipley Nutbrook, and Shipley Deepfields, the latter being opened in 1817; at times it appears all were working simultaneously.  The thinner and somewhat Roof (Soft) Coal a little way above was usually worked as the Deep Hard/Soft approached exhaustion.

With respect to the article, there is always the possibility of a misprint, and that "234 yards" should have read 244 yards, which would implicate the Deepfields pit rather than Woodside; it's hard to know what was meant by "middle of the village" to help in clarifying the matter.

Interestingly, it was the working  of the substantial support pillars of the Deep Soft and Deep Hard coals which had remained deliberately untouched under Shipley Hill which caused severe damage to Shipley Hall.

With the death of Alfred Edward Miller-Mundy in 1920, the Shipley collieries lost their guiding light, and there was great financial pressure to work the coal under the hill.  Up to then, the only major extraction seems to have been in the Kilburn seam, many hundreds of feet deeper, and thus less likely to cause subsidence.  Whilst some sources do suggest minor damage was inflicted on the hall from the Kilburn workings, this being due to lack of roof-support maintenance during the 1926 General Strike, it was the extraction of the Deep Soft pillar in 1929, and the Deep Hard in 1930 that sealed its fate.

The timings suggest that this coal was worked from Coppice, rather than Woodside, where the original No.1 sinking to the Deep Hard/Soft had closed a year earlier.  Newcastle had already closed (being planted with trees as "Newcastle Plantation" at the bottom of Marlpool), Deepfields had become a pumping and station, and part of Nutbrook now serving as a ventilation facility for the ever expanding Woodside workings (known later as Woodside No.2 "Piper", and Woodside No.3 "Low Main").  There are pictures of the Nutbrook fire cupola used for ventilation on Fionn Taylor's site.

With Shipley Hall severely damaged and unoccupied, it seems all the workable seams under the hill were developed over time, culminating with extraction of shallow seams such as the Combe, Top Hard, and Waterloo via the "new" Woodside No.1, a drift near the Deepfields site, opened in 1947 and closed in 1966, despite reserves remaining in these coals, large quantities got by the opencast mining that has dogged the area ever since.

Interestingly, in a repeat of history, there seems no logical reason, other than the economics (or perhaps profiteering) of the day, why much of the coal today worked at the controversial Lodge House opencast site, and that now inaccessible below it, could not have been worked by the Shipley pits, in the way Woodside No.1 had done 40 years previously.



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