Inquest Reports From Newspapers -
Re Cossall Colliery Fatal Accidents
Ilkeston Pioneer Thursday 29 January 1880
On Friday an inquest was held at the Robin Hood Inn, Cossall, before the district coroner touching the death of Henry Watmough, 30 years of age, who was killed while, engaged in moving a boiler at the Cossall Colliery on Thursday last, Mr Thomas Evans, Inspector of Mines was present during the enquiry. William Holding, living at Bramcote, deposed that he was the manager of Cossall Colliery, and was there the previous day a little before 12 o’clock when the accident happened. The deceased was an Enginewright, at the colliery, and was engaged in the performance of his duties when he was killed. He was arranging some packing to support the boiler at each end, and it had been got to a height of four feet when the occurrence took place. The platform at one end composed of packing of wood and at the other end some empty barrels. The boiler which weighed about two tons was placed on the top on some rails which were to make it easier to remove. The deceased had control of the packing of the platform; witness gave no instructions at all. Witness considered that the platform was properly constructed and was safe for the purpose. The workmen began to roll the boiler onto the rails, and the packing at the end where the barrels were gave way, the rails and the boiler slipping forward instead of revolving on the rails. Witness called the deceased’s attention to what had occurred, and he went to examine it, and began to re-adjust the packing, after which the boiler slipped sideways towards the deceased. The platform was not so wide as the boiler by several feet. He was of the opinion that the barrels were sufficient, though he now thought that the rails should not have been used. Joseph Hackett, carpenter, living at Ilkeston, deposed that he worked at the Cossall Colliery; he was working with the deceased in removing the boiler the previous day, although he had nothing to do with the construction of the platform. Witness simply acted under the deceased’s instructions, but he was of the opinion that had the packing been firmer the accident would not have happened. Fixing the boiler on the rails had a tendency to make it slip. A verdict of “Accidental death” was returned, but the jury was of the opinion that in future the packing of the platform should be more firmly constituted.
Derby Mercury Wednesday 25 October 1882
About four o'clock on Wednesday morning, a fatal accident occurred to a young man named Jesse Mitchell, in a pit belonging to the Cossall Colliery Company, near Ilkeston junction. The unfortunate young man was attempting to bring down a quantity of coal which had been undermined, but as it did not readily fall, his brother, who was working with him, went away to fetch an iron bar. When he returned in a few minutes he found his brother underneath the coal, which in the meantime had fallen. On removing the coal it was found that Mitchell was quite dead. The body was removed to the Robin Hood Inn to await an inquest. Deceased was twenty years of age, unmarried, and had been residing at Kimberley. On Thursday evening Mr, Coroner Browne held an inquest at the above inn, when the jury returned a verdict of “Accidental death”, no one being to blame except the deceased.
Derby Mercury Wednesday 05 September 1883
Fatal Accident. While a man named William Robinson, of Awsworth, was removing some “sprags” in the Cossall Colliery, Ilkeston, on Wednesday, a quantity of coal fell upon him, and so serious were the injuries he sustained he died immediately. The deceased who was about 60 years of age, was removed home. He had been a collier for many years and was an experienced workman. An inquest was held by Mr Coroner Whittingham was held at the Crown Inn Awsworth, on Thursday , when the jury returned a verdict of “Accidental death.
Ilkeston Advertiser Saturday 05 July 1884
A sad fatality took place at Cossall Colliery on Tuesday, to Joseph Webster, of Ebenezer Street, Ilkeston, whilst Webster was at work down below. A fall of bind took place and he was crushed beneath it, on being extricated it was found he had sustained shocking injuries, both legs being broken, and his head shockingly injured. He was taken to Nottingham General Hospital, where he succumbed in a few hours. He was a member of the Ilkeston Brass Band.
Ilkeston Advertiser Saturday 12 July 1884
An inquest was held on Saturday, at the Colliery Offices Cossall, on the body of John Dawson, 50 years of age, platelayer, before the coroner. John Dawson stated that the deceased was his father, and he was killed at Cossall Colliery the previous day. He had not seen his father since Christmas, and he was then at Hanley in Staffordshire. Edwin Richards, a labourer said he was at work with the deceased on Friday morning. They were unloading timber from a truck. They placed a rope around the second piece of timber, which was 63 feet in length. The deceased placed a piece of timber at one end of the truck and another at the other end. A piece of timber was also placed between the timber they were going to remove and the other trees in the truck. Witness then asked the deceased if he was ready, and he gave witness and three other men directions to pull, and they did so. The piece of timber at the holster end of the truck slipped, the thick end of the timber fell to the ground and the thin end under the other tree in the truck. The deceased was standing on one of the trees in the truck and was thrown to the ground, he fell on his head. Witness went to his assistance, and picked him up. A medical man was sent for but deceased died immediately, and was removed home. Patrick Gallagher gave corroborative evidence, and the jury returned a verdict of “Accidental death”
Ilkeston Advertiser Saturday 16 May 1885
On Thursday morning, about half past ten o'clock a shocking fatal accident transpired at the Cossall Colliery, Ilkeston the circumstances of which are as follow. A youth named George Henry Statham, aged 17 years and living at Awsworth, was employed on the main road of the colliery as a “hanger on”. About the time mentioned on Tuesday morning a water barrel was sent down the Jig. This barrel by some means or other ran off the rails with such force that one of the sprags by which the cross beams holding up the roof were supported was knocked down, and the cross beam fell. The lad unfortunately was caught by the beam which struck him at the back of the head. The blow was so severe that his skull was split open. A man named Jacob Straw, who was nearest to the deceased at the time of the accident, hearing the noise caused by the concussion of the barrel with the timber, went to the scene of the accident. He there found the deceased in a dying condition. The poor lad gave only a moan or two and then died. His remains were brought to the surface, and sent to an empty house near the colliery, being taken home later in the day. The District Coroner, Mr. D, Whittingham, held an inquest on Thursday afternoon at the Crown Inn, Awsworth, on the deceased. Louisa Statham, married woman, said the deceased was her son. He was 17 years of age, and had worked at the Cossall Colliery about three years. Jacob Straw said he was a “corporal” at the Cossall pit. He had worked there about four years and knew the deceased. It was the deceased’s duty to hang the full wagons to the rope which pulled them up the incline to the mouth of the pit. He also had to detach the empty ones when they reached the bottom. On Tuesday witness was at work when he heard a bang. Witness went towards the post where deceased was engaged, and where the banging seemed to be, and there saw an iron barrel used for watering the lines, lying on its side. Witness found the deceased lying beneath a beam which had fallen from the roof at the same time witness heard another noise, and judging that the empty wagons were coming down ran into a refuge hole. The empty wagons shortly afterwards appeared. The water barrel would have reached the bottom about a minute before the empty wagons reached there and it must have become detached from the others some distance up the incline. When witness found that all was safe he went out of the refuse hole to the deceased, and spoke to him, but got no reply. He, however, groaned twice. The water barrel had collided against a prop which supported a piece of timber parallel with the roof. The prop has been knocked out of position, and the piece of timber against the roof fell on the head of the deceased. Cornelius Mellor said he was employed at the same pit, and on the day in question he was called by the last witness to come to the deceased, who had been injured. Witness went to the deceased, and found that he had been struck by a beam on the head which had fallen from the roof. Witness helped remove the deceased wo died shortly afterwards. John Paxton said he was engaged at the pit to hang on the empty wagons and take the loaded ones off at the top off the incline. Witness hung the empty wagons on the day in question previous to their descending into the pit. Witness also hung a water barrel to the waggons and then started them down the shaft. Witness had known two waggons to run off the lines at the point near where the water barrel had got off. No one had ever been injured through a wagon coming off before. Zaccheus Wesson, deputy under viewer, said he was at the place of the accident shortly after it occurred. He found that the water barrel had become disconnected from the other wagons somewhere up the incline and run off the line at the place where the deceased was engaged in working the points at the bottom of the incline. The coupling chain was on the water barrel and was alright. He could not say how the barrel became detached from the other wagons. The jury returned a verdict to the effect that the deceased had been “Accidently killed”, and recommended that all the wagons be connected by a continuous chain.
Derby Mercury Wednesday 13 April 1887
On Tuesday Evening the coroner opened an inquest concerning the death of a miner named James Grafton, aged 39 years, who was hurt at the Cossall Colliery, on Thursday, and died on Tuesday, from his injuries. John Grafton said that the deceased was his son, and had worked as a miner for thirty years, having worked at the Cossall Colliery for eight years. On Thursday he went to work at the usual time, but was brought up badly injured at one o clock, Deceased told witness he was setting a prop when a stone fell on him, breaking his thigh and injuring his back. He did not blame anybody. The Coroner then adjourned the inquest to allow the attendance of the Government Inspector of Mines.
Derby Mercury Wednesday 30 November 1887
An Inquest was held at the Middleton Hotel, Ilkeston, Junction, on Saturday afternoon. Before Mr. D Whittingham, touching the death of Henry Bennett, who was killed at the Cossall Colliery Company’s pit on Thursday morning. Henry Trueman, of Slade Street, Ilkeston, said he was a fellow stallman with the deceased at the Cossall Colliery. On Thursday morning last deceased was taking a sprag from underneath the face of some coal, and immediately he did so the coal came down, and carried with it a large quantity of roof. Deceased was completely buried by the debris, and was quite deadwhen his body was extricated. The jury returned a verdict of “Accidental death”.
An inquest was held at Bramcote, near Ilkeston, on Saturday, on the body of a miner named Robinson, who succumbed to injuries received while following his avocation as a miner some time before. Deceased was in the hospital some time, but was discharged a fortnight before his death. He went home to his house in Bramcote, where he had a relapse, and succumbed to his injuries.The jury returned a verdict of “Accidental death”.
Ilkeston Advertiser Saturday 13 October 1888
On Tuesday two lads were killed at the Cossall Colliery, under very painful circumstances. They were William Green, a clipper aged 15, and William Horton, pony boy aged 14, both lived at New Awsworth. The facts of this fatality were elicited at the Coroner inquest held at the Crown Inn, Awsworth, on Wednesday, by Mr Whittington, Mr Stokes Government Inspector of Mines, was present. James McDonald, a collier of Ilkeston, said he worked at the Cossall Colliery. He was working on Tuesday in taking up some dirt from a new road to an old one which was being filled up. He had been taking diet up that road for about three months. About half past eight on Tuesday two men named Parkes and Varley went in and took a bar out and set three props and a sprag. He was away about a quarter of an hour at dinner time, when a lad told him the lads were fast. Witness got help and then went in the old road, and he saw that the roof had fallen where he had been at work. There was a tram there which he had left full; the two lads were buried under the fall of roof. He should not have allowed the boys to go in the old roadway if he could have stopped them. He had not had a fall there since he had worked in it; they had no business to be in the spot where they were killed. Bernard Parker, of Awsworth, said he was a corporal at the pit, at about twelve o clock he was in a manhole getting dinner when he heard a fall of stuff, he went down the old road and saw some dust and he knew there had been of fall of bind. He went for assistance and the boys were got from underneath. He had examined the road in the morning and thought it safe. James Watson, of Awsworth, a deputy in the pit, said he went into the old roadway about nine o clock on Tuesday to examine it, it seemed perfectly safe. He could not tell whether the props had been interfered with, as they were knocked out by the fall. The coroner in summing up remarked upon the necessity of rules of the colliery being stringently carried out, otherwise accidents must happen from time to time. The jury returned a verdict of “Accidental death”.