On Saturday afternoon an inquest was held by the District Coroner (Dr John Housley), at the Golden Ball Hotel Worksop, on the body of Gaythorn Bartholamew, aged 15 a colliery pony driver, who met his death on Friday morning last in a somewhat extraordinary manner, as the following evidence will show. The jury consisted of Messrs. John White (foreman), F. Mallender, J Preston, J Stevenson, J. Nutall, Henry Simpson, Robert Platts, J.B.Spencer, Frederick Eason, Joseph White, M.Marks and T.H.Hatfield. Mr W.H. Hepplewhite, inspector of mines, Nottingham, was present and Mr.R.E.Jones (Whitwell) represented the company.
The first witness was the Frank Bartholamew the unfortunate lad's father. He said he lived at 24 Clumber Place, Worksop and was a collier. He recognised the body that had been viewed as that of his son, who was a colliery pony driver, 15 years old last birthday. He was employed at the Steetley Colliery. Witnesses last saw deceased alive about 5 o'clock on Friday morning. He passed him on the road as he was going to work. He was in good health. He had been at the colliery about 13 months. He had never made any complaint to witness as to the nature of his employment. The lad was generally healthy, and was not subject to fits.
Walter Richardson said he lived at 66, Norfolk Street, Worksop and was a day labourer employed at Steetley Colliery. He knew the deceased by sight. Witness was on Friday driving down number 8 road and Bartholamew was on the same road. They generally ran with four tubs, and took the empty tubs to No8. Three horses were driven on the road. There were four stalls. The road was very steep, and the horses had to pull hard all the way. Witness last saw deceased about ten minutes before the accident at the forty-gate end. That was about seventy yards from the place of the accident. At that time Bartholamew was driving with three full tubs. Mr. Hepplewhite: had he got a light? - Witness: Yes - Mr. Hepplewhite: Did any conversation take place between you? - Witness: No, sir. - Witness further stated that deceased was walking in front of the horse when he last saw him. - Mr. Hepplewhite: - Are you allowed to ride? - Witness: Yes, sir. - Mr. Hepplewhite: No one prevents you? - Witness: No, sir. Mr. Hepplewhite: Where do you ride? - Witness: On the tub. Richardson continues that ten minutes after he went down the same road, and found deceased under two tubs. - Mr. Hepplewhite: What did you do? - Witness: I spoke to him, but he did not speak back. - Mr. Hepplewhite: Was any part of the tub on him? - Witness: You could just see his legs. The second tub was across his stomach. His legs were hanging outside the rails altogether. - The Coroner: Was the wheel resting on his body? - Witness: No, sir; the axle. - The witness said he went for help to the engine room.
David Burbridge walked back with him to the scene of the accident. - Mr. Hepplewhite: Was the lad dead there? - I think so. - Can you account for him getting under the tub? - No, sir. - Do they turn the points in that particular place? - Yes, sir. - How do they do this? - They stoop down. - Was the deceased likely to be knocked down by the horse? - Yes, he might have been. - You have never been knocked down? No, sir. - Mr. White: Is the road fairly level? - No, it is not. - Are you likely to stumble? - You might do that. - Was the horse driving a quiet one? It is quiet, but middling fast.
David Burbidge deposed that he lived at 13, Frederick Street, Worksop, and was a day hand at Steetley Colliery. He knew the deceased, but knew nothing regarding the accident, no further than he saw the lad lying underneath the tubs. It was 10.30 when he was fetched by Walter Richardson to the 36 gate end. Richardson told him that he should follow him directly, as he thought there was a lad underneath the tubs, who, he thought, was dead. Witness immediately went with Richardson and saw deceased. His legs were underneath one tub, and his chest under the other. - Mr. Hepplewhite: Was the whole of the body under the tub? - Yes, sir. - There was no part outside? - No sir, nothing. The tub end was on top of his chest. - Was the horse attached to the tub when you found him? - Yes, sir. - What sort of road is it? - Good enough as far as height and width is concerned. - Was the deceased liable to stumble over the sleepers? - No, sir. - Witness added that the roof was 6 feet from the ground, and that the tubs were about 3 feet. There was plenty of room for the boy to sit on the tubs.
Joseph Wingfield said that he lived at 164, Cheapside, Worksop. He was employed at Steetley pit. He did not know the deceased. He was fetched by Burbidge about 10.30 on Friday morning to 36 junction. When he got there he saw deceased under the first and second tubs. The lad was on his left side, looking “in by”. He was entirely between the rails. - Mr. Hepplewhite: No part was outside the rails? - None whatever. The end of the tub was resting entirely on his right shoulder, and the side of his neck was on the sleeper. He had the full weight on his shoulders and neck. The lad was not cut. There was no blood. The point was correctly turned; one tub had completely passed over it. Witness's own idea was that the deceased had been in the action of turning the point, and had not given himself time enough. The horse had consequently got him down. - Mr. Hepplewhite: Was the body in a position the horse would have knocked it in? - Yes, sir. - The Coroner then summed up, and, after careful consideration, the jury returned a verdict of “accidental death”. - Mr. White remarked that it might be better if the company employed boys specially to turn the points. Such a course might avert possible accidents.