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Deepfield Colliery

Owner: Coalbrookdale Co. Ltd
Charter master in 1881 Gittins and Company.
Circa 1810 - 1886


1883 Map

Wellington Journal - Saturday 24 December 1881

Fatal Accident. – Alterations having been made in the winding machinery at the Deepfield Pit, the same was being examined on Monday last by Mr. Dunkey, engineer to the company, who was accompanied by George Jones, field carpenter. While doing so the machinery, through some cause, was set in motion. The crank caught Jones, and killed him in an instant, and the poor fellow’s remains, which presented a sickening sight, were prevented with great difficulty from falling down a shaft near. – an inquest on the body was held on Tuesday, at the Crown Inn, Little Dawley, before R D Newill, Esq, and a respectable jury, of which Mr. R. W. Sandlands was foreman. The following evidence was adduced : - William Henry Dunkey, engineer to the Coalbrookdale Company, deposed : Deceased was field carpenter to the company. He lived at Lightmoor. His age was 36. His duties were to attend to the machinery of the colliery. He has been employed there from a boy. Yesterday, about 3-30 p.m., I called at the Deep Field Pit. The engine was standing. I went into the engine-house. I asked the engine-man if the one cage was quite at the top while the other was quite at the bottom. There have been some alterations going on there lately. Nothing special took me there. It was with a view of a preliminary examination of the machinery before making a formal one, and writing an official report. I do the same periodically at all engines. The engine-man told me that he was not quite sure if the one was at the top of the pit while the other was at the bottom, but he thought it was. He told me that Jones could tell me all about it. I then went outside the engine-house and saw the deceased coming towards me. I asked him about it. He said they were as near as they could be. I then stooped down and got under the fence which fences the engine from the pit and road. Jones went round to the backside of the engine. Without saying anything, I followed him. He then stooped down between the brake wheel and driving wheel. We looked at the machinery together. I was satisfied about it, and was coming away. The engine started. A crank on the further side was brought over to the near side, and caught Jones on the right shoulder, and on his side and the side of his head. It then turned him over. He was leaning over the beam screening the pit, and when in that position the crank struck him a severe blow on the chest and side. He was killed at once. I called for help. I was three or four feet from him. The engine was reversed, and I got him in my arms. When I went into the engine it was not in motion. When the engine started Jones was standing by the crank. I can’t say if a signal was given for the engine to start. Roberts is the engine-man. He saw me go out of the engine-house, and saw me with Jones. He knew that we were going to examine the machinery, and it is quite natural to suppose that he did know. He could not see us from where we stood. Jones was anxious to show me the machinery. He had to crawl down under the fence. The fence is made of diagonal rails. We had to stoop very low to get through the fence. I did not notice any signal given to start the engine. Roberts knew I was with Jones examining the machinery. It is the duty of the colliery engineer to make a report in a book under the 67th Rule. I have never seen that book. I am not the responsible person for that book being kept Ellis is the colliery engineer. The pits are from 14 to 16 feet apart. The engine is about 80 feet from the pit. I did not see the banksman. – Roberts. The engine-man, was called. – The coroner explained to him that though there was no charge then made against him, it might be alleged that he had improperly started the engine, and been guilty of neglect of duty; and that he was not bound to give evidence, and that if he did so it might incriminate himself. Upon this, Roberts said, “I know nothing about it,” and consequently was not sworn. – Joseph Evans, miner, said : I work at Deep Field Pit. It is my duty to give the signal to the engine-man when to draw up. There are two insets ; I work at the inset, new mine. I came up between half past four and five, and heard of the accident, I did not give the signal for every draught ; I gave the signal for every third draught. The man at the lower inset gave the other signals. – Benjamin Jones, bricklayer, deposed : I work at Deep Field Pit. I was on the bank at about 20 minutes past three. I was fixing a roller pulley. I saw Mr. Dunkey in the engine, Jones went to meet Dunkey. I saw them go round to where the accident happened. I heard the signal from the weight at the top of the pit, and immediately heard Mr. Dunkey shout. The signal was given from the bottom. The weight is in connection with the signal in the engine. I was about 12 yards from the engine. I did not hear the bell in the engine, but only heard the weight at the top of the pit. – The jury returned a verdict of “Accidentally killed.”

Wellington Journal - Saturday 08 January 1881

Fatal Accident. –
An accident which terminated fatally occurred on Monday last at Deep Field pit, which belongs to the Coalbrookdale Company, and is chartered by Messrs. Gittins and Company. It appears that John Evans and Richard Phillips were employed in repairing the road and raising the same, when a large portion of the penny-stone “gob” came on the side, entangled Evans, and inflicted serious injury. He was at once taken to the surface and conveyed home, but expired as soon as carried into his room. Deceased leaves a widow and nine children, most of whom are unable to earn anything, six being under 12 years of age. An inquest was held at the Last Inn, Horsehay, on Wednesday, when a verdict of “Accidental death” was returned.