Saturday, 18 August 2012

Echoes of our past NEWS...... 22nd August 1903

Echoes of our past….. Past News

22nd August 1903
Main news -

Death at Grassmoor Colliery –

Yet another tragic death of a young person at a colliery was the subject of the news this week!

John Lawton aged 18 years old was a pony driver at No4 pit at Grassmoor Colliery.  John was a local lad, living at Long Row, Unstone. 

It was surmised that John was riding on the shafts of the first of a train of tubs, when the pony stumbled and caused the tub to rear, killing both John and the pony.

At the inquest which was held at the Boot and Shoe Inn at Grassmoor, it was pointed out that the boys were of habit to ride the shafts instead of walking and that over the past week this had caused 2 fatal accidents.  Mr Stokes, H.M Inspector of mines asked if this action was considered safe, to which witnesses said that both walking and riding could be a danger.


*Mary McDermott and her husband George McDermott appeared at the inquest of their 4 week old baby son Thomas who had died whilst in bed with his parents.  The family lived at 53 Spital Lane and George was a collier.  It seems that on the Saturday night at 21.00hrs Mary decided to take baby Thomas out to do some shopping.  Whilst out she called into 2 public houses and visited a friend’s home with her husband, they returned home at 01.30 in the early hours of Sunday morning.  Thomas was placed in the bed in between Mary and George and the family fell asleep.  Mary said she woke at 03.30 and Thomas was fine, but when she woke again at 08.00 poor baby Thomas had passed away. 

The Coroner Dr A Green was appalled by the parent’s actions.  He asked why Mary had taken a 4 week old child out so late at night, when he should be in bed.  Mary replied that she now realised that it was wrong.  Witnesses, Mary O’Neill, wife of Michael O’Neill of Church Lane and Elizabeth Toobey, wife of Thomas Toobey of 3 Beetwell Street, both gave evidence to state that Mary was sober but George was “fresh”. 

A verdict of death due to suffocation was passed on the sad loss of baby Thomas.  It is not stated as to what happened to poor Mary and George McDermott.

*Adoption – in a small advert in the classified ad’s was a request for homes to be found for 2 boys, one aged 2 years old the other four months; and 2 girls, one 15 months and the other 3 months.  The ad went on to say that the children were all healthy and no premiums or payments were required, however references would be required.  The children were from Whishaw Orphanage, Arnside, Carnforth.

*Maintenance of wife – A Whittington man named Alfred Joseph Cook was summoned at Chesterfield Court by the poor law authorities for deserting his wife and thus leaving her requiring help from the Union.  He was charged £20 and a further £5 payment in 3 months.

*Weddings –

Mr William Tarlton, son of Mr H Tarlton of School House, North Wingfield married Miss Mary Elizabeth Farnsworth, eldest daughter of Mr Fred Farnsworth of the Sportsman Inn, Grassmoor.   The groom was a trooper in the Sherwood Rangers and had seen active service in South Africa.  The service took place at St Lawrence’s Church, North Wingfield on the afternoon of 19th August.

*Chesterfield hospital admissions –

Joseph Harrison, aged 39 years of Hasland, admitted on Wednesday with bruises to the head which he sustained at Calow Colliery.

Tom Hargreaves, aged 30 years of Grassmoor, admitted on Thursday with scalp wounds received at Grassmoor Colliery.

S Wigley seriously injured on Thursday and still unconscious on this publication, he was also injured at a Colliery, this time Markham Colliery.


*Chambers – on August 15th a son was born to Mr and Mrs Fred Chambers of Staveley Town.


*Charles Shaw, husband to the late Rebecca Shaw of 3 Bradley Buildings, South Street aged 75 years. 17th August.

*Charles Whiting – aged 36 years old, at Brampton.  A van dweller and roundabout proprietor.  Interred at St Thomas Church, Brampton. 15th August.

*Samuel Draycott – at Cambrian Collieries, Natal, South Africa.  Aged 45 years old and husband of Alice.  17th July 1903.


Cricket – Derbyshire V London Town

The match which should have taken place on Thursday was postponed due to heavy rain which fell from 8am all day. 


A cheeky lass named Sarah Smith was called three times to the bench at Chesterfield Court, on charges of being drunk and disorderly in Market Street, Bolsover on August 12th.  When asked why she had not responded to her name being called she stated that she had 1/2d and so begged a penny and was able to get a drink! To which she laughed!  Sarah was drunk again.

The Bench decided upon a fine of 7s 6d and costs, but in true spirit Sarah replied “I shall pay nothing”.  The Court answered “Very well, seven days”

I wonder if Sarah ever did pay her fine. I doubt it.


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