The Glasshouse Pit incident -
The inquest was held at the Fleur-de-Lis Inn at Unstone, chaired by Mr Busby, coroner. A government inspector was also present, named Mr Evans.
Frank Lowe was in the cage with Daniel Cooke and another boy named Hibberd, they arrived at the bottom of No.3 pit when it sprang back. Frank Lowe and Hibberd were able to remove themselves from the cage, but Daniel Cooke was not so lucky. He cage sprang back to the pit top where it remained but Daniel fell to the pit bottom where he was killed.
Several witnesses to the accident were called including John Wilson and Benjamin Draycott. The inquest heard how the procedure was to send down loaded corves to the first half of the shafts, then on the successful completion of that check the boys then got into those cages and were sent back down the pit, whilst the other half of the shafts were checked with the loaded corves.
The inquest returned a verdict of accidental death. The coroner added that he was of the opinion that “the works were insufficiently managed, from the fact that there were from 16 to 18 shafts of different depths and distances worked by one engine and the engineer having only three in view of him from the engine house”. James Pollard and engineer from Renishaw stated that in his opinion it was not right to draw empty cages against full ones and that 16 pits should not be worked from one engine.
William Booth was the son of Walter and Elizabeth Booth. On the 1861 census he was living at Unstone with his parents, elder sister Hannah and younger siblings Eliza, Frederick and Elizabeth. William was 11 years old and recorded as being born at New Basford. His father Walter was a labourer at the iron works.
It looks like Walter also met a tragic end as a 49 year old Walter Booth of Unstone was crushed by falling clay whilst he was filling wagons with fallen earth at the Ramshaw Wood cutting on the branch line from Chesterfield to Sheffield. The incident occurred on 8th March 1869 when he sustained fractured ribs and he died Saturday 13th March 1869.
Daniel Cooke was the son of Vincent and Emma Cooke. His father was also an iron stone miner, born in Thorpe, Yorkshire. On the 1861 census the family are living at Apperknowle. At age 12 years old, Daniel was the eldest child still living at home and he and his younger brother, 10 year old James were also working at the Ironstone pit. Other siblings are; Henry aged 7 years old, Arthur aged 5 years old and Alfred aged 2 years old.