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Coal Mine Announcements, Deaths, Accidents & Misconduct

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Leicester Chronicle - September 8th 1832

Messrs. Price, Bostock and Co. of Pegg’s Green Colliery, Swannington Common, are now getting coal from a seam which is a continuance of the bed formerly obtained by Messrs. Boultbee and Co. at the old Coleorton Colliery. They announce that any quantity may now be purchased at their pits at reduced prices.

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Leicester Chronicle – February 10th 1838

Inquest on Fatal Accident at Pegg’s Green

On Wednesday evening, the 31st ult., Samuel Burrows aged about 24 or 25, went to work in a pit at Pegg’s Green Colliery, for the first time; and at midnight, while engaged in breaking out the coal, a large stone, weighing upwards of a ton, fell from the roof, and crushed him to instant death. Verdict accordingly.

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Leicester Journal – September 14th 1838

On Saturday week, an accident occurred at Pegg’s Green Colliery which might have been attended with more serious consequences. A man named Birch had put a portion of powder into a cavity made in the coal for the purpose of blasting it, and laid the bag from which he had taken it a short distance from him, on the ground. As soon as the explosion had taken place, a portion of the touch paper, not burnt out, fell upon the bag unperceived by Birch, who went to take it up, when it suddenly ignited, burnt off his hair, whiskers &c., and severely injured his head and neck.

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Leicester Chronicle – September 22nd 1838

Death from Gunpowder: Fatal Rashness

An inquest was held on Tuesday at Thringstone, on the body of John Birch, a young man aged 19, who was severely burnt from the explosion of a bag containing two or three pounds of gunpowder, in the Pegg’s Green Colliery, on Saturday fortnight. Four blasts had been made by drilling holes in the coal, at about two yards asunder; three of them had been fired, and the last, which was deceased’s, had been loaded first, and was fired last. A bag of gunpowder belonging to the deceased had been laid by one Richard Wardle about six yards from the blast. After the blast had gone off, some paper which had been used in preparing the blast, fell in a lighted state upon the bag containing the deceased’s powder. As soon as the other young men who were round, saw it, they ran away; but the deceased very thoughtlessly and incautiously went to knock the fire off the bag, for the purpose of saving the powder, when just as he was touching the bag with his hand the powder exploded, and blew the deceased backwards to the ground. He was picked up, and found much burnt on the stomach and front of his body; he lingered until Saturday last. Verdict, “Accidental Death”.

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Leicester Mercury – May 16th 1840

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Leicester Chronicle – May 7th 1842

Ashby de la Zouch Petty Sessions

William Green of Whitwick, charged by John Price, agent to the Pegg’s Green Colliery Company, with absenting himself from work; case adjourned for a week, in consequence of the Constable not having served the warrant

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Leicester Mercury – March 9th 1844

Shocking Death In Coal Pit

An inquest was held at Thringstone, in this county, on Tuesday last, by John Gregory, Esq., on the body of Wm. Smith, about 35 years of age. From the depositions of witnesses it appears the deceased was employed at Pegg’s Green Colliery, and on the Friday previous was employed in boring the coal for the purpose of putting in a charge of gunpowder. While thus employed, an immense mass of coal suddenly gave way, and, falling on him, literally buried him, with exception of his head. The poor fellow gave an alarm, and by prompt assistance, he was extricated in about five minutes, scarcely able to speak, and was carried home where he lingered till nine o’clock on Sunday morning. The deceased had been employed at boring “all his life”, was an experienced workman, and had just before sounded the coal and thought it was to firm to give way without a “shot”. Mr. Lomas, surgeon, who was sent for when the accident took place, stated that he had no hope from the first. The immense pressure of the coals had seriously injured the spine, the pelvis, and most of the internal viscera, from the effects of which he had no doubt death ensued. Verdict, “Accidental Death”.

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Leicester Chronicle - April 20th 1844

Ashby e la Zouch Petty Sessions April 13th

George Perry, of Thringstone, was committed for three months hard labour for violating his contract with the Pegg’s Green Colliery Company; and several men working at the same colliery were committed on the previous Monday for the same offences. – Some minor cases were disposed of and the following parties committed for trial; Sarah Yates, of Shackerstone; Robert Wheat and John Wilson of Whitwick.

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Leicester Journal – April 19th 1844

Ashby de la Zouch Petty Sessions

George Perry of Thringstone, was charged by the Pegg’s Green Colliery Company with neglecting his work. It appeared that the defendant had signed a written contract to serve the company as a Collier, to work six whole days, and to give 14 days notice before leaving. The defendant had given the notice, and since then had only worked a quarter of a day, thereby causing a severe loss to the company. The defendant said he had joined the Miner’s Union, and he was obliged to do a certain portion of work, if he did more, he should have to forfeit 2s.  6d. per day. The  Magistrates considered the case clearly proved, and they committed him for three months to the house of correction to hard labour. Several other men from the same colliery, who had signed similar contracts were committed for the same period on Monday last. It is believed that this mode of proceeding has had good effect, as the men at the Pegg’s Green Colliery are for the most part of them now at work.

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Leicester Chronicle – January 4th 1845

Ashby de la Zouch Petty Sessions

Samuel Freeman (25; Neither read nor write) was charged with stealing, on the 6th of December, two “picks” from the Pegg’s Green Colliery. – Mr. Simpson conducted the prosecution. – Mr. John Price stated that a great number of picks had been lost from the colliery, and that he could swear positively to one of the picks produced as the property of himself and partners. Prisoner, who is a Blacksmith, had come to ask for work in the Blacksmith’s shop at the colliery, on the very day the picks in question were missed. – Samuel Bonser, a labourer residing at Whitwick, deposed to meeting prisoner on the 6th December in the morning; prisoner asked him if he had anything to do, and, if not, if he would accompany him to Pegg’s Green to ask for work? Witness said he had no objection; they went, neither got work, and, as they were coming away, prisoner pulled the picks out of his pocket, and said, “see what I have nipped”. Witness advised him to go and restore them, or they would both get into trouble; but prisoner said no – he would go and swop them at Baltimore’s; which he did, in witness’s presence, for a poaching net. – Robert Baltimore, a barber at Whitwick, said that the prisoner came to him on the 6th December to ask him to swop the picks, and told him the things were is own – asking witness if he had ever known him to do anything wrong.  He had a job to do, and had no tools. Witness then gave him a pocket knife, pair of pincers, a hand vice, and a net he had for “covering over fruit trees” and so keeping the blackbirds from getting at the cherries……………continuation not available.

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Leicester Chronicle – April 5th 1845

Fatal Colliery Accident

An inquest was held at Thringstone, in this county, on the 1st inst., before John Gregory, Gent., on the body of John Hutchinson of Sheepshead, aged twenty. Deceased had come from his home in search of employment, and, with a namesake, but not a relative, was engaged early on the Monday morning in pumping out water from one of the pits at Pegg’s Green Colliery, when a large stone, weighing between 10 and 12 cwt., fell from the roof and crushed him to death; he only said “Oh dear”. The stone covered nearly the whole of his body, and fell without any warning; the roof was supported by timbers in the usual way, and no indication of it being unsafe had been perceived; the stone in question fell from between the supports. – Verdict; “Accidental death”.

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Leicester Mercury – September 3rd 1853

Fatal Colliery Accident

On the 24th ult., an inquest was held at Griffydam, upon Jarvis Marshall, deceased. He was about twenty years old, and employed as a loader in Pegg’s Green Colliery. On Saturday, the 20th ult., he was employed in loading the stone from a horse way, which was being made in the pit. The stone was blasted from the roof, and a great many shots had been fired in the course of the morning. About one o’clock a blast having been fired, deceased, who had no occasion to have done so, went to the place, and proceeded to try a stone which had been shaken in the roof with a pick several times. Another man took the pick from his hand, and, in less than a minute, the stone fell on the hip of deceased, and crushed him against a heap of stones on the floor. He was extricated as soon as possible, and taken home in a cart, but was so much injured internally that he died on the following Tuesday. Verdict, “Accidental Death”, and the jury recommended that Mr. Price, the manager, should give strict orders to the loaders not to go to the spots where shots had been fired, till the safety of the roof had been ascertained.

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Leicester Journal – March 27th 1857

Ashby de la Zouch Petty Sessions March 21st before W. W. Abney, Esq., and T. Mowbray, Esq.

John Bradford of Thringstone was charged with having on the 8th inst., stolen some pieces of wood valued at 8d and belonging to the Pegg’s Green Colliery Company. It appeared from the evidence of P.C. Earpe, that whilst on duty during the night in question, he saw the prisoner come from the wood-yard near to Pegg’s Green Colliery. He had some wood under his arm, and when he saw witness he lay down under the hedge, and put the wood in the hedge bottom. He afterwards said, “Master allows me to take it”. This was denied by Mr. Wm. Kidger, one of the partners, and the wood was identified. In defence, prisoner said he was going through the yard, and took the wood, but did not know he was doing anything wrong. He was sentenced to 14 days imprisonment in the county house of correction.

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Leicester Chronicle – January 29th 1859





This case has occupied the court during several days.

The object of this Bill was to set aside an assignment of thirty shares, in the Pegg’s Green Colliery, which is situated on the borders of Leicestershire, and abutting on Derbyshire, and consisting of ninety shares, such assignment being made by the defendants, Cowlishaw and Everard, to the other defendants, Messrs. Walker and Worswick, and to restrain the defendant Bostock from selling fifteen shares to Messrs. Walker and Worswick, the Plaintiffs Kidger and Price and the other defendants being the owners of the remaining shares. The circumstances of the case, by reason of what had taken place in various ways, in correspondence and otherwise, were extremely intricate, but the chief question was, whether the transaction now impeached was within the terms of the 12th clause of the partnership articles. That clause prescribed in substance that any partner in the collieries who should be desirous of withdrawing there from should first make an offer of his shares to members of his family, and, supposing they refused to purchase, then to the other partners, at a valuation, such acceptances, offers, and refusals to be in writing; and in such case other partners did not agree to purchase, then to be sold to some respectable party, who, previous to their admission as partners, should execute proper instruments to bind themselves to the performance of the articles. Cowlishaw and Everard were members of one family, the plaintiffs, Price and Kidger, of another, and the two Bostocks (John Bostock being alleged to have sold fifteen shares to Kidger), of another. In June 1856, Cowlishaw and Everard acted under the 12th clause of the articles. These offers met with various results. Price wrote, Bostock answered verbally, and Kidger offered £800; and, so on the 14th of October, 1856, the contract to sell to Messrs. Walker and Worswick took place, and this bill was filed to set aside the sale on the ground that Messrs. Cowlishaw and Everard could not sell until they had a written refusal from the parties to whom they were first bound to offer.This, the defendants contested they were not bound to give; not having made the offer, the remainder of what had to be done rested with whom the shares were offered; it was a question of legal right.


A large mass of evidence was read on both sides and Mr. Bailey was heard in reply.

The Vice-Chancellor Kindersley, after stating the facts, said that this being a mining partnership each partner might have parted with his interest without the concurrence of the others, and the clause in question was introduced to restrain the exercise of that right. The intention appeared to have been to give a right of pre-emption to the members of the family; but whether that was carried out by the terms of the 12th clause might well be doubted (His honour and the clause). A great many questions not anticipated might arise on an instrument like this, though prepared, probably, with legal assistance. The interests of these families did not seem coincident, tightly or wrongly was immaterial; the result being that the Cowlishaws wished to retire, but did not make separate offers, as the plaintiffs contended they should have done, of their interests. The plaintiffs contended that the sale was invalid by reason of a separate offer not having been made, but his Honour thought that such contention could not prevail, but the objection lay as between the members of the family, and as between the partners generally; that each ought to have known that such offer was made. All the Cowlishaw family were simultaneously withdrawing, and when notice of that came to the other partners that must be taken as notice of such simultaneous act; and, indeed, Price and Kidger regarded it as having been done in concert, for in one instance accounts were asked for, as appeared in the correspondence, and there was no allegation of the necessity of a separate refusal in the bill, but at the bar it was raised for the first time. It was said that the offer ought to have been made o the members in the aggregate, although sent to each; there was, however, no ground for this contention, for each knew the right for accepting, &c., depended upon the others . The contention was referred to in the bill, but not in the prayer, so little was it though of. Now came the material part of the case- namely, that there should be no contract with strangers until there had been distinct refusal in writing from the members of the firm, and therefore anyone, by holding his tongue, could prevent the parting of shares with others. That was a most unlikely intention of the deed, and no one with candour or honesty would probably say that he understood it. If a rigid construction imposed it on members of the family, it did not impose it as regarded the firm generally, and certainly not as to strangers. There was no mention of the refusal referring to a member of the firm, and it appeared to his Honour there had been a valid offer to the members of the family; the next step to be taken was by the party to whom the offer was made, and if he was silent it was not the law that he could, after a reasonable time, object to a sale to a stranger. In reply to an offer there was no right to call for an account, but the delay in rejoining Mr. price must have the benefit of; but the right to an account was denied, and the partnership articles warranted no such requirement Mr. Price by his conduct justified the Cowlishaws in assuming that there could be no sale to a stranger until he had refused in writing, and was, in fact, refusing to give an answer in writing, and now filing a bill on that foundation. With regards to Mr. Kidger, he offered £800, and asked verbally what would be given him “to stand ward” but his subsequent silence stood on the same ground as Mr. Price’s, and neither made any communication for months after the contract, and were therefore not entitled to come for the assistance of the Court, and, as far as related to the Cowlishaws, the bill must be dismissed with costs. Bostock, having attempted to sell without making an offer, had abandoned that, but the bill must be dismissed against him without costs, but that abandonment did not rescind the whole. The question of the costs of certain affidavits was reserved.

It was only approximately 12 months later that Pegg’s Green Colliery closed.

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Leicester Journal – December 23rd 1859

London Gazette – January 10th 1860



That the partnership heretofore subsisting between us, the undersigned Thomas Bostock, John Price, William Kidger, John Knight, Benjamin Walker, and William Worswick, under the style or firm of “Bostock, Price and Co.,” and sometimes called “The Peggs Green Colliery company”, or under any other style or firm whatsoever, has been this day DISSOLVED by mutual consent


Dated the third day of December 1859

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Leicester Daily Mercury – November 6th 1939



Mr & Mrs. John Birch, of Highfield Street, Coalville, today celebrated the 63rd anniversary of their wedding.


They were married at Breedon Church in 1876, and have two sons, a daughter, seven grand children and four great grand children.


Mr. Birch is 84 years of age and his wife 83. Both were born at Gelsmoor, and have lived in the Coalville district all their lives. Mr. Birch is a none smoker and for 65 years he was a Sunday school teacher at Coalville Marlborough-Square Methodist Church where he was at one time secretary.


Mr. Birch was employed in the coal mines for 61 years and spent most of them working for the South Leicestershire Colliery Co, Snibston Mine at Coalville.


After working at a brick-yard at the age of eight, he went down the pits when only ten years of age and as a young man worked twelve hours a day for 3s.


Mrs. Birch entered domestic service when she was only seven years of age.

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