The conditions in the local coalmines were very dangerous especially with numerous pits being closed and reopened and lack of ventilation and other safety measures.
According to the reports of the Inspectors of Mines under the Coal Mines Regulation Act of 1872, the number of people employed in and about the coal mines of the United Kingdom in 1883 was 512,933. Of these 416,696 were employed underground, and 98,237 (of whom 4,479 were females) were employed in surface operations. The total number of fatal accidents in the year amounted to 921. There was one fatal accident for every 557 employed. Although 11,000 more people were employed over the previous year, there was a diminution of 107 mines at work.
In Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Warwickshire and Nottinghamshire in 1883, there were 52,118 persons employed in the mines which numbered 369. There were 74 fatal accidents, giving one for every 734 employed.
In 1888, the total number of persons employed in and about the United Kingdom coal mines was 592,656 and fatal accidents amounted to 885. In the Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Warwickshire and Nottinghamshire coal mines the number of lives lost by accidents were 61.
Prior to 1850, there was no systematic methods of recording mining deaths. After c.1950, details of fatalities have generally not been released, for data protection reasons. The national database of mining deaths and injuries compiled by Ian Winstanley, which is now incorporated in the “Coal Mining History Resource Centre” website, has been useful in compiling and confirming some of the information.
A total of 103 deaths are recorded on this website, but this will only be a percentage of the total deaths plus serious injuries that occurred. In other parts of the country, many major disasters have been recorded, but apart from the disaster at Whitwick Colliery in 1898, when 35 miners were killed, there have been no other recordings of more than four miners being killed at any one time in our local mines.
In practically all the inquests, the jury awarded a verdict of “Accidental Death”, and the colliery owners seemed to be absolved of responsibility.
A book entitled 'A Record of Fatalities In Local Coal Mines 1782-1957' has been written by local historian and author Samuel T Stewart.The book has been divided into two parts:-
The first part includes numerous newspaper reports on “Coroner’s Inquests” into various deaths and accidents that occurred in local coal mines.
The second part lists names and details of all the known fatalities.
Part 2 of the book can also be viewed here by clicking on the listed Colliery names.
To view details of fatalities that occurred in our local coal mines, please click on the colliery name below. The numerous colliery fatalities which cannot be positively associated with a particular colliery, are shown under Miscellaneous.
Due to the lack of detailed information, a fatality has only been connected to a particular colliery where we are relatively sure of the information. However, we would be pleased to receive further details from readers where the information can be proven to be incorrect.