"What the Papers Said" - from Shropshire Caving & Mining Club Archives
Wellington Journal & Shrewsbury News, February
Within two months nine people have lost their lived in Madeley, and quite a gloom was cast over the neighbourhood again on Tuesday, when it became known that another fatality had occurred in the Kemberton pits belonging to the Madeley Wood Company. It appears that as George Edward Griffiths, motor-engine driver, was engaged at his work, an electric rope surrounded his neck, which was badly burnt, as was also his face. Artificial respiration was tried by the field doctor and others, but without avail, and deceased expired within two hours. The body was subsequently conveyed to his parents' residence in Prince Street, Madeley. Deceased, who was 33 years of age, was the eldest son of Mr. and Mrs. George Griffiths, who have the sympathy of the whole town in their bereavement. About 11 years ago deceased injured his spine and a hip in one of the pits.
Last evening Mr. F. H. Potts (borough coroner) held an inquiry into the circumstances at the Madeley Institute. There were also present Mr. Wm. Saint (H.M. Inspector of Mines), Mr. W. Latham (Miners' Agent), Mr. J. C. Cadman (managing director of the colliery), and Mr. J. Cocks (engineer).
George Ed. Griffiths, father of the deceased, said he lived at 81, Prince Street, Madeley, and was a boot maker. Deceased worked at Halesfield pit all Monday night, came home, and returned to work soon after 5 o'clock on Tuesday morning. His body was brought home about mid-day on Tuesday.
Harold Bowen, assistant fireman at the Halesfield Colliery, stated that deceased was employed there as motor engine driver, and on Tuesday, he began to work at 6 o'clock in the morning. At about 8 o'clock the engine stopped, and he (witness) went back to see what was the matter. He then heard something like a fuse burning, and found that there was a current going through the loose wire in the cable road. Deceased was lying face downwards on the wire. Witness assisted in getting deceased out of the cable road, and artificial respiration was employed for 2½ hours without avail. Deceased never showed any signs of life. He did not know where the loose wire came from.
By the Inspector: The hauling rope had been spliced on the Monday night, and the wire produced was like the hauling rope.
By the foreman: He could not see why the engine stopped.
By Mr. Latham: He could not say whether Griffiths had any signal given him to stop the engine. He did not see any more loose pieces of wire about the pit.
William Yale, Aqueduct, employed as on-setter at the Halesfield pit, stated that he was working in the pit on the haulage road about 8 o'clock. He went to the last witnesss assistance after he had disconnected the cables. He did not see the loose wire, neither did he know how it came to be where it was found.
Harry Bullock, fireman at the Halesfield Colliery, said that he went down the pit about 4-30 a.m. on Tuesday, and inspected the workings, and he was about 150 yards away from the motor at about 8 o'clock. He noticed the rope stop, but could not tell why. He helped to get deceased out to the main haulage road, and commenced artificial respiration, until the doctor arrived. Deceased showed no signs of consciousness.
Richard Davies, colliery fireman at Halesfield pits, stated that he inspected the haulage road early on Tuesday, and found the cable in order. He saw no loose wire about.
Frederick Jones, Madeley, electrician in the employ of the Madeley Wood Company, stated that deceased was a reliable man. He went down to the motor house at about 9 o'clock, when they were trying artificial respiration on Griffiths. He examined the cable and found there was a leak of current in the armouring. He could give no reason for deceased to be where he was found. He had no right to be where he was, unless the current was off. Death, he considered, was due to deceased coming into contact with the live wire.
By Inspector: He had tested the cable on the previous Saturday for leakage, and found none.
The Coroner said that there was no doubt that deceased came in contact with the live wire, and was killed by the electric current.
The jury returned a verdict of "Accidental death."
Mr. Cocks, on behalf of the Madeley Wood Company, expressed their deepest sympathy with the relatives of the deceased, who, he added, was an efficient workman.- Mr. Latham endorsed the observations of Mr. Cocks, as also did Mr. Pope on behalf of the jury. The father of deceased returned thanks.
Submitted by Steve Dewhirst