“Upon arriving at the place it was found that an immense layer of stone had fallen completely covering the three who were killed, so that only one hand of Maddocks could be seen; and after various attempts to extricate them it was at last found necessary to bore the stone and nearly two hours elapsed before access could be made to the bodies. Upon the stones being removed a frightful spectacle presented itself. The bodies were so completely mutilated that they were gathered into wrappers and conveyed to their homes. The head of Jarvis was torn from his body and the vitals entirely exposed. A proper investigation will take place in order to ascertain if any blame rests with the managers.”Attempted Rescue of the Limestone Miners
The Coroner’s Inquest was at the Last Inn, Church Aston on Thursday, 23 October, 1858, before R.D. Neville, the Coroner
Wellington Journal 1858
The recent unveiling of a memorial in the Wellington Peace Garden by members of Shropshire and Telford Trades Union Council members commemorating all those who have died at work in the area under the inscription ‘Remember the dead, Fight for the living’ is a timely reminder of the conditions that people in the area suffered working in the coal and iron industry, upon which Telford is built.
Cinderloo 1821 the group established to commemorate the battle that took place in 1821 when 3 colliers died fighting against the harsh conditions that they were required to work in are extending their campaign to link with other groups who would like to see these conditions recognised within the town which have largely been air brushed from the town’s history and which in many cases has been relegated to a foot note in the Ironbridge Gorge Museum.
One person who researched these fatal deaths was Dr Ivor J. Brown, who died in 2017, but left a legacy in his paper “A list of fatal accidents in Shropshire mines from 1850 – 1979” published in 2005. Dr Brown lists over 600 names of people killed in mining accidents in that period, the majority of whom come from the East Shropshire Coalfield which sits within what is now Telford.
He notes that
- the list includes Five females all of whom seem to have fallen down the shaft while working at the shaft top
- The youngest employed child to be killed of known age was 10 years old, but it is known that children of just 8 or 9 were employed on the surface,
- The oldest miner killed was over 70 years of age.
- The largest multi fatality was at Dark Lane (Cage or Flies pit) (12 men killed) the second was at Donnington Wood (‘Slaughter’) Pit (11 men killed of whom 5 had the surname of Guy).
- The largest number reported killed in any year was probably 35, in 1862
He also recognises that the list is far from complete and doesn’t cover the 150 years before the Inspector of mines began compiling the names and causes of these fatal incidents.
Three ex- miners Malcolm Peel, Stewart Braddock and Cliff Hewitt– other wise known as the Granville Boys have been raising the profile of the importance of the mining industry to communities of the East Shropshire Coal Field and are seeking support to erect a permanent memorial in Telford Town Park.
Cinderloo 1821 has recently written to Cllr Shaun Davies the Leader of Telford and Wrekin Council to seek the Council’s support in naming the new railway foot bridge the ‘Cinderloo Bridge’ and also to support the Granville boys in achieving their ambition of creating a permanent monument to those that made the ultimate sacrifice in working to build the communities that now make up Telford.
We believe this is a cause that can help to unite the new and old communities in Telford under the banner
‘Remember the dead, Fight for the living’.