Skelton Park Fatality – John Chambers – 09 Jun 1894

7:00 a.m., 1st hour of shift, aged 32, Machineman, While assisting to remove a drilling machine to another place it got off the way, tilted over, and killed him, Buried: Skelton in Cleveland, All Saints on 11 Jun 1894

1894 Mines Inspectors Report (C 7667), Durham District (No. 4) by Thomas Bell, H.M. Inspector of Mines, Page: 21

Number 5 on the list of accidents occurring at the Cleveland Ironstone Mines, occurred at Skelton Park Mines, on the 9th of June about seven o’clock a.m., causing the death of John Chambers, a drilling-machineman.

Deceased had charge of a drilling-machine, and it was his duty to see it moved from place to place. It was mounted on a tram, which ran on four wheels, fitted to the gauge of the tramway; on this tram there was a pillar, round which were two beams, with drilling-engines at one end, and balance weights at the other.

The machine was being moved to a place, and on coming on to a turn it got off the way; it was got on again and a horse attached to it. It got round the turn all right, and past the first straight rail, when it fell bodily over to one side, crushing deceased between it and the side of the place. The first straight rail on the right-hand side was canted, but whether this was caused by the horse getting his foot against it when pulling, or it had been canted over by the machine in falling, it is impossible to say.

It appears to me to be more than probable that when the beams of the machine after coming round the turn swung into the middle of the way, the momentum thus gained had carried the machine and canted the rail over.

The length of the beams was 15 feet, and the pillar on which they revolved was 7 feet high, and the weight of the whole machine was 2 tons 15 cwts.

It will readily be seen it was very top heavy; it was of an antiquated type, and I made representations to the management, and a promise was made that lower pillars would be adopted, and one of the beams done away with, and this has since been done; the pillars have been reduced 3 feet, and the weight by one ton, and I am therefore hopeful that a fatality of this kind will not happen again.

Parish records image by kind permission of Teesside Archives.

One thought on “Skelton Park Fatality – John Chambers – 09 Jun 1894

  1. This tragedy was covered by the local press:

    The North-eastern Daily Gazette, Monday 11th June 1894
    Fatality at a Cleveland Mine. – J. Chambers, of Park-street, Skelton, who was employed as assistant at one of the compressed air drilling machines at Bell brothers’ Park Mines at Skelton, was killed on Saturday. Whilst the machine, which weighs about three tons, was being moved it fell upon Chambers and inflicted such injuries as to cause his death in a very short time. Deceased, who was a single man, aged 32 years, was known as “Fish” and was well respected.

    The North-eastern Daily Gazette, Tuesday 12th June 1894
    The Fatality in a Cleveland Mine – Mr. Wm. Robinson, Deputy Coroner, held an inquest at Skelton yesterday on the body of John Chambers, who was killed under circumstances recorded in yesterday’s Gazette. – Addison Lightburn, 2, Prospect-place, Skelton, stated that the drilling machine was being moved when it went broadside over and pinned Chambers against the side of the mine. The machine was removed in ten minutes, but Chambers was then quite dead. He could not say what put the machine off the line. The way was new, in good order, and very level. He was of the opinion that Chambers met his death by pure accident. The machine had not come off at that place before. – James Osborne, Park Street, Skelton, said Chambers had lodged with him 20 years. – A verdict of “Accidental death” was returned.

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