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Minutes of evidence taken before the Royal Commission on Mines online

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EOYAL COMMISSION ON MINES.



MINUTES OF EVIDENCE



TAKEN BEFORE THE



ROYAL COMMISSION ON MINES,



WITH INDEX AND APPENDICES.



VOLUME IIL



^tntnUh to botb HottB^s of ^arlianunt b^ (Kommanb of "^is JKoi^at^.



LONDON:
PRINTED FOR HIS MAJESTY'S STATIONERY OFFICE,
By M-^CORQUODALE & CO. Limited, St. Thomas' Street, S.]



And to be purchased, either directly or through any Bookseller, from

WYMAN AND SONS, Limited, 109, Fetter Lane, Fleet Street, E.C, and
32, Abingdon Street, Westminster, S.W.; or

OLIVER AND BOYD, Edinburgh; or

E. PONSONBY, 116, Grafton Street, Dubun.



19 08.

[Cd. 1349.] Price is. 5d.

EYEE & SPOTIl^WOOrz, Ltd, westminstee, s.w.



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[ iii. ]



KOYAL COMMISSION ON MINES.



CONTENTS.



PAGK.
Prefagb -_-_-^**«**.«-.-. - -iv.

List op Witnesses - - - - - - - v.

Minutes of Evidence - - - - - - - i

LiiT o? APFSNDI0B8 - - - - - - - 474

Appendices - - - - - - - - 475

Indices to Minutes of Evidence :—

I. General Index -__-_ - - - - 484

II. The Evidence of each Witness indexed separately - - - 604



Wt 2013/21027. M»0. k Co. Ltd., London— 1000. 10/08. 90464.



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[ iv. ]



ROYAL COMMISSION ON MINES.



PREFACE.

This volume contains the evidence submitted to the Royal Commission on Mines
by representatives of the workmen in mines under the Coal Mines Regulation Acts. The
evidence of a few other witnesses not representing the workmen is also included. The
previous volumes issued by the Commission are : —

Minutes of Evidence, Volume I. [Cd. 3549], containing the evidence submitted
by the Home Ofl&ce and the Inspectors of Mines.

Minutes of Evidence, Volume II. (Cd. 3873], containing the evidence sub-
mitted by representatives of the coal owners, by mining engineers and others
on the means of dealing with the dangers from explosions of coal dust, &c.

First Report [Cd. 3548], containing the interim recommendations of the
Commission on the use of breathing appliances in rescue work after an explosion.

Codes of Rules in force in Mines and Quarries in the United Kingdom.



31, Great George Street,

Westminster, S.W.,

1st October, 1908.



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[ V, ]



ROYAL COMMISSION ON MINES.



LIST OF WITNESSES,



Name.



Description.



Questions.



Page



Adamson, William -

Braithwaite, James

Bbown, James

Brown, Robert

Charlton, William Browell

Clark, James - - -

COULTHARD, SaMXTEL

Da VIES, Henry

English, Joseph

EvANSy John Henry

OiLMotJR, David

Oriffiths, William -
Guest, John - - -
Hancock, John George -

Harris, William
Hopkins, William -

Hughes, Edward -



Assistant Secretary, Fife and Kinross Miners'
Association.

Cleveland Miners' and Quarrymen's Associa-
tion.

President, Ayrshire Miners' Association

Secretary, Scottish Miners' Federation

Secretary, Durham Coimty Colliery Engine-
men's and Boilerminder's Mutual Aid
Association.

Secretary, Durham Deputies' Mutual Aid
Association.

Permanent Secretary, Northumberland
Deputies' Mutual Aid Association.

Secretary, South Wales and Monmouthshire
Mining Education Board, Director of
Mining Instruction for Glamorganshire
County Council.

President, Northumberland Miners' Mutual
Confident Association.

Monmouthshire and South Wales Colliery
Examiners' Association.

Secretary and Agent, Lanarkshire Miners'
Association.

South Wales Colliery Officials' Association -

Agent, Yorkshire Miners' Association -

Agent and Financial Secretary, Nottingham-
shire Miners' Association.

Agent, South Wales Miners' Federation

Agent, Monmouthshire and South Wales
Enginemen's Association.

Secretary, North Wales Miners' Association -



23227-23518

29539-29657

22928-23226
22040-22374
25819-26142

24393-24762
24763-24863
26658-27055

24864-25376

25724-25818

21207-21592

27191-27510
31365-31990
20216A-20770

34865-35070
28397-28735

37184-37387



ss,^'


266 ^


92*^


68'^


161 V/^


126 N^


134 «^


189 V^



137



y



157

47 t^

205 </

316^

18 v^

409/
236 N^



469



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[ vi. ]
LIST OP WITNESSES - <Jon<muei.



Name.



Description.



Questions.



Page



Hughes, Thomas - - -

Jenkins, Hubert - - -

Johnson, John, M.P.

JoNEd, Thomas - - -

KbllV, Michael - - -

Latham, William - - -

LovETT, Levi - - - -

MoPhek, Richard - -

Mansell, Thomas - - -

Marriott, Walter - - -

Morgan, David Watts -

Morgan, John Daniel -

Morgan, William Evan -

MuiR, Peter - - - -

Pickering, Willlam Henry

Powell, John Rebs

RiOHARDBi Thomas, M.P.

RoAcd, Michael - - _



Robertson, Daniel Alexander

WiLBERFORCE.



Bowarth, Samuel Wright

SiWBLL, William -
Sharp, Andrew
Skirkih, Robert



North Wales Miners' Association - - 27066-27190

Agent, East Glamorgan District, South Wales 35267-35371
Miners' Federation.

Durham Miners' Association - - - 35915-35969

General Secretary, South Wales Winding 28736-28848
Enginemen's Association.

Member of Executive Committee, Lanarkshire 22375-22666
Miners' Association.

Secretary, Shropshire Miners' Association - 32954-33442

Secretary, Leicestershire Miners' Association 36917-37183

Manager, Bothwell Park Colliery, nr. Glasgow 22863a-22910

Secretary, South Staffordshire and East 36574-36916
Worcestershire Miners' Association.

Derbyshire Miners' Association - - - 23777-24145

Agent, Rhondda VaUey District, South Wales 30413-30909
Miners' Federation.

Agent, Anthracite District, South Wales 30910-31031
Miners' Federation.

Agent, Glamorgan Western District, South 31032-31364
Wales Miners' Federation.

Secretary and Agent, Ayrshire Miners' 21593-22039
Association.

H.M. Inspector of Mines for the York and 33443-34059
Lincoln District.

General Secretary, Monmouthshire and South 25377-25723
Wales Colliery Examiners' Association.

General Secretary, South Wales Miners' 19631-20216
Federation.

Agent, Monmouth Western Valleys District, 35071-35266
South Wales Miners' Federation.

General Manager, Metropolitan Coal Co., of 26352-26657
Sydney, CSiairman of Board for appointing
Examiners in New South Wales.

General Secretary, Derbyshire and Netting- 28117-28396
hamshire Enginemen's and Firemen s
Union.

Derbyshire Miners* Association - - - 24146-24S92

Secretary, Cumberland Miners* Association - 36970-36206

Agent and Secretary, United Enginekeepers' 27713-28116
Mutual Protective Association of Scotland.



202^

420 y

439 y
246 V

77 ^

359 V

463 V

90 \/

455 V

lUV
290 V

304 V/

307 V

58 V

372 V

149 ^

iV

415 V
181 >»

229 V

120't
441 V
216 V



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[ vii. ]
LIST OF WITNESSES-coniinued.



Name.



Description.



Questions.



Page



Smith, Herbert
Stephens, William -

Thomas, Evan ^ - -

ToYN, Joseph - - -

Twist, Henry - - -

Waring, Richard -
Watson, Thomas

Webb, William

Weir, John - - -

Whjtepield, William -
Whitehouse, Samuel Henry
Williams, John - - .
Wilson, John, M.P.
Wilson, John - - -

WiNSTONB, James -

YoBKSIN, WilLUM -



President, Yorkshire Miners' Association

Treasurer, Cleveland Miners' and Quarrymen's
Association.

Agent, Rhjonney Valley District, South
Wales Miners' Federation.

Agent and President, Cleveland Miners' and
Quarrymen's Association.

Agent, Lancashire and Cheshire Miners'
Federation.

Lancashire and Cheshire Miners' Federation-
Agent, Lancashire, Cheshire and North Wales
Enginemen's and Boilermen's Federation.

Secretary and Agent, Stirlingshire Miners'
Association.

Secretary, Fife and Kinross Miners' Associa-
tion.

Secretary, Bristol Miners' Association - -
Secretary, Somersetshire Miners' Association-
South Wales Colliery Officials' Association -
Secretary, Durham Miners' Association

Agent, Scottish Shale Miners' and West
Lothian Coal Miners' Associations.

Agent, Eastern Valleys District, South Wales
Miners' Federation.

Polish Miner, Bothwell Park Colliery, near
Glasgow.



y



31991-32327


335*^


29280-29538


259*^


34060-34697


388 ^


28857-29279


248*/


29658-30315


269^

287 /
172 s/^


30316-30412
26143-26351


23519-23776


105-^


20771-21206


33 ^


36206-36573


447^


32328-32953


343 V^


27511-27712


211 \//
423 >/


35372-35914


22668-22863


84^


34698-34864


405I/


22911-22927


91 ^



ILLUSTRAT10K8 W TEiT 01? BVlDfiNCi!.
Types of haulage clips



Page 113



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MIJSUTES OF EYIDEIS^CE



TAKEN BEFORE THE



ROYAL COMMISSION ON MINES.



THIRTIETH BAY.



Wednesday, 2dth May, 1907,



H. H. S. CuKYvbHAMB, Esq., as.
WiL Abraham, Esq., m.p. (Rhondda).
F. L. Davis, Esq.
Ekoch Edwards, Esq., M.P.



PBISXNT:

Lord MoNKSWBLL {Chairman),

I Thomas Batolitfe Ellis, Esq.

I John Soott Haldakb, Esq., r.B.s.

RoBBBT Smillib, Esq.

S. W. Habbis, Esq. {SeareUiry\



Mr. Thomas Richards, m.p., called and examined.



i\



Statement of Witness.

19621. (1) OovemmcfU Inspection. — ^The number of
Government Inspectors is totally inadequate to secure
anything approaching an efficient systematic inspection of
the collieries, and. I would suggest the creation of another
class of assistant inspectors* one to every 10,000 workm^i
employed in the district, only persons having practical
knowledge and experience of working in the mines to be
eligible, and preference to be given those who hold
certificates of competency under the present Act.

I (2) Inspection by Workmen under General Rule 38. —
If the foregoing was in operation I should not seek
to alter Rule 38 ; otherwise Rule 38 should be amended
BO as to permit the appointment by the workmen of
persons as examiners " who are," or have been, " prac-
tical imderground workmen. ' ' From some cause or other
the workmen do not iise the power given them in Rule 38
as extensively as I think they should do.

(3) Inspection under General Rule 4. — The method
of appointment of the officials under this rule is
very unsatisfactory, as the owner, agent, or manager
may appoint persons who have none of the special qualifi-
cations necessary for the efficient discharge of the im-
portant duties of firemen. One of the most important
officials having to do with the safety of the colliery can
be appointed without any test as to his fitness for the

I position. I would strongly urge a qualifying examina-
I tion and certificate of competency.

(4) The firemen in South Wales and Monmouthshire
have such a variety of duties to perform that it is prac-
tically impossible for them to make a minute examina-
tion of the district under their care, and often those
districts are so extensive in themselves as to render
careful examination of all parts of the workhigs and
roadways impossible in the time limit before the shift.



They are working much too long hours — 10 to 12 and
sometimes 14 hours a day being worked by these officials,
and the measure of their efficiency is the amount of coal
they can get out of their district rather than their atten-
tion to the ventilation, gas, and the safety of the working
places.

(5) Fines and Discipline, — ^I do not agree with the
enforcement of discipline by fines at the coUiery, and was
unaware of its being so frequently done until it was
given in evidence before this Commission.

(6) Special Rules, — I think it would in some measure
tend to a better observance of the Mines Act and Special
Rules if in the first instance it was made obligatory upon
the officials to supply every workman they employ
with a copy, and would be further assisted if arrange-
ments were made to . distribute periodically printed
copies of the portion dealing with spragging, timbering,
riding on trams, care of safety lamp, &c.

(7) I think Special Rules should be prepared by the
Secretary of State, after ascertaining the views of ^the
owners and workmen, and should be confirmed * by
Parliament.

(8) Accidents; Falls of Roof and Sides,— 1 think
a more regular systematic method of timbering would
reduce the number of this class of accident.

(9) Haulage Accidents. — ^Travelling roads, inde-
pendent of the haulage roads in which the hauling is
done by machinery, should be provided, or such haulage
roads should be of sufficient width to admit of a footpath
clear of the trams. I am informed that in plac^ where
they have this width at present it is rendered useless for
walking on by old timber, rubbish, <&c., being allowed to
accumulate.



Mr.T.

Richards,

M,P,

29May,1907.



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2



MINUTES, OF EVIDENCE:



Mr.T.

Richards^

M.P,



20 May ,1907.



(10) Explosions. — I would urge upon the Com-
mission the necessity of an exhaustive inquiry into the
best method of dealing with coal dust with a view of
minimising the extent of any explosion that may take
plaoe, an(t while leaving the question of watering and
other scientific methods to those better qualified to deal
with the subject, I believe that a closed tram filled only
to the level will considerably reduce the amount of dust
made by the transit of the coal. A large number of
collieries make no provision for preventing the dust from
the surface screens, &c., going down the shaft.

(11) Safety Lamps. — The present practice of allowing
the colliery manager to select the type of lamp and the
quality of the oil to be used is not satisfactory.

( 12) Rule 8 requires alteration. 1 should insist upon the
use of safety lamps in all ventilating districts wliere
inflammable gas is found, and that safety lamps and naked
lights should not be permitted in the same ventilating
district.

(13) Firemen should report the presence of gas if found
in their inspection during the working shift.

(14) Amhvlance and Rescue Work. — Proper ambu-
lance appliances, splints, bandages, stretchers, &c.,
should be kept in each district in the mine and not " at
the mine." Provision should be made for dealing with
an explosion at every colliery, and eveiy appliance
possible to assist rescue work kept in readiness, and
workmen trained for the purpose.

(15) Investigations into Mine Accidents. — I do not
consider the present system of coroners' enquiry satis-
factory, and it should in all cases of serious accidents
be supplemented by the investigation authorised by
Section 45.

(16) Sanitation. — No case of ankylostomiasis in
South Wales or Monmouthshire has come to my notice^
but there is room for improvement in the sanitary con-
dition of our mines in the interest of the general health of
the miners.

19621a. (Chairman.) I observe that you deal, in the first
place, with Government inspection, and you say that the
number of Government inspectors is totally inadequate to
secure anything approaching an efficient systematic in-
spection of the collieries. What would you call an efficient
systematic inspection ? — I would not call the inspection
that is evidently bein^ made at the present time, and the
only one that can be made by the present staff of inspectors,
an efficient systematic inspection.

19622. In what respect does that inspection fall short
of the efficient systematic inspection you would like to see 7
— It is impossible for the present inspectors to
make an inspection of any kind of aU the collieries
in their districts more than at intervals of twelve
months, say, and in some cases, even, collieries are
not inspected in that period at alL Then, as I understand,
the inspection when it is made is not a systematic inspec-
tion of the colliery : part of the colliery is inspected, and
that is taken to be representative of the whole. To me
as a practical working miner it is astonishing that an
iflapeotor should sample a colliery like you would sample
a piece of cloth, taking one piece to represent the other.
I think it is a most dai^rous practice.

19623. Most of the inspectors, I think, were fairly satis-
fied that they could do the work which they considered was
necessary to be done in the way of inspection ? — I have
read some of the evidence given by the inspectors, and
that is what I would like to call special attention to, viz.,
the statement that they examine a portion of the colliery
and take that as being representative of the whole. I
think it is quite possible that in one portion of a collieir
everything may be perfectly safe and all the rules observed ;
whereas in another portion of a colliery some practice may
be in operation that at any moment might upset the whole
ventilating system, for instance, of the colliery.

19624. You think that under the present system it is
quite likely that some practice of that kind, which might
be dangerous to miners, is in existence in one part of the
mine without the inspector knowing it, and which, in the
case of an inspection of one part of the mine, and talking
to the men or the manager, he would not be likely to
discover ? — ^That is so. We have several seams being
worked in the same mine, for instance, and it is possible
for things to be all right in one seam, whereas they might
be quite the contrary in the other. I think it gives a false
sense of security to both workmen and owners that inspec-
tors should visit a colliery in this way, because they may
base their calculations that everything is all right on the
inspection, whereas the inspector is omy inspecting a very
small portion of the colliery.



J



19625. It would be the duty of the inspector not only
to inspect part of the colliery, but to talk to the men and
try to find out what was going on throughout the colliery P
— ^The workmen in one district of a colliery would have no
knowledge* whatever of what was taking place in the other.
They are strictly prohibited from going to any other place
in the colliery but their own working place.

19626. But when they came to the surface they would
meet together, and to some extent discuss anything in the
mine 7 — That is so : and I have reason to believe that
sometimes the attention of the inspector has been called
by that method to some practice which ought to be attended
to.

19627. Still, you do not think that is sufficient 7 — I do
not think so.

19628. Although the attention of the inspector is some*
times called to matters connected with the safety of the
miners in that way, still you think there may be occasiona
when something is going on in other parts of the mine
which he knows nothing of 7 — That is so.

19629. You would deal with that, apparently, by the
creation of another class of inspector. Would you increase
the present class of inspector ? — I see no objection to even
increasing the present class of inspector, but I think that
another class of inspector, not appointed by the present
method of appointment, but by some other method of
appointment, should be created.

19630. Firstof all, deal with the present class of inspector
and assistant -inspector. Do you think that that class
ought to be increased or not 7 Do you think there ought
to be more than the 12 inspectors and more than the 26
assistant inspectors 7 — Yes.

19631. To deal first of all with the inspectors, do you
consider the 12 inspectors a sufficient number 7 — I do not.
I do not see how they can, even as chief inspectors, with
the number of assistants they have, exercise really the
functions of a chief inspector as they ought to be exert^ised.
Let me give an instance. I think Mr. Martin is
the chief inspector in one district, and he in his district
has 382 collieries under the Coal Mines Act and Metal-
liferous Mines Act, and they employ 62,756 workmen.

19632. You think that Mr. Martin's district ought to
be split up 7 — I think so. The area is so enormous, too,
from Devonshire to Monmouthshire.

19633. You would probably say, in the first place, theri^
that the class of principal inspectors ought to be somewhat /
increased 7 — I think so. / ^

19634. How many would you suggest 7 — I would not like!
to suggest any number.

19635. Do you think that the present proportion of
assistant inspectors to inspectors is the proper proportion,
viz., about two to one 7 — No ; I daresay a chief inspector
could do with another assistant.

19636. You think there ought to be at present three
assistants to every chief inspector, instead of two 7 — I do
not see why he should not have three.

19637. I am dealing with the class of inspector which at
present exists 7 — Quite so.

19638. Your suggestion is that the present class of chief
inspectors and the class of assistant inspectors should be

considerably increased, say by something like 60 per
cent 7 — I think so.

19639. You also suggest that another class of inspector
should be appointed* one for every 10,000 workmen em-
ployed in the district. How many would that be on an
average for each district 7 — I have not worked that out.

19640. There are about 800,000 workmen, and it comes
to about 80 for the whole country 7 — It would be so.

19641. In each district you would have 7 or 8 of these
inspectors 7 — Yes.

19642. According^ you, you would have the district
sub-divided, instep of into 12 districts, say 15 or 16
districts, and in each of those 15 or 16 distxicts you would
have three assistants instead of two afisistants under the
present scale of pay, as I understand, and in addition
to that you would have some six or seven of your
class of inspectors, that is another class of inspector, in
each district 7 — I do not want to suggest what increase



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