Sinking feeling

I was sure I had posted this before, perhaps via Brownhhills Bob, but, try as I might, I can’t find it.

This is about the demise of George Carter (1859-1906), who was my grandmother Florence’s uncle and was a coal miner.  He died of injuries sustained in an “accident” at Brownhills No.3 pit, known as The Sinking, operated by William Harrison Ltd. I believe this pit was at Slackey Lane (now Hazel Lane), Great Wyrley, where the industrial buildings are today.

the sinking os 1900 1903
Brownhills Colliery No 3. Ordnance Survey, surveyed 1900, published 1903, reproduced with the permission of the National Library of Scotland.

From the Coal Mining History Resource Centre (defunct):

Brownhills No.3, 1906
Mining Accident
Name: CARTER George
Age: 47
Date: 26/10/1906
Year: 1906
Occupation: Loader
Colliery: Brownhills No.3
Owner: William Harrison Ltd
County: Stafford
Notes: Deceased and another were taking a loaded tub down a longwall face from the buttock to the gateroad a distance of about 10 yards dipping 1.5 inches per yard. A worn wooden locker in the rear wheel broken halfway down, and deceased who was in front was crushed against a prop, his thigh and pelvis being fractured. He succumbed on 11th November.

Lichfield Mercury, 2nd Nov 1906

“On Friday morning, just after mid-day, a serious accident occurred to George Carter, a miner, of Watling Street. It appears that Carter, who was employed as a loader, down Messrs. Harrison’s Wyrley Sinking Pit, in the deep workings, was bringing a loaded tub down the stall into the road, and in ascending the same a locker had to be used in the wheel. The locker, it is stated, broke, and the unfortunate man sustained injuries which necessitated his being brought to the surface. He was afterwards conveyed to the Hammerwich Cottage Hospital.”

“In 1896, William Harrison Limited started the sinking of Brownhills No 3 Colliery in Slackey Lane (now Hazel Lane), Great Wyrley, known locally as Harrison’s No 3 or The Sinking.” (1)

From these I infer that poor maintenance was the likely cause of the incident. Poor old George was in hospital for sixteen days before he died. The Lichfield Mercury seems not to have reported on any inquest or George’s death.

George was 47 and left nine children, the oldest 21, youngest just 5, and four more under 14.

According to the Probate Calendar, “CARTER George of Watling Street Brownhills Staffordshire died 13 November 1906 at Hammerwich Staffordshire Administration Lichfield 28 November to Alice Carter widow. Effects £16”.

In 1901 George and Alice lived at Watling Street at “back of Knaves Castle”.  At that time they had five children aged 10 to 2 months.  Three households shared this address and the 1880s OS mapping shows a row of what could be three cottages, with a well, set back from the Watling Street.  The area has been redeveloped:  Deakin Avenue.

knaves castle os 1900 1903
Knaves Castle. Ordnance Survey, surveyed 1900, published 1903. Reproduced with the permission of the National Library of Scotland.



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