HC Deb 07 June 1888 vol 326 cc1400-1
MR. LEAKE (Lancashire, S.E., Radcliffe)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department, Whether he is aware that at the Stopes Colliery, Little Lever, near Bolton, belonging to Messrs. Fletcher and Sons, the men have never provided timber for propping in the mine, either before or since the passing of the Coal Mines, &c., Regulation Act, but that it has always been, and is, provided by the owners; whether the Statute makes it incumbent that "suitable timber shall be provided at the working places;" whether he is aware that at four adjoining pits belonging to Messrs. Fletcher—namely, at Outwood Colliery and Bradley Fold Colliery, the owners saw the timber in suitable lengths, and deliver it to the men at the working places, according to the provisions of Rule 22, section 49, of the Act, and that at the Stopes Colliery whole trees are delivered by the owners at the pit-brow, and required to be sawn in lengths by the men with hand saws, marked, and sent into the mine; whether the Act renders the owners criminally responsible if suitable timber for propping is not provided at the working places in the mine; whether, on the practice alleged to exist at the Stopes Colliery being reported to him by the Inspector, he can use his influence to suppress it, and to substitute one more consistent with the intention and provisions of the Coal Mines, &c., Regulation Act; and, whether he is aware of any agreement or arrangement between the owners and their workmen at this colliery which should prevent his influence being so used; and, if so, whether he can state what is the nature of the agreement?


At the Outwood Colliery, near Bolton, I am informed that the props are piled in suitable lengths at the pit-brow, and the colliers make selection from them. I have no information as to the Bradley Fold Colliery. The Act does render the owners criminally responsible if suitable timber for propping is not provided at the working places; but, as I have before stated, the Act is silent as to the persons by whom the timber shall be prepared and selected. That is matter for contract between the parties. The practice at Stopes Colliery is not, therefore, inconsistent with the Act; and there seems to be no ground for the Inspector to interfere.