§ SIR C. DILKE () Gloucester, Forest of Dean
I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he is aware that in the case of the death of W. R. Mullock, of Hanley, from chronic lead poisoning, in which a coroner's jury was summoned, the coroner has since stated that he stopped the inquest after consultation with the Factory Inspector; whether such was the case; and whether the allegation of the widow that no fan was in use in the factory where Mullock worked is correct?
§ THE UNDER SECRETARY OF STATE FOR THE HOME DEPARTMENT (Mr. J. COLLINGS,) Birmingham, Bordesley
The Factory Inspector himself called the attention of the Secretary of State to the statement mentioned by the right honourable Baronet, adding that he was not consulted on the question either of holding or of abandoning the inquest; and the Secretary of State is informed by the coroner that he did not consider it necessary to hold the inquest in view of the fact that the Home Office had already made inquiries into the subject of lead poisoning generally with a view to remedying the present state of affairs as far as possible. The Secretary of State cannot consider that this general inquiry affords sufficient reason for dispensing with the inquiry into the facts of each fatal case for which a coroner's inquest offers an opportunity. He has already expressed in this House and elsewhere his opinion that in lead-poisoning cases inquests should be held, and he will again intimate this to the coroner in question. As to the facts of the case, it appears that the deceased man was engaged in September last to work in a place where a fan was in operation, but that after Christmas he was, at his own request, transferred to another pottery belonging to the same employer where 975 there was at that time no fan. Arrangements were at once made, in compliance with the new rules which came into force this year, to provide a, fan, but unfortunately some delay occurred in procuring and fixing it.