HC Deb 01 May 1923 vol 163 cc1162-3
36. Sir J. BUTCHER

asked the Secretary for Mines whether, in view of the statement by His Majesty's Inspector of Mines for the Northern Division that in that division mechanical forms of haulage are not employed in cases where it would be an advantage to do so, he will instruct His Majesty's inspectors of mines for the divisions to consider and report whether mechanical forms of haulage could to some extent be advantageously employed in substitution for haulage by ponies; and whether he will state to what extent mechanical haulage has been adopted in mines in Great Britain during the last few years in substitution for haulage by ponies?

Lieut.-Colonel LANE-FOX

No precise data as to the relative extent of mechanical haulage and horse haulage are available, but it may be inferred from the annual statistics as to the number of pit ponies employed that mechanical forms of haulage have displaced nearly 10,000 pit ponies during the past 10 years. The substitution of mechanical haulage; for horse haulage is still going on, and it is the general opinion of the inspectors of mines that it can be carried much further with advantage. I have already issued an announcement that Mr. Charles Markham has placed at my disposal a sum of £1,000 to be offered as a prize for the best storage battery locomotive for use underground. Details of this competition will shortly be announced, and I hope that its result will be further progress in this direction.


In the meantime, may we not look to the humanity of the British miner to look after the ponies as well as possible?

Lieut.-Colonel LANE-FOX

Yes, Sir. I am quite sure that many of these rumours of ill-treatment of pit ponies are much exaggerated.


May we not also look to the humanity of the British colliery owners?


The pony drivers love their ponies.

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