Black Country Muse

Subtitle

Forums

Post Reply
Forum Home > Mining History. > Dudley. Buffery Colliery,

Alaska.
Site Owner
Posts: 1404

Between Baptist End and Blowers Green, there was a seam of Coal, that lay, at least at first, fairly close to the surface. The seam had been worked from at least the early part of the 19th century, under the name Buffery. Now this wasn't just the one mine, as some would imagine, but a combination of three pits, Old Buffery, New Buffery, and the Buffery. Its likely that that at this stage, the first two were extention shafts of the main Buffery Colliery. To make matters a bit more complicated when it comes to research, there were a variety of different owners as well. From around the 1840s, William Haden owned the complex that made up the Buffery, and the New Buffery. Despite suggestions that he had ever employed young boys, William Haden, and other owners denied it to a Mines Inspector in the late1850s. It's a pity they didn't go through the records a bit more carefully, because in October,1853, George Short, a youngster barely 10 years old, fell down the shaft at the Buffery Pit. This was the second time in this year, that someone who shouldn't have been working at his mine was killed in this manner, the other one being Thomas Crew. Just three years later, and 11 year old William Jeavons suffered the same fate. Over at the New Buffery, Haden didn't seem to have had any better luck, as it 1855, Joseph Perryman was killed, when a cask of gunpowder blew up in the pit. In 1859, following several near fatal miss's by objects falling down the shaft, John Woodall was the unlucky one when an empty Bowk went careering down the shaft and crushed him to a pulp. Samuel Crew, just turned 14, and who had worked at William Hadens Pit since he was 9 years old, was suffocated by gas in August 1869. The pit was being worked on his behalf by a Chartermaster, Thomas Boot, who had the mis-fortune, in 1870, while walking across the yard, to fall down the shaft, and not long afterwards, Haden sold the Buffery to Messers Mill and Company, and the New Buffery mine to Howell and Mason. At some stage, the mines merged, although they were still refered to by the old names. In 1872, the owner became Richard Mason, he sold out in 1875 to William Gould, but again, luck wasn't on his side. The price of Coal had gone down, and not long afterwards, his Engineman, Samuel Boddy was a bit careless and got smacked on the head by the engine's flywheel. Alfred Brady, aged 18, had a lucky escape when the whole coal face slipped as he was loading tubs, suffering not a single scratch. A few hours later, he died of shock. Now came the worst accident in the history of The Buffery. To qualify as a disaster, requires the death of at least five miners, and this time, we are short of one. On the morniing of the 5th January,1875, a spontanous fire broke out in an area just behind the main workings. The resultant gas suffocated four miners before they even knew there was a problem. Benjamin Mason,35, Joseph Knowles, 27, Joseph Harrison,45, and Thomas Green,18, all local men, died in the Buffery.


The Mine was then sold to Benjamin Raybould and Company in 1877, who don't seem to have much money from the venture. They, in turn, sold it on to Barker and Wood about 1881, and it would appear, they didn't have it long either. The last owner I have, is The Buffery Colliery Company, who certainly still had it in 1893, for it's the last time a fatality was recorded. This one also happens to concern one of the oldest men I have come across, still working underground. James Probert, 73, was employed to load and unload the tubs into the cage at the bottom of the shaft. On the 21st December,1893, something went wrong, and  a fully loaded tub got out of control on the incline, and careered off down the slope, gathering speed as it went. Poor Mr Probert never had a chance, the roadway was too narrow to escape, and the distance to the shaft too great  to seek safety. I haven't got the exact date the Buffery closed, so if anyone can help, do let me know.

--

A wonderful thing is work, I could watch it all day.  ( See my Blog entry )

March 25, 2013 at 4:42 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Alaska.
Site Owner
Posts: 1404

The Earliest Recorded Mining Death.


I really didn't know where to post this item, but going through a few records, they seem to suggest that as this, ( The Buffery ) was one of the earlier mining sites in Dudley itself. The facts fit the case as well, so here goes.


To open and operate a mine, you need a bit of capital. Sinking a shaft, installing the winding gear, and a thousand and one other things, consumes a fair bit of money. Mine owners then, tended to be from the higher levels of society, well educated, and with a few bob to spare to speculate. Coal mining, in the mid 1700s, was becoming a very lucrative business, with Iron works springing up like daisies along the banks of the regions canals. Step forward Thomas Seagar, an Attorney at Law, who resided in Dudley, in what was then Staffordshire. He was either the sole owner, or partner, in a deep mine in the area. The date was 1784, which fits in with the known fact, that the first coal mined at the Buffery was near the surface, but later on was at a much lower level. On the 15th February, 1784, almost 232 years ago, the men at the pit, set off an explosion, to blast apart a rock, at the base of the shaft, that was impeading progress. These were early days in mining in the Black Country, and although experienced miners knew the dangers, newcomers couldn't see the danger. Immediately after the blast, and possibly ignoring a warning, Thomas Seagar ventured down the shaft, eager to see the results of the explosion. He was suffocated. Every explosion in a mine, leaves behind " afterdamp ", and time was needed for it to clear via the mines ventilation system. ( Sometimes, non at all, except the air that came down the single shaft ) He certainly didn't go down to roll up his sleeves and start digging, unless he was a very poor Attorney. Our learned friends last case then, was permanently adjorned. Now if anyone knows of a properly recorded earlier death, please let me know, I would be very interested indeed.

--

A wonderful thing is work, I could watch it all day.  ( See my Blog entry )

February 13, 2016 at 10:32 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Alaska.
Site Owner
Posts: 1404

The Buffery Colliery Company.


Joseph Marsh, born in Dudley, in 1846, was a miner all his life. He started out as a Pike carrier, taking tools, from and back to the hewers after sharpening. He progressed in the trade, ( he had to really, for he aquired a large family, although not all of them survived ) In the early 1880s, he seems to have become a " Butty ", employing several men, and by 1891, had actually purchased the Buffery complex under the name of The Buffrey Colliery Company. He owned the Company until his death, in 1913. He doesn't appear to have left a will, but the listed Directors of the Company from this date are, Joseph Marsh, 44, second eldest son, Owen Marsh, 33, Albert Marsh, 27, Florence Marsh, 35, and Clara Marsh, 33. The old man must have left some money as well, for the two daughters, ( unmarried in 1911 ) left the house at 42, Burnt Tree, Tipton, and went to live in Brighton, Sussex. The running of the Company was left entirely to the three sons, the daughters being quite content to receive their yearly share of the dividends. It's not clear at just what stage things began to go wrong, but in 1923, the two Sisters, and the entire district, woke up to the news that a gigantic fiddle had been going on. 


Just how long the three brothers had been defrauding the Company, and their own sisters, wasn't stated, but it certainly stretched over a number of years. Young Albert had set up a fake business in which he sold goods and services to the company. with inflated prices, and non existant goods. The Cheques were sent to an address in North Wales, ( where coincidently Albert lived ) where they were cashed and banked, then shared out between the three. Orders were placed with other companies, for goods which never reached the Colliery, but were then sold on and the money again pocketed by the brothers. The list went on and on, and the old man must have been rotating at at a great speed in his coffin. The books were falsified to fool the Accountants, and a conciderable ammount of Tax was undeclared and unpaid. It could only end in tears, or worse, and in the end, it was the worst. Sent for trial at Worcester Assizes, in October 1923, the brothers failed to wriggle out of what the Judge declared to be, " a bare faced fraud ". at the end of the trial, on 27th Oct, the Judge gave each of the shame faced brothers, 12 months imprisonment. So, the three of them, had bought the reputation of their hardworking and honest father, lower than the mines deepest shaft, and finished off the Company he had been so proud of. They do say, that you can pick your friends, but not your relatives. Oh,at times, don't we all wish we could reverse the saying, and I bet Clara and Florence would certainly agree.

--

A wonderful thing is work, I could watch it all day.  ( See my Blog entry )

February 15, 2016 at 7:55 AM Flag Quote & Reply

You must login to post.