Whilst searching for details of a fatality at Savile, I came across the following report in the local paper of a serious accident at the Water Haigh Mine in the adjacent village of Oulton in 1910.
A lamentable accident involving the loss of human life occurred on Saturday at the new pit belonging to Messrs Briggs & Co. Ltd. Four shafts are being sunk and in one of them the side of the shaft yielded and a large quantity of debris fell upon the shaft sinkers.
Patrick McCarthy of Hunslet was pinned by the workers platform and unable to move. The poor fellow being in dreadful pain for 8 hours – death finally ending his suffering.
Meantime owing to the danger attending the operations little could be done to make the shaft safe or bring out the dead and injured, although heroic attempts were made in both regards. Finally it was found that six lives had been lost, the names of the unfortunate fellows being :-
William Senior (age24) lodging in Oulton whose parents reside at Stubbs farm Walton.
William Lancaster (25) known as Harrison of 7, Rou Melia Place, Grove Road, Hunslet (he leaves a wife and 2 children).
Patrick Gill (32) 13, Cross Lisbon Street, Leeds.
John O’Brien lodging in Church Street, Woodlesford (no relatives traced)
Fred Cooper lived with his widowed mother at Friarwood, Pontefract. Fred Cooper is the son of Mrs Tarpey and his death has plunged the family into great grief. A newspaper reporter saw Mrs Tarpey and found her mourning her sons death. She described him as a good lad who had never given them any trouble. Formerly working for Mr. Harker, farmer he commenced work as a pit sinker 2 years earlier to earn more money. He had been working at Oulton only 6 weeks after doing similar work at Bentley Colliery.
Mrs Tarpey has derived much consolation from a visit paid to her by Mrs Arthur Currer Briggs who was accompanied by Mrs Hodges (Manager’s wife). Mrs Briggs whose kindly nature is well known in the Leeds district expressed her intense sympathy with the family who have derived much comfort from her visit.
It was certainly dangerous work, on the 9th of November that year S Phillips (45) and on the 17th November JP Bernice (24) and James Phelan (46) suffered the same fate in shaft sinking at the new Oulton Pit.