Industrial disease kills Heage miner

Denby Hall Colliery
Denby Hall Colliery

A miner who worked at the coal face for more than 30 years died from an industrial disease at the age of 93.

An inquest was told that John Meakin was a ripper at the face down Denby Hall Colliery from August 1934, where he started on his 14th birthday, to March 1968.

During that time he 
became exposed to dust that he breathed in that was 
discovered in his lungs at a post-mortem examination following his death on March 30 this year.

The hearing was told that he was found collapsed in the lounge at his home in Park Road, Heage, by his grandson Mark Annabel, who called for an ambulance. Paramedics were unable to revive him and he was declared dead.

In a statement prepared by Mr Meakin’s family, they told how he was a widower to his late wife, Madge Meakin.

Assistant Coroner Paul 
McCandless told the inquest: “His interesting work history, prepared by a solicitor during his lifetime, tells how Mr Meakin started working at Denby Hall Colliery on August 24, 1934, through to March 30, 1968.

“He was employed by British Coal and although his job did change he spent almost all of his time underground at the coal face, mainly working as a ripper.

“This would have been dark and taxing work right at the pit bottom and during that time it is clear that he would have been exposed to, and breathed in, quantities of coal dust.

“It is clear to me that 
working underground for 30 years in this kind of working environment would have led to prolonged exposure to coal dust which would have led to lung disease.”

Dr Gurprit Atwal, the 
pathologist who carried out the post-mortem examination said there was previous 
evidence that he had previously had Pneumoconiosis, more commonly known as “coal miners’ lung”.