DEATH – ILEY Robson. 28yrs. Death from Suffocation whilst working on furnaces

Accreditation The Redcar and Saltburn-by-the-Sea Gazette 28/12/1877


            An inquest was held at the Warrenby Hotel, near Redcar, on Monday last (24/12), before Mr. W. Robinson, deputy coroner, touching the death of William Iley, 28 years of age, a charger at Messrs. Robson, Maynard, and Co’s blast furnaces, who was found dead on Saturday, under circumstances detailed in the following evidence:-

Hanson Willoughby (who was working allotments with deceased, and all so narrowly escaped losing his life) deposed: I live at Warrenby, I live at Warrenby, and am a charger at the furnaces. There belonging to Messrs. Robson, Maynard, and Co. I was at work on Saturday (22/12), along with William Iley, the deceased. We started work at six o’clock in the morning, and all went right up until about ten o’clock , when I had my furnace filled up. I was charger at No.2 furnace, and deceased was charger at No.1, close to mine. I asked deceased if his furnace would take any more, and he replied that he did not know, but would go and see. He then gauged her, and said she would take two rounds more, at the off side. After he had gauged her, I advised him not to put anything on her. My reason was because I thought it might fasten her too much, and not allow the bell to come back again. He said he would put one round on her, until we had tipped to barrows of damping, and she would take two rounds then. We put the round on, and wrapped off for the damping to come up, and after the damping had come up I took my barrow and emptied it. I then went to deceased, who had only partly got his barrel emptied, and I told him to go out of the way of the gas, and get some fresh air, while I finished empty his barrows. When I had done to the barrow to the lift top, and deceased let the bell goal, which caught against a lump sticking to the site of the furnace, and would not close, so that the gas came on us. We got a plank to lift the bell up, and started to do so, but I was overcome by the gas, and cannot remember anything more until I found myself at home about six o’clock at night. The wind was very strong; if it had been calm, we could have lighted the gas and so have prevented the accident.

James Palmer, charger at No.4 furnace, sworn: I was at work on Saturday morning (22/12), and so the deceased and Willoughby at work. The last time I saw them was about twenty minutes to eleven o’clock. I then went down to have what is called a “spell,” and went up again at a quarter past eleven. I did not look for deceased and Willoughby at first. About a quarter of an hour afterwards I looked for them, but did not see them, and concluded they were at the bottom. As they did not come up, in a little time I went and looked for them. I came to Willoughby first: he was lying on his back, near to No.1 furnace. I saw that he was alive, and I then looked for the other man, and saw him about five yards off, lying on his face. I think he was dead. There was a damp place just under him where he had breathed. I lifted his head up and signalled for assistance. The two men were taken down in the cage and restoratives tried, but in the case of decease without success.

Dr. Mackinlay deposed: I am a surgeon, residing at Coatham. On Saturday last (22/12), about a quarter past twelve o’clock , I saw deceased near the works. He was being carried on a stretcher to his home. I had the stretcher stopped and looked at him, and found that he was quite dead. I followed him to his home, where he was carried as quickly as possible, and for about half an hour tried artificial respiration and galvanism without effect. From what I have heard, and from the appearance of the body of deceased, I have no doubt that death was caused by asphyxia, consequent on gas rising from the furnace.

Mr. James, manager of the works, produced and explained to the jury a plan of the furnaces, and, in reply to the Coroner, said that the men had instructions not to fill the furnaces to full, and were frequently warned not to do so. The Coroner then went through the evidence, after which the jury returned a verdict to the effect “that the deceased died from asphyxia, consequent on the effects of the gas accidentally arising from the furnace.” Deceased leaves a widow, and for young children, and the jury gave up their fees for their benefit, the amount being made up to 30s. by Mr. Hikeley (the foreman) and Dr. Mackinlay.


Lol Hansom January 4, 2015 Coatham, Doctors & Health