WE have received intriguing feedback to our article of 14th February, about the Jubilee Colliery (West Bromwich) Disaster, when three miners lost their lives.
Steve Taylor read the article, and sent in the following: “I am the grandson of Philip Dale who was one of the miners killed in the accident at the Jubilee Colliery on 6th January 1920. A few years ago I became intrigued as to why my mother knew nothing of any relatives on her father’s side of her family. It occurred to me that there may have been a family dispute.
“My mother had a framed picture of her father and an unknown man in close proximity to a mine shaft. A copy is attached (Philip Dale is seated).
“I decided to carry out some research and in the 16th January 1920 edition of the Midland Chronicle, I found a detailed report about the inquest which was held subsequent to the accident.
“My grandmother, Ellen Dale, gave evidence to the effect that her late husband frequently said the mine was unsafe and a serious accident was inevitable. On behalf of the mining company evidence was given that the stall in which my grandfather was working when he died had been examined one hour before the accident and had been found to be perfectly safe. Intriguingly, the examination was carried out by his brother, Charles Dale. It was also Charles Dale who gave evidence to this effect at the inquest. In the light of this and other evidence, the jury returned a verdict of accidental death. Consequently, my grandmother received only a minimal amount of compensation for the death of her husband.
Severed ties “In my mind there is no doubt that the family rift was as a consequence of Charles Dale giving evidence. I suspect that following the inquest my grandmother severed her ties with his side of the family. Following the accident my grandmother ran a general store in Churchbridge, Oldbury whilst, at the same time, bringing up her three children Mabel, Philip and my mother Violet. It is a moot point as to why, in view of the repercussions, Charles Dale gave evidence. Perhaps, at the age of 57 he was fearful of losing his job if he did not side with his employer but I can only speculate on this point”.