Deaths in the mid C19
The table below is by no means comprehensive and can only show results from data available.
The Kinnaird Commission examined conditions in the mines and as part of this (in Wensleydale and Swaledale), cause of death of males aged 10 and above were recorded.
Parishes covered are Middleham, Leyburn, Askrigg, Muker & Reeth. Years covered are 1859 - 61. Comparing some of the entries with those of burials in local parishes, I believe the headings of these correspond with the local registration districts rather than restricted to parish. The Askrigg list therefore includes some I can identify as having lived in Carperby, Thoralby, Aysgarth etc as well as Askrigg.
For the purposes of this graph which I have done just to show a comparison between the different occupations etc, I have grouped some together.
Trade includes joiners, carpenters, stonemasons, shoemakers. I did not include blacksmiths in case the nature of their work, heat, fumes etc, might cause different illnesses etc.
Shopkeepers include drapers, tailors, grocers and innkeepers (though I know some of these were often farmers too).
Gent includes gentlemen, yeomen, landed proprietors and one Esquire.
As regards illnesses, I have joined pthisis and consumption together.
The 'Other' class includes a great variety of ailments including some which may or may not be linked to some of the other classifications eg. abcess of lungs, apistaxis, meningitis, hydrocephalus, scrofula, disease of brain........
Evidence given to the Kinnaird Commission
Several mine agents were interviewed. Here is an example of one - of Mr. Reuben Atkinson. 3 March 1863
Chairman - Of which mine have you the management?
R. Atkinson - Arkindale
- Are you one of the under ground managers? - Yes
- Have you worked as a miner yourself? - Yes
- How many years? - Nearly 30.
- And how many years as mine agent? - Ten come June.
- At what time did you begin to work? - At 12 years of age.
- Did you ever work in any close places? - Yes I used to work in close places.
- Did you ever suffer from it? - I do not know that I did.
- You have no difficulty in breathing now? - A little at present but not much.
- Do you think that does not arise in any way from your previous work? - I do not know that it does.
- Have you had it long? - No, not to say long. I am not so good in my wind as I used to be.
- Did you ever know any man suffer from working? - I think that they have all suffered from in in the way of breathing, or something of that sort.
- Was that from the air or the dust? - That I cannot say; it might be from the air or it might be from the dust, or partly both I think.
- Before you left off working, you did not feel anything in your breathing? - I was not so capital then as I might have been. I was about 42 when I gave over.
- And you began then to fail a little? - I felt a difference in my breathing from what I was when a young man.
- Did you ever consult a doctor about it? - No I never had any need of that.
- Could you climb up the stemples as quick as before? - I could climb up the stemples pretty quick, but not so quick as I could when I was 25 years of age.
- Would you rather climb stemples or ladders? - Stemples
...........goes on to discuss the relative merits of stemples v. ladders.
- Have the men ever to work in a wet place? - Sometimes they have and sometimes not.
- In Danby they have to go through wet at times? - Yes
- Do they work all the time in their wet things? - They never get them wet. If it was so very bad they would not go at all, they would turn back and would not get a wet skin.
- Did your complaint at first come on very slowly? - I have no complaint on me, except when I am fatigued.
- When did you first perceive that you were that way? - A few years since, it may be ten or a dozen years since. When I was climbing up a hill, or a rise or anything of that sort, I was rather put out of breath that was all.
- Is it a feeling of tightness? - No I do not feel any complaint at all.
- You have no pain from it? - No
- No spitting? - No
The witness withdrew.