Coal was first discovered in the area in 1890 as a result of borings for an early channel tunnel project. The resultant Shakespeare Colliery was closed by 1915, only 1,000 tons of coal having been brought to the surface. Other borings showed potential elsewhere and, for example, work started at Snowdown in 1907 (bringing first coal to surface in 19/11/1912), Tilmanstone (work commenced 1911, from which coal first surfaced in March 1916) and Guilford (first test shaft 1906, no coal found by 1918 and closed 1920s). As a result of this activity, Dr Graham was called to several mining related incidents during his time in Eythorne.
On Tuesday morning, 17thSeptember 1907, William Owen, a fitter, whilst engaged in placing a brake timber for the winding engine at the Guilford Colliery slipped and fell to the ground a distance of some 16ft. Mr Austen the manager rendered first aid and found that the man had dislocated his shoulder. Dr Graham was sent for and attended Owen.
It was reported on 18/8/1909 that sinking was re-started at Snowdon which means “employment through the winter for over 200 men, which will go a long way towards settling locally the unemployed”. On Wednesday 15th December 1909, at 6.46 pm, an accident occurred at Snowdown Colliery , resulting in the death of a sinker named Henry Mepham (the chargeman at the time), aged 45 and residing at Canterbury. It seems that Mepham fell out of a hoppit to his death. The accident occurred in No 1 Pit which was 300 ft deep. The body was brought to the surface and placed in one of the sheds and Dr Graham and Dr Bruce Payne were at once sent for but their services were not required in terms of saving life. Mr Mepham was well known in Dover as he formerly worked at the Shakespeare colliery and kept the Prince of Wales Inn in Fishmongers Lane. At the start of the inquest, held 24th December 1909 an “extraordinary claim” was made by two women who each said she was the wife of the deceased much to the consternation of the coroner. One stated she married Mepham at the Canterbury Registry Office this year (1909) and produced her marriage lines (official document stating that the marriage had taken place). The other stated she was living at 16 Pleasant Row Dover and went through a form of marriage with Mepham at Southend 18 years ago. Eight years ago when living at 15 Adrian Street, Dover, she obtained a separation and maintenance order at the Dover Police Court and all her documents including marriage certificate were in the hands of her solicitor. One wanted the body to bring it to Dover and the other to Canterbury. It was decided to bury it at Nonington and the claims to the deceased property etc. were left for future adjudication.
On the evening of the 6th of April 1910, at Tilmanstone Colliery, a miner had an unfortunate accident. It appears that whilst at the bottom of the pit where the miners were at work excavating, he slipped and one of the other men’s picks was accidentally driven into his leg just above the ankle severing a vein. Some members the Eythorne St John’s Ambulance Brigade were called and conveyed the man to Dr Graham’s residence, where the doctor attended to him and afterwards the man was taken home by the ambulance members. The next day he was in bad condition but is now making satisfactory progress.
On the night of Sunday 26th March 1911, a labourer named Thomas Onley of Coldred fell down a catch pit (an empty chamber that is installed into a drainage system to prevent silt and debris from building up and causing blockages) at Guilford Colliery to a distance of 8 feet and sustained rather serious injuries. He was examined by Dr Graham and found to have broken his collar bone and three ribs. He was conveyed to the hospital where he progressed satisfactorily.
The enquiry into the cause of the death of Frederick Finn, a miner at Tilmanstone colliery, who was killed by a terrible fall of 300 feet in No 2 shaft on the Friday 19th May 1911, was resumed before the East Kent Coroner (Mr Rutley Mowll) at Tilmanstone on Saturday afternoon at the colliery. The inquiry was adjourned from the 19th in order that more information might be obtained. The cause of the accident was a hoppit becoming entangled in the (rope) fence that went round the scaffolding. A witness, Frank Gurr living at Tilmanstone who gave the signal for the hoppit to ascend stated he had a good look round doing so and everything seemed clear. As soon as it had started the witness could feel that the hoppit was pulling or hanging on to something and shouted out “hold her”. It appeared to have travelled about 15 ft. One witness seemed to think the reason the hoppit became entangled was that it was not absolutely clear of the fence. It was a mystery, one witness said, that only the deceased went over. He judged that the scaffold tilted up about 12-15 feet when the rope, serving as a handrail round the scaffold broke. It was this rope that the trunnion of the hoppit caught. The Coroner stated that he and the Mining Inspector had made an inspection and in reply to his question the inspector said no mining rules had been broken: the scaffolding was sufficient for temporary work and it was usual for such scaffolding to be unfenced. On behalf of Mr Arthur Burr (the mine owner) and Dr M Burr, Mr L.B. Matson (solicitor) expressed their deep sorrow at the accident and sincere sympathy with the widow and children and stated that, in addition to the legal compensation, the Kent Coal League would make any allowance that was necessary. Dr Graham stated that he was called to the colliery at 8.30am the 19th May and found the body of the deceased being brought to the top of the shaft. He had the remains moved to a shed where he made an examination. The deceased’s left arm was severed from the body at the shoulder joint, and there were fractures of the skull, lower jaw, and a compound fracture of the left leg. He stated that death due from the injuries and shock must have been instantaneous.
An accident occurred at the Snowdown colliery on Wednesday afternoon of the 19th March 1913 to John Hofferman of Lime Tree Cottages Eythorne, who whilst working in the mine became jammed between a coal truck and an air door. He was attended by Dr Graham who ordered his removal to the Dover Hospital “where he is stated to be progressing favourably”.
An employee at Tilmanstone Colliery had a narrow escape from death on Monday 18th July 1913. Two trucks had become uncoupled and Mr M Wyles in re-coupling them had the misfortune to have the back of his hand torn by the iron hook and was nearly caught by the buffers which fortunately only crushed his hand. He was attended by Dr Graham and afterwards conveyed home.
Horses and Farming
Although motor cars were beginning to be used by those that could afford it, the horse remained the principle means of transport for people and goods at the start of the 1900s and farming remained a key activity for the Eythorne and its surrounds.
Gored by a bull, a milkman’s escape. “Mr John Atkins, in the employ of Mr Ayers, Tilmanstone was attacked by a bull on Tuesday afternoon. Mr Ayers, keeps Chapel Farm, where he carries out a dairy farming business and Atkins manages the cows. These were in a field Tuesday 12th July 1910, along with the bull, and the unfortunate man at 5 o’clock went to milk them. To do this he had to drive them to the shed adjoining the field and the cows went as usual. Having tied them, Atkins came out of the shed to take some clothes off the line which was in the field and which had been left there. As he commenced taking them off the line, the animal, which was close to him, charged. He ran round the clothes post to dodge the bull. He then started from the post and tried to obtain a prop that was used for the line but the animal got in front of him before he could reach it. Having knocked him down, the bull then drove its horn into him just below the stomach making an ugly gash. Fortunately a man passing by at the time ran to the poor fellows assistance. The bull went quietly away. Atkins was able to walk the house a distance away and Mr Ayers telegraphed Dr McNally of Eastry, whilst Dr Graham was also summoned. Dr McNally arrived and sent for a nurse from the Eastry Cottage Hospital and the man’s wounds were dressed. Mr Ramsey Daine kindly lent his motor car and Atkins was subsequently brought to Dover Hospital. Enquiries of the hospital yesterday (Thursday 14th July 1910) elicited that Atkins was doing as well as could be expected”
Tilmanstone van accident. “During the afternoon, Thursday last week (8th June 1911) Mr Henry Lawrence, a baker of Upper Street, Tilmanstone, met with an accident whilst returning from his round along the Dover Road. It appears his son who is about 17 years was driving and a man named Alfred Ainsworth and Mrs Adelaide Buddie both of Tilmanstone, were also in the four wheeled van. When turning off the road to go down White’s Hill the horse kicked and broke the breeching harness and, no doubt as a result of being frightened by the front of the van touching the horse, it started off at a gallop down the hill, which terminates in a sharp bend into Lower Street. Mr Lawrence (Snr) caught hold of the reins behind his son to assist in pulling the animal up. Mr Ainsworth got hold of one rein only so that the horse was pulled in the wrong direction which caused the van to overturn. Both Mr Lawrence (Snr) and Mr Ainsworth were thrown out and pinned underneath the vehicle. Mr Lawrence Jnr jumped out helping Mrs Buddie at the same time. Plenty of assistance was at hand and the van was soon lifted off and the two men extricated. Dr Graham who was in the vicinity attended to those who were injured. Mr Lawrence Snr as well as suffering from slight concussion received four severe cuts to the face. Mr Ainsworth had a fractured rib and also had slight concussion as well as several bruises. Mrs Buddie was bruised about the shoulder and back but Mr Lawrence Jnr escaped with only a few scratches”
On July 22nd 1913, George Berry was charged with having been drunk whilst in charge of a horse and cart. The defendant pleaded not guilty. Dr Graham stated that on July 22nd at about 7.35pm he was returning home along the road at the bottom of the hill leading to Upper Eythorne. When opposite the Palm Tree Inn (on The Street, pictured between 1908-1930) the defendant came down the hill, driving a horse attached to a tug at very fast pace and on the wrong side of the road. The witness stopped his car and the defendant pulled the horse up so fast that it fell to its haunches with its nose over the radiator of the car. The defendant drove on down the road and witness calling out to him to stop. He did so and got off the tug and walked towards him very unsteadily. Sergt Barty, KCC, stationed at Eythorne, stated that about 7.45 July 22nd he proceeded with Dr Graham to Eythorne Green and saw the defendant at his residence. He spoke to the defendant and found that he was drunk and smelt very strongly of drink. That was about a quarter of an hour after the accident. The defendant said he could not have been drunk as he only had sixpence to spend between him and his son, who was following the tug on a pony, the whole day. Defendant was fined £1 including costs. The money was paid promptly.
It was reported on 16th May 1913 that Mr C.R. Smith, butcher of Eythorne, had tied his horse to a post outside Mr E. Crundall’s house whilst he went in to deliver some meat but that the animal jerked its head up and the post came out and knocked the pony which commenced to run. Mr Goldsack, who is employed by Mr E Crundall as a gardener, tried to stop the animal but was unsuccessful in the attempt and was found bleeding from the head. He was taken home and his wounds, which consisted of a cut over the eyebrow and cuts to the head and hands were dressed by Dr Graham who was coming through the village in his motor car shortly after the accident. The pony was stopped near Singledge.
On Saturday 14thFebruary 1914, Ernest John Marsh, a waggoner employed at Brimsdale Farm was engaged, with several other men, in catching a colt for the purpose of breaking it in. Whilst attempting to secure the animal, Marsh was kicked in the right side of his face and received a terrible clout, his nose was badly injured and he received a compound fracture of the jaw. He was attended by Dr Graham and afterwards conveyed to the Dover hospital .
For reasons unknown Dr James Graham decided to leave Eythorne in 1914. The goods he wasn’t taking with him were auctioned off (by Worsfold and Hayward, Market Square Dover) at his premises in West End House on Thursday 25th June . This included household furniture and outdoor effects including dog cart, brake, landau, black mare etc. It seems a collection was made for him and that the wish of the subscribers was that he “purchase a roll-top desk and this the Doctor promised to do”
Dr James Graham was succeeded by Dr Gerald Eade Bellamy MRCS, LRCP who was the Eythorne Doctor until he retired in September 1963, his son Dr Edward Bellamy taking over.