Aireborough Historical Society

1850 Mill Accident Yeadon

Mill Accident
Date April 1850
Location Yeadon
Photo ID

 "Fatal Mill Accident An inquest was held on Monday at the Wool Pack Inn on the body of Nanny Walker, who came by her death on the previous Friday in a very sudden and awful manner.

   It appears from the evidence given, that it is customary for the girls who fill the scribbling machines to pick the small wool flakes from the scribblers during their dinner hour : the unfortunate deceased who was so engaged near the staircase while the machinery was in motion, by a false step caught her foot in the band which connects the machine with the engine and was instantly precipitated  (from the working floor down two flights of stairs on to the ground floor below), a height of 40 feet, dislocating her neck and causing a compound fracture of the skull.

    The wretched sufferer lingered until five o'clock the following day when death terminated her sufferings. A verdict in accordance with the evidence was returned."

Image courtesy of the British Newspaper Archives, research by Edwy Harling


Further text by Christine Lovedale

The Woolpack Inn where the inquest was held is on New Road, Yeadon.

Scribbling or carding machines were fed short woollen fibres to produce a thin continuous length of wool called a sliver, during the spinning process these are drawn out and twisted into yarn.

   Factory Inspectors at Gill Mill in Yeadon reported in 1834 reported "The working day began at 6am and finished at 7pm. On weekdays half an hour was allowed for breakfast, one hour for dinner and a half hour for "drinking". During mealtimes the three scribblers had to attend to the machines in turn, with 2 minutes on duty and 4 minutes sitting down"

    Mill owners were often in debt to the banks and were reluctant to spend money on safety measures such as rails round machinery. Later Factory Acts put emphasis on the safety of operatives.


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