Arthur Wrigglesworth

Arthur Wrigglesworth on a trip to Scarborough with his wife Nellie. The younger girl is June Horton and behind her is Elsie Whittaker.

Although there was no major disaster at Water Haigh colliery during its working life there were several accidents in which miners died, and numerous others which caused significant injuries. One was a roof fall on 15 February 1934 in which Arthur Wrigglesworth lost his right leg. It was amputated below the knee by a Methley doctor whilst he was still conscious underground. Surgeons at Leeds Infirmary then had to perform another amputation above his knee and his younger brother, Ernest, was sent for to give blood.

Arthur was born in 1898 and grew up as part of a large family at Main Street in Carlton. His father, Richard Wrigglesworth, had been a colliery surface labourer and later worked at the coke ovens in Robin Hood. Arthur’s first job, at the age of 13, was as a farm labourer but like his elder brothers he was soon working as a “rope boy” helping in the haulage of coal tubs underground at pits in Rothwell, before moving to Water Haigh.

After his accident he moved with his family to a small colliery owned house on Quarry Road (known to locals as Tea Cake Lane) close by the Midland Hotel. Up until his death from cancer in 1952 he was a familiar site in Woodlesford as he made his way to work on crutches, often assisted by his wife and only daughter, Nellie. She was born in 1921 and was only 13 when her dad had his accident. Here she vividly remembers the night the news was passed to her and her mother at home in Carlton, and how, after his recovery, her father rejected the paltry £200 compensation offered by the pit management.

Nellie Jones

Arthur outside his house in Quarry Road behind the Midland Hotel.