Remembering Mr Maltby

Hilda Dunn from Maltby G130719-4a
Hilda Dunn from Maltby G130719-4a

Anyone passing through Maltby might wonder why the memorial hall is named after one Edward Dunn.

He died in 1945 when he was still serving as MP for Rother Valley.

His legacy to the town and its miners goes much further back though.

He was a union official and pit inspector at Maltby Colliery when disaster struck in 1923.

An explosion at the pit killed 26 miners, one of them his brother Richard.

It led Edward, or Ted as he was known locally, to campaign for the safety of miners.

This week was the 90th anniversary of the tragedy.

Widow Hilda Dunn, 90, was married to Maurice, who was Ted’s nephew.

It was Maurice’s father who was killed, when Maurice was just four months old.

Hilda, who still lives in Matlby, said: “His mother was left with him and his six-year-old brother.”

“She never really got over it and never remarried.”

“I remember years later when they found someone’s remains at the pit and were carrying the coffin through Maltby to be buried at the cemetery.”

“I was at my mother-in-law’s house and we saw it through the window, but she didn’t want to know about it.”

A monument to the unknown miner stands in the cemetery, along with a monument to Ted.

Hilda’s daughter Ann Wilding, who also lives in Maltby, said: “Ted’s most important concerns were the safety and working conditions of the miners of Maltby.”

She said he also instigated the transport for miners to and from the colliery.

“It would be nice now that the colliery is closed if there could be a memorial of some sort to the miners who lost their lives.”

Ted was a pillar of the community.

He and his wife Maggie were both magistrates, and he was also chairman of the then Maltby Parish Council and an alderman.

At the official inquiry into the pit disaster he agreed with the suggestion of Herbert Smith, President of the Miners’ Federation of Great Britain, that there had been no uniform method of working the pit since the coal-getting began there 12 years previously, and that it was largely in consequence of the frequent change of ideas that ‘we are where we are today.’

The hall which bears Ted’s name was built in the 1950s.

It is where the current Maltby Town Council holds its meetings.

A record of his time in parliament includes questions he asked about maternity accommodation and about conditions for factory girls in Leeds.

Maltby town councillor Keith Stringer said: “I found it very interesting to learn that distant relatives of the late Edward Dunn can still be found here in Maltby today.”

“History tells us that this gentleman was a ‘man of the people’.”

“His involvement with the health and welfare of the miners who worked at Maltby Collierty is well documented.”

“His guidance, care and involvement for the local people throughout his time on the parish council, that led on to his gaining much respect as an MP, shows just how much this man felt for the people in Maltby and the surrounding districts.”