Home Places Streets and Communities Two Day Fog Blackout – Girls Walk Into Canal

Two Day Fog Blackout – Girls Walk Into Canal

November 1948

South Yorkshire Times November 27, 1948

Two Day Fog Blackout
Girls Walk Into Canal
Unpleasant Experience at Mexborough

South Yorkshire folk have this week add to struggle to work, job and school in a blanket of fog which reached its peak on Monday evening when hundreds of them were leaving work.

Drivers of Mexborough and Swinton Traction Co trolley vehicles and Yorkshire Traction Company buses Company struggled manfully against an enemy which reserved its heaviest ammunition until dark fell and then (but  only late on) had to admit defeat.

Two girls employees at the Champion scissors factory, Mexborough, Joan Shaw (18), 15, Russell Street, Kilnhurst and Estella Bardwell (19), 79 wind Hill  Crescent, Mexborough, fell into the canal near their work, when, during a 10-minute tea-break on Monday evening, they went to a nearby cloth factory to see a friend and missed the door of the clothing establishment.


Miss Shaw, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. W. Shaw, told a ” South Yorkshire Times ‘ reporter on Tuesday, that she was perturbed at the thought of having to walk home from work in the fog, but remembered that Mrs. Dorothy Wilson, a friend, who lives at Meadow View, was working at the nearby factory of Messrs Kay and Stewart and decided to make arrangements to walk home with her.

With Miss Estella Bardwell, she took advantage of the tea break to go along to see Mrs Wilson. On the way she fell and hurt her ankle. When she picked herself up Miss I Bardwell said: “Come along I know the way. Two steps further on, Miss Bardwell fell into the South Yorkshire Navigation Canal, dragging Miss Shaw in with her.

Fortunately Miss Shaw is a swimmer, and with Miss Bardwell hanging on to her legs she she swam a few feet to the engine was able to drag herself out without any trouble. She then lifted her friend out.

Wrapped In Blanket

The girls made their way to the clothing factory, where they were given hot drinks and wrapped in blankets and given fresh clothing.

Miss Shaw was taken home to Kilnhurst by the manager, Mr. G Darwin, in the firm’s van, the journey taking almost an hour in the fog.

Miss Shaw has been employed at the scissors factory for the past three months, It was the first time she had been to Kay and Stewart’s premises and she did not know te way. She was little the worst. for her soaking, but she stayed at home in bed until 12 noon on Tuesday.

She told our reporter: “Estella was in front, hoiding my hand, and she just pulled me in. She did not Panic and we were able to get out quite easily. We found our way to the clothing factory easily enough after, we climbed out or the canal stop.

Estella, daughter of Mr. and Mrs Harry Bardwell, said: “We walked in and got soaking wet from head to foot. We clawed about in default to get a hold on the bank.

Mrs Bardwell would like to thank all the people who were so kind in providing blankets and helping the girls

Peak Periods

The fog in the Don and Dearne Valleys was at its worst on Monday. Visibility in Mexborough at noon that day was down to two yards, and though considerable inconvenience was caused on Tuesday morning when scheduled were upset because buses were unable to get out time – due, of course, to the gruelling experiences the driver and conductresses had undergone the previous evening – the position had improve so much by midday that visibility was then 7 yards.

By late evening, Mexborough and Swinton Traction Co were maintaining a normal service on their Rotherham – Mexborough – Conisbrough and Manvers Main – Conanby services.

On Wednesday the district was fog free but it returned last night.

Pit Attendances

Collieries in the Mexborough area on Tuesday reported attendances “only slightly affected” by the fog.

Five in Collision

A series of collisions occurred on the main road at Goldthorpe on Monday. One collision involve five vehicles, but no one was injured.

Nightmare Journeys

An ambulance which was called from Wath to Mexborough on Monday, to take Thomas Edward Williams (75), of 35, Garden Street, Mexborough, who have been involved in a collision with a Yorkshire Traction bus in Adwick Road, Mexborough, to hospital, took 75 minutes to make the three-mile journey, with a man walking in front.

The Yorkshire Traction bus which was proceeding towards Mexborough, was driven by Frank Ashwood (28), 53 Kings Rd, Doncaster. Williams was not seriously hurt and was taken to Montagu Hospital in another bus, and the ambulance returned to Wath. Subsequently, however, it was necessary to remove Williams to Fullerton hospital, Denaby and the second ambulance was summoned from Wath to undertake the journey. This five-mile journey to 90 minutes.

Williams was stated at Fullerton hospital to be comfortable.

3 miles an hour.

On Monday evening a Mexborough and Swinton Traction Co trolley vehicle making its last journey from Mexborough to Conisbrough Brook Square took 55 minutes to cover the 3 miles, but the same evening fog did not deter dancers at Conisbrough municipal dancing ‘crazy night’ at Denaby Baths Hall. No fewer than 353 dancers attended – many of them from Mexborough.

The band, the Riviera Band from Goldthorpe, arrived by car which have been led by a man walking ahead with a white handkerchief behind him. The band were 35 minutes late and in the meantime the dancers dance to gramophone records.

An Unexpected Journey

For some Wath children the fog was a blessing in disguise. During Monday afternoon a fault developed in the central heating system at Park Rd, Junior Mixed and Infants School, Wath. Doncaster heating engineers were unable to get through the fog to effect repairs and after sitting in school and gloves and scarves for 10 minutes on Tuesday morning the 440 scholars were sent home for the day. They were asked to return to school on Wednesday morning but were again sent home as a repair work had not been completed. Work continued through the night and the children were at school yesterday.

Milk O

Milk bottles were broken and scattered about the road when a car struck a dairy hand cart in Doncaster Rd, Mexborough on Monday.

A victim of a morning fog crashed, the same day, was Miss Mary W Beaumont, Springwell Farm, Bolton, a head teacher, whose motor car was in collision with a motor lorry from Doncaster at the junction of Crookhill Road and Doncaster Rd, Conisbrough. Miss Beaumont sustained slight head injuries and was taken home for treatment the lorry driver George Aldridge Curtis, 26, Park Road, Doncaster, was unhurt and proceeded on his way.

The offside of the car and the lorry bumper bar and headlamp were damaged.

Twice No Sale

Fog caused the cancellation of a sale of Swinton property which Messrs A.E. Wilby and Son, Barnsley auctioneers, were to have conducted at the Don Inn, Swinton on Monday.

On Tuesday Mexborough inner wheel postponed a bring and buy sale they were to have held at the home of Mrs C Hattersley, Greno House, Swinton, but carried through a whist drive.

A Morning Walk

Hundreds of shop and office workers employed in Mexborough had an enforced walk on Tuesday morning in order to reach their places of employment in time, and Mineworkers also had to cope with transport difficulties, but though there was a number of minor traffic mishaps the district escaped their ordeal without a serious accident

In fact the higher parts of Swinton, Conisbrough, Barnburgh and high Melton enjoyed beautiful weather.

Absent Cyclists

On Tuesday evening the fog kept the attendance at a cycle roller competition at Denaby Baths Hall, down to 40. A number of engines were unable to make the journey and only one event was held – a flying handicap.

Mr T.P. O’Donnell, managing engineer of Mexborough and Swinton Traction Co, reported on Wednesday that his trolley vehicle had not suffered a single accident in the two fogbound days, a tribute to their drivers.

Second Thoughts

65 members of Conisbrough over 60s club booked seats for the opening performance on Tuesday of Mexborough Green Room Club’s production of “A murder has been arranged,” but only 10 braved the fog.

Buses to Mexborough were running about an hour late on Tuesday.