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Vancouver Coal Company

As part of the Chinese Historical Wrongs Legacy Initiative, we’ve digitized a small selection of inquests and inquiries from 1872 to 1934, found in series GR-0431. These were chosen to reflect the experiences of early Chinese immigrants to B.C. – their living and working conditions, and their unfortunate accidental or unusual deaths.   They range from a woman working in a brothel in Barkerville who died of natural causes to three sawmill workers who died from malnutrition. Learn more.

*All transcriptions are provided by volunteers, and the accuracy of the transcriptions is not guaranteed. Please be sure to verify the information by viewing the image record, or visiting the BC Archives in person. 

BC Archives GR-0431

*Please note that archival source materials are original historical documents that have not been censored, reviewed or otherwise altered by the Royal BC Museum. Some materials may contain content that is racist, sexist or otherwise offensive. The Royal BC Museum is only the custodian of archival materials; the content does not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the Royal BC Museum.

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home, and when I returned next day it was caving still. The (?) were put through the full height of the coal. I expect it would have improved the safety of the mine if the dust had been watered every day.

To the Forman – My partners on the afternoon shift were Jonathan (?) and George Biggs.

To Mr. Roberts – There was not anyone working in shaft below me on the third of May. Jonathan Martin had been working there

To the Coroner – The height of the diagonal slope varies. At the upper end it is not more than six feet. In some places it is twenty feet high. There are (?) formed in the roof. Curtains were placed where required for the purpose of driving the air into the high places

Taken upon oath and acknowledged this 25th day of May in the year of Our Lord one thousand eight hundred and eighty seven before me (signed name?) Coroner


To Mr. Roberts – Joshua Martell miner Nanaimo being duly sworn (?); I am a miner and have been working as such for twenty two years. I was working in the new slope of the number one shaft of the Vancouver Coal Company & Works. I was working there on the morning of the third of May last. I was working in coal about one hundred yards from the face of the diagonal and I had been working about six months. We always had plenty of air – a good current - Our

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