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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*Please note that archival source materials are original historical documents that have not been censored, reviewed or otherwise altered by the Royal BC Museum.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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6/ To the Coroner

The height of the roof where I was working was fourteen feet. Scaffolds were used for the purpose of getting up to put the caps on the props. I did not leave my light on the floor when getting up to put on the caps. I took it up with me. There was a strong current of air in the roof.

Taken upon oath and acknowledged this 25th day of May in the year of our Lord one thousand and eight hundred and eighty seven before me

W. Wymond Walkem


James Malcolm

James Malpass miner Nanaimo being duly sworn saith:

To Mr Eberts

I worked in the new slope of the number one shaft Vancouver Coal Company's works. I have been working in the number one shaft twelve months and much of that time in the diagonal or new slope. I worked there on the third of May on the morning shift. The ventilation on that day in my place was very good. I have never heard of any complaints about ventilation in that slope. The height of the roof in my place varies from sixteen to eighteen feet. It was very dry down there. There was a large accumulation of coal dust. Have heard of gas being in the slope. I had once to quit work on account of gas. I was warned and ordered to quit work by the fireman. I was working then in the same place as I was working on the third of May last. The time I had to quit work was some time in the first week of April last. I discontinued

BC Archives, GR-0431 Box 4 File 3 / BRITISH COLUMBIA. ATTORNEY GENERAL. / Inquisitions / inquests conducted by coroners in British Columbia.

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