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Miners Killed In Bedlington Pits

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Does our town have any memorial with the names of miners killed in the pits, the NUM has lists of them all???

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My dad was killed down the pit, Micky - two months before I was born in 1956. (My brother was just under 2 years old) I cannot say I have come across a memorial anywhere.

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Edited by keith lockey

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I know of G. A. Hetherington the colliery manager, he is still alive and well. I get on well with one of his sons, John.

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Does our town have any memorial with the names of miners killed in the pits, the NUM has lists of them all???

The only Memorial to those who died down the pit I think is the one at Woodhorn but I'm not sure, I don't know of any other ones.

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Adam, does John have a brother Peter? Is John aged about 62?

Keith, I find it astonishing that the compensation payment was only £150 to your Mum, with a little extra for your brother. Would she have got a NCB widow's pension or even a Widow's State Pension ... I've no idea if these existed back then.

Micky, one place that all this sort of info is kept is The Durham Mining Museum. Keith's Dad is listed on the Doctor Pit page: http://www.dmm.org.uk/colliery/b022.htm I find this site facinating and poignant.

Edited by Symptoms

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Adam, does John have a brother Peter? Is John aged about 62?

Keith, I find it astonishing that the compensation payment was only £150 to your Mum, with a little extra for your brother. Would she have got a NCB widow's pension or even a Widow's State Pension ... I've no idea if these existed back then.

Micky, one place that all this sort of info is kept is The Durham Mining Museum. Keith's Dad is listed on the Doctor Pit page: http://www.dmm.org.u...lliery/b022.htm I find this site facinating and poignant.

I know, Symptoms, it was truly shocking. My mother, and my granny who we eventually lived with, were both miner's widows. They got free coal every (3) months and I believe they did get a pension but I don't know what that amounted to. Me and my brother were actually brought up by my mother and granny.

PS. There was something I didn't mention in that piece and if I may I'd like to send you a PM to sort of explain things. Cheers.

Edited by keith lockey

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Adam, does John have a brother Peter? Is John aged about 62?

Yes Symptoms, John does have a brother called Peter, and John is 62-63.

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Does our town have any memorial with the names of miners killed in the pits, the NUM has lists of them all???

This is ours in Grande Cache, built by a welder at the mine. Grande Cache was only built in 1969 so there are 29 names on it, not a lot, still way to many.

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Adam - I'll PM you with my name & contact details so that you can pass them on to John. We were in the 6th Form together and were in the same A' level group.

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The Sixtownships is working with the Durham Mining Museam at present.

Roy Lambeth is the main contact and they update their site regularly. I will ask Roy, but i believe what they have got is all online.

I have no knowledge of a miners memorial for those killed in the pits.

However, the Sixtownships began pubishing books "The Last Shift" a few years ago. It is all about miners killed in the pits in our districts.

We have a huge ammount of coroners reports and how miners died doing their work.

We were going to give this huge collection, and i do mean huge, to Woodhorn, but if we needed to look something up, they were going to charge us for viewing our own material donated. Woodhorn spoilt a good thing, as we

were going to donate other material, and to be honest, we have a huge archive collection. They won't get any of it because of their pure greed in wanting to charge the group if we needed a ference.

You would have thought they would do summersaults for that material. How wrong, to say they would charge us.

So, we still have them.

They go back many years , i think to the 1880s ?

Huge ammount of material we have on mining deaths.

I will propose we begin to get them online if anyone wants them as they make good reference for anyone interested.

Me, an ex miner and nearly killed myself down the pit and two near other accidents i believed it was an interesting project.

Sadly tho, as war, we will never know the true figure of those who lost their lives.

Many were not recorded, but at least we have so many in our archives, nice and safely stored for more years to come.

It aint just underground deaths, but surface too. You will be suprised how many people, not miners, were killed on the surface too.

I could not believe it when i was reading the archive material many years ago.

And, some were children too.

The National Coal Board eventually did a short film, "Dangerous Playgrounds" i think it was, to try and get the message across to children not to play on the colliery land.

It was very dramatic this film.

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Heres an example from our archives for those interested.

Charles Irvine Brown, a 37 year-old, deputy-overman of Rothesay Terrace, Bedlington, died after an accident in the Dr. Pit on January 11th, 1956.

There had been problems with a conveyor belt that was used to carry coals. As it was not running true and surging to one side it had been decided to lever over the belt to straighten it up.

Walter Thornton and his brother, John, along with Brown got equipment in place, and

fixed a jack in place by using a prop. They began to correct the run of the belt and decided to give one final push to get it right. Suddenly the prop gave way and a fall of stone followed. It had not been a heavy fall, but props and girders came down as well. John Thornton jumped over the fall to find his brother, but he could not see him, but saw the deputy who was pinned by a girder. He then found his brother and the two men were freed.

The two injured men were taken to hospital, but sadly the day after, Charles Brown, who was said to be "one of the best men†in the pit, died from multiple injuries.

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This is another of a miner killed.

On the morning of Tuesday, January 5th, 1888, seventy-one year-old Andrew Oliver was killed by a fall of stone at West Sleekburn Colliery.

On Thursday, January 7th, an inquest was held in the Lord Barrington before the Coroner, J. R. D. Lynnn. Two witnesses were called to give evidence, and the jury found a verdict of "Death from Misadventure.â€

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Not just accidents, read this one. We have, as i said a huge ammount of archive material.

A verdict of death from natural causes was returned by the Deputy Coroner of South East Northumberland, on 62 year-old Robert Andrew Bell, a miner of Seaton Delaval, who collapsed and died at the shaft bottom at Seaton Delaval C.D. Pit, when leaving at the end of a shift on December 21st, 1950. Edward O'Keefe, a stoneman at the pit said that he went to the shaft bottom at the end of his shift and a few minutes later met Bell. They stood talking a while and Bell appeared to be his normal self. He then told the coroner how Bell "suddenly gave a sigh and fell,†and in doing so hit the back of his head against the pump house gate. He went on to say how he helped to carry Bell to the cabin and when he felt his pulse he appeared to be dead.

Dr. G. S. Sanderson, County Pathologist, said that a post-mortem examination had shown that Bell's heart was "considerably enlarged†on the left side and his coronary arteries were diseased. In his opinion, death was due to heart failure caused by the conditions he referred to. He also added that Bell's condition had been such that death might have occurred at any time.

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I have just picked these stories at random to give the forum members an example of our archive material.

In the early hours of Tuesday morning, July 3rd, 1888, a miner, John McAithy, of Morpeth, who was working in the Pegswood Drift Colliery, was found by another miner lying under a fall of stone. Help was immediately at hand but it was some time before he was got out, and it was found that he was still alive having sustained serious injuries, and two broken legs.

He was taken to the surface and from there to his home in Oldgate Street, Morpeth, where his injuries were attended to by Dr. Skrimshire. Sadly he died at home from the injuries he received.

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This is another example. We have nearly every accident by different means recorded too. Now this man was not at work, but we recorded it as we have others. We believe they should be recorded. What do the forum members think ?

At about nine o' clock, Wednesday evening, February 11th, 1891, a shocking accident occurred at Cambois, when a miner, Mathew Mather, lost his life. He was visiting Blyth on business and returned to Cambois. He wanted to cross the river by means of the ferry, but when he got there he found that the chain was broken which drove the ferry. He had a conversation with the ferry-man and told him he would not have been out on such a terrible winter night, but he had urgent business in the area.

He then proceeded to the low ferry, and got across. He then walked up the North side waggon-way, when he was hit by a travelling steam engine which killed him outright. When he was found, his head had been severed from his body, and his hands completely crushed. It was thought with the winds being heavy at the time that he did not hear the steam engine approach.

Mathew Mather was a member of the Christian community in Cambois and highly respected. He left a widow and young family.

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On Saturday, November 10th, 1888, the village of Seghill was saddened by the report that three men were buried beneath a fall of stone at Seghill Colliery.

The men began work at eight o' clock on the Saturday morning to clear a new way in the High Main Seam. Soon afterwards the under-manager, John Douglass, went into the mine and on arriving where the men were working discovered a large fall of stone, under which a boy, Thomas Patterson, was partly buried. Suspecting that the other two men, Robert Barr and J. Gibson, could be under the fall he gave the alarm. A number of strong men were called to help move the stone, but it was eleven o'clock at night that the two bodies were discovered under the fall of stone.

At the inquest a verdict of "accidental death†was recorded.

Well thats it, hope you enjoyed reading these stories.

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Heres one more. Enjoy

On Monday, July 9th, 1888, an inquest was held at Bedlington on the death of 13-year-old William Hamilton, of Bedlington, a driver, who was killed at about three o'clock in the afternoon at the Doctor Pit on Friday, July 6th

From evidence it appeared that a pony was found a short distance from the unfortunate young lad, and although the pony was not lying upon him, it was thought he had been crushed by the animal.

A verdict was returned of "Death from accidental injury.â€

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Looking online in our coal mining archives and came across this. I like it.

Poor Miners Farewell!

Poor hard working miners, their troubles are great,

So often while mining they meet their sad fate.

Killed by some accident, there's no one can tell,

Their mining's all over, poor miners farewell!

Only a miner, killed under the ground,

Only a miner, but one more is gone.

Only a miner but one more is gone,

Leaving his wife and dear children alone.

They leave their dear wives and little ones, too,

To earn them a living as miners all do.

Killed by some accident, there's no one can tell,

Their mining's all over, poor miners farewell!

Leaving his children thrown out on the street,

Barefoot and ragged and nothing to eat,

Mother is jobless, my father is dead,

I am a poor orphan, begging for bread.

When I am in the street so often I meet,

Poor coal miners' children thrown out on the street.

"What are you doing?" to them I have said,

We are hungry, Aunt Molly, and we're begging for bread."

"Will you please help us to get something to eat?

We are ragged and hungry, thrown out on the street."

"Yes, I will help you," to them I have said,

"To beg food and clothing, I will help you to get bread."

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I will see if the group can begin getting these stories on our website. We have many now but on our private site along with many other articles for our group. But enjoy these that are up as i think they make interesting reading.

Its easy to just cut and paste to this site when they are online like this.

Twenty year-old, Arthur Brannagan, a hauling engineman, who lived with his parents at Shankhouse Terrace, Shankhouse, was found dead in the Scott Pit, Hartford Colliery, on Wednesday, July 5th, 1922.

Two coils of rope were lapped over him, fastening him to the drum; and the engine, driven by compressed air, was still in motion. He was dead, his neck having been broken, while there were various other horrific injuries to his body.

Edited by johndawsonjune1955

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My dad was killed down the pit, Micky - two months before I was born in 1956. (My brother was just under 2 years old) I cannot say I have come across a memorial anywhere.

post-2953-0-33166400-1371831362_thumb.jppost-2953-0-05440100-1371831435_thumb.jppost-2953-0-31204900-1371831443_thumb.jp

Very sorry to hear of your loss Keith. Thank you for sharing this.

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This poem, by the late David P. Allison who was our Chairman.

When Coal Was King

Of this life I remember one thing

I can recall when coal was King

Young, strong, keen and fit

I ended up at the pit

You started out on the heap

But longed to go in the deep

Soon enough your turn came round

You got a job underground

Driving ponies or filling coals

Packing stones or drilling holes

Day after day, Year after year

In dust and dark old age grew near

Time to rest these weary bones

In a little house at the Easton Homes

Some were not as lucky as me

They gave their lives for the N.C.B.

For These brave hearts I proudly sing

Can you remember when coal was King?

D. P. Allison.

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Read this and see how easy an accident can happen. It could have easily resulted in death when you think about it. However, these stories make fascinating reading for anyone interested in coal mining.

On November 26th, 1916, at the Dr. Pit, Bedlington, owned by the Bedlington Coal Company, two miners, Alexander Carney and Jonathan Harrison, both shifters, were clearing up a gateway in the Plessey Seam, using the debris to build a pack. They kept the larger stones for last and it was whilst Harrison, who was standing ankle deep in water, was throwing one of these large stones that one of them rebounded and struck him on the left leg which resulted in it being cut. The left leg was immediately bandaged and the two men continued and finished their shift.

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I cant believe how far back some of our archives go. Just look at this, 1841

On March 15th, 1841, five men were repairing the shaft of Cowpen North Pit, Blyth, when a heavy fall of old material from the sides crashed down upon the cradle in which they were suspended to carry out their job.

Four of the men, James Reay, Joseph Wright, Stephen Heron and Francis Reay, were hurled to the bottom of the shaft and killed instantly.

The other man, William Heron, caught hold of some timber attached to the side of the shaft and managed to hold on to his precarious position until help arrived and he was rescued.

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