Tyne and Wear HER(5247): Earsdon, Church of St. Alban, Hartley Colliery Dis. Memorial - Details
Earsdon, Church of St. Alban, Hartley Colliery Dis. Memorial
Memorial to the memory of 204 miners who lost their lives on 16 January 1862 in the New Hartley Pit at Seaton Delaval when the 42 ton cast-iron pumping engine beam fell down, striking, as it fell, the ascending cage containing 8 men. The miners working in the galleries below were trapped underground as the explosion blocked the shaft. By the time the shaft had been cleared it was too late. The miners had suffocated. 60,000 people watched the funeral procession. An inquest was held on 3 February at a local chapel. Coroner Stephen Reed was assisted by Kenyon Blackwell, ex-industrialist Inspector. The disaster was instrumental in the passing of legislation requiring mines to have at least two means of escape. The Coroner's inquest also recommended that colliery engine beams should be made of "malleable [wrought] iron instead of cast metal". The disaster happened at Hester Pit of Hartley Colliery, the site of which is marked in the village of New Hartley in Northumberland (NZ 301 771). The memorial is a tall corniced pedestal of sandstone ashlar with egg-and-dart cornice and cord moulding, supporting a tall obelisk. Inscription on east side: ERECTED TO THE MEMORY OF THE 204 MINERS WHO LOST THEIR LIVES IN HARTLEY PIT, BY THE FATAL CATASTROPHE OF THE ENGINE BEAM BREAKING 16TH JANUARY, 1862. On the other sides are biblical quotes and the names of the dead. The youngest was William Davidson aged 11. Round-coped dwarf wall surrounds step to monument. Graves for the deceased were dug on land donated by the Duke of Northumberland next to Earsdon churchyard and became part of the extended cemetery.
<< HER 5247 >> I. Ayris & S.M. Linsley, 1994, A Guide to the Industrial Archaeology of Tyne and Wear, p 77; I. Ayris, P. Jubb, S. Palmer & P. Usherwood, 1996, A Guide to the Public Monuments & Sculpture of Tyne and Wear, p 30 Department of National Heritage, List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest, 4/27; T.E. Forster, 1912, Memoir of the Hartley Colliery Accident 1862; Paul Usherwood, Jeremy Beach and Catherine Morris, 2000, Public Sculpture of North-East England, p 55-56; Roy Thompson, 2004, Thunder Underground - Northumberland Mine Disasters 1815-65, pp 92-95