THE SUNDERLAND SITE - PAGE 194
PRINTS RELATED TO COAL MINING

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This page is a page in progress. Started when just three mining related prints were included. There surely are many more to be included in the future as they become available & as time permits. Presented in date sequence.

1

'The Morley Main Colliery, near Dewsbury, after the explosion', published in Illustrated London News on Oct. 19, 1872.

2

'The miners' strike in Durham - Great mass meeting at Twizell in the County of Durham', published in Illustrated London News on May 3, 1879.

3

'The Colliery Disaster at Seaham near Sunderland', published in Illustrated London News on Sep. 18, 1880.

4

'The Durham Colliery Strike : At the gates of Bear Park Colliery, discussing the situation', published in Illustrated London News on Mar. 26, 1892.

5

'A Collier's Cottage, Durham', published in Illustrated London News on Sep. 9, 1893.

6

'The Coal Traffic in the Thames : William Cory & Son's derricks at work', a print published in Illustrated London News on Oct. 10, 1896.

1) 'The Morley Main Colliery, near Dewsbury, after the explosion.'

An image ex Illustrated London News ('ILN') of Oct. 19, 1872. The print is frequently offered for sale on eBay, & is available in five or six places, including eBay, as this page is expanded in Jan. 2015. I have not seen the descriptive text which accompanied the print, but understand that it in part read thus.

Morley is in West Yorkshire, located close to Leeds & Bradford with Dewsbury a little to the south. There were many collieries located there in 1872 - Morley Main Colliery, which opened in 1855, being then the largest & the deepest. Owned by William Ackroyd & Brothers of Birkenshaw, it was located on Albert Road, overlooking the valley. It featured two shafts sunk, respectively, to the depth of 120 & 150 yards. Importantly, however, the mine included old workings. Those old workings, termed a 'goaf', had not been worked for about two years & were poorly ventilated. It was known that gas was coming out of the 'goaf' - an under deputy had so advised Jonathan Simpkin, the mine manager - but the warning went unheeded.

That was not the only mistake that was made. Mine supervision was clearly very poor, the miners being accustomed to smoking underground. They had matches in their pockets, indeed one of the miners who died in the explosion had an empty packet of matches in his hand. Some miners had lamp keys that they could open up their miners safety lamps to be able to light their pipes.

The inevitable resulted. In the afternoon of Oct. 7, 1872, soon after 2 p.m. (or maybe an hour or so later) when 150 miners were underground, an explosion ripped through the mine, destroying the ventilation system in a part of the mine. There presumably was a rock fall which cut off 34 miners most of whom died of suffocation. Rescuers were sent in but, hampered by the lack of ventilation, they had difficulty in bringing the dead to the surface. 34 lives were lost & 11 pit ponies died also. As Andy Dalton succinctly states - 'A quarter of the victims were teenagers. Two were brothers, two were father and son. Thirteen women were widowed, 50 children left fatherless and five elderly dependents were left unsupported.'

A list of those who died, or at least of 33 of them, can be found here. A Durham Mining Museum page re the disaster (with 34 names) is here. Many of the dead were 17 years of age or younger & three of them were just 14 years old. (The name lists are not identical incidentally). We thank Brian Appleyard for the Illustrated London News text which you can read here. Australian newspaper reports (1 & 2) re the disaster ex Trove, Australia here & here. A portion of an 1877 report to Parliament, available via Google Books, re the Morley explosion.

I read that there is little at the site today to commemorate the disaster though the Miners Arms public house is close by. The mine closed on Jul. 23, 1909. Corrections or additional data (perhaps a scan of the ILN related text) is invited.

2) 'The miners' strike in Durham - Great mass meeting at Twizell in the County of Durham'

An image ex Illustrated London News ('ILN') of May 3, 1879 - by an artist whose initials are C.R. The print is frequently offered for sale on eBay, the source, long ago now of the image below.

The print relates to the General Strike which commenced on Apl. 5, 1879, the strike called under the circumstances set out in some detail elsewhere on site, specifically here. Click the image to see a larger version. It would seem that there was a related descriptive text - on page 423 of the ILN issue.

3) 'The Colliery Disaster at Seaham near Sunderland'

A double-page spread ex Illustrated London News ('ILN') of Sep. 18, 1880. The illustration, which comprises 7 individual images related to the disaster, is frequently offered for sale both on eBay & elsewhere. There clearly was a related text, to be found on page 283 of that issue, such text not being presently available to the webmaster. The image below, which surely originated on eBay has been in my files for many years now, so the eBay vendor in question is unknown. From its quality, however, it may very well have been provided 'prints-4-all' who have the print available in Jan. 2015 as this page is expanded.

Normally, I would provide, as with other images on this page, a paragraph or paragraphs that summarise the events at the Seaham pit which precipitated the publication of the print. Certainly there was a large underground explosion, in the early hours of Sep. 8, 1880, as a result of which 164 miners lost their lives. It may very well be, however, that such summary is not necessary - I may well be able to just provide links to the extensive data that is already WWW available. But we shall see.

4) 'The Durham Colliery Strike : At the gates of Bear Park Colliery, discussing the situation'

A half-page image ex Illustrated London News ('ILN') of Mar. 26, 1892, by an artist with the initials W.B.W. The page is frequently offered for sale on eBay, the upper portion of the page being related text & a sketch of miners gathering at the corner of King Street in Durham. The rear of the 16 x 11 in. page, as ILN published, had unrelated text & imagery.

The page relates to the 1892 strike detailed in the text above, specifically here. The print from which the image below comes, was for sale by 'prints-4-all' in late Nov. 2014. It is possible that it is still available, so do check with the eBay vendor should you be interested in acquiring a copy.

5) 'A Collier's Cottage, Durham'

An image ex Illustrated London News ('ILN') of Sep. 9, 1893, by prolific artist Richard Caton Woodville (1856/1927) (R.C.W.) While the print is frequently offered for sale on eBay, the print below is for sale by 'prints-4-all' in early Dec. 2014. The rear of the 16 x 11 in. page, as ILN published, had unrelated text & imagery.

6) 'The Coal Traffic in the Thames : William Cory & Son's derricks at work'

An image ex Illustrated London News ('ILN') of Oct. 10, 1896 - by artist Charles (W.) Wylie. The print below is for sale by 'prints-4-all' in early Jan. 2015. Do check out the eBay item or check with the eBay vendor should the listing be terminated by the time you read this.

Now the text to which the print was an illustration is most interesting indeed. It describes the birth of William Cory and Son, Limited, in 1896, the result of a consolidation of no less than eight companies (including William Cory and Son), all involved in the coal trade in the city of London. Such text is now on site, and can be read verbatim here - it can accordingly be WWW searched & found by all who are interested in the history.

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