Pit Disaster

The Felling Pit Disaster Commemoration 2012... 200th Anniversary

Young putter and trapper with their Dad, hewer
by Bob Olley
Representative of the 92 men and boys who perished in 1812...except for... the presence of the miner's safety lamps. These were developed after, and as a direct result of this disaster. It would, no doubt, have happened eventually but the fact is...this disaster directly hastened the development of equipment that benefited humanity World-wide.

The following is a Report to Gateshead Council by The Cabinet on 22nd March 2012, which summarises the various aspects of the 2 day Commemoration

Felling Activity Project Group
Led by community members, this Group has successfully secured £25,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund and is planning a range of events and activities that will culminate in a two-day event on 25 -26 May, to mark the 200th anniversary of the Felling Pit disaster.
The Group have been working extremely hard over recent months to create an historical mural designed by local school children and a “Then and Now” exhibition and glass design to commemorate the disaster. They have had support from the Council, Heritage Lottery Fund, Beamish Museum, Tyne and Wear Archive and Museums, Akzo Nobel, Reverend Davidson of Christ Church, Heworth Grange City Learning Centre, Brandling Primary School and other local schools in the area. The banners will be paraded at the event in May and the glass design will be on display at Christ Church.
On 25 May, the Mayor of Gateshead will be unveiling two blue plaques to commemorate the disaster at St. Mary’s Church, Heworth and near the actual pit site at Mulberry Street. 

 The official photographs and videos of this 2012 event  are on The Felling Project Activity Group website. Click to see that and
the build up to the event
The following photographs are a mixture of Day 1 (Heworth Church, along Sunderland Road and ending at the blue plaque on Mulberry Street, Felling on side of bridge over railway tracks at Felling Station) of a two day commemoration, and the second day at Beamish. Click the link to see some wonderful photos by Colin Slater, one of the friends of Beamish

New Info...See here re Monument of The Felling Pit Disaster

Here are the 92 who perished in age order
Over half of them (52) had not reached 21, over a third of
them (32) were less than the current school leaving age.

The very young'uns were trappers.

Young Boy
Robert Dobson Young Boy
Thomas Gordon 8
Michael Hunter 8
Thomas Craggs 9
George Reay 9
George Bainbridge 10
William Dixon 10
Gregory Galley 10
William Gardiner 10
Joseph Gordon 10
Robert Pearson 10
Andrew Allen 11
Robert Hutchinson 11
John Knox 11
George Ridley 11
Edward Bell 12
John Harrison 12
John Surtees 12

opening the wooden door to let coal truck through

James Craigs 13
Robert Dobson 13
Robert Hall 13
Thomas Ridley 13
Jacob Allen 14
George Bell 14
George Cully 14
Robert Harrison 14
John Jacques 14
George Lawton 14 (Lamp-keeper)
Edward Pearson 14
John A Dobson 15
George Robson 15
Dobson 16
George Kay 16
Robert G Leck 16
Joseph Pringle 16
Phillip Allen 17
Thomas Bainbridge 17
Thomas Richardson 17
Benjamin Thompson 17 (Craneman)
Ralph Hall 18
Henry Haswell 18
James Kay 18
George Mitcheson 18
Matthew Pringle 18
Thomas Robson 18
Matthew Bainbridge 19
William Boutland 19 (Crane On-setter)
William Richardson 19
Christopher Cully 20
Edward Haswell 20
Charles Wilson 20
(52 boys and youths)
The older boys were mainly putters 

 by Robert Olley
or waggon drivers.
They were still small enough to work on the trackways

John Burnitt 21
John Greener 21
John Hunter 21
Paul Fletcher 22
William Galley 22
John Haswell 22
Joseph Anderson 23
William Jacques 23
Isaac Greener 24
Joseph Wilson 25
George Pearson 26
John Turnbull 27
John Wood 27
Matthew Brown 28
James Comby 28
John Wilson 30
Joseph Young 30
Thomas Young 30
John Wilson 32
Matthew Sanderson 33
Christopher Mason 34
William Dixon 35
William Hunter 35
John Wilkinson 35
Thomas Craggs 36
John Thompson 36
Ralph Harrison 39 (Horse-keeper)
Edward Richardson 39
Joseph Wood 39
Robert Gordon 40
Robert Hasswell 42
William Sanderson 43
Jeremiah Turnbull 43
John Boutland 46
Michael Gardiner 45
Thomas Bears 48
John Pearson 58
Nicholas Urwin 58 (Braking inclined plane)
John Pearson 64 (Shifter)
Isaac Greener 65
(40 Men)

 by Robert Olley
The older guys were mainly hewers who hewed on hunkers or knees or even lying on their backs

As you got into your fifties and sixties you'd aspire to be a "shifter" or on "braking inclined plane" but surprisingly some were still hewers when they retired at 65

All I can say is, at 65, I could still hew
For a minute or two
An 8 hour shift? I just couldn't do
Phew! Could you?

Jon Bratton 2014

Heritage Group