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Gateshead, Northumberland 1705

This was the first large scale disaster for which there is any reliable evidence. In ‘ The Compleat Collier,’ ‘J.C.’ includes an eye witness account of the accident.

“How it came to pass he could not give me an exact Account, any further then by what the Banksmen, and those who were about the Pit, and heard the blow, and see what it threw out of the pit, and shattered about the Gins: There was one thing very strange in it, as I was told, That a Youth of 15 of 16 Years of Age, was blown up the Pit and Shaft, and carried by the blast about 40 Yards from the shaft, the Corps was found all intire, save the back part of his head, which was cut off, though the Shaft is said to be odd of sixty Fathoms deep, which is an Argument of the mighty Force this Blast is of.”

The explosion which caused the deaths of over thirty people is the first that is recorded. It occurred on the 3rd. of 4th. October, 1705. The names of the victims appeared in ‘The Newcastle Daily Chronicle’ of 1880 which quoted the Burial Register at St. Mary’s' Church.

These Were Slain In A Coal-Pit In The Stony Flatt Which Did Fire

October 4th: –

  • Cuthbert Richinson
  • Michael Richinson
  • Ralph Richinson, brothers
  • William Robinson
  • John Liddel
  • John Broune
  • Clemment Broune
  • William Broune, brothers
  • Robert Broune, son to Clemment Broune.

Blown Up In The Pit

  • John, son of John Broune
  • Adam Thompson
  • Joseph Jackson
  • Abigail Jackson, daughter of Joseph Jackson
  • John Hastings, overman
  • Michael Walker, his servant.

October 5th:-

  • Leonard Jordan
  • John Green
  • John Distans
  • Richard Fletcher
  • John Hall
  • William Maine
  • Thomas Riddel
  • Thomas Hugginson.

October 6th:-

  • Byron Thornton
  • Michael Thompson
  • Robert Cooke
  • Matthew Hastings, overman, son of John Hastings.

October 7th:-

  • John Sayers.

October 10th:-

  • Edward Jordan John Todd.

October 13th:-

  • Thomas Risdall.

Pit Terminology - Glossary