Outside Glebe Pit, Washington, County Durham in 1960s.
Left to Right -
- Sam Scorer, Ventilation Officer;
- Kathy Fenn, visitor from USA;
- Ian Ogilvie, Curate Washington Holy Trinity later Industrial Chaplain for Durham Diocese.
The Washington Glebe Pit |
I found the history of Mine Rescue interesting because my grandfather Jonas Todd was a member of the Rescue Brigade in Washington County Durham.
My dad Sam Scorer became Ventilation Officer at the Glebe Pit so everyone who worked there would remember him.
His brother Bob Scorer worked in the lamp cabin.
My grandfather Jonas Todd was a Deputy at the Glebe Pit and went on to become an instructor working at Usworth.
25 April 2004
Jonas Todd died 1st Jun 1867 aged 30. He was a Hewer at Washington Colliery, 5½ miles [9 km] South East of Newcastle and was involved in an over winding accident resulting in the deaths of another 7 men and two boys. It appeared that on being drawn to bank the brakesman in charge of the engine did not stop the machinery as the cage got to the mouth of the pit. The result was that the cage, with its occupants, was drawn right up against the "chocks," near the pullies, with so much violence that the wire rope broke, letting the cage and the men fall down the shaft. All the men must have been instantaneously killed, the pit being 250 yards in depth.
Jonas left a widow and two children. - Information from the Durham Mining Museum
Jonas Todd and Mary Gardner had 7 children. One of them was Jonas Todd born 1837, almost certainly the Jonas killed in the mining accident in 1867, see below
5th June 1867
The Death of Ten Pitmen
Mr. Favell, the coroner for North Durham, held an inquest on Monday afternoon at Washington-on-the-Wear, upon the bodies of the ten pitmen killed on Friday afternoon by being precipitated down the shaft at the colliery through the engineman having failed to stop the engine at the moment that the cage containing the unfortunate men reached the flat sheets at the mouth of the pit. The colliery is wrought in two seams the Hutton and the Maudlin. A longer rope is used for drawing out the men from the Hutton than the Maudlin. The deceased men were employed in the Maudlin seam, and had been detained below some hours after the men belonging to their shift had got to bank by a fall of coal in the pit, which had obliged them to go round by the waste. The men work in the Hutton seam in the night shift, and it seems that at the time that the men were being drawn out of the pit a locomotive was passing the engine-house, and Taylor, the engineman, stated at the inquest that in consequence of the locomotive passing at the moment the bell rang from the bottom of the pit to "set away," he took his sight from the pit mouth fixed it on the indicator in the engine-house, which shows when the cage is at bank. But upon this slide in the indicator there are two marks, one for the long rope, the other for the short one. The deceased men were travelling by the short one. But as the miners working in the Maudlin seams are generally out of the pit long before the time that the men were coming to bank, Taylor unfortunately fixed his eyes upon the mark used for the longer rope which fetches ten men to bank from the Hutton seam, which mark is nine inches above the day mark, and as nine inches on the slide represents 11 fathoms of rope, there was enough excess of rope to carry the cage up to the woodwork and cause the catastrophe. Two or three pitmen had been standing at bank when the cage, with the shouting and screaming men, flew past them ; but they said that they were "knocked blind" by the frightful spectacle, and could hardly give the alarm. The banksman had not been at his post at the pit mouth at the time of the accident. Taylor informed the coroner that he had nothing to say against the engine. The coroner summed up the evidence, tracing the accident to the winding up of the cage beyond the proper place, and asking whether Taylor, the breaksman, omitted to stop the engine through carelessness or by accident. The jurymen retired, and on returning into court, after an absence of about a quarter of an hour, gave a verdict of "Accidental Death," coupled with the recommendation that a signal should be given to the breaksman to prevent him drawing men from the pit until locomotive, were clear of the engine-house ; they also consulted Coulson, the banksman, censurable for leaving his work when the men were being drawn up the shaft. They trusted further that if anything could be devised to prevent such accidents occurring in future it would be done, and drew particular attention to the danger of mistaking the two letters B on the slide, referring to the long and short ropes, and suggested the covering up of one while the other was being used. Mr. Willis, the manager, said that the latter representation had been anticipated. The inquiry occupied between six and seven hours, and Taylor, who was in custody, would be brought before the Gateshead magistrates yesterday. Mr. Atkinson, the Government inspector of mines, was present at the inquest.
Thanks to Alan J Sharkey for this information