|G'day Happy Chappie
My name is Bronwyn, I live in Australia and have been researching the Snowdon family. Since discovering your site, I hope the following might be of interest to you and that you might consider solving the puzzle of John Snowden's possible involvement in the Hartley Pit Disaster or may know who might be . .
In researching Henry Snowdon I discovered that he was one of the sinkers of the Hartley Pit Disaster and I wanted to discover what happened to his brother John. I had thought he may have been the John Snowdon (spelt Snowden in the Durham mining museum archives). Born 1835, he was a Colliery Overman, and he died in 1908 I have since been able to prove that this particular John Snowdon was not Henry's brother.
Here begins my confusion, from several sources I understand that there were somewhere between 35 and 39 Sinkers involved and who were awarded medals for their part in the Hartley pit Disaster.
In all the lists I have been able to find, John Snowden has not been mentioned, although the newspaper article I have attached tells a different story. If he was indeed involved my first thought is that he should be remembered along with the other Sinkers and not lost to time, just hoping you may agree.
Really hope this makes some sort of sense and if there is any chance that you might investigate John Snowdon I would be delighted.
Morpeth Herald 25 July 1908
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ANOTHER SURVIVOR GONE
Apropos of this subject there was buried at Choppington on Sunday, an interesting personage in the person of Mr. John Snowdon, who was one of the 39 heroes who received medals for their services in connection with the efforts at rescue work at the Hartley Disaster in 1862, Those men were drawn from many collieries. They were chosen for their firmness of nerve and good ideas in matters connected with mining. Mr. Snowdon was a Harrington deputy overman. He resided there for nearly the whole of his life.
• • •
SUCCOUR THE SURVIVORS.
There are now only some eight left of the 39 men referred to. They are:
- Fenwick Charlton, Blyth;
- John Mavens, H. Milburn, South Shields;
- Thos. Hetherington, Derbyshire;
- George Graham, West Sleekburn;
- Lashley Hope. Sleekburn;
- Eldon Heron, Wallaend.
It has been stated, and truly, that the late Mr. Snowdon was in receipt of a small pension from the Hartley Fund. None of the others are, as is commonly supposed, although it might be well if something could be done for the now few remaining survivors. I have recently come across several of the men mentioned above, and though some have well provided for themselves and are fairly comfortable in their old age, others there are who are dependent upon their families, and it would be very gratifying indeed if there could be some adequate provision made for these people, to succour whom the opportunity cannot now for long be present. Some 15 years ago (1893) at a meeting held at the house of Mr. John Bryson, Blyth, a scheme was proposed to provide these heroes of Hartley with pensions from the fund, and after discussing the question a deputation was appointed to interview the late Mr. G. B. Forster of happy memory. The deputation consisted of Mr. John Manderson, of New Delaval, who has since passed away, and Mr. George Graham, West Sleekburn, who is happily still in the flesh. Mr. Forster listened sympathetically to the proposals put forward, and promised to do his best to carry out the desires expressed. This is how some of the elder men, which included Mr. Snowdon, were provided with an allowance from the fund.
• • •
Thank you Fionn I hope someone takes up the challenge.
For me there is not much more I can do this end, I am a member of Ancestry and FMP and I will keep poking around where I can.
Only last night there was a replay of an old episode of ‘Who Do You Think You Are’ with Kate Humble, which really grabbed my attention because her relative Joseph Humble was the viewer of Hartley Mine. I did note that they mentioned that the documents relating to the disaster and the inquest are held at the New Castle, North of England Institute Of Mining And Mechanical Engineers. Maybe this might be helpful to Robert Dixon and I wonder if Mark Wilkie, who has an inquiry on your site about the where abouts of Joseph Humble, is aware of this episode?
Surely everyone watches ‘Who Do You Think You Are’ don't they
Have attached Doc for Joseph Humble pretty sure it is the right Joseph, might be helpful to Mark.
Thank you again for taking the trouble to reply