Information and photographs submitted by subscribers are posted in good faith. If any copyright of anyone else's material is unintentionally breached, please email me

Hartley Pit Disaster, Northumberland January, 1862 - Page 7

Thanks To Ian Winstanley For The Information - Two Hundred and Four Miners Were Killed
Images From freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry

Bronwyn Farina - John Snowdon, Hartley Pit Disaster, Northumberland, 1862
Mark Wilkie - Joseph Humble, New Hartley Colliery Disaster, Under-Viewer (Drapers Store)
Mary Bell - Hartley Mining Disaster - Corrections
Ian McLean - Hartley Pit Disaster 1862 - Ralph and James Robinson
Robert Dixon - Hartley Pit Disaster - Where Are The Official Enquiry Documents Held?
Alec McDonald - I have in my possession a small card which gives the date 16 Jan 1862

AustBronwyn Farina
20 Apr 2018
John Snowdon, Hartley Pit Disaster, Northumberland, 1862
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.

Regards Bronwyn

Morpeth Herald 25 July 1908

•  •  •


NewsApropos 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.

•  •  •


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

Regards Bronwyn

Mark Wilkie
1 Jan 2016
Joseph Humble, New Hartley Colliery Disaster, Under-Viewer (Drapers Store)

Hello I am related to Joseph Humble, can you tell me where he opened drapers store as I want to trace him.

All I can find so far is a Joseph Humble, born 1835 in Longham, Leicestershire, England.
In 1861 he was a coal miner and lived at Seaton Delavel, Northumberland, England, he died 16 January 1862 at New Hartley, Northumberland, England.
His wife was Margaret Humble, born ABT 1837 in Benton, Northumberland, England.  Two of their children were Maria and Elizabeth.

Bronwyn Farina, above has found some information that might be of help Mark

Mary Bell
9 Nov 2013
Hartley Mining Disaster - Corrections

Maude Pit - Backworth Colliery. Maude Pit closed 2 December 1960
Image from Disused Stations

I was reading the web pages about the mining disaster. I found them very interesting as I used to live in Shiremoor which is about a quarter of a mile from Earsdon, where many of the dead are buried. When I was growing up (in the '50s) there were still a number of pits operating. My father worked in the Maud pit.
You asked for corrections. I have 2
- Hartley is in Northumberland, not Durham
- The picture of the church shown for the burials is Earsdon, not Burradon as stated.

Kind Regards,
Mary Bell

Sent from my iPad

Thank you very much Mary, the corrections have been made

Ian McLean
23 June 2011
Hartley Pit Disaster 1862 - Ralph and James Robinson
In Memory

My Great, Great, Great Grandfather died in the Hartley Pit Disaster of 1862. His name was Ralph Robson.
My Great, Great Grandfather was one of the 5 children he left behind.

Looking at your list of names for who died you have the names "Ralph and James Robinson"
If you look at the Memorial at Earsdon you will see they were actually called "Robson".
Just wanted to clear that up.

Many thanks

Ian McLean

Thank you very much Ian, names have been corrected.

Robert Dixon 
2 June 2011
Hartley Pit Disaster - Where The Official Enquiry Documents Held?

Hi Fionn,
Just a cursory query: do you know where the official enquiry documents for the Hartley Pit Disaster are held?
I have had a look around the Woodhorn Museum site but it seems to be all photographs.

 Best Wishes.
 Robert Dixon.

Alec McDonald
5 May 2010
I have in my possession a small card (produced at the time?) which gives the date 16 Jan 1862

I see in your account of the Hartley pit disaster you have a date of the 17th January 1862, then in the body of the text you have the 25th.

I have in my possession a very small card (produced at the time??) which gives the date January 16th 1862.

Yours sincerely,
Alec McDonald,
South Tyneside.

Pit Terminology - Glossary