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Sacriston Colliery

Sacriston Colliery - 1839 - 1985 was 4 miles (7 km) North West of Durham

Tom Pounder
18 September 2013
My grandfather, Tom Pounder, received a Gold Medal after a pit accident at Sacriston Pit

Hi my name is Tom Pounder and Tom Pounder was my grandfather, I have a gold medal, given to him after a pit accident, can you enlighten me, on the accident and what part he played, he was an overman, also some of his brothers worked in the same mine, I have a photo of him and his work mates.
Thank you
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Sacriston Colliery
1839 - 1985 was 4 miles (7 km) North West of Durham

Reproduced from 1860s Ordnance Survey map

Five Men Were Killed in A Mine Accident 1940

Owners - Charlaw and Sacriston Collieries Co. Ltd.

Five men were killed and a sixth was injured by a fall of stone in a colliery at Sacriston, Durham, yesterday. The fall occurred while a party of officials and workmen were removing debris from a previous fall. Those who lost their lives were :—

  • Joseph Welsh, 45, married, deputy overman
  • George W. Scott, 37, single, fore-overman
  • William Richardson, 54, married, pumpman
  • William Smith, 35, single, stoneman
  • John William Britton, 47, married, stoneman.

Source: The Times, December 5th, 1940

The Times
14 Feb 1981

Talks on pit closures offered to miners

By Paul Routledge

Labour Editor

The Government last night made known its readiness to meet miners' leaders for talks on the future of the coal industry after the first swathe of pit closures involving 5,600 job losses was announced.

Officials of the National Union of Mineworkers were told at area level meetings that 10 pits must shut over the next year in South Wales, Kent and Durham. Alternative work would be available for a large proportion of the miners, but many would be made redundant.

New closure announcements will be made every day next week in the run-up to a special union national executive meeting called for February 19 to decide whether the men should be recommended to vote for a national strike in a secret pit-head ballot.

Only one are called in for talks, the highly productive North Nottinghamshire coalfield, yesterday escaped the Nation Coal Board's axe. Elsewhere, union officials were told that pits must shut to bring the industry's output into line with falling demand caused by the recession.

In Kent, Mr. Jack Collins, the union area secretary, led his team out of the meeting after hearing that Snowdown colliery, near Dover, one of the three pits left in the county, was to be closed with a loss of 960 jobs. About half the men would be found work in the remaining collieries, but 450 will have to leave the industry. The coal board said that Snowdown had lost £21m over the past five years.

As that coalfield confrontation took place, the Department of Energy gave sympathetic consideration to separate requests from the union and the coal board for urgent talks under the tripartite procedure bringing together Government, management and men that was set up after the 1974 strike.

It was made known later that a meeting between both sides of the industry and Mr. David Howell, Secretary of State for Energy, would be arranged early next week. It was not clear whether those discussions would be arranged before the miners' emergency executive meeting.

In South Wales, miners' area leaders reacted with cautious anger to the coal board's announcement that five pits were to close with the loss of 2,800 jobs.

The union coalfield executive will meet on Monday to determine what recommendation will be made to an area conference two days later. Mr. Emlyn Williams, South Wales miners' president, would not be drawn on what decision would be taken, but I understand that strike action from February 23 is likely.

The South Wales closure programme regarded by the union as "leading to the inevitability of the annihilation of the coalfield" envisages the shutdown of five collieries (two of them "double pits") that have lost a total of £20m. They are Ty Mawr-Lewis Merthyr, neat Pontypridd ; Coegant in Maesteg ; Brynlliw-Morlais in west Wales ; Aberpergwm, near Neath and Britannia at Pengaun, Gwent.

Mr. Philip Weekes, area director of the coal board, described the pits as "hopeless cases" in an area that is already losing £80m a year. The market for Welsh coking coal has collapsed because of falling demand from the British Steel Corporation.

In the North-east, the union were told that four pits must close by next spring in addition to Blackhall colliery, the closure of which has just been agreed. Bearpark and Sacriston, near Durham, arte to shut in July with the loss of about 800 jobs. Houghton mine which employs 240 men, would follow in September and the big Boldon colliery would close early next year with the loss of 916 jobs. Overall, 1,952 jobs would go, but 1,516 men could expect to be transferred to long-life mines and 436 would be made redundant.

The board is moving quickly to give local information on its four-point plan to bring production into line with reduced demand, which involves taking out 10 millions tonnes of capacity through the closure of at least 20 mines and the loss of up to 30,000 jobs.

Against that background, the Government is bringing forward proposals to improve redundancy payments and relocation allowances so that more men will be tempted out of economically unviable mines.

Awards for Gallantry at Sacriston Colliery Include:-

Henry Blackburn, 19 Nov 1903 Royal Humane Society Silver Medal
William Cuthbert Blackett, 19 Nov 1903 Royal Humane Society Silver Medal
T. F.Brass, 19 Nov 1903 Royal Humane Society Silver Medal
John Hall, 19 Nov 1903 Royal Humane Society Silver Medal
SimonTate, 19 Nov 1903 Royal Humane Society Silver Medal
W.Walker, 19 Nov 1903 Royal Humane Society Silver Medal

Names of Those killed at Sacriston Colliery
  • Anderson, William Stewart, 17 Aug 1930, aged 62, as he was coming outbye at the end of his shift he collapsed and died; the doctor who carried out the post mortem said that death was due to 'cerebral haemorrhage, which might have been caused by any sudden exertion or even a blow on the back of the head'
  • Appleby, James, 1951
  • Atkinson, Joseph, 28 Aug 1900, aged 57, Platelayer, while working on private branch railway nearly a mile from colliery he was run over and killed by a set of six trucks
  • Bailey, William, 13 Nov 1873, aged 29, Hewer, crushed between two tubs
  • Bell, William, 30 Dec 1936, aged 47, Drawer, killed by a fall of stone, Buried: Sacriston Cemetery
  • Bickle, Albert Jefferson, 09 Mar 1945, aged 50, Datal, injured toe, Buried: Sacriston Cemetery
  • Britton, John William, 04 Dec 1940, aged 46, Stoneman, cause of death: fracture and dislocation of cervical vertebrae, accidentally sustained in the course of his employment when crushed by a fall of stone from the roof, address: 7 Woodland Terrace, Nettlesworth, (Inquest: 07 Dec 1940), Buried: Sacriston Cemetery
  • Brown, Gilderay W., 01 May 1909, aged 35, Fitter, he slipped on some brick paving and injured his elbow; he died in a short time in an engine house; medical opinion was to the effect that death was due to the severe pain caused by the blow over the left ulnar nerve
  • Brown, John Thomas, 07 Mar 1957, aged 52, Stoneman, killed by a fall of stone
  • Clarney, Norman, 03 Sep 1937, aged 37, Rolleyway Man, injured his head
  • Cornell, Charles, 01 Nov 1909, aged 57, Hewer, This case was purely accidental. He was hewing in a bord, where the face had been nicked on the left side, when a piece of coal, weighing from one to two tons, came away from a "back" and fastened him against a prop. The place was properly timbered, and, but for the "back," which prior to the occurrence was invisible, the accident would not have happened
  • Cornforth, Frederick, 30 Sep 1938, aged 33, Pan Puller, killed by a fall of stone, Buried: Pelton Cemetery
  • Dale, L., 07 Dec 1942, aged 48, Hewer, killed by a fall of stone
  • Darling, Francis, 03 Sep 1913, aged 20, Electrician's Assistant, from the evidence at the inquest it would appear that deceased was standing between wagons, a short distance apart, for a private purpose, when in the course of shunting operations some more wagons bumped into those standing; had he looked along the siding he would have seen what was taking place, as there was an uninterrupted view; unfortunately he was deaf and so did not hear the whistle of the engine
  • Dawson, Thomas, 22 Apr 1926, aged 40, Hewer, killed by a fall of stone, Buried: Sacriston Cemetery
  • Dunn, Thomas, 20 Apr 1896, aged 2, [Not Employed], while trespassing on private branch railway the waggons ran over and killed him
  • Dyke, Henry, 21 Apr 1928, (accident: 10 Apr 1928), aged 64, Hewer, collapsed while working in the Shield Row Drift, he later died at Pelton House Hospital due to natural causes
  • Elliott, Robert, 20 Sep 1904, (accident: 01 Feb 1904), aged 39, Engineman, On February 1st last, when he was lifting a belt to put a bolt in one of the links with a lever and chain, one of the links broke, and he fell backwards on to a rail with the end of his spine, and the blow set up cancer, from which he died on September 20th
  • Emmerson, Joseph, 22 Jul 1893, 11:45 p.m., 8th hour of shift, aged 23, Stoneman, severe injuries to head by fall of stone, address: Kitchens Buildings, Buried: 27 Jul 1893
  • Goodburn, George William, 27 Jun 1938, (accident: 06 Jan 1938), aged 29, Hewer, died from injuries received by a crush
  • Green, Robert, 23 Oct 1876, aged 43, Collier, fall of stone - he had removed two props
  • Green, Robert, 14 Oct 1892, aged 55, Deputy, took a fit while at work in the pit, and died from cerebral haemorrhage, after having suffered for some days [fatality reported during the year but not classified as a colliery accident]
  • Grieveson, John, 07 Apr 1954, aged 28, Cutterman, killed in the 6th west face of the Brockwell Seam, Buried: St. Bede's (R.C.) Churchyard, Sacriston
  • Grievson, George, 10 Aug 1918, (accident: 05 Jun 1918), aged 33, injured by a fall of stone and died in Durham County Hospital
  • Harvey, John Thomas, 27 Feb 1935, (accident: 26 Feb 1935), aged 46, Stoneman, killed by a fall of stone
  • Hewitson, Mark George Reed, 20 Sep 1923, aged 23, Hewer, he finished his shift and had reached a point about 500 yards from his working place when he collapsed and died, the Coroner found that Hewitson died from status lymphaticus, accelerated by reason of his work
  • Hopps, John James, 14 May 1934, aged 53, Stoneman, killed by a fall of stone, Buried: Sacriston Cemetery
  • Hunter, Isaac, 02 May 1930, (accident: 26 Aug 1929), aged 42, Hewer, killed by a fall of stone
  • Joynes, Herbert, 04 Apr 1910, aged 50, Hewer, He was hewing in a broken lift in a seam 2 feet thick. Having worked his coal forward 3 feet beyond the last row of props, he was creeping out to get some more timber to set, when a large stone 8 feet by 1½ feet by 1½ feet thick fell from between slips in the roof on to him. The cause of death was suffocation, as he was unable to breathe owing to the weight of the stone on his chest. The place was well timbered
  • Kirkup, Robert, 23 May 1939, aged 45, Buried: Sacriston Cemetery
  • Layton, Robert Peart, 09 Jul 1948, aged 56, Surface Waggonman, struck and killed by a moving coal wagon
  • Liddle, John, 13 Jul 1869, aged 14, Mason, head crushed while riding on engine plane
  • Lynn, Thomas, 04 Feb 1942, aged 63, Buried: Sacriston Cemetery
  • Maughan, Thomas, 08 Apr 1918, aged 16, Assisting Banksman, he was crushed by a descending cage
  • McCormick, Thomas, 16 Nov 1903, aged 52, Hewer, drowned by an inrush of water into their working places; lived in
  • Elliot Street, Buried: St. Bede's (R.C.) Churchyard, Sacriston
  • Mordue, John, 29 Feb 1952, aged 51, Stoneman, fall of stone, address: Holly Crescent, Sacriston, Buried: Sacriston Cemetery
  • Morrell, Jonathan, 09 Jun 1944, aged 41, Overman, he was killed by a fall of stone in the Brockwell Seam; while inspecting the working place he noticed a triangular stone 6 feet long, 2 feet wide and 18 inches thick in the roof; he instructed two men to timber under the stone, but as he moved away he paused and glanced up at the stone, as he did so it fell on top of him and was followed by a second large stone
  • Muskett, Charles, 11 Mar 1929, (accident: 17 Jan 1929), aged 56, Hewer, fall
  • Ord, John Jos, 17 Jul 1921, (accident: 13 Jul 1921), aged 41, Hewer, killed by a fall of stone
  • Peel, Joseph, 08 Jul 1875, (accident: 14 May 1875), aged 16, Shaft Boy, scalded by water from a boiler while ascending a staple, Chester Ward Coroner's Inquest, place: Sacriston, cause: scalded at Victoria Pit
  • Renwick, Thomas, 01 Jun 1894, 8:45 a.m., 4th hour of shift, aged 19, Waggonman, while lowering wagons down to the screens his foot got fast in a crossing and he was run over
  • Richardson, John, 09 Oct 1901, (accident: 07 Oct 1901), aged 59, Stoneman, preparing to timber new flat end when a stone fell away at slips in the roof and broke his ribs, Buried: St. Peter's Churchyard, Sacriston
  • Richardson, William, 04 Dec 1940, aged 54, Pump & pipeman, killed by a fall of stone
  • Ritchings, John Charles, 20 Jul 1927, aged 16, Datal, crushed, Buried: Sacriston Cemetery
  • Roberts, Harry, 03 Feb 1908, aged 25, Stoneman, when he and others were ridding stone away after firing shots in a top caunch, a frame of stone fell from a jack and killed him; the stone was 24 feet long, 5 feet broad, by 3 feet thick
  • Scott, George W., 04 Dec 1940, aged 37, Fore overman, killed by a fall of stone
  • Smith, William, 04 Dec 1940, aged 35, Stoneman, killed by a fall of stone
  • Spoors, William, 06 Apr 1915, (accident: 01 Apr 1915), aged 59, died in hospital from burns and shock after an accident five days earlier; he was in a half-kneeling position about 30 yards from the face when a shot went off and he was caught by the blast
  • Stephenson, Joseph Birtley, 23 Aug 1923, aged 47, Shaftman, accidentally killed while taking down baulks of timber down to the Brass Thill seam; he and another man had removed three baulks from the top of the cage, but as they took off the fourth Stephenson noticed it was catching, and as he went to ease it, he slipped and fell down the shaft, landing on another cage 78 feet below
  • Thompson, J., 26 Mar 1948, aged 30, Stoneman, killed by a fall of stone
  • Ushaw, Thomas, 19 May 1905, (accident: 17 May 1905), aged 58, Fitter, He and his marrow had taken their tools down the pit preparatory to doing some work at the pumps the next morning. They returned to the shaft and deceased rapped the cage away, the onsetter having left. He was not quick enough in getting into the cage, and was caught between the cage and the guide and so severely injured that he died two days later
  • Watson, Thomas, 16 Aug 1898, aged 23, Hewer, After completing his work in the pit and having come to the surface, he attempted to get on to a set of full waggons, for the purpose of riding on a private branch railway, but slipped, and the last waggon ran over and killed him. He was trespassing at the time.
  • Welsh, Joseph, 04 Dec 1940, aged 45, Deputy, killed by a fall of stone, Buried: Chilton Cemetery
  • Whittaker, John, 16 Nov 1903, aged 30, Hewer, drowned by an inrush of water into their working places; lived in Elliot Street
  • Winn, John Rae, 13 Jul 1945, (accident: 20 Oct 1943), aged 31, Filler, died from injuries received, Buried: Sacriston Cemetery
  • Winn, William, 09 Dec 1908, aged 41, Hewer, alleged to have strained himself whilst at work in the mine; medical evidence at the inquest said he would have died in any case very shortly, but that death was probably accelerated by the alleged strain received in the mine

Photo of Sacriston Colliery taken from
Much of the Information about Sacriston taken from Durham Mining Museum