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From:     Deb Dickson
Sent:      12 July 201
Subject: Any Information - Anthony George Hogg was killed in the Walker Colliery Disaster 1887

I am researching my ancestors in England.  My G,G, Grandfather  Anthony George Hogg was killed in the above disaster aged 25 years.  I am wondering if there would be any photos of him anywhere as we do not have any.

Anthony’s only daughter (my great grandmother) later migrated to South Australia. 

Deb Dickson
Port Lincoln, South Australia

Searching:  Charlton’s / Hoggs

Some poor quality images at Durham Mining Museum

Christ Church, Walker Ancestry Information, enquire about Burial Records

Walker Colliery
24th October 1887

The colliery was on the banks of the River Tyne and belonged to the Walker Coal Company. The manager of the colliery had been at his post for only a week before the explosion caused the deaths of six men and two later died at their homes. The manager who started working the seam, had died after a long illness and some time had elapsed before another manager was appointed.

There were three seams worked at the colliery, the Low Main at 165 fathoms, the Beaumont at 190 fathoms and the Brockwell at 206 fathoms. The explosion originated and was confined to the last of these seams.

There were two shafts at the mine the Ann Pit was the downcast and was eleven and a half feet in diameter sunk to the Brockwell seam. The shaft was also used for coal drawing from the Beaumont Seam and the coal from the Brockwell seam up a staple about 30 yards south west of the shaft. The staple continued up to the Low Main seam and formed the upcast shaft and second outlet from the Beaumont and Brockwell seams.

The Jane Pit was 640 yards to the south of the Ann Pit and was sunk to the Low Main seam at 165 fathoms. It was ten and a half feet in diameter and was used as an upcast and a second outlet. There was a Guibal fan at the top of this shaft which exhausted the air from the mine.

On the 17th October the Low Main seam was receiving 41,398 cubic feet of air per minute, the Beaumont, 27,445 and the Brockwell 12,025. The Brockwell seam had the following section, 2 feet 10 inches of coal, 6 inches to 1 foot band and 4 inches of coal. There was about 9 inches of grey metalstone immediately above the coal and sandstone above that. The band and the coal under it were taken up only when the roads were made. The coal was a clean black coal, friable and dusty. Firedamp came freely from this seam and the adjoining strata and had been known to come off suddenly in large volumes. At the working face, the coal was dry and hot and the roads from it were dry and dusty with the exception of the road to the staple where water from the seam and that passing down the staple from the Beaumont seam collected and rose onto the roads. The air ventilating the Brockwell seam passed in one current round the workings ad the staple always contained water and the air passed over this before reaching the upcast staple.

The roads along which the coal passed to the staple from the two districts was not used for ventilation and the air in them was either stationary or slow moving. During the day the coal as worked in the Brockwell seam from two districts, the west and the north. In the former the coal was worked by longwall and in the latter partly by longwall and partly from two exploring places.

At the time of the explosion shifters and stonemen were working at the face, 113 in the west district and 9, including the master shifter, in the north district. An onsetter at the staple bottom made a total of 23 people in the Brockwell seam. The explosion was confined to the north district. When the bodies were found there was nothing to say that they had any warning of the blast. Six were at their working places and two with the master shifter were in a place of refuge waiting for the firing of a shot.

The men who lost their lives were buried at Christ Church Churchyard Cemetery, Walker:-

  • William Richardson aged 35 years, stoneman,
  • Joseph Cokburn aged 40 years, stoneman,
  • Anthony George Hogg aged 26 years, stoneman,
  • John Pickard aged 56 years, master shifter,
  • James McMullen aged 31 years, stoneman,
  • John Hylton aged 37 years, stoneman

The last two were found alive but died later

  • Henry Defty aged 36 years, shifter and
  • Robert L. Wilson aged 28 years, stoneman.

Another man named Hall was also rescued alive and survived.

At the inquest there was evidence given regarding complaints by the men on the slackness of the air and the consequent high temperatures. These conditions had been there for some days before the explosion but no gas had been detected there. Mr. Willis commented:-

“I am of the opinion that the powder gas projected from the shot raised a cloud of dust from the floor into the air containing some firedamp and that the flame from the shot had ignited the mixture. The expansion from this had raised more coal dust and the flame had extended in all directions until arrested by a falling quantity of coal dust in the wagon way and returned flame had not passed the wet ground. The amount of firedamp in the air at the time the shot was fired was probably harmless in itself and probably the coal dust alone would have transmitted the flame.”

Mr. Willis also commented that there was more work to do than officials to do it and this gave rise to a disinclination to listen and an unreadiness to remedy sources of complaint from the workmen.


Pit Terminology - Glossary