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Wellington Pit Disaster 1910 - A Poetry Anthology
An entire shift of men, numbering 143, had entered the mine the previous evening

Wellington, Whitehaven, Cumberland. 136 killed
Wellington Pit, Whitehaven



SilverWood Books
281b Gloucester Road
T: 0117 916 6644



















A Poetry Anthology
by Jenny Martin


Dignity transcends
degradation, death. You rest
marras, brothers all.

An anthology of poetry about Whitehaven and beyond, published to mark the Centenary of Cumbria’s worst pit disaster on 11th May 1910.

About the book:
This collection of fifteen poems is a moving testimony to the buried truth of the hardship, exploitation, even contempt, suffered by the universal fellowship of miners and their families, and the courage honesty, generosity and respect for others that underpin their own lives.

About the author:
Poet Jenny Martin comes from a Whitehaven mining family. She had an uncle who was killed in the 1941 William pit disaster, and a cousin who fell to his death down a pit shaft in 1953 when they were both fifteen.

She qualified in medicine specialising in a branch of diagnostic medicine, chemical pathology, and retired in 1994. In 2007, encouraged by the leader of the creative writing group that she had recently joined, she tried her hand at poetry with several successes. Mining Memories is her first poetry collection to be published. She is married with two adult children and lives in Cheshire.

All proceeds from this book will be donated to The Coalfields Regeneration Trust, an independent organization that aims to improve the quality of life in Britain’s coalfield communities by granting funds to regeneration projects.

Nov 2010- I'm sending a cheque  for £450 to the Coal Industry Social Welfare Organisation. I can't believe that I've managed to achieve something useful.

For more information about The Coalfields Regeneration Trust go to their website at

Mining Memories
ISBN 978-1-906236-30-4
200mm x 127mm 40pp paperback RRP £4.99

Readership: local interest (Whitehaven/Cumbria), poetry enthusiasts, those with an interest in local history, in particular UK coalmining history.

Review copies: please email

The poem about my cousin who fell down the pit shaft is included, and there is one about a 15 year old Durham coalfield pitboy 6 months earlier who died in a similar accident ON HIS FIRST DAY AT WORK. And one, of course, about the Markham Colliery 1973 disaster.

See Also Memories Markham Colliery disaster July 1973 and William Yates
press release

A Hundred Years On – the Centenary of the Wellington Pit Tragedy

11th May this year will bring the centenary of Cumbria’s worst mining disaster. The 1910 tragedy took place at the Wellington pit, Whitehaven and was brought about by the ignition of firedam by a safety lamp and propagated by coal dust, causing an explosion and resulting in a fire. More than sixty Edward Medals were awarded for acts of bravery by those who carried out rescue attempts; however, 136 men lost their lives, many leaving behind widows and children.

Local resident Jenny Martin remembers what it was like to grow up in a Whitehaven mining family: “My cousin and I have only now discovered that we both had nightmares for years afterwards (no stampedes of counsellors to Whitehaven then). My uncle had been lucky – he should have been on the ill-fated shift at William pit, Whitehaven, in 1947 when 104 men died. He lived to develop miners' lung disease (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, COPD) years later.”

Jenny goes on to tell of the tragedies her family suffered as a result of the mining industry: “The eldest of my uncles was killed rescuing others in the 'minor' (only 12 men killed) William pit disaster in 1941. Their brother-in-law bore for the rest of his life the mental scars of a pit explosion in which he saw his marra's torso and, some distance beyond, his head. In 1953 our 15-year old cousin was killed when he fell down the pit shaft weeks after starting work.”

To commemorate the 1910 event, Jenny has written a collection of fifteen poems, which will be published on the centenary. Mining Memories is a moving testimony to the hardship, exploitation and even contempt, suffered by miners and their families. She will donate all proceeds from the sales of the book to The Coalfields Regeneration Trust, an independent organization that aims to improve the quality of life in Britain’s coalfield communities by granting funds to regeneration projects.

Note to editors
Please include the following line with any published article:
Mining Memories by Jenny Martin (£4.99) is available to order wherever books are sold, or online at

Jenny Martin' Poems