Thursday, 22 September 2016

Gresford Colliery Disaster

The Gresford  disaster took place this morning on September 22, 1934, at Gresford colliery near Wrexham , which employed 2,220 men, at about 2am in the morning. In total 266 men and boys were killed with only 6 men surviving, caused by poor safety standards combined with poor management.
After a few hours of the first explosion, more than 1,000 men had assembled around the pithead standing silently in the cold and pouring rain, waiting to help their comrades who were trapped down below.For two days brave men fought to reach their entrapped colleagues, until came the terrible inhuman decision to withdraw and seal the pit shaft, with men still trapped inside. The roads and shafts were burnt and collapsed forever entombing the bodies of the victims closed.
With this some 800 children lost their fathers and more than 200 women lost their husbands and loved ones. It was not to be the worst mining disaster in the  history of  British mining though, Senghennyd holds that dubious privilege, but still serves as a tragic reminder of how in a single day a community was to see and witness and feel the real price of coal .
Following the disaster there was a huge cover up,plus the wages of over 1,000 miners were docked by the owners adding further insult and injustice that would add much further pain d bringing much untold hardship to the area, with the result being that by the end of autumn, an estimated 1,100 Gresford men thrown on the dole. This combined with the fact that the management were never prosecuted,  because they  destroyed all records of this disaster was  an absolute betrayal of the men who perished. 
In its aftermath however numerous breaches of law were eventually exposed  in which saw the pit owners eventually  getting fined, but only by a meagre £140 each. It would also get a Royal Commission on mines safety being established, but it would be yet another twenty years before the lessons learned would bring fresh legislation in the form of the 1954 Mines and Quarries Act.
The colliery was to eventually be closed down for good for economic reasons in November 1973.Eventually in 1982 a memorial to the victims was erected nearby, constructed by using a wheel from the old pit-head winding gear. We should remember the desperate situation of those who were trapped, and their darkest hours just before dawn. An incident of national importance that should never be forgotten.

The Gresford Disaster


  1. Julieanne Ackerman22 September 2017 at 09:02

    Some wounds will never heal when injustice and inhumanity was so great.

  2. But in the meantime, we remember the past, and do not forget.