The Gresford Colliery Disaster

Crowds gather at the collieryToday marks the 81st anniversary of the Gresford colliery disaster which took place on 22 September 1934 at Gresford Colliery, near Wrexham, North Wales, when an explosion resulted in the deaths of 261 miners, three rescue men and a surface worker, leaving 591 widows, children, parents and other dependents.  The night shift on Friday 21st September 1934 was particularly busy as many miners were “doubling up” so they would be free to watch the local football derby, Wrexham against Tranmere Rovers, on Saturday afternoon.

The explosion took place in the Dennis section, one of three seams at the colliery, which produced industrial coal, but was notoriously prone to firedamp (usually methane, a highly inflammable gas). Only eleven bodies were ever recovered. Following the disaster, the colliery was closed for years putting 1,700 men on the dole.

Although the cause was never proved, an inquiry found that a number of factors such as failures in safety procedures and poor mine management led to the disaster. The remains of the other victims were left entombed within the mine. The colliery owners were fined a paltry sum for inadequate record keeping.

Messages of sympathy and donations came from all over Britain and from overseas. Almost £570,000 was donated during an appeal aided by the press who kept Gresford in the public eye. A relief fund paid allowances to the dead miners’ widows, children and dependants. For many, sympathy was tempered by anger at the harsh reality of the miners’ working conditions. Anger was so strong that many people gave money directly to the miners’ union as they feared otherwise it would never reach those in need.

One of the legacies of the disaster was that the miners were represented by Sir Stafford Cripps, who went on to be Prime Minister Clement Atlee’s Chancellor of the Exchequer.

Gresford Disaster Memorial
Gresford Disaster Memorial

Cripps used the inquiry to attack the system of private ownership of mines, arguing that this was not going to be an isolated incident and they should be nationalised – which they were after World War II in 1947.

Gresford Colliery finally closed on economic grounds in November 1973. In the 1980s the site was redeveloped as an industrial estate. In 1982 a memorial to the victims of the disaster was erected nearby; it was constructed using a wheel from the old pit-head winding gear. Wrexham Council has an excellent website about the disaster.

10,061 comments on “The Gresford Colliery Disaster

  1. fantastic submit, very informative. I wonder why the other specialists of this sector do not notice this. You must proceed your writing. I’m confident, you’ve a great readers’ base already!

  2. Its such as you read my thoughts! You seem to understand a lot about this, like
    you wrote the guide in it or something. I think that you
    could do with a few percent to force the message home a
    little bit, however instead of that, that is great blog.
    A fantastic read. I’ll definitely be back.

  3. Good day! I simply want to offer you a huge thumbs up for the excellent info you have right here on this post. I will be coming back to your blog for more soon.

  4. Oh my goodness! Amazing article dude! Thank you, However I am encountering problems with your RSS. I donít know why I can’t join it. Is there anybody else having identical RSS problems? Anyone who knows the solution can you kindly respond? Thanx!!

  5. Thanks so much for providing individuals with a very marvellous chance to check tips from this site. It is always so amazing plus jam-packed with a good time for me personally and my office peers to search your web site at least 3 times a week to learn the latest guidance you have. And definitely, I am actually happy with all the sensational pointers you give. Some 2 tips on this page are honestly the finest we have all had.

  6. I truly wanted to send a simple remark so as to thank you for the precious pointers you are writing on this site. My prolonged internet search has finally been recognized with good quality suggestions to share with my company. I would declare that many of us readers are unquestionably lucky to exist in a great website with so many wonderful individuals with useful basics. I feel very much privileged to have seen the web page and look forward to plenty of more thrilling moments reading here. Thanks once more for a lot of things.

  7. Hi, I do believe this is an excellent site. I stumbledupon it 😉 I will come back yet again since i have saved as a favorite it. Money and freedom is the best way to change, may you be rich and continue to guide other people.

  8. After I initially left a comment I seem to have clicked the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and now each time a comment is added I get four emails with the exact same comment. Perhaps there is a means you can remove me from that service? Many thanks!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *