Memorial will mark ‘forgotten’ tragedy
NAMES OF 38 VICTIMS OF MINING DISASTER INSCRIBED
Reporter A MEMORIAL to the victims of a ‘forgotten’ North East pit disaster has been unveiled.
The Towneley Main tragedy in 1826 at Stargate in Gateshead saw 20 men and 18 boys, some as young as 10, killed as a result of an underground explosion.
A memorial stone to mark the disaster was placed in the nearby Holy Cross Churchyard in Ryton in 1993.
It contained an inscription based on a Bible quote from Job 28:4 but had no details of the disaster itself and its victims.
We reported last year how an appeal was launched by the Brighten Ryton Heritage Group.
On Friday the memorial, which consists of a flower-decorated pit tub and memorial plaque identifying the names and ages of those killed and the surrounding villages from which they walked, was officially unveiled.
It is sited on Stargate Lane close to where the old pit head was located.
Peter Rodgers, secretary of the heritage group, said last year it was an anomaly that there was no monument to the disaster which identifies the names of those killed which, in some ways, makes it a “forgotten” tragedy.
“We want to humanise the memorial. To list the names and ages of all those who died,” he said then.
A number of people living in the area today are descendants of the victims.
As the memorial was being unveiled, he said: “I hope they see it as a fitting tribute.”
Those who died included 11 people called Robson, while the two youngest boys, aged 10, who were killed were John Hall and Thomas Waugh. The oldest Peter Rodgers at 60 was Thomas Brown. Among those invited to attend were Blaydon MP Liz Twist, the Mayoress of Gateshead, a representative of The Land of Oak and Iron, the NUM and the Rector of the Holy Cross Church. Children from the local Crookhill School also sang at the event.
Alan Cummings from the Durham Miners Association at the unveiling of the 1826 Stargate Pit disaster Memorial near Ryton
Gateshead Mayor Jill Green