Town Rediscovers Its Identity; the Mining Industry Was Once the Largest and Most Profitable Business in the North East. It Was Also One of the Most Dangerous. in 1812, the Felling Pit Was Rocked by a Huge Explosion That Brought Destruction and Despair to the Area. Two Hundred Years on from the Tragedy, Efforts Are Being Made to Commemorate the Disaster. ANDREW CURRY Reports

The Journal (Newcastle, England), April 30, 2012 | Go to article overview

Town Rediscovers Its Identity; the Mining Industry Was Once the Largest and Most Profitable Business in the North East. It Was Also One of the Most Dangerous. in 1812, the Felling Pit Was Rocked by a Huge Explosion That Brought Destruction and Despair to the Area. Two Hundred Years on from the Tragedy, Efforts Are Being Made to Commemorate the Disaster. ANDREW CURRY Reports


Byline: ANDREW CURRY

FOR miners in Felling, Gateshead, on May 25, 1812, it was business as usual churning out what was then Britain's most prized natural resource. It was one more day down the pit, one more hard slog at the coalface.

Safety was basic, conditions fairly brutal, but for the 191 miners it was a job, a means to an end and a small source of local pride.

Down the Felling Pit, or the John Pit as it was more commonly known, hewers, packers and barrowmen worked away at the rock when an event occurred that was to shake the town of Felling to its very core.

A massive explosion was caused when one of the miner's lamps came into contact with methane gas. The small blast of fire created when the two ignited huge reserves of coal dust, caused an explosion to rip through the pit, killing three quarters of the workforce.

In total, 92 people were killed, 41 under the age of 18, nine aged 10 or under. The youngest victims were eight years old. The town's population was decimated and the mining industry changed forever by the safety measures that were brought in. A new lamp was invented to prevent any further tragedies, although it was too late for the Felling miners. …

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Town Rediscovers Its Identity; the Mining Industry Was Once the Largest and Most Profitable Business in the North East. It Was Also One of the Most Dangerous. in 1812, the Felling Pit Was Rocked by a Huge Explosion That Brought Destruction and Despair to the Area. Two Hundred Years on from the Tragedy, Efforts Are Being Made to Commemorate the Disaster. ANDREW CURRY Reports
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