Memorial to the Pretoria Pit disaster

At 7:50am on the 23rd December 1910, there was an explosion in the Plodder Mine, which was thought to have been caused by an accumulation of gas from a roof collapse the previous day.

That day 349 workers had descended the No 3 bank pit shaft to work in the Plodder, Yard and Three Quarters mines. Of those 349, only four survived to be brought to the surface. One died immediately and one the next day. The two survivors were Joseph Staveley and William Davenport

It was the second-worst mining accident in England, and the third-worst in Britain.

Many of the fatalities were from the same family. The worst affected was the Tyldesley family in which Mrs Miriam Tyldesley lost her husband, four sons and two brothers. A relief fund was established for the families and dependants and a total of £145,000 was raised. In 1911, dependants were compensated and given annuities from a number of sources (including the fund). All the victims were members of Permanent Relief Societies to which they paid contributions weekly and most had private life insurance with friendly societies and all were covered by the Workmen’s Compensation Act 1906 which brought together all (except the private insurance) the compensation to produce a lump sum and annuity for the dependants

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