Memorial service held to remember more than 160 men and boys who lost their lives in two explosions at Seaham Colliery mine

A memorial service was held on the anniversary of a huge explosion at Seaham Colliery in 1880 which took the lives of 164 men and boys.

Wednesday, 8th September 2021, 1:07 pm
People gathered at the memorial service to remember those that sadly died in the Seaham Colliery explosions.

The Seaham community gathered at Christ Church on September 8 to mark the anniversary of an explosion at Seaham Colliery in 1880.

The explosion happened without warning at 2.20am during a maintenance shift at the Seaham mine and nobody from the immediate area of the explosion survived.

Many miners who were trapped sadly passed away before rescuers could unblock shafts to reach them.

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The service began at 11am at Christ Church in Seaham.

A mass funeral was held on Sunday September 12, 1880 where an estimated 40,000 people attended.

Another explosion at the Seaham Colliery mine happened just nine years earlier on Wednesday October 25, 1871 which killed 26 miners.

Following on from the tragedy, a memorial service was held today to remember those who lost their lives.

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Seaham High School students James Cox, Max Ebdy and Amy Hall with Headteacher Geoffrey Lumsden.

Stephen Guy, Chairman of the Durham Miners’ Association said: “It’s very important to remember those fallen miners who made the ultimate sacrifice for this country and this village.

"Seaham wouldn’t be what it is today without the miners and the mining community still continue to look after each other.”

The service, that begun at 11am earlier today heard words from the Mayor of Seaham, the Headteacher of Seaham High School and the Durham Miners’ Association (DMA) General Secretary.

Geoffrey Lumsden, Headteacher at Seaham High School said: “It’s massively important to remember our heritage and we encourage our students to take pride in where they came from so it’s vital to come together with the community to honour this well fought privilege we have today.”

The memorial to the 1880 pit disaster which happened 141 years ago.

Seaham High School students James Cox, Max Ebdy and Amy Hall represented the school by laying flowers at the service.

Alan Mardghum, the DMA General Secretary added: “We are passing down a legacy and these memorial services are vital for remembering and learning for the future – it’s fantastic that the younger generation are here to commemorate those who sacrificed their lives to make our lives better.”

A blessing from Rev Paul Harrison of Christ Church and a hymn from the DMA brass band ended the remembrance service.

Flags were seen outside the memorial in Seaham.

Leanne Kennedy, Mayor of Seaham said: “We need to educate our children on this kind of history because it’s paramount in this community, it’s so important to our town.”

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