What Was the Gresford Colliery Disaster and When Did it Take Place?

What Was the Gresford Colliery Disaster and When Did it Take Place?

At 2.08am on Saturday 22 September 1934 a devastating underground explosion occurred in the Gresford Colliery in North Wales, UK.

‘They had heard no sound whatever, neither of a voice nor of a knock’

The exact cause of the explosion remains unclear to this day but a build-up of flammable gases resulting from inadequate ventilation may have been to blame. Upwards of 500 men were working underground on the night shift at the time.

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Over half of them were working in the Dennis ‘district’ of the mine where the explosion took place. Only six succeeded in getting clear of the fires and fumes that engulfed the Dennis area in the aftermath of the initial explosion. The rest were either killed instantly or trapped.

Last night the officials told us with distress that they had heard no sound whatever, neither of a voice nor of a knock. Yet the feeble chance has inspirited rescuers to go on without word of despair.

Guardian, 24 September 1934

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A difficult decision

Rescue efforts were hampered by conditions inside the workings where fires continued to burn. Three members of a rescue team from the nearby Llay Main colliery died of asphyxiation in the wrecked tunnels. After further fruitless efforts to penetrate the Dennis district it was decided that the risk of losing more lives was too great. Rescue attempts were abandoned and the mine’s shafts temporarily sealed.

A painting in All Saints’ Church, Gresford commemorates the disaster with a book including the names of those who died. Credit: Llywelyn2000 / Commons.

The shafts were reopened after six months. Search and repair teams entered the workings again. Only 11 bodies (seven miners and the three rescue men) could be recovered. Air samples taken from deeper inside the Dennis district showed high levels of toxicity so inspectors refused to allow any further attempts to enter that area. It was permanently sealed off.

The bodies of 254 further victims remain entombed there to this day.


Coal Mines Act 1911

The Coal Mines Act 1911 amended and consolidated legislation in the United Kingdom related to collieries. A series of mine disasters in the 19th and early-20th centuries had led to commissions of enquiry and legislation to improve mining safety. The 1911 Act, sponsored by Winston Churchill, was passed by the Liberal government of H. H. Asquith. It built on earlier regulations and provided for many improvement to safety and other aspects of the coal mining industry. An important aspect was that mine owners were required to ensure there were mines rescue stations near each colliery with equipped and trained staff. Although amended several times, it was the main legislation governing coal mining for many years.


The Midweek Hymn: Gresford, ‘The Miners’ Hymn’

I DON’T know if a melody without words is strictly speaking a hymn, but this certainly sounds like one. It commemorates a disaster less than 100 years ago, though it was such a different time that it might as well be a thousand.

In the early hours of Saturday September 22, 1934, nearly 300 miners were working the night shift half a mile underground at Gresford Colliery near Wrexham in north-east Wales. It was not a popular mine to work in. It was prone to ‘firedamp’, a mixture of flammable gases which can trigger explosions. Conditions were unbearably hot, between 86F and 92F – the men had holes drilled in their clogs to let out the sweat – and ventilation was poor. Safety practices were regularly ignored. But with six men for every job there was no shortage of applicants to earn £2 5s (£2.25) a week. The mine had made a loss in 1933 and the manager was under pressure from the owner to increase profitability.

At 2.08 am there was a violent explosion more than a mile and a quarter from the bottom of the shaft. Fire immediately broke out. Thirty-six men were on the shaft side of the blaze but all the rest were trapped. A six-man group went ahead, attempting to fan the air to mitigate the effects of the deadly afterdamp, the toxic mixture of gases resulting from a firedamp explosion, but they soon realised the other 30 had not followed them. After a long and difficult climb up 1 in 3 gradients, several ladders, and past rockfalls, they made it to safety. They were the only men to survive. Volunteers from nearby pits went down the shaft and a dozen bodies were recovered. All had died from burns and carbon monoxide poisoning. One team of four rescuers misinterpreted instructions and entered a narrow tunnel although their canary (still in use in those days) died instantly. Two collapsed and the team leader dragged one of them 40 yards towards safety before being overcome himself. He survived but the other three died.

By dawn, crowds of anxious relatives and off-duty miners were gathered at the pit head waiting for news. Here is a Pathe News report.

In the evening they were told that the trapped men would soon be rescued, but the information was wrong. By Sunday evening it was clear that the inferno had spread and there were more explosions. The relatives were told there was no hope of any survivors, and rescue efforts were halted. The last man to leave the pit said: ‘From the point where the fire is raging for twenty yards the stones are red-hot.’

The shaft was capped off and 254 bodies remained underground. In total 266 died. Two hundred women were widowed and 800 children lost their fathers. All the other miners at the colliery, 1,600 men, were thrown on to the dole.

Here is a video featuring Ted Andrews, one of the six who escaped.

Relief funds were set up by the Mayor of Wrexham, the Lord Lieutenant of Denbighshire and the Lord Mayor of London. These raised more than £580,000 for the dependants of the victims, equivalent to more than £41million in 2019.

An inquiry was chaired by Sir Henry Walker, His Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Mines, who had himself been in the pit during the rescue attempts.

His report in 1937 was inconclusive and did not attribute any outright blame or definitive cause for the disaster.

The only conviction against the management at Gresford Colliery was £150 plus costs for inadequate record-keeping.

The part of the pit involved in the disaster was never mined or opened up again.

The disaster inspired former mine-worker and musician Robert Saint (1905-1950) to compose Gresford for brass bands. He was born in Hebburn on South Tyneside and went down his local pit in 1919 after leaving school at 14. He worked with the pit ponies until the mine closed in 1932, leaving him unemployed. He earned money by giving music lessons and playing in a dance band. After the Gresford disaster he joined the Royal Northumberland Fusiliers as a bandsman, playing the trombone. Gresford was first performed publicly during the Durham Miners’ Gala in 1938, and quickly became known as ‘The Miners’ Hymn.

Saint was discharged from service for medical reasons in 1939. In 1940, he joined the National Equine (and Smaller Animals) Defence League and eventually became a regional organiser. He was a heavy smoker and suffered from chronic industrial lung disease. He died at the age of 45 leaving a widow and two children. All the royalties he gained from Gresford were donated to the National Union of Mineworkers.

I found these words on a website, which says they were on a Durham Miners’ Gala programme, but I don’t know what year, and no writer is credited. I don’t know if they really fit the melody. I don’t even know if they have ever been sung. However they are poignant verses.

Creator, who with marvellous designThe world and all that is within did makeThe lofty mountain, and the mine:Hear now our prayer for Jesu’s sake.

Lord of the oceans and the sky above,
Whose wondrous grace has blessed us from our birth,
Look with compassion, and with love
On all who toil beneath the earth.

They spend their lives in dark, with danger fraught,
Remote from nature’s beauties, far below,
Winning the coal, oft dearly bought
To drive the wheel, the hearth make glow.

Now we remember miners who have died
Trapped in the darkness of the earth’s cold womb
Brave men to free them, vainly tried,
Still their work-place remained their tomb.

All who were shattered in explosion’s blast
Or overcome with fatal gas have slept,
Or crushed neath stone, have breathed their last
And the bereaved, who for them wept.

O Saviour Christ, who on the cruel tree
For all mankind thy precious blood has shed
In Life Eternal trusting, we
To thy safe keeping leave our dead.

The melody is still often played by brass bands and at gathering of miners and ex-miners. Here is a performance by the Black Dyke Band.

Here it is played by the Murton Colliery Band of Co Durham.

As the sole YouTube commenter says, ‘The small audience obviously don’t realise the significance of the hymn. Our own social history has been quietly moved from view to where, the only people who can actually remember, remember!’

How sad and shameful it would be if he is right and we forget the past that was Britain so quickly.

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Remembering the Gresford Disaster

On this date, September 22nd in 1934, just a short distance from where I sit writing this article 266 men and boys where killed at Gresford Colliery. An explosion and underground fire devastated the local area, where barely a local family was left unaffected by the event.

The Cause still reads “Exact cause not determined” but in a day where profits and personal pride of the establishment seemed more important than human life, it is now widely accepted that the evidence all pointed to failures in safety procedures and poor mine management.

To pour extra salt into the wounds a decision was made to permanently seal the colliery’s damaged areas, meaning that only eleven bodies of those who died were ever recovered.

The explosion happened at 2:08am ripping through the Dennis section, one of three coal seams being worked at Gresford at that time. Dennis section held a 2.1metre seam that produced softer industrial coal.

In Dennis the night overman, Fred Davies, who was on duty at the bottom of the main shaft, heard a crashing sound and was enveloped in a cloud of dust for around 30 seconds. When it cleared he telephoned the surface and told William Bonsall, the manager: “something has happened down the Dennis. I think it has fired.” Bonsall immediately went into the mine to try to establish what had occurred. At approximately 3.30am the afternoon shift overman, Benjamin Edwards, reported that parts of the Dennis main road were on fire beyond a junction, known as the Clutch, where the haulage motors were located, and that a large number of miners were trapped beyond the blaze. Meanwhile, the shift that was working the Slant was ordered to the pit bottom and told to get out of the mine.

Only six men had escaped from the Dennis section, all of whom were working in 29’s district: Robert (Ted) Andrews, Cyril Challoner, Thomas Fisher, David Jones (the district’s night shift deputy), Albert (Bert) Samuels, and Jack Samuels. Some of the group were sitting taking a mid-shift break about 300 yards (270 m) north of the Clutch when the initial explosion happened. Jack Samuels, in his testimony at the inquest, described hearing a “violent thud […] followed at once by dust” while at the face and commenting “that’s the bloody bottom gone”.
By the “bottom”, Samuels clarified that he meant 14’s district, which lay below them. A colleague advised them to leave the district via the “wind road” which was the 29’s air return drift. Samuels told a further 30 men working in the 29’s district to follow. But as the six-man lead group went ahead attempting to fan the air to mitigate the effects of the deadly afterdamp, they soon realised the other miners had not followed them. Jack Samuels described how Jones repeatedly fell back, commenting he was “done”, but Samuels told him to “stick it” and shouldered the deputy up a ladder Samuels was commended at the inquest for his bravery and leadership of the group. After a long and difficult escape up 1:3 gradients, several ladders, and past rockfalls, the six miners eventually rejoined the Dennis main road and met Andrew Williams, the under-manager, who along with Bonsall had immediately descended the Dennis main shaft on being notified of the explosion. Williams took David Jones and went on towards the Clutch, while the remaining five went to the pit bottom and safety.

Beyond the Clutch, Williams found three falls in the main haulage road. Once he got past them he discovered a fire had started about 20 yards before the main entrance to 29’s district, blocking escape from the districts further inbye, and immediately sent back for men and materials to fight it. The evidence of Williams, Bonsall and Ben Edwards, who all saw the fire at this critical point, differed on how large it was: Bonsall thought they could not get close enough to it to fight it, but Edwards, who was able to view the burning spot directly, said that it did “not seem much of a fire”, and the final report of the inquest was inconclusive as to whether the fire could have been put out at this stage if better equipment had been to hand. Williams and the overman Fred Davies made an initial attempt to get up to the fire using breathing apparatus, but were driven back by fumes.

Shortly before dawn, volunteers with pit ponies began entering the pit to tackle the fire and clear debris. The trained mine rescue teams around the area were alerted but delays and management failures meant there were delays in response.

In the interim many volunteers from the area’s mines were sent below to assist: a manager from another colliery, sent down at about 4:30 am, described his attempts to extinguish the fires. Six dead miners, all men who had been working near the Clutch, were soon brought to the surface. By 5:00 am the Gresford rescue team was already in the pit and some of the teams from the neighbouring Llay Main Colliery were at the surface, though they grew increasingly frustrated while waiting to be called down.

At 8:40 am, the 18-man Llay team finally received a call down the pit and went in accompanied by a Gresford miner who was to show them the way. In a somewhat disorganised fashion John Charles Williams and his two rescue men making up the No. 1 Llay team, along with a Gresford rescue man W. Hughes, were instructed by the Gresford staff then below ground to check the mile-long return airway of the 20’s district. Bonsall later stated that his intent had only been that the team establish the atmosphere in the return: he claimed that his order had been “not to go in until they got definite instructions from me, because what I had in my mind was that it would be charged with carbon monoxide, and I did not want them to go through that because there would not be the slightest chance of getting men back through it.” The instruction was, however, misinterpreted by a deputy as meaning that the team should physically enter the return accordingly the rescue team entered the airway using breathing apparatus, despite the fact that their canary died instantly. Williams, the team’s leader, ordered them back when after several hundred yards after the airway ahead narrowed to 3 feet (0.91 m) by 3 feet (0.91 m) and less. Two of the team then in Williams’ words “seemed to get alarmed” and collapsed, possibly after removing their nose clips Williams then tried dragging a third team member for over 40 yards (37 m) towards safety before being overcome himself by poisonous gases. Williams would be the only survivor he was said by his family to be the man who later wrote the anonymous broadside ballad “The Gresford Disaster”, which was highly critical of the mine’s management.

Despite the fact that the carbon monoxide levels in the 20’s return suggested that no-one further inbye could be left alive, rescue efforts became focused on trying to fight the fire at 29’s Turn, using sand, stone dust, and extinguishers. The miners trapped in the most northerly districts, the 20’s and 61’s, would have been more than 1 mile (1.6 km) on the other side of the fire, and rockfalls at the entrance to the 29’s soon made it clear there was little chance of escape for the men trapped in the affected districts. As the falls were levelled, the fire become more severe: Parry Davies, captain of the Llay No. 2 rescue team, described the whole end of the level as “one mass of flame, the coal sides of the roadway, burning in one white mass, and the more stones we moved to one side, the more air we put on to the flames […] It was most peculiar to see the flames from that fire, all the colours of the rainbow, a sight which I will never forget.”

By early Saturday morning large crowds of concerned relatives and off-duty miners had gathered silently at the pit head awaiting news. Hopes were raised in the evening when rumours began circulating that the fire in the Dennis main road was being brought under control families waiting at the surface were told rescue teams would soon be able to reach the miners in the 29’s, the nearest district beyond the Clutch.

However, by Sunday evening it became clear that conditions in the pit had become extremely hazardous. Fire took hold in 29’s haulage road as well as 142’s Deep, and the rescue teams were withdrawn as further explosions took place behind a heavy fall on the far side of the fire. Relatives were told the shafts into the Dennis section would be capped because no one could have survived and it was far too dangerous to try to recover any further bodies. The final man to leave the pit, John McGurk, president of the Lancashire and Cheshire Miners’ Federation, commented “there is no chance that any man is alive. I have been down in pits after ten explosions, but I have never seen anything like this. From the point where the fire is raging for twenty yards the stones are red-hot”.

More explosions continued to occur within the pit over the next few days. On 25 September, a surface worker named George Brown became the disaster’s final victim when he was killed by flying debris after one blast blew the cap off the Dennis shaft.

Let us not forget those that lost their lives, the youngest just 15 years old.


What Was the Gresford Colliery Disaster and When Did it Take Place? - History

One of the most appalling disasters in the history of British mining occurred at the Gresford Colliery, owned by the Westminster and United Collieries Group. The mine operated in two main sections, the Dennis and the Slant. The explosion occurred in the Dennis, one of the deepest pits in the North Wales coalfields. The Dennis Main Deep was ruptured by the explosions, and many miners would have been flung across the pit roads, some of them dying instantly. Others were burnt alive, gassed, asphyxiated or crushed to death. There is no doubt that there were others trapped alive with no means of escape who were the victims of later explosions and the release of more gas, and who were dead before they were entombed forever by the sealing of the mine by their colleagues.

Only six men in the Dennis survived the explosion.

Within a few hours of the first explosion, more than 1000 men had assembled at the pithead in the cold and pouring rain, waiting to help their comrades, sealed behind a wall of fire, two miles from the bottom of the downtake shaft. This needs to be understood in the context of the times and the communications technology of the day.

The Chronicle reporter writes "As the pit cage wheels turned, the large crowds were scattered over the pit banks, and all over the colliery yard, and the highest bank was thick with silent men standing in the rain, waiting and watching. The saddest confirmation was soon available. The wheels of the winding shaft began their revolutions once more, and I saw two of the rescue party brought up - dead". There was a call for 20 volunteers, and 100 men stepped forward. Nobody spoke. The women stood quietly in the rain.

Shortly after 8-00pm on Sunday night, the following official statement was issued

Sir Stafford Cripps lead the investigation into the disaster, and this inquiry ended two and a half years later, when the report was tabled in Parliament. In 1937, proceedings were started against the Manager of the mine, the under Manager, firemen individually and jointly against United and Westminster Collieries Limited, and hearings commenced on 20 April 1937 at Wrexham County Petty Sessions Court.

The Gresford Colliery continued to be worked, but not the Dennis Section. Mining at Gresford in the Slant District continued until 23 October 1973, but the pit was closed officially on economic grounds on 10 November 1973


The History Of Wrexham’s Mining Heritage

In this week’s look back at Wrexham’s History, today we take a look back at the town’s mining heritage.

Wrexham’s industrial prosperity is founded largely on its mineral wealth and its coal resources in particular.

The local story of coalmining goes back to the fifteenth century, although it was then little more than surface digging. Early records show that the first coal barons were the Grosvenors of Eaton, near Chester and the Myddeltons of Chirk Castle. With the perfection of a process for making iron with coke instead of charcoal, there was a greater demand for coal at the beginning of the eighteenth century.

John Wilkinson, the great ironmaster, provided a local outlet for coal when he took over the ailing Bersham furnace from his father, Isaac. He also sank his own pits in the locality and when he established the new iron works at Brymbo, he sank more pits at Brymbo Hall, 1,500-acre estate which he bought. Records show that there had been about 90 pits and levels on this estate. Other local ironmasters such as Thomas Jones, T. E. Ward and Hazeldine, who supplied the superstructure for Telford’s bridges, were also creating a demand for East Denbighshire coal.

The coal industry went into a decline early in the 19th century but recovered with the age of steam, local coal being used to fuel steamships and railway engines, apart from being used for making gas and providing domestic heating. In 1854, 26 mines were operating on the western side of the town, Ruabon, Rhos, Acrefair, Brymbo and Broughton being the main areas. At this time, Wrexham’s coal mining potential attracted many newcomers with specialist mining knowledge, such as Henry Robertson, William Young Craig, James Sparrow, William Henry Darby, Thomas Clayton, William Low and Henry Dennis.

Their arrival heralded a new era in coal-mining. Small mines were phased out and mining developed into larger operations with such collieries as Westminster, Hafod, Bersham, Wynnstay, Wrexham and Acton, Llay Hall and Gatewen. The next and final chapter in coal mining began in the 20th century with the sinking of two deep pits, on the northern side of Wrexham. Gresford, (2,260 ft. at its deepest) began winding in coal in 1911, and Llay Main, (2,715 ft. deep) brought up its first coal in 1923. Sinking at Llay had started in 1914, but work had to be suspended because of the war. Llay Main, a £1 million venture, was a successful pit and the biggest employer of labour in the coalfield with 2,500 at one time on its payroll. It closed in 1966.

When the coal industry was nationalised in 1948, the collieries operating in East Denbighshire were Llay Main, Gresford, Hafod, Bersham and Black Park. Ifton just the other side of the border in Shropshire, and Point of Ayr on the Dee Estuary made up the North Wales coalfield. Black Park closed in 1949, Hafod and Ifton in 1968 and Gresford in 1973. Bersham, employing about 700 men, remained until 1986 and was the last active colliery of a once-flourishing coalfield, which at its peak had as many as 38 pits, and once employed more than 18,000 people.

Today, spoil banks and Bersham pithead gear pockmark the landscape but the main scar that coal mining has left is on the minds of those who were bereaved by the Gresford Disaster of 1934. It was one of the worst in mining history claiming 265 lives. The explosion took place at 2 a.m. on September 22, 1934 in the Dennis section of the mine. Except for a few men working near the pit bottom, and one deputy and five men who escaped along an airway, all 262 men in this section lost their lives. Three rescue men died later the same day overcome by gas.

Fire followed the explosion and unsuccessful attempts were made to deal with it. By the evening of the following day, it was decided that there was no hope for the entombed men. The two shafts were sealed off at the tops because of the danger of inflammable gas, and after a series of small explosions, a tremendous explosion on September 25 blew off the concrete seal, killing a surface worker with flying debris. A relief fund to help the 166 widows and 229 fatherless children created by the explosion raised £556,871, and is still paying out to dependants.

The court of inquiry which opened in October 1934 did not close until July 1936, and among eminent counsel who appeared were Hartley Shawcross and Stafford Cripps. Among the criticisms made by Sir Henry Walker, the court commissioner, were in-adequate ventilation, failure to record air measurements, disregard of shot firing regulations, and failure to observe the permitted working hours. In 1937, the owners and certain officials were charged with 43 offences at a Wrexham court. On eight charges, fines of £140 with £350 costs were imposed, the remaining charges being dismissed.

The pit remained sealed for six months after the disaster, and was eventually brought back into production after a long and difficult recovery operation. Because of the risk of new explosions through the in-leakage of air, the affected district of the pit was permanently sealed off and no further attempt to recover the bodies was made. The pit resumed an active life, employing more than 2,000 at its peak. The National Coal Board closed it in 1973, geological difficulties having made it uneconomic.

Wrexham has undoubtedly prospered a result of coal mining, but has paid a high price in terms of human suffering.
Wrexham History 2014

Sources: Wrexham Advertiser, Llangollen Advertiser, Wrexham & District Official Guide 1975.


See Category talk:Mining disasters for a discussion on whether to rename this and similar articles to remove the capitalisation. [[User:InaugurationBold text[[

--82.31.187.254 (talk) 19:17, 27 January 2010 (UTC)
]]| Z iggurat]] 21:36, 2 July 2006 (UTC)

This article says . closed on economic grounds. The Gresford article says . closed due to "geological problems". Neither claim is provided with a reference. "Economic grounds" can be a variety of reasons, only one of which is "geological problems". These claims could benefit from clarification. Does anyone have any reliable sources? Feline Hymnic (talk) 17:16, 2 May 2009 (UTC)

I just wondered whether the list should be put in its own article because of the length of the table? It makes the page unnecessarily long and difficult to navigate.

It's obviously very important, but it's already stated that there were more than 260 casualties, so this seems a little bit too much minutiae.

Any interested person could then use the link to see the page entitled: (for example) List of casualties of the 1934 Gresford Disaster.

Just a thought. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 86.170.214.23 (talk) 11:39, 28 May 2009 (UTC)

I'd support such a move. garik (talk) 14:11, 28 May 2009 (UTC) I agree as well. The list is also incorrect, it doesn't match the Remembrance book on the WCBC website or the other lists online. If there are no objections I'll create a new article with the list based on the Book of Remembrance.Apau98 (talk) 09:57, 20 February 2011 (UTC) Fully support. Martinevans123 (talk) 10:51, 20 February 2011 (UTC) Fully support, even though rather late. JDAWiseman (talk) 19:58, 13 October 2016 (UTC) About 82 years? Martinevans123 (talk) 20:09, 13 October 2016 (UTC)

Why was this moved without any discussion? It may be, technically, "better grammar", but it's a well-known enough event to merit full capitalisation in this case, surely? Svejk74 (talk) 08:02, 29 September 2009 (UTC)

The comment below was posted to the article. --bonadea contributions talk 11:48, 20 November 2009 (UTC)

I was reading the article which interested me greatly, I note that the time recorded for the explosion is 2:08 am but the anonymous lyrics below for the poem state time as three in the morning. I just wondered which was the correct time possibly who ever wrote the lyrics did not know the exact time and so rounded the figure up to 3.00 am —Preceding unsigned comment added by Chameleon6 (talk • contribs) 11:39, November 20, 2009 (UTC)

The table has been moved as per WP:MEMORIAL.

The names are already available at Wrexham's own Virtual Book of Remembrance which is already an external link in this article.

Surname Forename Address Age Occupation
Anders John Thomas Bertie Road, Wrexham 31 Repairer
Anders Joseph Empress Road, Wrexham 27 Beltman
Andrews Alfred Benjamin Road, Wrexham 43 Collier
Archibald Joe Finney Street, Rhosddu 47 Collier
Archibald Thomas Council Houses, Pandy 42 Collier
Byrne Colin Goxhill 40 Collier
Bateman Maldwyn Lorne Street, Rhosddu 15 Collier
Bather Edward Wynn Finney Street, Rhosddu 36 Collier
Beddows Edward The Woodlands, High Street, Gwersyllt 63 Collier
Bew Arthur Colliery Houses, Rhosddu 45 Collier
Bewley Thomas Park Street, Rhosddu 58 Collier
Bowen Alfred Langdale Avenue, Rhostyllen 53 Collier
Boycott Henry Offa Terrace, Wrexham 38 Packer
Brain Herbert Pentrefelin, Wrexham 31 Collier
Bramwell George Western Road, New Broughton 30 Collier
Brannan John Ffordd Edgeworth, Maesydre, Wrexham 32 Collier
Brown George Birkett Street, Rhostyllen 59 Surface worker
Brown William Arthur Hightown Road, Wrexham 22 Haulage
Bryan John A.H. Llewellyn Road, Coedpoeth 20 Collier
Buckley A. Windy Hill, Summerhill 21 Collier
Burns Fred Bennions Road, Huntroyde, Wrexham 41 Collier
Capper John A. Wrexham Road, Broughton 35 Collier
Cartwright Albert Edward Florence Street, Rhosddu 24 Collier
Cartwright Charles Florence Street, Rhosddu 24 Collier
Chadwick Stephen Kenyon Street, Wrexham 21 Collier
Chesters Edwin Beales Cottages, Bradley 67 Fireman
Clutton Arthur Lorne Street, Rhosddu 29 Collier
Clutton George Albert March Terrace, New Rhosrobin 20 Collier
Clutton John T. Council Houses, Pandy 35 Haulage
Collins John Council Houses, Pandy 62 Shot Firer
Cornwall Thomas Bennions Road, Wrexham 30 Collier
Crump William Council Houses, Bradley 36 Collier
Darlington Thomas Mountain Street, Rhosllannerchrugog 28 Collier
Davies Arthur Havelock Square, Wrexham 24 Collier
Davies Edward Cyngorfa, Rhosllannerchrugog 53 Collier
Davies George William Farndon Street, Wrexham 26 Collier
Davies Hugh T. Holly Bush Terrace, Bradley 26 Collier
Davies James Williams Cottages, Moss 31 Collier
Davies James Boundary Terrace, Green, Brymbo 37 Collier
Davies James Edward Farndon Street, Wrexham 21 Collier
Davies John Meifod Place, Wrexham 64 Collier
Davies John Fernleigh, Rhosrobin Road, Wrexham 45 Collier
Davies John E. Bennions Road, Wrexham 32 Collier
Davies John R. Fernleigh, Rhosrobin 69 Collier
Davies Matthias Erw Las, Maesydre, Wrexham Collier
Davies Peter Newtown, Gresford 50 Collier
Davies Peter March Terrace, New Rhosrobin 25 Collier
Davies Peter Glanllyn, Bradley 21 Collier
Davies Robert Thomas Mountain View, Caego 34 Collier
Davies Samuel Woodland View, New Rhosrobin 35 Collier
Davies Thomas Erw Cottage, Caergwrle 31 Collier
Davies William Acton Terrace, Rhosnesni, Wrexham 33 Collier
Dodd Thomas Maeseinion, Rhosllannerchrugog 39 Collier
Duckett Fred Beech Terrace, Ruabon 29 Collier
Edge John Nelson Street, Hightown 28 Collier
Edge Samuel South Street, Rhosllannerchrugog 30 Collier
Edwards Albert Nr Kings Head, Moss 62 Collier
Edwards Ernest Green Road, Brymbo 16 Collier
Edwards E. Glyn Woodland View, New Rhosrobin 23 Collier
Edwards Ernest Thomas Queen Street, Rhosllannerchrugog 53 Collier
Edwards Frank Chestnut Ave, Acton, Wrexham 23 Collier
Edwards James Sam Top Road, Moss 87 Collier
Edwards John Edward Glanyrafon, Maesydre 39 Collier
Edwards John C. Coronation Cottages, New Road, Southsea Collier
Edwards Thomas David New Street, Rhosllannerchrugog 40 Collier
Edwards William Church Street, Rhosllannerchrugog 32 Collier
Edwardson John High Street, Gresford 41 Collier
Ellis George Council Houses, Pandy 43 Collier
Evans Fred Grange Road, Rhosddu 50 Collier
Evans John Ness Cottage, Park Wall, Gwersyllt 32 Collier
Evans Norman Grange Road, Rhosddu 45 Collier
Evans Ralph Pentre Lane, Llay 34 Collier
Fisher Len Maple Avenue, Acton 44 Collier
Foulkes Irwin Bryn Gardden, Rhosllannerchrugog 21 Collier
Gabriel Richard George Crispin Lane, Wrexham 61 Collier
Gittins Johm Henry Abenbury Street, Wrexham 42 Collier
Goodwin John Chapel Road, New Broughton 51 Collier
Griffiths Edward Brandie Cottages, Ruabon 21 Collier
Griffiths Ellis Cyngorfa, Rhosllannerchrugog 50 Collier
Griffiths Emmanuel High Street, Penycae 53 Collier
Griffiths Charles Gardd Estyn, Garden Village 25 Collier
Griffiths Frank Oxford Street, Wrexham 57 Collier
Griffiths Walter Victoria Road, Brynteg 50 Collier
Hall Walter Church Road, Brynteg 49 Collier
Hallam T.W. Railway Terrace, Gwersyllt 32 Collier
Hamlington Arthur Yew Tree Cottage, Summerhill 62 Collier
Hampson Frank Ruabon Road, Rhostyllen 32 Collier
Harrison Arthur Moss Hill, Moss 21 Collier
Harrison Charles Edward James Street, Wrexham 15 Collier
Hewitt Phillip Poplar Avenue, Rhosllannerchrugog 56 Collier
Higgins William Finney Street, Rhosddu 27 Collier
Holt Alfred Pentre Lane, Llay 31 Collier
Houlden John Henry Second Avenue, Llay 21 Collier
Hughes Cecil Tanygraig, Minera 23 Collier
Hughes Daniel First Avenue, Llay 56 Rescuer
Hughes Francis O. Acton Terrace, Rhosnesni 60 Collier
Hughes Harry Hill Crescent, Spring Lodge, Wrexham 44 Collier
Hughes John Percy Road, Wrexham 58 Collier
Hughes Peter Joseph Tanygraig, Minera 27 Collier
Hughes Robert John Lorne Street, Rhosddu 29 Collier
Hughes Walter Ellis Rosemary Crescent, Rhostyllen 24 Collier
Hughes William Long Row, Brymbo 43 Collier
Hughes William Jackson's Houses, New Rhosrobin 54 Rescuer
Humphreys Ben Vernon Street, Rhosddu 34 Collier
Humphreys John Edwards Road, Brynteg 30 Collier
Husbands Thomas Manley Road, Wrexham 40 Collier
Jarvis Ernest Ddol, Bersham 41 Collier
Jenkins William Heol Offa, Tanyfron 25 Collier
Johns Percy Ffordd Edgeworth, Maesydre 27 Collier
Jones Albert Edward Nelson Street, Wrexham 31 Collier
Jones Azariah Westminster Road, Moss 37 Collier
Jones Cyril Main Road, Rhosrobin 26 Collier
Jones Daniel Western Road, New Broughton 33 Collier
Jones David L. Colliery Road, Rhosddu 36 Collier
Jones Edward Woodland View, High Street, Gwersyllt 64 Collier
Jones Edward Queen Street, Cefn Mawr 56 Collier
Jones Edward George Ruabon Road, Wrexham 23 Collier
Jones Eric Rosemary Crescent, Rhostyllen 23 Collier
Jones Ernest Glan Garth, Maesydre 36 Collier
Jones Bill Glan Garth, Maesydre 14 Collier
Jones Evan Hugh Marion House, New Brighton, Minera 55 Collier
Jones Fred Woodland View, New Rhosrobin 30 Collier
Jones Frederick H.C. Bridge Street, Holt 31 Collier
Jones Francis Council Houses, Berse 27 Collier
Jones George Glan Garth, Maesydre 47 Collier
Jones George Humphrey Russell Street, Cefn Mawr 22 Collier
Jones Gwilym Glan Garth, Maesydre 52 Collier
Jones Henry Gordon Terrace, Rhosddu 59 Collier
Jones Idris Nant Road, Coedpoeth 37 Collier
Jones Iorwerth Bryn Dolwar, Rhosrobin Road, Wrexham 52 Collier
Jones Jabez Morgan Avenue, Rhosddu 43 Collier
Jones John Dan Williams Cottages, Moss 42 Collier
Jones John Richard Mostyn View, Coedpoeth 33 Collier
Jones John Robert Pentre Lane, Llay Collier
Jones Llewellyn Windsor Road, New Broughton 49 Collier
Jones Llewellyn Yew Tree Bungalow, Gresford 40 Collier
Jones Llewellyn Bersham Road, New Broughton 38 Collier
Jones Neville Ffordd Maelor, Maesydre, Wrexham 30 Collier
Jones Richard Henry Bryn Terrace, Ruabon 21 Collier
Jones Richard J. White House Lodge, Brymbo 34 Collier
Jones Robert Trefechan, Penycae 57 Deputy
Jones Robert Hillock Lane, Gresford 49 Collier
Jones Thomas Council Houses, Gresford 55 Collier
Jones Thomas E. Poolmouth Road, Moss Collier
Jones Thomas John Bryndedwydd, Marford Hill 58 Collier
Jones Thomas O. Penllyn, Trevor, Llangollen 59 Collier
Jones William Lorne Street, Rhosddu 51 Collier
Jones William Lloyd Street, Rhosllannerchrugog 21 Collier
Kelsall James Florence Street, Wrexham 30 Collier
Kelsall John Rose Cottage, Common Wood, Holt 37 Collier
Lawrence William Nelson Street, Hightown, Wrexham 43 Collier
Lee John Lee Heol Offa, Coedpoeth 30 Collier
Lee Thomas Heol Offa, Coedpoeth 16 Collier
Lewis David Merlin Street, Johnstown 44 Collier
Lewis David Thomas Middle Road, Coedpoeth 46 Collier
Lewis Jack Cefn y Bedd 48 Rescuer
Lilly Joel Main Road, Rhosrobin 41 Collier
Lloyd Thomas Colliery Road, Rhosddu 55 Collier
Lloyd William Finney Street, Rhosddu 59 Collier
Lloyd William Sidney Pentre Lane, Llay Collier
Lucas John Council Houses, Gwersyllt 59 Collier
Maggs Colin Talwrn House, Talwrn 17 Collier
Mannion Albert Hill Crest, Spring Lodge, Wrexham 29 Collier
Manuel Thomas A. Meadows Lane, Spring Lodge, Wrexham 33 Collier
Martin William Henry Newtown, Gresford 37 Collier
Matthews William V. Hill Street, Penycae 18 Collier
Mathias Samuel Eagle's Place, Moss 42 Rescuer
McKean John Cheshire View, Spring Lodge, Wrexham 30 Collier
Meade William St. John's Road, Wrexham 39 Collier
Mitchell George James Street, Wrexham 23 Collier
Monks Ernest Glanrafon, Bwlchgwyn 23 Collier
Morley Edward Council Houses, Bradley 57 Collier
Morris Alfred High Street, Penycae 20 Collier
Nichols Harry Ashfield Road, Crispin Lane, Wrexham 32 Collier
Nichols John Beast Market, Wrexham 29 Collier
Nichols William Henry Farndon Street, Wrexham 25 Collier
Owens Evan Henry Cunliffe Walk, Garden Village, Wrexham 54 Collier
Palmer Alex Kingstown, Maesydre 20 Collier
Parry Isaac Western View, Wrexham Road, Brymbo 40 Collier
Parry Joseph Western View, Wrexham Road, Brymbo 65 Collier
Parry John E. Pisgah Hill, New Broughton 31 Collier
Parry John Richard Manley Road, Wrexham 21 Collier
Penny Stephen Stansty View, New Rhosrobin 23 Collier
Penny William H. Council Houses, Pandy 32 Collier
Perrin Frank Finney Street, Rhosddu 23 Collier
Peters Henry Pentre Lane, Llay 38 Collier
Phillips George Trevanna Way, Spring Lodge, Wrexham 22 Collier
Phillips Herbert Haig Road, Hightown, Wrexham 30 Collier
Phillips John Gardd Estyn, Garden Village, Wrexham 40 Collier
Pickering J. Sycamore Terrace, Old Rhosrobin 22 Collier
Powell Charles Dale Street, Wrexham 57 Railman
Price Ernest Moss Hill, Moss 27 Collier
Price Samuel Oakfield Terrace, Gresford 37 Collier
Pridding James Oxford Street, Wrexham 32 Collier
Prince Mark Manley Road, Wrexham 59 Collier
Prince William Meadow Lea, Spring Lodge, Wrexham 30 Collier
Pritchard Isiah Woodland View, New Rhosrobin 54 Collier
Pugh Ernest Quarry Rd, Brynteg 49 Collier
Pugh Thomas Vernon Street, Wrexham 54 Collier
Ralphs John Market Street, Wrexham 53 Collier
Rance Thomas High Street, Pentre Broughton 21 Collier
Rees Albert Gatewen Road, New Broughton 56 Collier
Reid Lloyd Bryn Gardden, Rhosllannerchrugog 20 Collier
Roberts Arthur A. Wire Mill Cottage, Bradley 63 Collier
Roberts Edward Bryn Estyn Cottage, Rhosnesni 35 Collier
Roberts Edward C. Council Houses, Gresford 42 Collier
Roberts Ernest Little Penybryn, Abenbury 26 Collier
Roberts Frank Bury Street, Wrexham 26 Collier
Roberts George Glanrafon, Maesydre, Wrexham 28 Repairer
Roberts H. Patison Road, Coedpoeth Collier
Roberts Idris Pumphouse, Highfield, Stansty 16 Collier
Roberts John David Lorne Street, Rhosddu 47 Collier
Roberts John H. Patison Row, Coedpoeth 33 Collier
Roberts Olwyn Hill Street, Penycae 24 Collier
Roberts Percy Bungalow, Llidiart Fanny, Coedpoeth 26 Collier
Roberts Robert off Brook Street, Rhosllannerchrugog 33 Collier
Roberts Robert John Market Street, Wrexham Collier
Roberts Robert Thomas Crispin Lane, Wrexham 57 Collier
Roberts Robert William Forge Row, Southsea 38 Collier
Roberts Thomas James Kendrick Place, Beast Market, Wrexham 19 Collier
Roberts William Princes Street, Wrexham 45 Collier
Roberts William T. Pentre Lane, Llay 40 Collier
Robertson William Spring Road, Rhosddu 41 Collier
Rogers Edward Llewellyn New Houses Lane, Llay 20 Collier
Rogers Grenville Wheatsheaf Lane, Gwersyllt 29 Collier
Ross Harry Nelson Street, Wrexham 34 Collier
Rowlands John Holt Road, Wrexham 36 Collier
Rowland John David Old Cross Foxes, Minera 17 Collier
Salisbury William Victoria Road, Brynteg 48 Collier
Shaw George Ashwood, Wrexham Road, Brynteg 63 Collier
Shone John Gresford 34 Collier
Shone Richard High Street, Gresford 49 Collier
Slawson Arthur Crescent Road, Wrexham 22 Collier
Smith Leonard Bennions Road, Huntroyde, Wrexham 20 Collier
Stevens Richard T. Pisgah Hill, Pentre Broughton 22 Collier
Strange Albert Nelson Street, Wrexham 25 Collier
Statford Stanley Ninth Avenue, Llay 39 Collier
Tarran John Liverpool Road, Buckley 59 Collier
Taylor William Henry Church Street, Holt 53 Collier
Thomas Berwyn Kent Road, Lodge, Brymbo 26 Collier
Thomas John Elias Queen's Terrace, Gwersyllt 29 Collier
Thomas Robert Pant Hill, Rhosllannerchrugog 32 Collier
Thomas Tec Council Houses, Pandy 26 Collier
Thornton John Coronation Cottages, New Broughton 24 Collier
Tittle Edward Smithy Lane, Acton 44 Collier
Trowe Ernest Huntroyde Avenue, Wrexham 41 Collier
Valentine Fred Glan Dwr, Acrefair 24 Collier
Vaughan John Edward Alford Street, Wrexham 28 Collier
White John Chapel Cottages, Gresford 38 Collier
Williams George Gardden Terrace, Summerhill 31 Collier
Williams Harold Osborne Terrace, Claypit Lane, Gresford 37 Collier
Williams Hugh Llewellyn Park Street, Rhosddu 43 Collier
Williams John Cheetham's Lodging Houses, Wrexham 62 Collier
Williams John Dale Street, Wrexham 44 Collier
Williams John Council Houses, Brynteg 66 Collier
Williams John D. Vulcan Cottage, New Road, Southsea 29 Collier
Williams John Thomas Brynffynnon, Brymbo 33 Collier
Williams Morris Pentre Lane, Llay 24 Electrician
Williams Reg Old Rhosrobin 29 Electrician
Williams Thomas Park View Stores, Bradley 57 Collier
Williams William A. Gatewen Road, Pentre Broughton 29 Collier
Wilson John Walter Victoria Terrace, Coedpoeth 32 Collier
Witter Henry The Mount, Gresford 56 Collier
Wynn Edward Bradley Road, Wrexham 68 Collier
Winyard J. New Inn, Cefnybedd 47 Collier
Yemm Morgan James Seventh Avenue, Llay 28 Collier

Not worthy of comment in the main article, but perhaps of interesting to passing researchers, might be an auction by Messrs. Christie, Manson & Woods, on Tuesday 2nd October 1934, “of Works Of Art presented by the Exhibitors at The Antique Dealers’ Fair for the benefit of The Mansion House Fund, In aid of dependents of Miners who lost their lives in the Gresford Colliery disaster, which will be sold without reserve”. (My picture 22176.) JDAWiseman (talk) 17:28, 26 December 2014 (UTC)

There seems to be far more detail about the Disaster Relief Fund(s) at the main article. Not sure why that does not also appear here. Martinevans123 (talk) 17:39, 26 December 2014 (UTC) I’m writing a book on Vintage Port, so have been going through Christie’s catalogues. Thinking of Wikipedia, of this auction I photographed only the title page. Christie’s allows me to post a paper copy to people, but not to send digital. If you need paper — to decide whether to add to article — I very willing to post/mail a paper copy (my contact info). JDAWiseman (talk) 17:46, 26 December 2014 (UTC) That's remarkably thoughtful and generous of you, JD. I'll wait to see what other editors think about it. I guess we might see you (eventually) over at Port_wine#Vintage_port? Martinevans123 (talk) 17:51, 26 December 2014 (UTC) Subsequent to my posts in 2014, Christie’s have told me that I can re-use pictures. Hence small (394×606) and large (1578×2427). JDAWiseman (talk) 13:08, 16 January 2016 (UTC)

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"Gathering the Jewels is offline due to essential security maintenance. We apologise for any problems this may cause. You can view nearly all the GTJ items on the Peoples Collection website

The link is present on many pages, but without an indication of likely offline duration, it's difficult to know whether it should be replaced or explained in more detail. Martinevans123 (talk) 10:42, 21 February 2016 (UTC)

The result of the move request was: Moved back to Gresford disaster. No support for capital D. Nom has just wasted time by not following RM procedures. Andrewa (talk) 05:11, 24 October 2016 (UTC)

Gresford Mining Disaster → Gresford Disaster – Consistency with capital D in article text. Failed first move will not allow UNDO. Current title is a stop-gap placeholder. Martinevans123 (talk) 17:54, 13 October 2016 (UTC)


History

Located close to the Cheshire border, the settlement existed at the time of the compilation of the Domesday Book, when it was recorded as "Gretford" [2] within the Cheshire Hundred of Duddestan. The name, having an English origin, was later recorded as "Gresworth", "Cresford" and "Grefford", but documentary evidence shows that the place was clearly locally referred to as "Gresford" throughout its history.

In common with many of the towns and villages of the border lands, or Marches, Gresford has gone through periods of both English and Welsh dominance. The whole area was resettled by Welsh aligned to Owain Gwynedd in 1170-1203. At this time the bishopric was transferred from that of St Werburgh's Chester to St Asaph, and the vicars of the village were Welsh with patronymic names (for example, Morud ap Gwarius, who became vicar in 1284). It is possible, however, that settlement existed on the site from quite an early date, as a Roman altar was found within the church in 1908. The altar is likely to depict Nemesis this and the unearthing of a Roman coin hoard nearby-dating 150-300, is possible evidence of a settlement. There is also a stand of yew trees in the churchyard the oldest dating to AD 500 — long before Anglo-Saxon settlement.

Approaching Gresford from the Wrexham direction, on the left hand side of the road, there was a tree known as 'The Cross Tree', and alongside this there is the base of an ancient stone cross. This tree was removed after 1984, and has since been replaced with a young tree.

Until the late 19th century, the parish boundary encompassed a large area, including the townships of Burton, Llay, Rossett and Gwersyllt, as well as several townships later included in Isycoed. The bells of the parish church, All Saints' are one of the traditional Seven Wonders of Wales. Gresford Church dates to 1492 and is a large building considering the size of what the population would have been in the present-day boundaries of the parish. The base of the church tower has earlier remnants of a previous building and an earlier roofline of a former transept can be detected in the tower. The colour of the stone is quite distinctive, and is typical of the Wrexham area. It is a sandy brown Millstone Grit, locally referred to as "Cefn" stone.

Pant Iocyn (later Pant-yr-Ochain) house was built in the 1550s alongside the road from Gresford to Wrexham by Edward Almer MP and three times High Sheriff of the county. It was one of the chief houses in east Denbighshire and descended in the Almer family until it was bought and enlarged by Sir Foster Cunliffe, 3rd Baronet in 1785. The 18th century addition now serves as a gastro pub. [3]

Gresford colliery

Henry Dennis and his son, Henry Dyke Dennis, began sinking a coal mine near Gresford in 1888, [4] taking four years for the 2,264-ft deep shafts to be completed. The coalmine was located on the edge of the Alyn Valley, between the Shrewsbury and Chester Railway (later the GWR Birkenhead-Paddington line) and the old main road between Wrexham and Chester. The first coal was produced from June, 1911, with full production reached before the outbreak of World War I. The coal was renowned in the area as being of very good quality and hot burning.

Gresford Colliery was the site of one of Britain's worst coal mining disasters. The Gresford Disaster occurred on 22 September 1934, when 266 men died following an underground explosion. The bodies of only 11 of the miners underground at the time of the explosion were recovered. The headgear wheel is preserved and forms part of the Gresford Disaster Memorial, along with a plaque. The disaster is commemorated in the hymn tune "Gresford", which is also known as "The Miners' Hymn", written by Robert Saint of Hebburn, himself also a miner. [5] This tune has been played regularly by many colliery brass bands over the years and is found on a number of recordings, and is also played at the annual Miners Picnics around the north of England, especially at the Durham Miners' Gala.

The colliery lasted until 1973 when it was closed due to geological problems.

Transport

The stone-built Gresford railway station, on the Shrewsbury and Chester Railway was midway up the notorious Gresford Bank. The bank was so steep that a refuge siding was required at the station in the event of engines having to leave some of their load behind to get up the hill. Banking engines were also used on occasions. Gresford railway station was demoted to Gresford Halt, for Llay, from 1956 and was closed altogether from 1964.


What Was the Gresford Colliery Disaster and When Did it Take Place? - History

The Gresford Disaster was one of the worst mining accidents to occur in Wales.

Work began at sinking the pit at Gresford, near Wrexham, in 1908 by the United Westminster and Wrexham Collieries. Two shafts were sunk, the Dennis (named after the industrialist Dennis family of Ruabon) and the Martin, which were 50 yards apart. Work was completed in 1911 and the mine was one of the deepest in the Denbighshire coal field, with the Dennis shaft reaching a depth of about 2264 feet and the Martin shaft about 2252 feet.

By 1934, 2200 miners were employed at the colliery, with 1850 working underground and 350 on the surface.

Some 19th century working practices were still in evidence in the pit although some mechanisation had been introduced. Prior to explosion there was evidence of heat and gas in colliery.

On September 22, 1934 at 2:08 a.m. a violent explosion shook the Dennis section of mine, over a mile from the bottom of the shaft, and a fire took hold. At the time a total of 500 men were working underground at the colliery on the night shift, which was unusually high because some men had worked double shifts that night in order to be able to attend a carnival and football match the following day.

Only six men managed to escape from the Dennis section by climbing from the pit bottom by ladder. All of the other 262 miners working in that section were killed.

Within a few hours of the first explosion, large crowds of miners and relatives had gathered in silence at the pit head waiting for news.

Volunteer rescue teams from Gresford and other nearby collieries tried to enter the mine but were hindered by the ferocity of the fire and a lack of fire fighting equipment and water.

Three members of the rescue brigade were killed. Others fought the fire until the evening of following day but made little progress. By this time it was certain that all of the miners were dead and conditions in the pit were so dangerous that it was decided to cap both shafts to seal off the fire.

Further explosions occurred during which one of the seals on the shaft blew out and a surface worker was killed by the flying debris.

Only eleven bodies were recovered from the mine. Inquests recorded the cause of death as carbon monoxide poisoning.

The Dennis section of the mine was never reopened and the bodies of the 254 victims were sealed in the mine.

In September of that year, 1100 Gresford miners signed on the unemployment register.

Relief funds were set up by the Mayor of Wrexham, the Lord Lieutenant of Denbighshire and the Lord Mayor of London, raising a total of over 𧺬,000 for the dependents of the victims.

An inquiry opened October 25, 1934 and highlighted management failures, lack of safety measures, bad working practices and poor ventilation in the pit. The miners were represented at the Inquiry by Sir Stafford Cripps.

Gresford Colliery reopened six months after disaster with coal production resuming in January 1936.

In 1937, court proceedings were started in Wrexham against the Pit Manager, the Under-Manager and the United and Westminster Collieries Limited, the owners of the mine. The court found the mine's management guilty only of inadequate record-keeping.

Gresford Colliery finally closed on economic grounds in November 1973 and the site was developed as an industrial estate.

In 1982 a memorial to the victims of the disaster was erected near to the former colliery. It was constructed from the wheel from the old pit head winding gear.

Surname Forename Address Age Occupation
Anderson George Old Rhosrobin, Wrexham 67 Collier
Andrews Alfred Benjamin Road, Wrexham 43 Collier
Archibald Joe Finney Street, Rhosddu 47 Collier
Archibald Thomas Council Houses, Pandy 44 Collier
Baines David Victoria Road, Brynteg 26 Collier
Bateman Maldwyn Lorne Street, Rhosddu 15 Collier
Bather Edward Wynn Finney Street, Rhosddu 36 Collier
Beddows Edward The Woodlands, High Street, Gwersyllt 63 Collier
Bew Arthur Colliery Houses, Rhosddu 45 Collier
Bewdley Thomas Park Street, Rhosddu 58 Collier
Bowen Alfred Langdale Avenue, Rhostyllen 53 Collier
Boycott Henry Offa Terrace, Wrexham 38 Packer
Brain Herbert Pentrefelin, Wrexham 31 Collier
Bramwell George Western Road, New Broughton 30 Collier
Brannan John Ffordd Edgeworth, Maesydre, Wrexham 32 Collier
Brown George Birkett Street, Rhostyllen 59 Surface worker
Brown William Arthur Hightown Road, Wrexham 22 Haulage
Bryan John A.H. Llewellyn Road, Coedpoeth 20 Collier
Buckley A. Windy Hill, Summerhill 21 Collier
Burns Fred Bennions Road, Huntroyde, Wrexham 41 Collier
Capper John A. Wrexham Road, Broughton 35 Collier
Cartwright Albert Edward Florence Street, Rhosddu 24 Collier
Cartwright Charles Florence Street, Rhosddu 24 Collier
Chadwick Stephen Kenyon Street, Wrexham 21 Collier
Chesters Edwin Beales Cottages, Bradley 67 Fireman
Clutton Arthur Lorne Street, Rhosddu 29 Collier
Clutton George Albert March Terrace, New Rhosrobin 20 Collier
Clutton John T. Council Houses, Pandy 35 Haulage
Collins John Council Houses, Pandy 62 Shot Firer
Cornwall Thomas Bennions Road, Wrexham 30 Collier
Crump William Council Houses, Bradley 36 Collier
Darlington Thomas Mountain Street, Rhosllannerchrugog 39 Collier
Davies Arthur Havelock Square, Wrexham 24 Collier
Davies Edward Cyngorfa, Rhosllannerchrugog 53 Collier
Davies George William Farndon Street, Wrexham 26 Collier
Davies Hugh T. Holly Bush Terrace, Bradley 26 Collier
Davies James Williams Cottages, Moss 31 Collier
Davies James Boundary Terrace, Green, Brymbo 37 Collier
Davies James Edward Farndon Street, Wrexham 21 Collier
Davies John Meifod Place, Wrexham 64 Collier
Davies John Fernleigh, Rhosrobin Road, Wrexham 45 Collier
Davies John E. Bennions Road, Wrexham 32 Collier
Davies John R. Fernleigh, Rhosrobin 69 Collier
Davies Matthias Erw Las, Maesydre, Wrexham Collier
Davies Peter Newtown, Gresford 50 Collier
Davies Peter March Terrace, New Rhosrobin 25 Collier
Davies Peter Glanllyn, Bradley 21 Collier
Davies Robert Thomas Mountain View, Caego 34 Collier
Davies Samuel Woodland View, New Rhosrobin 35 Collier
Davies Thomas Erw Cottage, Caergwrle 31 Collier
Davies William Acton Terrace, Rhosnesni, Wrexham 33 Collier
Dodd Thomas Maeseinion, Rhosllannerchrugog 39 Collier
Duckett Fred Beech Terrace, Ruabon 29 Collier
Edge John Nelson Street, Hightown, Wrexham 28 Collier
Edge Samuel South Street, Rhosllannerchrugog 30 Collier
Edwards Albert Nr Kings Head, Moss 62 Collier
Edwards Ernest Green Road, Brymbo 16 Collier
Edwards E. Glyn Woodland View, New Rhosrobin 23 Collier
Edwards Ernest Thomas Queen Street, Rhosllannerchrugog 53 Collier
Edwards Frank Chestnut Ave, Acton, Wrexham 23 Collier
Edwards James Sam Top Road, Moss 87 Collier
Edwards John Edward Glanyrafon, Maesydre, Wrexham 39 Collier
Edwards John C. Coronation Cottages, New Road, Southsea Collier
Edwards Thomas David New Street, Rhosllannerchrugog 40 Collier
Edwards William Church Street, Rhosllannerchrugog 32 Collier
Edwardson John High Street, Gresford 41 Collier
Ellis George Council Houses, Pandy 43 Collier
Evans Fred Grange Road, Rhosddu 50 Collier
Evans John Ness Cottage, Park Wall, Gwersyllt 32 Collier
Evans Norman Grange Road, Rhosddu 45 Collier
Evans Ralph Pentre Lane, Llay 34 Collier
Fisher Len Maple Avenue, Acton 44 Collier
Foulkes Irwin Bryn Gardden, Rhosllannerchrugog 21 Collier
Gabriel Richard George Crispin Lane, Wrexham 61 Collier
Gittins Johm Henry Abenbury Street, Wrexham 42 Collier
Goodwin John Chapel Road, New Broughton 51 Collier
Griffiths Edward Brandie Cottages, Ruabon 21 Collier
Griffiths Ellis Cyngorfa, Rhosllannerchrugog 50 Collier
Griffiths Emmanuel High Street, Penycae 53 Collier
Griffiths Charles Gardd Estyn, Garden Village 25 Collier
Griffiths Frank Oxford Street, Wrexham 57 Collier
Griffiths Walter Victoria Road, Brynteg 50 Collier
Hall Walter Church Road, Brynteg 49 Collier
Hallam T.W. Railway Terrace, Gwersyllt 32 Collier
Hamlington Arthur Yew Tree Cottage, Summerhill 62 Collier
Hampson Frank Ruabon Road, Rhostyllen 32 Collier
Harrison Arthur Moss Hill, Moss 21 Collier
Harrison Charles Edward James Street, Wrexham 15 Collier
Hewitt Phillip Poplar Avenue, Rhosllannerchrugog 56 Collier
Higgins William Finney Street, Rhosddu 27 Collier
Holt Alfred Pentre Lane, Llay 31 Collier
Houlden John Henry Second Avenue, Llay 21 Collier
Hughes Cecil Tanygraig, Minera 23 Collier
Hughes Daniel First Avenue, Llay 56 Rescuer
Hughes Francis O. Acton Terrace, Rhosnesni 60 Collier
Hughes Harry Hill Crescent, Spring Lodge, Wrexham 44 Collier
Hughes John Percy Road, Wrexham 58 Collier
Hughes Peter Joseph Tanygraig, Minera 27 Collier
Hughes Robert John Lorne Street, Rhosddu 29 Collier
Hughes Walter Ellis Rosemary Crescent, Rhostyllen 24 Collier
Hughes William Long Row, Brymbo 43 Collier
Hughes William Jackson's Houses, New Rhosrobin 54 Rescuer
Humphreys Ben Vernon Street, Rhosddu 34 Collier
Humphreys John Edwards Road, Brynteg 30 Collier
Husbands Thomas Manley Road, Wrexham 40 Collier
Jarvis Ernest Ddol, Bersham 41 Collier
Jenkins William Heol Offa, Tanyfron 25 Collier
Johns Percy Ffordd Edgeworth, Maesydre, Wrexham 27 Collier
Jones Albert Edward Nelson Street, Wrexham 31 Collier
Jones Azariah Westminster Road, Moss 37 Collier
Jones Cyril Main Road, Rhosrobin 26 Collier
Jones Daniel Western Road, New Broughton 33 Collier
Jones David L. Colliery Road, Rhosddu 36 Collier
Jones Edward Woodland View, High Street, Gwersyllt 64 Collier
Jones Edward Queen Street, Cefn Mawr 56 Collier
Jones Edward George Ruabon Road, Wrexham 23 Collier
Jones Eric Rosemary Crescent, Rhostyllen 23 Collier
Jones Ernest Glan Garth, Maesydre, Wrexham 36 Collier
Jones Bill Glan Garth, Maesydre, Wrexham 14 Collier
Jones Evan Hugh Marion House, New Brighton, Minera 55 Collier
Jones Fred Woodland View, New Rhosrobin 30 Collier
Jones Frederick H.C. Bridge Street, Holt 31 Collier
Jones Francis Council Houses, Berse 27 Collier
Jones George Glan Garth, Maesydre, Wrexham 47 Collier
Jones George Humphrey Russell Street, Cefn Mawr 22 Collier
Jones Gwilym Glan Garth, Maesydre, Wrexham 52 Collier
Jones Henry Gordon Terrace, Rhosddu 59 Collier
Jones Idris Nant Road, Coedpoeth 37 Collier
Jones Iorwerth Bryn Dolwar, Rhosrobin Road, Wrexham 52 Collier
Jones Jabez Morgan Avenue, Rhosddu 43 Collier
Jones John Dan Williams Cottages, Moss 42 Collier
Jones John Richard Mostyn View, Coedpoeth 33 Collier
Jones John Robert Pentre Lane, Llay Collier
Jones Llewellyn Windsor Road, New Broughton 49 Collier
Jones Llewellyn Yew Tree Bungalow, Gresford 40 Collier
Jones Llewellyn Bersham Road, New Broughton 38 Collier
Jones Neville Ffordd Maelor, Maesydre, Wrexham 30 Collier
Jones Richard Henry Bryn Terrace, Ruabon 21 Collier
Jones Richard J. White House Lodge, Brymbo 34 Collier
Jones Robert Trefechan, Penycae 57 Deputy
Jones Robert Hillock Lane, Gresford 49 Collier
Jones Thomas Council Houses, Gresford 55 Collier
Jones Thomas E. Poolmouth Road, Moss Collier
Jones Thomas John Bryndedwydd, Marford Hill 58 Collier
Jones Thomas O. Penllyn, Trevor, Llangollen 59 Collier
Jones William Lorne Street, Rhosddu 51 Collier
Jones William Lloyd Street, Rhosllannerchrugog 21 Collier
Kelsall James Florence Street, Wrexham 30 Collier
Kelsall John Rose Cottage, Common Wood, Holt 37 Collier
Lawrence William Nelson Street, Hightown, Wrexham 43 Collier
Lee John Lee Heol Offa, Coedpoeth 30 Collier
Lee Thomas Heol Offa, Coedpoeth 16 Collier
Lewis David Merlin Street, Johnstown 44 Collier
Lewis David Thomas Middle Road, Coedpoeth 46 Collier
Lewis Jack Railway Terrace, Cefn y Bedd 48 Rescuer
Lilly Joel Main Road, Rhosrobin 41 Collier
Lloyd Thomas Colliery Road, Rhosddu 55 Collier
Lloyd William Finney Street, Rhosddu 59 Collier
Lloyd William Sidney Pentre Lane, Llay Collier
Lucas John Council Houses, Gwersyllt 59 Collier
Maggs Colin Talwrn House, Talwrn 17 Collier
Mannion Albert Hill Crest, Spring Lodge, Wrexham 29 Collier
Manuel Thomas A. Meadows Lane, Spring Lodge, Wrexham 33 Collier
Martin William Henry Newtown, Gresford 37 Collier
Matthews William V. Hill Street, Penycae 18 Collier
Mathias Samuel Eagle's Place, Moss 42 Collier
McKean Joseph Cheshire View, Spring Lodge, Wrexham 30 Collier
Meade William St. John's Road, Wrexham 39 Collier
Mitchell George James Street, Wrexham 23 Collier
Monks Ernest Glanrafon, Bwlchgwyn 23 Collier
Morley Edward Council Houses, Bradley 57 Collier
Morris Alfred High Street, Penycae 20 Collier
Nichols Harry Ashfield Road, Crispin Lane, Wrexham 32 Collier
Nichols John Beast Market, Wrexham 29 Collier
Nichols William Henry Farndon Street, Wrexham 25 Collier
Owens Evan Henry Cunliffe Walk, Garden Village, Wrexham 54 Collier
Palmer Alex Kingstown, Maesydre, Wrexham 20 Collier
Parry Isaac Western View, Wrexham Road, Brymbo 40 Collier
Parry Joseph Western View, Wrexham Road, Brymbo 65 Collier
Parry John E. Pisgah Hill, New Broughton 31 Collier
Parry John Richard Manley Road, Wrexham 21 Collier
Penny Stephen Stansty View, New Rhosrobin 23 Collier
Penny William H. Council Houses, Pandy 32 Collier
Perrin Frank Finney Street, Rhosddu 23 Collier
Peters Henry Pentre Lane, Llay 38 Collier
Phillips George Trevanna Way, Spring Lodge, Wrexham 22 Collier
Phillips Herbert Haig Road, Hightown, Wrexham 30 Collier
Phillips John Gardd Estyn, Garden Village, Wrexham 40 Collier
Pickering J. Sycamore Terrace, Old Rhosrobin 22 Collier
Powell Charles Dale Street, Wrexham 57 Railman
Price Ernest Moss Hill, Moss 27 Collier
Price Samuel Oakfield Terrace, Gresford 37 Collier
Pridding James Oxford Street, Wrexham 32 Collier
Prince Mark Manley Road, Wrexham 59 Collier
Prince William Meadow Lea, Spring Lodge, Wrexham 30 Collier
Pritchard Isiah Woodland View, New Rhosrobin 54 Collier
Pugh Ernest Quarry Rd, Brynteg 49 Collier
Pugh Thomas Vernon Street, Wrexham 54 Collier
Ralphs John Market Street, Wrexham 53 Collier
Rance Thomas High Street, Pentre Broughton 21 Collier
Rees Albert Gatewen Road, New Broughton 56 Collier
Reid Lloyd Bryn Gardden, Rhosllannerchrugog 20 Collier
Roberts Arthur A. Wire Mill Cottage, Bradley 63 Collier
Roberts Edward Bryn Estyn Cottage, Rhosnesni 35 Collier
Roberts Edward C. Council Houses, Gresford 42 Collier
Roberts Ernest Little Penybryn, Abenbury 26 Collier
Roberts Frank Bury Street, Wrexham 26 Collier
Roberts George Glanrafon, Maesydre, Wrexham 28 Repairer
Roberts H. Patison Road, Coedpoeth Collier
Roberts Idris Pumphouse, Highfield, Stansty 16 Collier
Roberts John David Lorne Street, Rhosddu 47 Collier
Roberts John H. Patison Row, Coedpoeth 33 Collier
Roberts Olwyn Hill Street, Penycae 24 Collier
Roberts Percy Bungalow, Llidiart Fanny, Coedpoeth 26 Collier
Roberts Robert off Brook Street, Rhosllannerchrugog 33 Collier
Roberts Robert John Market Street, Wrexham Collier
Roberts Robert Thomas Crispin Lane, Wrexham 57 Collier
Roberts Robert William Forge Row, Southsea 38 Collier
Roberts Thomas James Kendrick Place, Beast Market, Wrexham 19 Collier
Roberts William Princes Street, Wrexham 45 Collier
Roberts William T. Pentre Lane, Llay 40 Collier
Robertson William Spring Road, Rhosddu 41 Collier
Rogers Edward Llewellyn New Houses Lane, Llay 20 Collier
Rogers Grenville Wheatsheaf Lane, Gwersyllt 29 Collier
Ross Harry Nelson Street, Wrexham 34 Collier
Rowlands John Holt Road, Wrexham 36 Collier
Rowland John David Old Cross Foxes, Minera 17 Collier
Salisbury William Victoria Road, Brynteg 48 Collier
Shaw George Ashwood, Wrexham Road, Brynteg 63 Collier
Shone John Gresford 34 Collier
Shone Richard High Street, Gresford 49 Collier
Slawson Arthur Crescent Road, Wrexham 22 Collier
Smith Leonard Bennions Road, Huntroyde, Wrexham 20 Collier
Stevens Richard T. Pisgah Hill, Pentre Broughton 22 Collier
Strange Albert Nelson Street, Wrexham 25 Collier
Statford Stanley Ninth Avenue, Llay 39 Collier
Tarran John Liverpool Road, Buckley 59 Collier
Taylor William Henry Church Street, Holt 53 Collier
Thomas Berwyn Kent Road, Lodge, Brymbo 26 Collier
Thomas John Elias Queen's Terrace, Gwersyllt 29 Collier
Thomas Robert Pant Hill, Rhosllannerchrugog 32 Collier
Thomas Tec Council Houses, Pandy 26 Collier
Thornton John Coronation Cottages, New Broughton 24 Collier
Tittle Edward Smithy Lane, Acton 44 Collier
Trowe Ernest Huntroyde Avenue, Wrexham 41 Collier
Valentine Fred Glan Dwr, Acrefair 24 Collier
Vaughan John Edward Alford Street, Wrexham 28 Collier
White John Chapel Cottages, Gresford 38 Collier
Williams George Gardden Terrace, Summerhill 31 Collier
Williams Harold Osborne Terrace, Claypit Lane, Gresford 37 Collier
Williams Hugh Llewellyn Park Street, Rhosddu 43 Collier
Williams John Cheetham's Lodging Houses, Wrexham 62 Collier
Williams John Dale Street, Wrexham 44 Collier
Williams John Council Houses, Brynteg 66 Collier
Williams John D. Vulcan Cottage, New Road, Southsea 29 Collier
Williams John Thomas Brynffynnon, Brymbo 33 Collier
Williams Morris Pentre Lane, Llay 24 Electrician
Williams Reg Old Rhosrobin 29 Electrician
Williams Thomas Park View Stores, Bradley 57 Collier
Williams William A. Gatewen Road, Pentre Broughton 29 Collier
Wilson John Walter Victoria Terrace, Coedpoeth 32 Collier
Witter Henry The Mount, Gresford 56 Collier
Wynn Edward Bradley Road, Wrexham 68 Collier
Winyard J. New Inn, Cefnybedd 47 Collier
Yemm Morgan James Seventh Avenue, Llay 28 Collier

The Gresford Disaster
(Lyrics: Anonymous)

You've heard of the Gresford Disaster,
Of the terrible price that was paid
Two hundred and sixty-four colliers were lost,
And three men of the rescue brigade.

It occurred in the month of September
At three in the morning the pit
Was racked by a violent explosion
In the Dennis where gas lay so thick.

Now the gas in the Dennis deep section
Was packed there like snow in a drift,
And many a man had to leave the coal-face
Before he had worked out his shift.

Now a fortnight before the explosion,
To the shotfirer Tomlinson cried,
"If you fire that shot we'll be all blown to hell!"
And no one can say that he lied.

Now the fireman's reports they are missing
The records of forty-two days
The collier manager had them destroyed
To cover his criminal ways.

Down there in the dark they are lying.
They died for nine shillings a day
They have worked out their shift and now they must lie
In the darkness until Judgement Day.

Now the Lord Mayor of London's collecting
To help out the children and wives
The owners have sent some white lilies
To pay for the poor colliers' lives.

Farewell, all our dear wives and our children
Farewell, all our comrades as well,
Don't send your sons down the dark dreary mine
They'll be doomed like the sinners in hell.

The song was issued as a broadsheet soon after the disaster. It has been recorded by The Hennessys, Ewan MacColl, Alex Campbell and the Albion Country Band amongst others. The disaster is also the subject of the song The Collier on the 2006 album Freedom Fields by Seth Lakeman.


What Was the Gresford Colliery Disaster and When Did it Take Place? - History

One of the most appalling disasters in the history of British mining occurred at the Gresford Colliery, owned by the Westminster and United Collieries Group. The mine operated in two main sections, the Dennis and the Slant. The explosion occurred in the Dennis, one of the deepest pits in the North Wales coalfields. The Dennis Main Deep was ruptured by the explosions, and many miners would have been flung across the pit roads, some of them dying instantly. Others were burnt alive, gassed, asphyxiated or crushed to death. There is no doubt that there were others trapped alive with no means of escape who were the victims of later explosions and the release of more gas, and who were dead before they were entombed forever by the sealing of the mine by their colleagues.

Only six men in the Dennis survived the explosion.

Within a few hours of the first explosion, more than 1000 men had assembled at the pithead in the cold and pouring rain, waiting to help their comrades, sealed behind a wall of fire, two miles from the bottom of the downtake shaft. This needs to be understood in the context of the times and the communications technology of the day.

The Chronicle reporter writes "As the pit cage wheels turned, the large crowds were scattered over the pit banks, and all over the colliery yard, and the highest bank was thick with silent men standing in the rain, waiting and watching. The saddest confirmation was soon available. The wheels of the winding shaft began their revolutions once more, and I saw two of the rescue party brought up - dead". There was a call for 20 volunteers, and 100 men stepped forward. Nobody spoke. The women stood quietly in the rain.

Shortly after 8-00pm on Sunday night, the following official statement was issued :

Sir Stafford Cripps lead the investigation into the disaster, and this inquiry ended two and a half years later, when the report was tabled in Parliament. In 1937, proceedings were started against the Manager of the mine, the under Manager, firemen individually and jointly against United and Westminster Collieries Limited, and hearings commenced on 20 April 1937 at Wrexham County Petty Sessions Court.

The Gresford Colliery continued to be worked, but not the Dennis Section. Mining at Gresford in the Slant District continued until 23 October 1973, but the pit was closed officially on economic grounds on 10 November 1973.


Watch the video: The poignant memorial to the Gresford Colliery mining disaster on the 22nd Sept 1934 Wrecsam Wales