Pelsall Hall Colliery Disaster 1872


(Cannock Chase Mining Historical Society)

On the morning of Thursday 14th November 1872, a cry of “pull up” was heard coming from the pit shaft. The thought that a cage might have fallen on someone below lead to the cage being hauled up

As the cage reached the surface, three wet men were found clinging to it. The mine was flooded when the underground workings encountered old unrecorded workings which were full of water

The cage was lowered and hauled up again to find more wet men clinging to the cage. They were pulled to safety

There were still twenty two men in the mine and again the cage was lowered. The cage was hauled up again but this time there was no-one clinging to it

Pumping began immediately and went on continuously by day and night. By the following Monday the water had begun to drop. But on Wednesday the body of 18 year old Thomas Starkey was brought up. One by one the bodies of the miners were bought up

The bodies recovered were those of: -

Charles Astbury, Joseph Hollis, Tom Richards, George Baugh, Thomas Hollis, John Roberts, Charles Capewell, John Hubbard, John Starkey, Charles Cash, Richard Hyde, Thomas Starkey, George Cassel, Thomas Orcutt, Edward William, Frank Dilkes and John Quarters

The youngest miner was 13 years old and the oldest miner was 89 years old

The inquest was held at the Station Inn

On Monday 25th November the funeral cortege left the Station Inn and crossed the common to the church

On Wednesday December 25th Bibles were presented to all men who had risked their lives in the rescue

Fifteen widows and forty-five orphans were in need of help and a fund was set up. A great deal of money was donated to the fund. Each child under 14 received 2/6d per week. Each widow until re-married or otherwise provided for received 9/6d per week. No family was to receive more than £1 per week

The colliery re-opened in March the following year

An obelisk was made and erected in St Michael's Churchyard. On one side it says

'This stone is erected to commemorate the sudden and disastrous inundation of the Pelsall Hall Colliery on the 14th November 1872'

The names of the miners are recorded on the other sides

A. THOMPKINSON wrote an account and this was reproduced by Alan DEANE with additional facts which can be read at Cannock Chase Mining Historical Society