People who follow the blog close will be aware of one particular contributor who’s well-loved by all, has his own distinct style, and never fails to cheer anyone reading his fascinating comments – and today, I can share with readers something remarkable donated by Reg ‘Aer Reg’ Fullelove for us to all to read and digest.
In response to my inquiry for information relating to an mining accident that befell Solomon Fox, Reg commented that he had a list of local mining accidents he’d be willing to share. Top local history ferret David Evans loaded up on cake and headed to see Reg immediately. Reg has actually donated so much more than that to which he alluded.
In fact, it’s astonishing.
I’m not sure how to describe this, but it’s a handwritten document, 32 pages long, and clearly the product of an awful lot of research. We know little about the origins, but the diversity of the information contained is remarkable.
- There is a map of coalfield locations in the Cannock Chase Coalfied
- A timeline of Cannock Chase history from 1141-1994
- Lists of schools, shops, pubs and amenities through the years
- A poem about the Hednesford Pit Disaster 14th December 1911
- A full list of local coal mines
- A list of local pit closure dates
- A list of churches and chapels
- Noted local pit ponies
- List of construction dates of local pithead baths (a political hot topic in the day)
- A list of fatal accidents at local collieries
It’s a wonderful thing – it was obviously completed in pre-internet days (very probably the mid-1990s) by someone who did a hell of a lot of legwork. If anyone recognises any of it, or has any further information, please do comment or mail me: Brownhillsbob at Googlemail dot com.
It would also be nice if someone fancied transcribing it – obviously in a handwritten state it’s not indexable by google. It would be nice to fix that…
I’d like to thank Reg from the bottom of my heart – Reg is such a well loved and well respected member of the community – poet, raconteur, historian – and a very kind man. Cheers old chap – you’re always welcome here.
Thanks too, to David for putting all the legwork in!
You can download the whole thing as a PDF file here (13.6 megabytes)
Amongst the material is this poem about the December 14th 1911 Hednesford Colliery Disaster in which 5 men perished in an underground fire. David Evans has kindly transcribed it and the note accompanying:
The Old Hednesford Pit Disaster. December 14th, 1911
To all who read these few lines
I’ve a sorrowful tale to unfold
Of the Hednesford Pit disaster
Which brought grief to young and old
On that fateful Thursday morning
They entered the cage for the mine,
Not shirking from doing their duty,
Leaving their families behind.
They were toiling and working as usual
When a cry of “Fire” was heard.
It was a sign of very great danger
And all on duty were stirred.
To rescue the miners in safety,
Was the leading thought that inspired
The bravest and truest of workmen
To use the courage we all have admired.
Through smoke and fire they travelled
Risking all to them so dear
To try and save their comrades
Whilst knowing death was near.
We’ve read of deeds of bravery
Of heroes of former time,
Among them should be mentioned
The heroes of the Hednesford mine.
But who were the greatest heroes
I’m sure its hard to tell,
For all did their honest duty
And did it faithfully and well.
With all their bravery and courage
And schemes they could devise
It has to be recorded
Death claimed its victims – five.
Stokes, Ward, Reeves, Baugh and Bradbury
Are the name we have to relate
Who lost their lives at duty
Not knowing that death was their fate.
Of Stokes let it be recorded
That others he went to tell
Of the danger that threatened their lives
When he was overcome and fell.
This poem was written by a lady who lived in a house at the rear of Littleworth Post Office ( Wassel’s shop ). I believe her name was either Baggott or Bagley.
W D Nicholls
A very good description of The Hednesford Old Pit Disaster of 1911 can be obtained at the site for the Coal Mining History Research centre…
However there is information from the inquest that add much more to the story, will post in due course
All the 5 fatalities were awarded the Edward Medal
Pit head Baths…Don’t it make you want to spit!
In August 1930 at Brereton Collieries, formerly property of the Earl of Shrewsbury, pit head baths were officially opened by Sir John Cadman…..
He said that the baths had been erected by the Welfare Fund, towards which a levy of a penny on every ton of coal produced in GB was for the amenities of colliery workers…the Company had added their quota by providing the site, heat and power, and they were proud to think they were the first colliery in Cannock Chase to install pit head baths..
Sir John went on to explain the difficulties faced by the coal industry that was in a state of muddle. It would ultimately be put right and brought back to its former state of prosperity…
From Wikipedia concerning Sir John…
“He was later an executive of the Anglo-Persian Oil Company in the 1930s. He expanded production fourfold and eventually joined a venture by Henri Deterding of Royal Dutch/Shell to stabilize petroleum prices.”
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