Diglake Colliery: Memorial to mark Staffordshire mine disaster

The memorial and statues
Image caption The steel statues will be unveiled by the mayor of Newcastle-under-Lyme and the town’s new MP

The deaths of 80 people in a mining accident 125 years ago are to be remembered at a memorial service.

Many of the bodies of the men and boys were never found following a flood at Diglake Colliery in Staffordshire on 14 January 1895.

A walk by the colliery will start at 10:00 GMT ahead of the unveiling of two steel statues at Audley Methodist Church.

A minute’s silence will also be held at 11:30, the time of the disaster.

An exhibition containing newspaper articles from the time, along with poems from relatives and other memorabilia will be on display in the church until Tuesday.

Image caption Men and boys died following a flood at Diglake Colliery

Only three bodies have ever been recovered, which were buried in the cemetery of the church.

Among those who died were Maisie Farrell’s great-grandfather, William Roberts.

She said she remembered her grandfather telling her about the “knock-on effect” the deaths had on the community.

“There were people all dressed in black, crying in the streets,” she said.

Image caption Maisie Farrell is the descendant of William Roberts who lost his life in the mine

Bob Alcock, who helped organise the exhibition, said it was a “duty” to remember those who died.

“It’s important [to remember] and hopefully it also reminds the younger generation of the sacrifices they made years and years ago,” he said.

The statues of two kneeling miners will be unveiled by Simon White, the mayor of Newcastle-under-Lyme, and the town’s new constituency MP Aaron Bell.

“We must continually remember as the [surrounding] villages were made on mining and made for the industry in the 1890s,” Mr Alcock said.

“It’s still very much a community event.”

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