28th Sept 1844 – One of the most destructive explosions which ever occurred in the Durham coal field took place at Haswell colliery, the property of Messrs Plummer, Taylor, and Co., when ninety-five human beings were deprived of life. The explosion occurred in the Hutton seam, almost immediately after a fall of stone from the roof, which had liberated a vast quantity of gas; and only four persons in the mine succeeded in escaping. On the 30th, fifty-four bodies were interred side by side in
South Hetton churchyard, thirty-one at Easington, and the remainder at more distant places. The pit had been seven years at work, and was considered a very safe one. A subscription was immediately set on foot for the relief of the sufferers, and the sum received amounted to £4,264.
[From Local Historian's Table Book of Remarkable Occurrences Connected with the Counties of
, Northumberland and Newcastle-Upon-Tyne by M.A. Richardson] Durham
Ironically, the disaster struck a few weeks after the debilitating Miners’ Strike of 1844. The colliery had opened in 1835 and closed in 1896. Nothing of the colliery village remains – though a ruined fragment of the pithead itself still stands, accompanied by a modern-day memorial to the 95 dead.