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34 Gresford by Drawings by Norman Neasom (1915 - 2010)

Gresford Colliery, Wrexham

Pencil Drawing - Signed dated and inscribed

Image Area: 16ins x 20ins

Drawn in 1934 by Norman at the time of the disaster. The image is now used by the Welsh Coal Board on their history of welsh mining website

The United Westminster and Wrexham Collieries Ltd. began sinking this colliery in 1908 with the first coal being produced in 1911.

In 1921 there were 1,653 men working at the colliery this number grew to 2,224 in 1933.

A massive explosion occurred here on Saturday, September the 22nd 1934, which resulted in the loss of 265 men including three rescuers. 

The explosion occurred in the Dennis district of the mine, around 2am, the time when the men would be having their mid-shift snack. Only six men survived the blast.

An extensive fire ensued the explosion and the mine was sealed off at the end of the following day. Only eleven bodies were ever recovered and the mine remained sealed off for six months after the explosion.

Districts of the mine were gradually reopened, although the Dennis district, where the explosion occurred remained sealed.

Coal production restarted in January 1936 and in 1945 there were 1,743 men employed. Gresford was officially closed on the 10th of November 1973.

Men of Gresford
Deep down the mine, three thousand feet,
In suffocating dark they died;
Above, the air stretched cool and sweet
League upon league - to them, denied.
No light illumined their dark night,
No moon, no stars, but scorching breath
Of fearful fires in fearsome flight
Swept them to ravenous death.
Oh! God, whose awful power has hid
The warmth of summer suns in coal,
And man must delve and toil amid
Such dangers and let Death take toll.
Look down on them where'er they lie,
Who gave their lives for daily bread,
And then let Thine all-pitying eye
Rest upon us, uncomforted.
And pity us, whose strongest will
Is weak to pay so high a price
For warmth, for livelihood, and still
Stand helpless at the sacrifice!

This work is in a private collection

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