Pupils help to remember pit disaster victims

(l-r) Ex-miner Jim Reeve, of Conisbrough, holds up a mining lamp, whilst Caitlin Oxby, 10, and Pheobe Barnfield, 10, of Conisbrough Station Road School, hold up their project work on the Cadeby Pit Disaster. Picture: Andrew Roe
(l-r) Ex-miner Jim Reeve, of Conisbrough, holds up a mining lamp, whilst Caitlin Oxby, 10, and Pheobe Barnfield, 10, of Conisbrough Station Road School, hold up their project work on the Cadeby Pit Disaster. Picture: Andrew Roe
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PUPILS at a Conisbrough primary school took part in a project to mark the 100 year anniversary of the Cadeby Pit disaster.

Youngsters at Station Road School joined in a week long series of activities to remember the 91 miners who lost their lives on July 9, 1912.

Peter Davies and Barry Moore, from the Cadeby Memorial Group, explained how 88 men were killed in two underground explosions, and three others died later from their injuries.

Pupils learned about the origin of safety equipment used in coal mining.

As part of their presentation, Peter and Barry put on display a number of items used in South Yorkshire’s collieries.

Pupils were encouraged to look closely at the items, which included safety equipment such as lamps.

They were then tasked with making paintings and drawings from old pictures of coal miners hard at work.

Three groups of 50 children had a question and answer session in which they asked about their own families and their industrial past.

Memorial group secretary Jim Beachill also attended school to talk about the discovery of coal in the area and to show displays of old photographs.

The week culminated in a sharing assembly last Friday when pupils displayed their artwork.

Awards were given out at the assembly to the pupils who did the best work.

Pupils proudly collected their certificates in front of an audience of teachers, parents and grandparents.

Mr Beachill said: “All the pupils really learned a lot from the sessions and they did some great work.

“It was nice to see them take such an active interest in something to mark an important milestone in our local heritage.

“All of them really took to it and they asked us some interesting questions.

“A lot of them have grandparents who worked in local pits so they found it interesting to hear about what happened all those years ago.

“We went through everything, from talking about the actual explosions to safety equipment used.”

School pupils and teachers hope to join in the Commemoration Day on July 8.

The event will include a parade, accompanied by a brass band and choir, which will march from the Kingswood Dearne Valley Activity Centre to Conisbrough Church.

A permanent memorial to the disaster victims will then be dedicated.

*Turn to Memory Lane, page 17, for an report on the disaster and how it still ranks as one of the worst accidents in coal mining history.