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Woodhorn Disaster Descendants Sought

February 22nd 2016
At about 6.45am on the morning of Sunday 13th August 1916, an explosion of the highly dangerous mine gas, firedamp, claimed the lives of 13 men, including 8 deputies, as they worked to drive a small tunnel between two seams at Woodhorn Colliery.
David Armstrong, deputy, 38
Thomas Armstrong, deputy, 43 (brother of David)
George Blair, 46
Daniel Harrison, deputy
Joseph Harrogate, 29
Robert Hindmarsh, deputy, 46
Joseph Hodgson, deputy, 38
Ralph Howard, deputy, 44
George R. Hudson, deputy, 38
Walter Hughes, 38
George Marshall, deputy, 43
John George Patterson, stone cutter, 21
Edward Walton, 48
As the centenary of the Woodhorn mining disaster approaches, staff at Woodhorn Museum are keen to make contact with descendants and families of the 13 men who tragically lost their lives in the colliery’s most significant accident in its 87 years of operation.
With commemorations taking place over the summer, the museum would like to involve the families in the activities and also take the opportunity to gather information about the tragic event and people involved in it.
Director Keith Merrin explains. “Close to 100 men lost their lives at Woodhorn during its time as a working colliery but this disaster was the largest single loss of life so it is important that we remember the events of 1916 and recognise the enormous dangers faced by the miners every day of their lives. We must remember too the high price paid by the families: many lost not only their loved one but their homes and security too as houses were tied to employment.
“In addition to establishing contact with families of the Woodhorn miners, we would like to encourage anyone with documents, records or artefacts relating to the disaster to get in touch so that they can be copied, photographed or even perhaps deposited in the archives here at Woodhorn. We would be particularly keen to see any photographs of the men whose lives were lost, memorial cards or memorial silks (often placed like bookmarks in family bibles).”
More information about commemorative activities will be available in due course, but anyone wishing to make contact about one of the disaster victims or records relating to the event are invited to contact Woodhorn on 01670 624478 or email