Felling aka Brandling Main Colliery Disaster

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Date: [unknown]
Location: Felling, County Durham, Englandmap
Surnames/tags: Mining Disasters England Disasters
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Worldwide Disasters | Mining Disasters | England Mining Disasters |Felling Colliery 1812 Mining Disaster

Contact: TBC

History and Circumstances

  • Date: 25 May 1812
  • Location: Felling Colliery, Felling, County Durham, England
  • Victims: 92 lives lost
  • Cause: Colliery Explosion
NEWCASTLE-UPON-TYNE, May 25. Yesterday, one of the most terrible acciden's on record, in the history of Collieries, took place at Felling, near Gateshead, Durham, in the mine belonging to --- Brandling, Esq. the Member for this place, which was the admiration of the dis-trict for the excellence of its ventillation and arrangements. Nearly the whole of the workmen were below, the second set having down before the first came up, when a double blast of hydrogen gas took place, and set the mine on fire, forcing up such a volume of smoke as darkened the air to a considerable distance, and scattered an immense quantity of small coal from the upper shaft. In the calamity, 93 men and boys perished, the remains of 86 of whom are still in the mine, which continues unapproachable. Meetings are to be called at Newcastle and the neighbourhood, to raise subscriptions for the widows and orphans of the sufferers.[1]

A rescue operation was underway when a second explosion struck. It was agreed that the men underground could not have survived and an underground rescue was impossible. Eventually the shafts were closed off to prevent oxygen entering, to stop the fires. Some weeks later the pit was opened and it was safe to enter the pit by 8th July. Bodies were gradually recovered and brought out in coffins, but identification was difficult following the fire and several weeks putrefaction. One body was never found. The victims were buried in St. Mary's Churchyard, Heworth.

The pit was brought back into production on 20th September, 117 days after the explosion.

In the aftermath of the disaster the local rector, John Hodgson FAS MRSL (1779-1845) wrote a report about the incident and appealed for help for the widows and orphans. Hodgson's pamphlet was instrumental in the establishment of a Society for the Prevention of Accidents in Cola Mines, of which Hodgson was a member. Hodgson also worked with Humphry Davy (1778-1829) in the development of the safety lamp.

Victims (91 names found)
Name Sourced Bio Connected Category
Allen, Andrew, aged 11
Allen, Jacob, aged 14
Allen, Phillip, aged 17
Anderson, Joseph, aged 23
Bainbridge, George, aged 10
Bainbridge, Matthew, aged 19
Bainbridge, Thomas, aged 53
Bainbridge, Thomas, aged 17
Bears, Thomas, aged 48
Bell, Edward, aged 12
Bell, George, aged 14
Boutland, John, aged 46
Boutland, William, aged 19
Brown, Matthew, aged 28
Burnitt, John, aged 21
Comby, James, aged 28
Craggs, Thomas, aged 9
Craggs, Thomas, aged 36
Craigs, James, aged 13
Cully, Christopher, aged 20
Cully, George, aged 14
Dixon, William, aged 35
Dixon, William, aged 10
Dobson, John Archibald, aged 15
Dobson, Robert (a boy)
Dobson, Robert, aged 13
Fletcher, Paul, aged 22
Galley, Gregory, aged 10,
Galley, William, aged 22
Gardiner, Michael, aged 45
Gardiner, William, aged 10
Gordon, Joseph, aged 10
Gordon, Robert, aged 40
Gordon, Thomas, aged 8
Greener, Isaac, aged 24 Baptism and burial y y y
Greener, Isaac, aged 65 Baptism, marriage, children, burial. y y y
Greener, John, aged 21 Baptism and burial y y y
Hall, Ralph, aged 18
Hall, Robert, aged 13
Harrison, John, aged 12
Harrison, Ralph, aged 39
Harrison, Robert, aged 14
Haswell, Edward, aged 20
Haswell, Henry, aged 18
Haswell, John, aged 22
Haswell, Robert, aged 42
Hunter, John, aged 21
Hunter, Michael, aged 8
Hunter, William, aged 35
Hutchinson, Robert, aged 11
Jacques, John, aged 14
Jacques, William, aged 23
Kay, George, aged 16
Kay, James, aged 18
Knox, John, aged 11
Lawton, George, aged 14
Leck, Robert Gray, aged 16
Mason, Christopher, aged 34
Mitcheson, George, aged 18
Pearson, Edward, aged 14
Pearson, George, aged 26
Pearson, John, aged 58
Pearson, John, aged 64
Pearson, Robert, aged 10
Pringle, Joseph, aged 16
Pringle, Matthew, aged 18
Reay, George, aged 9
Richardson, Edward, aged 39 Marriage, children and burial y y y
Richardson, Thomas, aged 17 Baptism and burial y y y
Richardson, William, aged 19 Baptism and burial y y y
Ridley, George, aged 11
Ridley, Thomas, aged 13
Robson, George, aged 15
Robson, Thomas, aged 18
Sanderson, Matthew, aged 33
Sanderson, William, aged 43
Surtees, John, aged 12
Thompson, Benjamin, aged 17
Thompson, John, aged 36
Turnbull, Jeremiah, aged 43
Turnbull, John, aged 27
Urwin, Nicholas, aged 58
Wilkinson, John, aged 35
Wilson, Charles, aged 20
Wilson, John, aged 32
Wilson, John, aged 30
Wilson, Joseph, aged 25
Wood, John, aged 27
Wood, Joseph, aged 39,
Young, Joseph, aged 30
Young, Thomas, aged 30


  1. Globe - Tuesday 02 June 1812 page 3 col 4, accessed at 21 March 2022 Image © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Image attached.

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