Harriseahead Pit Disaster
Harriseahead Inrush of Water, March 1924
The headline in the local newspaper read; Pit Flooded at Harriseahead. Lucky Escape of 72 Miners.
|Researched by John Lumsdon|
Harriseahead colliery is situated between
Packmoor and Mow Cop, it was flooded on Monday and 72 miners who were at work
below ground at the time had an extraordinarily lucky escape. There was an
exciting scene as the men struggled through the breast-high water towards
the shaft bottom and drawn to the surface. Another 17 or 18 made their way
out by a footway or drift.
It was about the middle of the morning shift that the inrush of water occurred. There are about 150 miners employed at the Harriseahead colliery, and three shifts are worked, the morning shift being the largest.
From some cause, which
has not yet been determined there was a sudden inrush of water and owing to
the steep gradients of the workings, it poured with great force to the pit
bottom, and quickly rose to a height of four feet.
One man gave a graphic account
to the local newspaper, he said;
In February 1925 at the Victoria Hall,
Kidsgrove, in the presence of local dignitaries and inhabitants of the town
and district, awards for bravery and gallant conduct on the occasion of the
flooding of Harriseahead collery on March 10th last were made to Mr. Paling
At great personal risk, the two men rescued Edwin Booth of Mow Cop who was working in a distant part of the mine when the inrush of water occurred. It was necessary to wade breast deep through the rising water to effect a rescue.
The award consisted of a bronze medal and a certificate of the Order of Industrial Heroism (instituted by the "Daily Herald") to each of the two men and also a certificate to each of the two men from the Carnegie Hero Fund Trust, which was founded in September 1908. Mr. Sam Finney, (Secretary of the North Stafford Miners Federation) presided.
After briefly referring to the incident for which the awards were to be made,he said they were very thankful that the lives of the men at Harriseahead colliery were not lost in the flood which took place, and their hearts were overwhelmed with gratitude and thankfulness to the two men whom they had met to honour that evening.
The certificates were worded as follows:
"Order of Industrial Heroism presented
as a mark of respect and admiration to a brave man who in a moment of peril
thought more of others than of himself." Subsequently Mr. Sam Finney presented
other certificates framed in oak, awarded to Messrs Baker and Wilson by the
trustees of the Carnegie Hero Fund Trust, which read as follows: