I am delighted to have been given permission to air this wonderful DVD (© 2016 Jeff Briggs) for the first time.  

Many thanks to Bob Lowry who wrote the play and to John Wrightson who wrote the music.

John Wrightson is well known for his Famous Songs

 From the Diary of a Northumberland Miner and Tin Soldier. 

The John Wrightson Band are very popular, one of the best known in the Northeast, and a fantastic night of music, humour and stories guaranteed - John’s voice is sublime as is his songwriting.

The chemistry between the band members ensures musical magic.  

More information if you wish to see/book  The John Wrightson Band:


zero seven 907 780 753

Or Contact John via Facebook

The John Wrightson Band are very popular, and a fantatsic night of music, humour and stories guarenteed 

I would also like you to the remember the late Bert Draycott who stars in this play.


Bob Lowery

John Wrightson

Joan Edmundson

Toby Hodgson

Bert Draycott

Ray Thomm

Philomena Hodgson-Lowery

George Armstrong

Garth Hodgson

Kenny Jobson

Bob Tuddenham

Seaham Colliery Explosion 1880

The Seaham Colliery Explosion on the 8th September 1880, claimed 164 lives out of a shift of 230 men. 

It occurred, without warning at 2.20am during a maintenance shift. However, they were not mining for coal at the time. Thus, they didn’t expect any escape of explosive gas.

They fired a shot in an area of stone where there was a considerable amount of dust on the ground. The dust came from their preparation for a ‘refuge hole’. In short, it was the suspension of this dust in the air that ignited with tremendous effect.

No one from the immediate area survived of course, such was the scale of the explosion. Some trapped miners survived for a while, but died before rescuers could unblock the shafts and reach them. The tragedy, is the second worst in the long mining history of County Durham and the third worst in the history of the Great Northern Coalfield.

The families of those dead or missing were unable to get anywhere near the colliery, of course. But, eventually the crowd round the pit reached an estimated 14,000 on the Wednesday. By Sunday, there was an estimated 40,000 people in the vicinity to see the first mass funerals of the 164 men and boys killed in the 1880 disaster.

The rescuers found messages scratched on a water bottle by Michael Smith after the explosion:

Dear Macerate*, there are 40 of us altogether at 7 am. Some are singing hymns, but my thoughts were on little Michael that he and I would meet in Heaven at the same time. Oh, dear wife God save you and the children and pray for me. Dear wife, farewell, my thoughts are about you and the children, be sure to learn the children to pray for me. Oh what an awful position we are in.

*A researcher has said that this name should be Margaret, presumably the writing on the water bottle was unclear. Michael and his young son are buried in Christ Church cemetery.

The badly-faded gravestones of at least two of the victims of the Seaham Colliery disaster are now leaning against the walls of the disused St John’s graveyard in Seaham Harbour.

References#1  References #2

Memorial to the 1880 colliery