Minnie Pit Disaster Remembrance – 8th January 2017
On Sunday 8th January 2017 Halmer End Methodist Church remembered all who died in the Minnie Pit explosion of 12th January 1918.
The day began at 11.00 am when the Chapel was open for members of the public to come and have a time of quiet reflection for miners who died.
At 3.00 pm we had a service in which we remembered all who died. The preacher for our service was Mr. Charles Irvine who asked the congregation to go on an imaginary journey during which he described for us a typical day in the life of a Minnie Pit Miner. However the 12th January 1918 was not typical. Ladies who were decorating the Primitive Methodist Chapel (now Halmer End Methodist Church) for a senior citizens party in the evening were suddenly aware of the news of the disaster.Their lives and the lives of every family involved with the mine were changed for ever on that day. We prayerfully remembered those miners and their families and the relatives who remember them today. There were family members present in the congregation – sometimes having difficulty in talking about it – so full of emotion.
We listened as the tune Gresford was played – the tune for the Miner's Hymn.
Throughout the service a miner's lamp from the Minnie Pit was lit at the front of the Chapel and Ken Whitfield told its story.
During the day there was an exhibition in the hall with Audley & District Family History Society, Apedale Heritage Centre, Ken's Lamps and the Podmore Conservation Group. A map of the underground workings was also displayed with the locations of all the miners marked from where they were rescued.
Our Senior Steward David Rowley was interviewed on Radio Stoke's Sunday morning Breakfast programme at 7.45 am and you can listen to the interview here. We would like to acknowledge permission to use this interview via BBC Radio Stoke. A link to the programme in its entirety is on the iPlayer page.
We thank all who visited us on this day and for the support from Radio Stoke and The Sentinel who have provided some of our photos. Look out for details for the Centenary Commemoration to be held in 2018.