Pretoria Pit remembered: Bolton MP urges community to honour 344 miners who died in disaster a century ago

By Danielle Wainwright

A Bolton MP has urged residents to join her in a service commemorating the 344 men and boys who died in the tragic Pretoria Pit disaster.

MP Julie Hilling has asked residents of Atherton and Westhoughton to come together on Saturday in remembering the events on the same day in 1910 at the memorial site on on Broadway, off Newbrook Road, Over Hulton.

There were around 900 coal workers who turned up to work that morning before an explosion in one of the mines. Of 349 workers who descended into the pit that day, only four men survived long enough to make it to the surface.

It became the second worst mining accident in the UK.

Ms Hilling, who has organised the ceremony, said: “It is vital our local community comes together to commemorate the lives of those who died in Pretoria Pit.

“I would like to pay tribute to them but also congratulate the community here in Atherton and Westhoughton who have ensured the event is remembered and commemorated appropriately.”

The commemoration service will begin in Atherton at 2pm with a memorials beginning at 7.40am at the Pretoria Pit Disaster Centenary Memorial in Ditchfield Gardens, Market Street, Westhoughton.

The second service will be held at 10am at the Parish Church of St Bartholomew and will be followed by the laying of wreaths at the Pretoria Pit monument in recognition of the disaster.

Ms Hilling added: “It is a fitting tribute to those who died, and to those who continue to commemorate those who lost their lives in the tragedy.

“There has been a great deal of hard work which has gone into organising events to mark the anniversary and it is right that all of those contributions are honoured.”  

Pictures courtesy of Plucas58 via WikiCommons, with thanks.

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