Trimdon Colliery Disaster of 1882

The Trimdon Disaster of 1882

The Trimdon Colliery Disaster, a mine explosion, occurred on Thursday, February 16, 1882. Seventy-four people were killed. The below information draws on info from the Durham Chronicle and the census of 1881. Following the death lists are short lists of who identified certain bodies.


Trimdon Grange (Five Houses) was sunk in 1845. Mr. Cooke was resident manager. Mr. W.O. Wood was head manager at Trimdon Grange Colliery. TGC was owned by Mr. Walter Scott.

67 got out at Trimdon Grange and 6 at Kelloe (East Hetton) . One of these survivors, Peter Brown (59 year old furnaceman) died of his injuries after being pulled out.

Trimdon Grange and Kelloe pits were linked underground, separated by a door which was forced open by the explosion. The “after damp” (poisonous gases created by the explosion) killed some of the would-be rescuers from Kelloe.

Inquest held at the Trimdon Grange Inn. Opened and adjourned.

44 of the victims were buried in a mass grave at Old Trimdon. 26 were buried at Kelloe, 1 at Croxdale, 1 at Cassop and 2 at Shadforth.

One young woman was to have been married on the Saturday afternoon but at the appointed time she attended her betrothed’s funeral. Another victim, father of 2 small children, was working his last shift prior to emigrating to America. Another man was arrested in the pit yard before the shift for non-payment of a fine. His 2 ‘marrers’ were killed.

Death List from Trimdon Grange Colliery Village

Name Age on Death List Age in 1881 census Occupation Dependents Residence Birthplace per 1881 census
1 William Robson 46 deputy widow and 1 child 13 Lane Row Quarrington
2 John Errington 36 32 weighman (or waggonwayman) widow and 3 children Plantation Row Trimdon
3 Samuel Richardson 16 single Plantation Row Usworth
4 James Stubbs 30 widow and 3 children Plantation Row Bowden Close
5 Thomas Priestley 29 widow and 1 child Plantation Row Etherley
6 John Douglas boy 12 Plantation Row Trimdon
7 Thomas Sharp (not found) single
8 John Hughes 50 (or 30) 35 hewer single Rose Street Wales
9 Thomas Hunter 36 widow and 6 children Plantation Row Kelloe
10 Andrew Smith 23 hewer single Plantation Row Cassop
11 Cornelius Jones boy 17 Plantation Row Wales
12 John F.(?) Jones 38 34 hewer single Plantation Row Wales
13 Robert Soulsby 59 hewer widow and grown-up family Plantation Row South Shields.
14 Joseph Hyde 22 hewer single Lane Row Ireland
15 John Ramsay or Ramsey 28 25 onsetter single Lane Row Trimdon
16 Joseph Dormand 18 13 driver Lane Row Wingate
17 Thomas Dormand boy 11 Lane Row Trimdon
18 William Jefferson 18 17 onsetter single Lane Row South Hetton
19 George Jefferson 16 13 switch-boy single Lane Row South Hetton
20 John Allison or Ellison 18 hewer single Lane Row Elwick
21 Henry Burke 39 widow and 4 children Office Row Ireland
22 Edward Spencer 16 single (or 19, married) Office Row Wales
23 George Wigham 25 widow and 3 children Office Row Wrekenton (lodger)
24 Frederick Bowen 23 23 hewer widow and 2 children Office Row Sunderland
25 William Madrell or Maddrell 40 married 17 Office Row in 1881
26 John Williams or Williamson 50 hewer widow and 1 child Reading Room Row Wales
27 Thomas Peate or Peale or Peel 20 single Reading Room Row Trimdon
28 George Richardson 26 29 widow and 2 children Reading Room Row Easington.
29 Michael Hart or Hatt 44 hewer widow and 7 children Reading Room Row Ireland
30 Thomas Horden (not found) back overman widow and grown-up family
31 George Lishman (not found) single
32 William Bowen 16 16 single Reading Room Row Thornley (lodger)
33 John Wilson (or Beaton; stepfather was Cornelius Beaton) 16 14 single Hammonds Houses Trimdon
34 Matthew Day boy 12 driver Station Terrace Monk Hesleden.
35 Henry Joyce 17 (not found) single
36 Richard Thwaites 24 23 deputy widower Overmans Row Trimdon
37 George Dobson 23 hewer single Overmans Row Sedgefield
38 Ralph Mercer 18 17 putter Overman’s Row Rosedale, Yorkshire
39 Richard Dawe 20 single Longwood Row Cornwall
40 David Griffiths boy 18 putter Longwood Row Stafford
41 Enoch Sayers 18 17 single Plantation Row Aysgarth, Yorkshire
42 John Samuel Edmunds 14 12 driver Longwood Row Bridgend, Glam, Wales
43 William Parker boy 15 Longwood Seaton, County Durham
44 Ralph Robinson 19 (not found) putter single
45 Robert Edwards 18 (not found) single
46 David Edwards 16 (not found) driver
47 Jacob Soulsby 22 26 hewer widow Duff Heap Row Trimdon
48 John Wilson 31 widow and 3 children Reading Room Row Durham City

William Jefferson, an engineman of Lane Row, Trimdon Grange identified his 2 sons.
Joseph Dormand of Lane Row identified his son Joseph.
David Elderwick of Trimdon Colliery identified the body of his son-in-law John Harrington.
William Edwards of Surgery Row, Trimdon, identified Robert Edwards.

Death List from Trimdon Colliery Village

Name Age on Death List Age in 1881 census Occupation Dependents Residence Birthplace per 1881 census
1 William Hyde (not found) widow and 1 child
2 William Williams 30 widow and 3 children Hogg’s-Pratt’s Street Cornwall
3 Henry Miller 24 single Hogg’s-Pratt’s Street Kidsgrove, Staffs (lodger)
4 John Smith 25 widow and 2 (or 3) children Office Row Liverpool
5 Thomas Prior or Pryor 24 25 single Hogg’s-Pratt’s Street Gateshead
6 Thomas Clarke 27 widow and 2 children, Hogg’s-Pratt’s Street Clay Cross, Derbys
7 William Walker 22 widow and 2 children Reading Room Row (Trimdon Grange) Ferryhill(?)
8 Michael Docherty 20 19 hewer single Coffee Pot Row Ireland
9 Joseph Whitfield Burnett 22 (or 23) putter single
10 George Colling Burnett 18 (or 19) shaftsman or assistant onsetter single Burnett’s Row Trimdon
11 James White Burnett 17 landing minder single Burnett’s Row Trimdon
12 Robert Maitland (not found) widow and 3 children
13 Matthew French boy, 13 (not found) trapper

The Burnetts were identified by their brother Thomas, a boiler-minder living at Spennymoor.
William Hyde identified Joseph Hyde.

Death List from Old Trimdon Village

Name Age on Death List Age in 1881 census Occupation Dependents Residence Birthplace per 1881 census
1 James Boyd (actually named McDonald and brought up by his Boyd grandparents.) boy, 14 12 coupler County Durham
2 Michael McCall or McHale 22 18 single
3 John McCall or McHale 17 17 driver single
4 Thomas McCall or McHale 13 13 driver single
5 William Jennings boy 16 assistant shaftsman Salter’s Lane (Trimdon Grange) Ireland.
6 Patrick Durkin boy, 12 Ireland.

Samuel Boyd identified his ‘son’ (grandson) James (McDonald) .
Ann Jennings of Old Trimdon identified her only son. She was left with a widowed daughter.
Patrick McCall, Quarryman of Old Trimdon, identified his two brothers. The body of a third brother had not yet been recovered.

Death List from Kelloe (East Hetton)

Name Age on Death List Age in 1881 census Occupation Dependents Residence Birthplace per 1881 census
1 Herman Schler 73 Underviewer at Kelloe
2 George Slack single
3 Thomas Blenkinsop master wasteman widow and 4 children
4 Jacob Barryman or Berryman or Berriman widow and 3 children
5 Christopher Prest widow and 3 children
6 Frank Ramshaw 17 single

— by Tony Whitehead