ON Thursday, it is the 130th anniversary of the Trimdon Grange Colliery Disaster, in which 74 men and boys died underground in an explosion. In the article in tomorrow's Memories, I quote Tommy Armstrong's famous poem about the disaster.
Tommy was the "Pitman's Poet" and no event in the Durham coalfield was complete unless he had penned some lines on it. It seems likely that his Trimdon poem was printed on "broadsheets" which were sold around the mining community to raise money for the bereaved families.
Here are his lines about Trimdon Grange:
Let us not think of tomorrow lest we disappointed be
All our joys may turn to sorrow as we all may daily see,
Today we may be strong and healthy but how soon there comes a change
As we learn from the explosion that has been at Trimdon Grange.
Men and boys left home that morning for to earn their daily bread
Little thought before that evening that they'd be numbered with the dead.
Let us think of Mrs Burnett once had sons and now has none
By the Trimdon Grange explosion Joseph, George and James are gone.
Homes that once were blest with comfort guided by a father's care
Now are solemn, sad and gloomy since the father is not there.
Now they ask if father's left them then the mother hangs her head
With a weeping widow's feeling tells the child that "father's dead".
God protect the lonely widow, help to raise each drooping head
Be a father to the orphans never let them cry for bread.
Death will pay us all a visit they have only gone before
We may meet the Trimdon victims where explosions are no more.
There are a couple of other poems about the disaster which I've come across and I'll put them on here - although I don't think they are quite as good as Tommy's.