Schoolchildren relive tragic mining explosion

The Northern Echo: PIT DISASTER MEMORIES: Children from Shield Row Primary School, in Stanley, dress in period costume to learn more about the Stanley Pit Disaster Buy this photo PIT DISASTER MEMORIES: Children from Shield Row Primary School, in Stanley, dress in period costume to learn more about the Stanley Pit Disaster

PUPILS have dressed in traditional mining clothes to help them understand one of the North-East’s worst pit disasters.

Youngsters from Shield Row Primary School, in Stanley, County Durham, have been learning about the tragedy in their town 100 years ago.

The explosion at West Stanley Colliery on February 16, 1909 claimed the lives of 168 men and boys.

Teachers at the school have introduced a mining theme into lessons to help them understand the town’s past.

Headteacher Andrew Knighton said: “We have had a fantastic week and done various activities surrounding the disaster.

“We have tried to be as sensitive, as we can with our younger pupils, but it is important they know what happened because it is part of their history and heritage.”

Children have been doing role play in drama, writing newspaper articles about the disaster and have created a pit banner.

Some of the children’s art and written work is to go on display at Beamish Museum.

● An exhibition of mining memorabilia to mark the centenary of the disaster will be held from 11am to 4pm, from February 16 to 21 at Durham Miners’ Heritage Centre in Neville’s Cross Social Club, Durham City.

● See The Northern Echo on Monday, February 16, for a fourpage pull-out marking the anniversary.

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