EFFORTS are being made to trace descendants of miners killed in the blackest day in a County Durham village colliery’s 71-year history.

An explosion at the Tudhoe Colliery, also known as Black Horse Colliery, in the early hours of Tuesday April 18, 1882, took the lives of 37 men and boys, aged between 15 and 66.

The blast was said to have been caused by a combination of the flammable gas firedamp and a naked flame.

As this year marks the 140th anniversary of the disaster, a memorial event has been organised in St David’s Church, Tudhoe, near Spennymoor, on Saturday April 23.

Local residents are invited to attend the service, which starts at 11am, in remembrance of those who lost their lives in the explosion.

It will be followed by refreshments in Tudhoe Victory Club, in York Hill Crescent, afterwards.

There will also be a display of miners’ banners, artwork by children at Tudhoe Colliery Primary School and memorabilia from the Durham Mining Museum.

Read more: County Durham's Killhope Lead Mining Museum reopens

Lynn Gibson, company secretary and director at the museum, said: “Spennymoor and Tudhoe were built on the back of the coal mines, and pre-nationalisation, in 1947, disasters like this were commonplace.

“It is important that we remember the men and boys who never returned from work that day and who lived without the luxuries we have today.”

Event organisers are particular keen to hear from relatives of the deceased men and boys.

They are asked to contact Ms Gibson, by email, at durhamminingmuseumsecretary@gmail.com, or by ringing (07724) 817069. 

A full list of the names of the men and boys killed in the disaster can be found on the Durham Mining Museum website, via www.dmm.org.uk/names/n1882-02.htm.

The museum is situated in the Town Hall, at Spennymoor.

Entry is free and is open each Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday, between 10am and 2pm.

School visits can be organised by contacting the museum on those same contact details.

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