The Gresford disaster: 22 September 1934

The Gresford memorial – Attribution Bob Shires / Gresford Heath / CC BY-SA 2.0

At eight minutes past two in the morning a huge explosion ripped through one of the sections of the Gresford coal mine near Wrexham. In one of Britain’s worst coal mining disasters, 266 men were killed. only eleven bodies were ever recovered from the mine (eight miners and three of the attempted rescuers). The damaged sections of the mine were sealed with most of the bodies inside.

The rest of the mine was re-opened in 1936 and operated until 1973. The old winding wheel was preserved as a memorial after the pit closed.

Robert Saint (1905-1950), a miner from Hebburn, South Tyneside was inspired to compose a brass band tune Gresford, also known as the “Miners’ Hymn”. It was deliberately composed as a hymn tune without words. It is popular with many colliery brass bands and recordings can be found on YouTube. Here is a synthesised version.

Gresford

In recent times some words have been written to go with the tune, based on Psalm 130 De profundis “Out of the depths have I cried unto thee, O Lord.”

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