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57 & 61 Ebury Street, London : W & D Downey

W. Coulson, Master Sinker, and four of his men. Pit Mouth, Hartley Colliery 30 Jan 1862

RCIN 2935021

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The tragic events at Hartley Colliery began on 16 January 1862 when part of the pumping mechanism fell into the pit shaft, trapping over two hundred miners, and ended over a week later with the recovery of their bodies. The imagination of the public was captured by this disaster, and for the Queen, who had become a widow herself on 14 December 1861, the agony suffered by the wives and families of the trapped miners must have seemed particularly heart-rending. She followed events with great concern and was quick to subscribe to the relief fund set up to provide support for the dead men's families. W. & D. Downey had taken four photographs at the mine, and these were sent to the Queen with explanatory details. Recent research has, however, shown that the caption for this group photograph is misleading. The six men are now known to be, from left to right: Mr Humble, the pit manager, the Coulsons (father and son), Charles Carr, owner of the pit, Mr Emmerson (probably), and David Wilkinson.