History in Structure

This site is entirely user-supported. See how you can help.

Colliery Disaster Memorial in York Hill Cemetery, Circa 70 Metres East of Entrance

A Grade II Listed Building in Spennymoor, County Durham

We don't have any photos of this building yet. Why don't you be the first to send us one?

Upload Photo »

Approximate Location Map
Large Map »


Latitude: 54.7074 / 54°42'26"N

Longitude: -1.5878 / 1°35'16"W

OS Eastings: 426658

OS Northings: 534783

OS Grid: NZ266347

Mapcode National: GBR KGC0.1B

Mapcode Global: WHC4X.LY34

Plus Code: 9C6WPC46+WV

Entry Name: Colliery Disaster Memorial in York Hill Cemetery, Circa 70 Metres East of Entrance

Listing Date: 14 June 1988

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1322832

English Heritage Legacy ID: 112246

Location: Spennymoor, County Durham, DL16

County: County Durham

Civil Parish: Spennymoor

Built-Up Area: Spennymoor

Traditional County: Durham

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): County Durham

Church of England Parish: Tudhoe Grange

Church of England Diocese: Durham

Find accommodation in


Colliery disaster memorial, about 1882 by G Ryder and Sons of Bishop Auckland.


Colliery disaster memorial, about 1882 by G Ryder and Sons of Bishop Auckland.

MATERIALS: sandstone ashlar with granite shafts.

DESCRIPTION: the Gothic monument occupies the centre of the cemetery and stands about five metres high. It has a shaped base supporting a square pedestal which has a moulded plinth and cornice; there are capitals on corner shafts framing a panel to each face. This is surmounted by a high, tapering, octagonal spire, with blind tracery and leaf decoration on alternate panels, and a cross finial bearing the inscription I H S. The spire rests upon a square block which has scenes carved in low relief on all sides, and has flower and beast decoration. These detailed scenes represent a miner walking to work, an injured miner being rescued from the pit, a grieving widow at her husband's grave and a scroll with clasped hands inscribed with the word 'FRIENDSHIP'.

The Gothic-shaped panels on the pedestal bear inscriptions incised in Roman letters which read: on the west face: IN MEMORY OF/ THE 37 MEN AND/ BOYS WHO LOST THEIR LIVES/ IN THE LAMENTABLE/ EXPLOSION AT TUDHOE/ APRIL 18 1882/ ERECTED BY THEIR FELLOW WORKMEN AND FRIENDS AS A/ TOKEN OF SINCERE RESPECT. The names of the dead are inscribed below the inscription and on the other three faces.


County Durham's third mining disaster of the 1880s occurred only two months after the nearby Trimdon explosion, and preceded a similar blast at West Stanley by only a few days. The explosion at Tudhoe Colliery took place on 28 April 1882 and was its first major accident. Sixty miners were below ground when the 'Black Horse' blew at 1.15 am. A rescue was mounted immediately, but was hampered by a jammed cage and fallen debris. Massive crowds gathered at the pit mouth as dozens of injured survivors were brought to the surface. The bodies of 37 men and boys were discovered. The subsequent enquiry found that the explosion was caused by a fall of stone. This memorial is a replica of another placed in Trimdon Colliery to a separate colliery disaster.

Reasons for Listing

The Tudhoe Colliery Disaster Memorial, of 1882, is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:

Architectural interest:

* a tall and attractive Gothic design in the form of a spire with intricate decorative detailing;
* it displays good-quality materials and craftsmanship and creates a prominent central landmark within the cemetery in which it stands;
* it has good quality and well-detailed carved scenes in low relief, depicting aspects of miners' lives and death.

Historic interest:

* it commemorates a major Durham coalfield mining disaster in 1882 in which 37 men and boys died, and stands as a tangible expression of the hazards inherent in England's later-C19 coal mining industry.

Group value:

* it benefits from a spatial and functional group value with the First World War memorial, erected to the men and officials of Tudhoe Colliery, that stands at the entrance to the cemetery.

Selected Sources

Book cover links are generated automatically from the sources. They are not necessarily always correct, as book names at Amazon may not be quite the same as those used referenced in the text.

Source title links go to a search for the specified title at Amazon. Availability of the title is dependent on current publication status. You may also want to check AbeBooks, particularly for older titles.

Recommended Books

Other nearby listed buildings

BritishListedBuildings.co.uk is an independent online resource and is not associated with any government department. All government data published here is used under licence. Please do not contact BritishListedBuildings.co.uk for any queries related to any individual listed building, planning permission related to listed buildings or the listing process itself.

British Listed Buildings is a Good Stuff website.