Amble and District
     Local History



The Amble and District Mining Memorial

Acklington Broomhill Hauxley Longframlington
Newburgh Newton Radcliffe Shilbottle
Togston Whittle Other Collieries  


AHLBERG Andrew Thomas 1950
ARMSTRONG John Dawson 1940
BOLTON George William 1934
DONALDSON John Younger 1938
DOUGLAS Ormond 1944
GAIR Robert Edward 1946
HEDLEY Thomas 1925
HOPE James Hume 1929
JOBSON John 1938
JOHNSON John William 1962
LAWSON John 1933
MOORE Robert William 1967
SHELL John Edward 1933
SIMPSON William Nathan 1950
THOMPSON James Smith 1954
WAKE John Cuthbertson 1928
WHITE James Stephen 1942
WRIGHT William 1935



Thomas Andrew AHLBERG

Died 19 October 1950
Stoneman, aged 52 years, of 6 Stable Row, Radcliffe. Buried West Cemetery, Amble,
 22 October 1950. Died at Hauxley Colliery. (Grave Plot 94 F)

At the 1926 Electoral Register, Thomas, George and Christina Ahlberg are living in 1 Newburgh Street, Amble.

Northumberland Gazette, 27 October 1950

“An “uncertainty” regarding mining regulations covering the withdrawing of timber supports was disclosed during the inquest on a Radcliffe miner at Amble Police Court on Saturday morning.
The inquest was on 52 year old stoneman, Andrew Thomas Ahlberg (married), of 6 Stable Row, Radcliffe, who was killed by a fall of stones at Hauxley Colliery last Thursday afternoon.
Colliery officials who attended the inquest included Mr A. J. S. Ainsworth, Inspector of Mines; Mr W. S. Willis, colliery manager; Mr F. Hall, safety engineer, No. 3 area N.C.B. (Northern Division; and the Hauxley branch secretary of the N.U.M., Mr F. Wilson.
During the evidence by William Deas Stevens (stoneman) of 62 Dandsfield Place, Radcliffe, who was working with Ahlberg when the fall occurred, the Inspector of Mines asked if he was aware that the correct procedure for withdrawing timber supports was the use of a sylvester.
The witness replied that he was not aware that there was any definite rule. He was against the use of a sylvester because it put off a lot of time if the roof was good – in which case he would use a “mell” or buffet out the timber with a plank.
“Surely you will agree that it would be better practice and much safer to spend a little extra time drawing supports in a safe manner, if there were likely to be any falls, than having a fatality?” the inspector asked.
“Most certainly so, but you never look for these fatalities,” the witness declared.
After hearing rulings on the use of the sylvester for withdrawals of timber, the coroner (Mr H. J. Percy) commented that there seemed to be “a bit of uncertainty about the position” and that probably other workmen were unaware of the rule.
Earlier in his evidence Stevens described Ahlberg as a careful, experienced miner who did not take risks. They had been knocking away timber preparatory to shots being fired before the fall occurred.
There was one supporting prop left to be withdrawn and he was coming out of the canch when he happened to turn and look up to a slip in the roof.
“I saw a space, I shouted “Get back” and bolted underneath the face. The quickness with which I moved saved my life,” he declared.
Asked by the coroner if he could imagine that Ahlberg, a careful and experienced miner, would knock out the last stay without knowing that he was clear of the canch, he replied: “He may have knocked it out, I cannot say.”
After the fall, Stevens lit his lamp and found Ahlberg’s body under the stone. Other stones had to be broken before those on him could be moved.

James William Doleman Simmons
(chargeman), of 58 Hedgehope Terrace, East Chevington, said that the deceased was working under his direction at the time of the accident.
The place where the stonemen were working was four foot six inches in height and dry.  He described it as “safe” although there was a slight slip in the roof, of which they were aware.
He tapped the roof and found everything satisfactory – with no forewarning of danger. Two holes had been drilled to take explosives and he was going back to the explosive box 30 yards away when the fall occurred.
“I was just about 15 yards away when the accident happened. My first knowledge of it was hearing a crash. I rushed back and shouted to Mr Ahlberg but there was no reply.”
When he asked Stevens if he could see Ahlberg and he replied: “Yes, he’s lying here,” he immediately rushed for medical aid.
The witness added that the deceased did not seem to be attempting or about to withdraw the stay when he left. He described Ahlberg as “a good pitman” whom he had known for 25 years and he did not think he would have done that or he would have warned him against it.

A verdict of “death by misadventure” was recorded.”



~Died 1 January 1940 (accident 22 December 1939)
Aged 52 years. Buried West Cemetery, Amble, 4 January. Died at Newcastle Infirmary (Grave Plot 215 F)




George William BOLTON

~Died 15 May 1934
Aged 58 years. Buried West Cemetery, Amble, 19 May 1934. Killed at Hauxley Colliery. (Grave Plot 192 A)

  At the 1926 Electoral Register, George is living at 1 Gibson Street, Amble.




John Younger DONALDSON

Died 24 January 1938 (accident 19 January 1938)
Aged 22 years, of 2 Cross Row East, Radcliffe. Buried West Cemetery, Amble, 27 January. (Grave Plot 239 J)


At the 1926 Electoral Register, John’s parents, John Younger and Mary Donaldson, are living at 47 Albert Street, Amble.

Morpeth Herald, 11 February 1938 

“A fall of stone in Hauxley Pit, which resulted in a young miner receiving fatal injuries, was described at an Alnwick inquest, when it was stated that the fall was a pure accident. An Amble witness was complimented on the way he gave evidence.
Deputy Coroner J. W. Sylvester conducted the inquest in Alnwick Courthouse on Wednesday. Deceased was John Younger Donaldson (22), of Cross Row East, Radcliffe, who died in Alnwick Infirmary on January 24 as the result of injuries received whilst working in Hauxley Pit.
There was also present Mr T. A. Rogers, H.M. Inspector of Mines, and Ald. W. Golightly, representing the Northumberland Miners’ Association.
Dr. Boris Klukvin
, of Alnwick Infirmary, said that deceased was admitted to the institution on January 19, with a fractured pelvis and lower spine. His condition was very much shocked, and he died on 24th January. His injuries were so bad that they were surprised he lived so long as he did. His death was due to the injuries.
John Robert Morris
, Centre Row, Radcliffe, employed at Hauxley Pit as a landing lad, said that he was helping deceased and another man to get full tubs out. Near the shaft bottom witness saw a steel girder hanging down, and he went for assistance. A full set of tubs was stopped. This was about 4.30 a.m.
“Deceased, a man named Thompson and I tried to lift the girder up. As we were lifting it a stone fell from the roof and buried Donaldson. The girder fell down as well. I got the stone off the deceased’s back and head and I went for help.”

William E. Thompson
, of Amble, a rolleywayman employed by the Broomhill Collieries, said that he had gone down into Hauxley pit at 1.30 a.m. on January 19. He descended to the East Queen Seam and went to Crackett’s staging.
“About 4.30 a.m. a set of tubs was run to the shaft. I was still at the stage when Morris came and told me there was a girder down on the landing. I stopped the set from running and proceeded to the East Queen Landing and found a girder down at one end.”
“I shouted to Donaldson to come and give us a lift with the girder till I got the prop in. The three of us lifted the end of the girder up till it was level. I went to the other end and was adjusting it into the box-hole while the other two were holding the girder. While we were busy the fall of stone came away. The fall consisted of stone, clay and rubble.”
“Deceased was completely covered with the stone. There was no warning of the fall.”

said he had examined the roof after the girder came loose, and before the stone fell, and thought it was safe, in his opinion.
Coroner: Could anything have been done to prevent the accident?

: Not in my opinion. It was a pure accident, which could not be avoided.
“Have you any idea, as to what caused the girder to come down?” asked the Coroner.
Witness: No, I have not.
Replying to the Mines Inspector as to a possible cause of the girder coming loose, Thompson said it might have been due to the vibration of the roller and the rope, and the props standing in water might have loosened the bottom of the prop.

said he had had 35 years’ experience as a rolleyman, and he was quite competent to deal with the loose girder.
The fall was a very heavy one and would comprise about seven tubfuls.
As an extra precaution, “stringing” girders had been put in, to support the other girders, and brick butts had been put on the props, added witness.

“That closes the evidence in this unfortunate case,” remarked the Coroner, “and I cannot add anything to what you have heard from the two witnesses. I should like to compliment Mr. Thompson on the excellent way he gave his evidence and explained everything.”
“It appears that for some reason this girder came down without any warning, and at the time that deceased was assisting to replace it, for some reason or other there was this fall of stone, a very heavy fall. What caused the girder to come down we do not know. I can only suggest that this is a case of pure accident which could not have been foreseen or avoided by any of the pit employees.”
The jury recorded a verdict that the cause of death was injuries sustained by deceased through a fall of stone at the Hauxley Pit while following his employment as a landing lad at the said pit, the property of the Broomhill Collieries, Ltd.
The foreman (Mr. W. Crisp) added that the jury complimented both witnesses especially Mr. Thompson, on giving helpful evidence.

On behalf of the Broomhill Collieries, Ltd., Mr. Scott expressed sympathy with the relatives.”




~Died 25 November 1944 (accident 7 November 1944)
Aged 57 years, of 3 Broomhill Street, Amble. Buried West Cemetery, Amble, 28 November. (Grave Plot 118 A)



At the 1926 Electoral Register, Ormond and his wife, Isabella, are living at 3 Broomhill Street, Amble.



Robert Edward GAIR

~Died 6 June 1946
Aged 43 years, of 25 George Street, Amble. Buried West Cemetery, Amble, 9 June. (Grave Plot 9 B)


 At the 1926 Electoral Register, Robert is living in 16 Leazes Street, Amble.




~Died 3 June 1925 (accident 8 May 1924)
Aged 24 years. Buried West Cemetery, Amble, 8 June. Died at Newcastle Infirmary, (Grave Plot 135 C)





James Hume HOPE

~Died 10 October 1929
Aged 43 years, Buried West Cemetery, Amble, 13 October. Killed at Hauxley Colliery. (Grave Plot 195 J)






~Died 18 May 1938 (accident 13 May 1938)
Aged 56 years. Buried West Cemetery, Amble, 21 May. Died at Alnwick Infirmary. (Grave Plot 245 J)





John William JOHNSON

~Died 8 May 1962
Aged 33 years, of 134 Woodside Crescent, Hadston. Buried at Chevington Cemetery, 10 May. (Grave Plot I 147)






~Died 20 June 1933 (accident 19 June 1933)
Aged 59 years. Buried at West Cemetery, Amble, 22 June. Died at Alnwick Infirmary. (Grave Plot 54 E)






Robert William MOORE

~Died 24 January 1967
Aged 61 years, of Linhope Terrace, Chevington Drift. Buried at Chevington Cemetery, 27 January. Died at Shotley Bridge Hospital, Consett. (Grave Plot B 063)







John Edward SHELL

~Died 28 April 1933


Aged 31 years. Buried at West Cemetery, Amble, 30 April. Died at Hauxley Colliery. (Grave Plot 358 C)







William Nathan SIMPSON

~Died 21 August 1950 (accident 2 July 1945)
Aged 37 years, of 4 Cross Row, Radcliffe. Buried at West Cemetery, Amble, 23 August. (Grave Plot 75 H)

Northumberland Gazette, 25 August 1950

“The jury at an Amble inquest on Wednesday morning returned a verdict in accordance with medical evidence that the death of a 37 year old Radcliffe miner on Monday was due to injuries he received at Hauxley Colliery just over five years ago.
The miner, William Nathan Simpson, of 4 Cross Row East, Radcliffe, was a stoneman at Hauxley Colliery when he was seriously injured by a fall of stone on July 2, 1945.
He sustained a fractured spine, and both his legs were paralysed. He spent over two years in Hexham Emergency Hospital before returning home, where he was bedridden.

Mr H. J. Percy
, the coroner told the jury that as the accident occurred more than a year and a day ago they would not be required to go into the actual facts of the accident.
“You will be told what the accident was, from colliery records,” he said, “and I may mention that the circumstances were duly investigated by H.M. Inspector of Mines at the time. Having heard that the accident occurred, and of the injuries Simpson sustained as a result of it, the only question to which you need apply your minds today is “Was the death which occurred on August 21 this year directly or indirectly connected with the injuries he sustained five years ago?”
In such cases, added the coroner, the jury would be guided almost exclusively by the medical evidence.
Evidence of identification was then given by Mr John George Simpson, 50 Swarland Terrace, Red Row, who said Simpson was his son in law, and that he had never been able to walk since the colliery accident.

Frederick William Hall,
N.C.B. No. 3 area safety engineer, produced Hauxley Colliery records of the accident in which Simpson was involved, and said he was 33 years old at the time. He also read a medical report signed by Dr Rutherford and dated November 12, 1949, stating that Simpson was still bedridden as a result of the accident.
Medical evidence, including the result of a post mortem, was given by Dr R. C. Thompson, Amble.
He was asked by the coroner “You have no doubt whatever that the physical disabilities which led up to his death were the direct consequence of the fracture of the spine?”
“I have no doubt whatever,” replied the doctor.
The jury then returned a verdict in accordance with the medical evidence, that Simpson’s death was directly connected with the accident.

Mr F. Wilson
, secretary of the Hauxley branch of the National Union of Mineworkers, was present during the proceedings.”


James Smith THOMPSON

~Died 1 March 1954
Aged 65 years, of Byron Street, Amble.


Morpeth Herald, 19 March 1954


“A 65 year old banksman at Hauxley Colliery with a life-long experience of surface work, failed to stop machinery before easing forward some stiff tubs on to the creeper, it was revealed to a coroner’s jury at Alnwick last week.
The coroner for North Northumberland, Mr Hugh J. Percy, recorded a verdict of “Accidental Death” on James Smith Thompson, of Byron Street, Amble, who was killed in an accident which occurred at the colliery on 1st March. He was taken to Ashington Infirmary, where he underwent an operation. He died just as the operation was finishing.

Mr H. Booker
, District Inspector of Mines, was present at the inquest. Also present were Mr James Smith, Newcastle (representing the National Union of Mineworkers), Mr W. S. Willis (manager of the colliery, representing the National Coal Board), and Mr F. Hall (Safety Engineer No.3 Area).
Three minutes after the accident, William L. Purdy, enginewright, of The Schoolhouse, Hauxley, arrived on the scene.
He found the victim lying twelve feet beyond. Up to then nothing had been done, except that a man was holding the victim’s lacerated hand.

told him that he had been easing the tubs forward and his clothing had been caught on one, and he had been dragged into the creeper, a type of conveyor chain that carried the tubs forward after they had come down a slight decline.
When the accident occurred, Mr Purdy said he thought the creeper must have been in motion. If the tubs had stopped before they reached the creeper, a long rod or pole was lying nearby with which the tubs could be eased forward.
The pole was available and he could have used it if he wished, he stated. Thompson, he said, had been a surface workman all his life and was familiar with this type of work.

John H. Archbold
, a screen linksman at the colliery, stated that he was working nearby. He heard a shout and ran around and stopped the creeper. Then he saw Thompson lying on the creeper.
With experience in this type of work, Mr Archbold stated that the tubs were sometimes slowed down when it was frosty. Sometimes, if it was not possible to ease the tubs forward with the bar, then a man had to go down and push the tubs. But before he did so, he should have switched off the machinery.
He asserted that he had switched off the machinery after he had heard the shout.

Without retiring, the jury returned a verdict of accidental death. They did not make any observations.”



John Cuthbertson WAKE

~Died 5 October 1928
Aged 40 years. Buried West Cemetery, Amble, 9 October. Killed at Hauxley Colliery. (Grave Plot 156 C)


Alnwick and County Gazette, 13 October 1928

 Mr Hugh J. Percy, Coroner for North Northumberland, conducted an inquiry at Amble Courthouse on Monday into the circumstances of the death of John Cuthbert (sic) Wake (40), coal-cutter, 1 Cross Row East, Radcliffe, who was killed while following his employment at Hauxley Colliery on Friday.
Inspector T. R. Spratt represented the police. An inspector of mines, Mr T. A. Rogers, Gosforth, and the manager of Hauxley Colliery, Mr A. Noble, were also in attendance.
Robert Henry Wake
, Chevington Drift, identified the body of deceased as that of his brother. He said his brother had no physical disabilities that he knew of. He died on Friday down the mine. He had had some years’ experience as a coal-cutter.
Thomas Lawson
, assistant coal-cutter at Hauxley Colliery, living at Radcliffe, said that about 9.50 p.m. on October 5th he was working with the deceased. At the time the accident happened, the deceased was in front of the machine. He was behind timbering. There was no warning when the coal fell.
Thomas Smailes
, chargeman, said he was working in the Albert Seam. His back was turned at the time the accident actually happened. He had just left the deceased. When he last saw him he was two yards in front watching the haulage chain of the machine. When he was six or seven yards away, he heard a fall of coal, and saw Wake sitting on his hunkers with his head on one side. He told them to switch off, and called for assistance. The coal had caught Wake on the head. Everything had been going well beforehand. He had to see if everything was all right. He had examined the place about quarter of an hour before, and the machine had only cut about five yards when the accident happened. He satisfied himself by jowling the roof and examined it by the lamps. He saw a little bit of coal overhanging. It was nice and hard, because he jowled it with a pick. The coal-cutting machine set up a good deal of vibration. The deceased had been crushed against the prop, for blood was coming out of his mouth and ears. His hat was lying at the bottom of the prop.
In reply to Mr Rogers, the witness said the piece of coal overhanging was about 2ft 6in. by 15in. by 12in. This hit the deceased on the head and crushed him against the pole.
The Coroner remarked that, as in so many of these sad colliery fatal accidents, the evidence disclosed an obvious potential danger in working in places like that. The substance of the chargeman’s evidence was that it was easy to be wise after the accident. The chargeman must in future make working under similar conditions as that safe, and the wise and proper precaution would be to see that the face was squared off and there were no overhanging projections, which, through the vibration of the coal-cutter or the settling of the roof, might form a potential danger, which might come away at any moment and be followed by tragic results. That sad accident had brought very vividly to light that matter.

A verdict of accidental death was returned.”



James Stephen WHITE

~Died 5 February 1942
Aged 40 years, of 8 Cross Row West, Radcliffe. Buried West Cemetery, Amble, 9 February. (Grave Plot 278 J)




William WRIGHT

~Died 4 August 1935
Aged 24 years. Buried West Cemetery, Amble, 6 August. Killed at Hauxley Colliery. (Grave Plot 13 E)


Morpeth Herald, 16 August 1935

“A verdict of accidental death was returned at the inquest on William Wright (24), miner, of Long Row North, Radcliffe, who was killed by a fall of stone in Hauxley Colliery.
Mr Hugh J. Percy, Coroner for North Northumberland, conducted the inquest in Amble courthouse last Thursday.
Evidence was given by Gavin Wardrope, a coal cutter, of Leslie Row, Radcliffe, who said that Wright and he descended the colliery at 6 a.m. and went to their coal cutting machine in Huntley’s Drift seam. About 9 a.m. he changed places with Wright at the rear of the machine. They kept constantly “jowling” the roof.
“I heard a clash of stone, and rushed forward to see what had happened,” continued Wardrope. “I found Wright under a large stone. I immediately hurried for assistance. He was dead when we got him out. The fall of stone was a very heavy one. It came away from a slip in the roof.”
George Wood, deputy overman, said that he examined the roof in Huntley’s Drift about 5.15 a.m. and did not notice any fault. He jowled it thoroughly. He had always found Wright a very careful and experienced miner. The place was well timbered and in good working order.”