Memorial to Huskar Pit Disaster

Overview

Heritage Category:
Listed Building
Grade:
II
List Entry Number:
1151741
Date first listed:
23-Nov-1987
Date of most recent amendment:
12-Mar-2021
Statutory Address:
By wall on west side of churchyard of All Saints Church, High Street, Silkstone, South Yorkshire, S75 4JQ

Map

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Location

Statutory Address:
By wall on west side of churchyard of All Saints Church, High Street, Silkstone, South Yorkshire, S75 4JQ

The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

District:
Barnsley (Metropolitan Authority)
Parish:
Silkstone
National Grid Reference:
SE2902005867

Summary

Memorial, erected in 1841.

Reasons for Designation

The Huskar Pit Disaster Memorial, erected in 1841, is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:

Architectural interest: * as a handsome and poignant memorial to the 15 boys and 11 girls who died when the nearby Huskar Pit was suddenly flooded during a torrential thunderstorm on 4 July 1838;

* a well-designed memorial capped by a tall pyramid and bearing a dramatic inscription of the sudden unfolding of the calamitous disaster and its consequences, and also the names and ages of the children who died. 

Historic interest: * the Huskar Pit Disaster resulted in the deaths of 26 children which then directly led to the Mines and Collieries Act of 1842 preventing all females and boys under the age of ten from working underground in mines in Britain.

Group value: * the memorial has group value with All Saint’s Church (listed Grade I) in whose churchyard it stands, and also with nine nearby grave slabs (all listed Grade II).

History

The memorial was commissioned to commemorate the Huskar Pit Disaster which occurred on 4 July 1838 in Nabs Wood when a violent thunderstorm and torrential rain caused sudden flooding at Moor End (No 5) Pit. Around 40 children tried to escape from the pit, but many were washed against air ventilation doors which closed with the force of the water and 26 were drowned. The children ranged in age from 7 to 17. The 15 boys were buried together in four graves and 11 girls were buried together in another three graves. Twenty of the victims were from Silkstone, three from Dodsworth and three from Thurgoland.

The disaster was reported in the national press where it caught the attention of Queen Victoria, who ordered a government enquiry. A Royal Commission into the working conditions of British women and children was led by Lord Ashley (later Lord Shaftsbury). It resulted in the Mines and Collieries Act of 1842, which included legislation that prevented all females and boys under the age of ten from working underground in mines.

The monument was erected by R C Clarke, the mine owner, and was funded by public subscription. The mason was Edward Bailey, with the monument erected in the churchyard of All Saints’ Church, Silkstone, in April 1841; it was originally set a metre further away from the church, but was moved in the 1960s when the road was straightened.

The monument was renovated in 1988 through locally raised funds to mark the 150th anniversary of the disaster.

Details

Memorial, erected in 1841.

MATERIALS: sandstone.

DESCRIPTION: the memorial takes the form of a square block with a moulded cornice mounted on a three-stepped podium and capped by a tall pyramid with protruding gables standing on a square, chamfered base.

The front has a swag of relief-carved drapery above an inscription which states: THIS MONUMENT / was erected to perpetuate the re- / membrance of an awful visitation / of the Almighty which took place / in this Parish on the 4th day of July 1838 / On that eventful day the Lord sent forth His Thunder; / Lightning, Hail and Rain carrying devastation before / them and by a sudden irruption of Water into the / Coalpits of R.C. Clarke Esqr. Twenty six human be- / ings whose names are recorded here were suddenly / Summon’d to appear before their Maker. / READER REMEMBER: / Every neglected call of God will appear against Thee / at the Day of Judgment. / Let this solemn Warning then sink deep into thy heart & / so prepare thee that the Lord when He cometh may find thee / WATCHING.

The right-hand side is inscribed with the names of the fifteen boys, their ages and which grave they are buried in; it is noted that two pairs of boys were brothers.

The left-hand side is inscribed with the names of the eleven girls, their ages and which grave they are buried in; it is noted that one of the girls was a sister to one of the boys.

The four sides of the square chamfered base to the pyramid are inscribed with Biblical proverbs.

Legacy

The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number:
334284
Legacy System:
LBS

Sources

Books and journals
White, D, Norman, E, Public Sculpture of Sheffield and South Yorkshire, Public Sculpture of Britain Volume Eighteen, PMSA National Recording Project, (2015), 242-243

Legal

This building is listed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 as amended for its special architectural or historic interest.

End of official listing

Images of England

Images of England was a photographic record of every listed building in England, created as a snap shot of listed buildings at the turn of the millennium. These photographs of the exterior of listed buildings were taken by volunteers between 1999 and 2008. The project was supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Date: 19 Oct 2003
Reference: IOE01/10944/03
Rights: Copyright IoE Mrs Barbara A West. Source Historic England Archive
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