On the 21st of February 1957 disaster struck at Sutton Colliery, known locally as ‘Brierley Colliery’. Interestingly, the colliery had another local name too, which was the ‘Bread and Herring Pit’ because of its poor condition.
The cause of the disaster was a large stone falling from the roof and striking an electrical terminal box, which caused sparks, which then ignited firedamp (a highly combustible mixture of gases, mainly methane) which had been released during the roof collapse. This then led to a fire in which 25 miners were severley burned. Five of these men subsequently died of their injuries.
You can find extensive details of the Sutton Colliery Disaster at the Pitwork website.
The five miners who died were:
W. Savage, 29, Coal Getter
J.W. Betts, 55, Ripper
J. Lemm, 35, Shearer Assistant
L. Reeves, 45, Coal Getter
J. Godber, 16, Supplies Hand
The photograph shows the group of sculptures, by Robert Koenig, which depict the five miners who died in the Sutton Colliery Disaster. The group is situated outside the Visitor Centre.