Louisa Morrison Pit disaster Memorial moved…

IT WAS almost midnight on August 22, 1947, when tragedy struck a North Durham town, costing the lives of 22 men and shaking a community to its core.

The two dozen miners were underground in the “fourth north district”, between the Louisa Pit and the Morrison North Pit, in the area of Kyo bogs when a huge explosion of firedamp, most likely a pocket of methane gas, ripped through the pit workings.

Of the 24 men working the coal seam, 22 were killed, including two “Bevin Boys”.

The two pits were linked underground, so the men were from both collieries and had descended from both ends of the shaft.

To mark the 50th anniversary of the disaster, and remember the men lost that day, local historian Jack Hair and then vicar of St Aidan’s church, Annfield Plain, Revd. DE Jenkins, raised funds for a permanent memorial in the grounds of the church, which was dedicated with family members and descendants of the deceased present on August 23, 1997.

However, the memorial was placed under threat, when it was announced in February 2016 that St Aidan’s church was to close.

Stanley Town Council moved quickly to honour the men who died in 1947 and save the memorial. Following lengthy discussions with the church and with help from Mr Hair, whooriginally commissioned the stone, the Council is funding the relocation of the stone, which will now sit outside the Louisa Centre, near the site of the old Louisa Colliery.

Town Mayor Alex Clegg said: After almost two years of negotiations, we finally got the green light to relocate the stone, just in time for the 71st Anniversary of the disaster and it is fitting that now sits so close to where some of those hardworking men made their final journey underground.

“This disaster was an important part of our area’s mining history and it’s right that the men should be remembered.

“I’m delighted that we have not only been able to secure the future of the memorial for future generations but that we have been able to place it in a prominent location so that many more people will be able to see the memorial in the setting of the former site of the Louisa Colliery.”

Leader of Stanley Town Council, David Marshall, said: “Like most this part of County Durham, the town of Stanley was hewn from the coalface – our proud history inexorably linked to the coal mining industry.

“It is only right and proper that we continue to educate people about and pay tribute to the brave souls who gave their life down the pit. They worked for long hours in horrendous conditions for a modest income all to make sure there was food on the table for their families…we will remember them and make sure others do for generations to come.”

The Town Council is planning an event on August 23, the anniversary of the disaster to re-dedicate the memorial in it’s new setting.

Agendas for next week’s Meetings

Next week the Council is holding two Committee Meetings:

Tuesday 8th May, 6.30 pm – Projects & Initiatives

Wednesday 9th May, 6.00 pm – Finance & Governance

Both meetings will be held at the Civic Hall, Front St Stanley and are open to members of the public for attendance.  The agendas are linked below for information. Background papers will be uploaded when they are available.

‘-Finance and Governance Agenda 09.05.18

‘-Projects and Initiatives Agenda 08.05.18

Projects & Initiatives Committee 10th April 2018

The Agenda and papers for next week’s Projects Committee are linked below.

The meeting will be held at 6.30 pm on Tuesday 10th April at the Civic Hall. All meetings are open to the public.  Items to be considered:

Advice Service Specification

Youth Theatre production for Armed Forces Day

Advice in County Durham Networking Event

‘-Projects and Initiatives Agenda 10.4.18

Projects Background Papers (Public) April 18

West Stanley Pit Disaster Remembrance 16th Feb 2018

Stanley Town Council will be marking the 109th Anniversary of one of the darkest days in the town’s history where 168 men and boys lost their lives underground next Friday from 3.30pm at the Memorial outside NDA. All residents are invited to join us. This year the GMB are bringing the West Stanley colliery banner to the event and Craghead band will also be in attendance.

Securing the future, remembering the past – Pine St Improvements

A regeneration project that captures the history of its residents has been completed in South Moor.

Due to issues with flooding across the South Moor Terraces in Stanley, the Wear Rivers Trust, in partnership with the Heritage Lottery Fund, Stanley Town Council, Durham County Council, Groundwork North East and contractors Seymour Civil Engineering have installed a sustainable urban drainage system, a natural approach to managing drainage and recycling water.

To do this, rain garden planters were fitted between the pavement, providing homes for five trees, each commemorating one year of fighting in the First World War.

Along with additional foliage, the trees, positioned along the length of Pine Street, act as markers within the Twizell Heritage Trail, a route which tells the story of South Moor’s origins shortly before the First World War and how the miners shaped the community. Each tree will be marked with a World War one battle insignia, remembering the hundreds of miners who lost their lives.

The project also saw the pathways fitted with block paving designed in the style of old fashioned film reel to commemorate the important role that local cinemas played in war time communications.

During both World Wars, the community surrounding Stanley depended upon the five cinemas in the area for updates from the frontline.

Town Mayor Bala Nair said: “It’s fantastic to see a project that the Town Council has invested in come to fruition. The new scheme has given Pine St a big facelift but it will also have a positive impact in reducing the incidence of flooding in South Moor, which has been a problem for years”

Adrian Cantle-Jones, the Durham County Council Project Manager, said: “South Moor residents are delighted with the wonderful improvements to Pine Street and the wider Twizzel Burn and South Moor Heritage Trail. The South Moor Partnership is looking forward to continuing the regeneration of the South Moor Terraces and Twizzel Burn Catchment”.

Keith Love from Seymour Civil Engineering, said: “As a company, we are really proud to have been a part of a project that has not only contributed to environmental improvement and flood alleviation, but has commemorated Stanley’s heritage.

Stanley Town Council invested £60,000 in the Pine St scheme, the improvements in Memorial park including the new bridges in the woods and contributes to the maintenance of the heritage trail, keeping the path clear for people to enjoy.

Full Council Papers Uploaded 18th April 2017

The final Full Council meeting of the current Council will be held next Tuesday at 6.30 pm at the Civic Hall. Business for discussion includes: Events, Heritage Funding, Civic Hall theatre improvements, Relocation of the Louisa Morrison Memorial from St Aidan’s Church, Council Offices update, New Member Training after the election.

The public are welcome and encouraged to attend. The meeting will be streamed live on Facebook.

Agenda 18 April 2017

Background Papers

Council Papers Uploaded – 21st February 2017

The Agenda and papers for next week’s meeting of Council are linked below.

We believe that we may be the first Town Council in County Durham and possibly beyond to broadcast our meeting live on Facebook so we will be offering a new way for the public to interact with our meetings from their own homes on Tuesday, fingers crossed there will be no technical problems!

The business on the agenda to be discussed will include decisions being made about projects, events and initiatives the Council is taking forward in 2017 and an update on progress towards a number of the Council’s medium term objectives, including a virtual tour of the old Front Street Council offices.

Agenda 21 February 2017

February Supporting Docs

Council Papers for 15th November Uploaded

Council will be considering whether or not to become the custodian of Annfield Plain War Memorial, what a brand new war memorial for the whole of Stanley could look like, whether or not to provide a community defibrillator for the town and looking at budgets for next year at Tuesday’s meeting. We will also be considering a request for funding for a charity swimathon being organised at Stanley baths by the Rotary Club of Derwentside, the new ALDI proposal and proposed changes to Dog Control Orders across the County.

The public are both welcomed and encouraged to come and participate in our meetings, this meeting will be held at the Stanley Education Centre (next to Shield Row School) at 6.30 pm on Tuesday 15th November. The hot chocolate from the free vending machine at Shield Row is recommended so we hope to see you there!

The papers are attached below:

Agenda

Background Documents