She’s Fired: Play tells the tale of Seaham pit disaster

A scene from She's Fired: The Story of the Seaham Colliery Disaster of September 1880
A scene from She's Fired: The Story of the Seaham Colliery Disaster of September 1880
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THE tragic story of a Durham mining disaster will be brought to life this weekend.

She’s Fired will be performed in tribute to the 164 miners who died at Seaham in 1880.

A scene from She's Fired: The Story of the Seaham Colliery Disaster of September 1880

A scene from She's Fired: The Story of the Seaham Colliery Disaster of September 1880

The play, accompanied by music, concentrates on a scene at the colliery face, where nine men and six boys, the youngest just 10, were trapped and waiting in vain to be rescued.

The disaster was the third to strike the pit and one of seven explosions.

The story of the 1880 ordeal, which also led to the loss of 181 ponies, is told by a group made up of former miners and North East musicians.

It is said the mine’s owner, the Marquis of Londonderry, and his colliery managers, left scores of men and boys to face a lengthy death by sealing up the mine shaft, to save the colliery from burning up.

A scene from She's Fired: The Story of the Seaham Colliery Disaster of September 1880

A scene from She's Fired: The Story of the Seaham Colliery Disaster of September 1880

Seaton Colliery was sunk in 1844 and production started in 1852, after a desperate struggle against flooding.

Seaham Colliery was sunk five years after its neighbour, with the pits then amalgamated in 1864, under the Londonderry family name.

The story of the 1880 tragedy has been penned by blacksmith Bob Lowery, from Seaham, and electrician John Wrightson, from Murton.

Bob said: “I wanted to show through the play just what the price of coal really was.

A scene from She's Fired: The Story of the Seaham Colliery Disaster of September 1880.

A scene from She's Fired: The Story of the Seaham Colliery Disaster of September 1880.

“Many characters are based on miners I knew – men of real character who worked in very tough environments.

“I was one of the last of apprentices taken on by local collieries in the 1970s.

“I worked with pitmen who wore cloth caps rather than helmets, and who told fantastic stories of the past.”

The show will be performed in Hall Two of the Sage in Gateshead on Saturday at 8pm, as part of its Folkworks programme.

It was staged last year as part of celebrations at Houghton Feast and has previously been performed in West Rainton.

Tickets are £10 and can be booked online via www.sagegateshead.com by calling 443 4661.