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When 26 miners lost their lives thro’ a fire breaking thro’ the main shaft;

You’ve heard of that sad disaster at Hamstead Nr’ Great Barr;
Where those poor miners lost their lives when underground so far;

To escape it was impossible through that raging fire,
they were all suffocated one by one as the deadly fumes drew nigh;

At the bottom of the main shaft where the fire was first seen;
A candle box was kept close by, where someone unknown had been;

To get a supply of candles to last them through the night;
They left the box not knowing the others had caught alight;

But on to work they bravely went no thought of danger near;
For they had only parted an hour or so from those they loved so dear;

Yet the fire spread faster and faster, and the fumes kept travelling on;
Until it got nearer to those now dead and gone;

A rescue party had been sent to try and save these lives;
Onto the bottom of the shaft they went, while on top stood those wives;

Yes the wives of the poor miners, they waited anxiously to hear;
The fate of those they loved and held so dear;

But sad it was when one was lost, John Welsby was his name;
He went to try and rescue those, whose fate he shared the same;

All hope it was abandoned of reaching those men alive;
And suspense it was unbearable for those poor waiting wives;

A drawing fan was then put down, for which to clean the air;
And a certain time was warned of before they could make a stir;

Yet after waiting what seemed years, a party again descended;
They came across John Welsby’s body as on their way they wended;

Up on the surface they came sad news to relate;
And the women as they waited knew only to well their fate.


  • The HAMSTEAD MINERS MEMORIAL TRUST is a registered Charity No.1098711
  • We welcome information and photographs on Hamstead Colliery and Great Barr