In 2009 Kate Humble, the BBC’s wildlife presenter did an episode of ‘Who Do You Think You Are’ and it was revealed that Kate’s great, great, great grandfather, Joseph Humble, was a manager at the New Hartley Colliery, in Northumberland, when disaster struck. He lost his own nephew also called Joseph Humble, on that day along with the other 203 men and boys who all suffocated to death.
Memorial to the New Hartley Pit Disaster in 1862
With renewed interest in this local historical event due to the filming, the memorial, which had been all but forgotten and overgrown with brambles and weeds, was spruced up for the programme. It still takes a bit of finding but it is a moving sight. The worst family affected was the Liddle family. Nine of them were lost, the youngest being only 10 years old. It was the last pit that was ever sunk with only a single shaft. If there had been a second shaft they could all have been rescued.
The Liddle Family were the worst hit in the disaster