Sheffield & South Yorkshire

Oaks Colliery disaster: Victims remembered 150 years on

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Media captionEvents are held in Barnsley to remember the 383 victims of the Oaks Colliery disaster.

A service has been held to remember 383 people killed in what is thought to be England's worst mining disaster.

Explosions at the Oaks Colliery, near Stairfoot, Barnsley, in South Yorkshire on 12-13 December 1866, killed miners as young as 10 and many rescuers.

Many of the bodies of the men and boys killed were never recovered.

Ahead of the 150th anniversary, a minute's silence was held at Barnsley Main and crosses were placed in the ground for each victim.

About 100 people gathered for prayers, with local MPs Dan Jarvis and Michael Dugher among those making speeches.

Image caption The engine house and pithead structures of the colliery which replaced the Oaks still stands at the site

The explosion, thought to be caused by flammable gases, buried the miners in the workings, with a second explosion killing 27 rescuers the following day.

Barnsley Main colliery eventually took over the workings of the Oaks Colliery, with the surviving engine house and the pithead structures Grade II listed.

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