Artwork helps celebrate lives of Gresford disaster victims

Reporter:

Iwan Berry

ARTEFACTS and artwork will help to remember one of the worst industrial accidents in North Wales.

Wrexham Museum is hosting an exhibition on the history of Welsh coal-mining accidents as part of commemorations for the 80th anniversary of the Gresford Colliery Disaster.

A total of 260 men and boys were killed in the explosion on September 22, 1934, and the museum will hold a series of events this year to remember those who lost their lives.

A Light in the Dark – Coal, Colliers and Communities will show a collection of paintings, medals and mining memorabilia on loan from the National Library of Wales and National Museum Wales.

The items displayed will focus on the lives of miners throughout Wales and the conditions they had to endure.

Medals will also be shown from the Senghenydd Colliery explosion, which saw the greatest loss of life in the history of UK coal mining, and the Tynewydd Colliery inundation, 1877, which resulted in the creation of the first medals of gallantry for civilians.

Highlights will include artwork from Welsh artists Archie Rhys Griffiths and Vincent Evans, and memorial artefacts from both disasters.

Jonathan Gammond, access and interpretation officer at Wrexham County Borough Museum and Archives service, said: “The story of the Gresford Colliery Disaster is one of the most moving events in the history of the North Wales coalfield and later this year we will be opening a new display focused on the disaster.

“This exhibition, however, looks at the bigger picture of coal mining in Wales. For all the objects, this exhibition will be the first time they have ever been displayed in north-east Wales.”

The exhibition will run until January 17, 2015, and entry to the exhibition is free.

l ALSO running at the Wrexham Museum, until September 6, is Telling the Time, an exhibition of lantern clocks made by Wrexham clockmakers Joseph Billington and Thomas Hampson.

The older piece was made by Billington, and dates back to the 1670s, when he worked at a workshop on High Street.

The clock made by Thomas Hampson – Wrexham’s most noted clockmaker – dates back to the 1730s, and would have been made at his workshop on the site of what is now The Butchers Market.

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