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W. & D. Downey
Hartley Colliery after the accident - 30 Jan 1862
15 x 20.4 cm (image)
The Royal Collection
Photograph of the pit at Hartley Colliery, after the disaster, 30 January 1862, showing a collection of buildings, chimneys and winding gear. Letters have been marked on the print to indicate specific locations and objects, which is explained in an accompanying handwritten note. The tragic events at Hartley Colliery began on 16 January 1862 when part of the pumping mechanism fell into the pit shaft, trapping over two hundred miners, and ended over a week later with the recovery of their bodies. The imagination of the public was captured by this disaster, and for the Queen, who had become a widow herself on 14 December 1861, the agony suffered by the wives and families of the trapped miners must have seemed particularly heart-rending. She followed events with great concern and was quick to subscribe to the relief fund set up to provide support for the dead men's families. W. & D. Downey had taken four photographs at the mine, and these were sent to the Queen with explanatory details.