The Oaks Disaster Memorial – Yorkshire, England - Atlas Obscura
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The Oaks Disaster Memorial

A churchyard in Ardsley houses a memorial dedicated to the victims of England’s worst mining disaster. 


On December 12, 1866, firedamp caused a huge explosion in the Old Oaks Colliery, which later became the Barnsley Main pit.

With around an hour of their shift left, around 340 men and boys were working at the pit, all but a handful were killed by the explosion and subsequent fallout. The disaster also took the lives of 27 rescue workers.

Located in this graveyard stands a memorial to the victims, and is one of three memorials dedicated to the disaster. It was erected in 1879, paid for by public subscription. 

If visitors happen to wander around the cemetery, many of the gravestones pay tribute to the victims of the disaster. 

Know Before You Go

The Church is on a busy dual carriageway, although there is a small car park and additional parking on side roads in the surrounding area. 

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