In Memory of the Bedminster Coal Miners

by South Bristol Bedminster Miners in Bristol, Bristol City, United Kingdom

In Memory of the Bedminster Coal Miners

Total raised £435

raised so far

11

supporters

The aim is to provide a physical lasting memory for the 156 miners killed in the Bedminster Coal Mines, in particular the Garland family.

by South Bristol Bedminster Miners in Bristol, Bristol City, United Kingdom

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Image - Bristol Radical History Group

This project is fuelled (no pun intended), by myself as a direct blood relative of the Bedminster Garland Miners, some very strong and wonderful people who risked their lives day in and day out making a living. It is also for ALL the miners of Bedminster and Ashton, in particular the 156 who were killed in Bedminster/Ashton coal mines, 7 of those being Garland family members.

Miners were the bedrock of Bedminster and Ashton, working in cramped, dark and damp conditions ... ones that we can only begin to imagine and they helped shape Bedminster and its community at a time of rapid industrial growth. Under the roads and streets of what we can now call a gentrified Southville & Bedminster, miners would have been toiling away for a pittance, walking miles from pit entry to coal face, often walking for half an hour before beginning work. You only have to look around at the pub names in Bedminster to see the legacy they left; The Miners, The Jolly Colliers and a little further afield, The Miners Rest in Long Ashton.

In 1872 the Somerset Miners Association (remember that Bedminster & Ashton was part of Somerset until the late 1890's) was born, and in June of 1874, 4,000 Bristol miners went out on strike.

'We are struggling for what we consider is nothing but just and right. We consider that our wages are just enough to live from hand to mouth and seeing the danger we are exposed to and the risk to life and limb, we are entitled to a fair days wage for a fair days work.'

On the 18th July 1874 the miners accepted arbitration to settle the dispute.

There has been a lot of amazing research done on the Bedminster Miners, in particular by Garry Atterton, local Historian and Bedminster boy, and my thanks goes out to him for his encouragement and wealth of knowledge. Further information on Garry's great work thus far can be found here -

 https://www.voicesofthepast.org.uk/bedminster-coal

So, if you've read this far - thank you, but you'll be asking, what is the aim of the crowdfunding? 

  • The aim is to pay for either a plaque and/or a metal statue of a coal miner as a reminder of Bedminster's historical importance that is often forgotten or at worst, not even known about. This is likely to be in the Dean Lane area, the Dean Lane Pit being the largest of its time and the site of the 1886 pit disaster on the 10th September of that year, where many were injured and William Garland Jnr, aged 28, died along with 9 others. His father, also William, would sadly go onto die 4 years later in an accident at Ashton Vale Colliery in 1890, aged 72.
  • To raise awareness and act as a memorial to all those killed in the Bedminster mining accidents or from causative health associated issues from working in them. 

Bristol Mining Stories

https://www.watershed.co.uk/archive-sites/bristolstories/story/90/

Trivia

  • Did you know that the Smyth Family owned most of Bedminster back in the day!
  • Bedminster miners did not use the Davy Safety Lamp until after the Dean Lane Pit disaster - they favoured candles either attached to their hats or placed on a nearby rock as this did not slow them down (they were paid on how much coal was brought up to the surface).
  • The Coal Act of 1842, banned women from working underground as ordered by Queen Victoria.

You may be a relative, you may be a historian, you may live in Bedminster or Ashton, you may feel you have a social obligation, you may be passionate about BS3 ... whatever it is, please do give what you can, as every penny will help to bring this project to fruition and once again make its mark on Bedminster - but in a much more positive way.

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