Oaks Disaster Talk

The first event as part of the Explore Your Archives week in Barnsley took place on Saturday 14th November at Experience Barnsley focusing on progress with the research into the Oaks Disaster.

Oaks Disaster Talk Nov 15

The Oaks Disaster is the worst mining disaster in English History, killing over 360 men and boys. A team of volunteers, co-ordinated by the DVLP have been delving into the archives to reveal the stories of those that died.

This talked proved very popular as it was the first public unveiling of some of the research our volunteers have been undertaking into the lives of the men and boys killed in the disaster. Some of the volunteers have previous experience of carrying out family history research, those that haven’t have been provided with training.

An accurate list of those killed has never been compiled and even the final number of deaths is uncertain. This research by the volunteers is accessing information never accessed before and will result in the most accurate record ever produced of those that died. Not only is information being compiled about the names of those that died, but their ages, where they lived, where they were born and the families they left behind. This has revealed many interesting and touching stories some of which where revealed at the talk. This research will lead into further talks, an exhibition at the end of 2016 and events to commemorate the 150th anniversary in December 2016.

Stephen Miller of the DVLP talked about the disaster, providing an overview of what happened, the aftermath and how the disaster has been marked locally. Noel Shaw then talked about his role as a volunteer, how he approached the research, what he has found and what he has gained from being involved in the project. Those present clearly found the talk interesting and revealing with many questions asked and positive comments made. It was particularly touching to have some people there who were descendants of people who died in the disaster. Some were able to add further information, others learnt new information.

If you’d like to know more about the project then please contact the DVLP team. We’ll also be providing regular updates about further talks, progress with the research and plans for the 150th anniversary.

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