Author Topic: Add: Trimdon Grange Explosion


Posted - 31 Jan 03 - 10:13 am

Trimdon Grange Explosion

Let's not think of tomorrow,
Lest we disappointed be;
Our joys may turn to sorrow,
As we all may daily see.
Today we're strong and healthy,
But how soon there comes a change.
As we may see from the explosion
That has been at Trimdon Grange.

Men and boys left home that morning
For to earn their daily bread,
Little thought before the evening
They'd be numbered with the dead;
Let us think of Mrs Burnett,
Once had sons and now has none -
With the Trimdon Grange explosion,
Joseph, George and James are gone.

February left behind it
What will never be forgot;
Weeping widows, helpless children
May be found in many a cot.
Little children kind and loving
From their homes each day would run;
For to meet their father's coming
As each hard day's work was done.

Now they ask if father's left them,
ANd the mother hangs her head,
With a weeping widow's feelings,
Tells the child its father's dead.
Homes that once were blessed with comfort
Guided by a father's care
Now are solemn, sad and gloomy,
Since the father is not there.

God protect each lonely widow,
Help to raise each drooping head;
Be a Father to the orphans,
Never let them cry for bread.
Death will pay us all a visit;
They have only gone before.
We may meet the Trimdon victims
Where explosions are no more.

Source: B:Palmer, R, A Ballad History of England, BT Batsford Ltd, 1979


The given lyrics are from Song Book, edited by Thomas Armstrong, published in 1930. The tune was collected by A. L. Lloyd from R Sewell in Newcastle and published in his 1952 book Come All Ye Bold Miners by Lawrence and Wishart.

The disaster described in this song took place on 16th February 1882 at the Trimdon Grange Colliery in Country Durham, England. Sixty-eight men died and Thomas Armstrong wrote this song the the existing tune "Go and leave me if you wish it."

Database entry is here.

masato sakurai

Posted - 01 Feb 03 - 08:47 am

Snapshots' educational site has these pages:

Mining Disaster: What happened at the Trimdon Grange mining disater

Mining Explosion: The Trimdon Grange mining accident [where this song is quoted]

19th Century Life: What was living in late 19th Century Trimdon Grange like?

For the author, see Thomas Armstrong (1848-1919).

It was sung by Martin Carthy on Sweet Wivelsfield (See Trimdon Grange).

masato sakurai

Posted - 12 Apr 05 - 06:30 pm

Page of "Trimdon Grange explosion" in Song book containing 25 popular songs of the late Thomas Armstrong is at FARNE: Folk Archive Resource North East, with this commentary:
Trimdon Grange was on of the worst mine explosions of the nineteenth century. Seventy-four men were lost in a methane and carbon monoxide explosion in the mine on 16th February, 1872. Thomas Armstrong wrote this song shortly after the explosion, probably to raise money for the victims dependents.

This song was written by Thomas Armstrong and first printed in book-form in 1909. Known as the 'Pitman Poet', Armstrong was born at Shotley Bridge on 15th August, 1848. At the age of nine 'Tommy' commenced employment at East Tanfield Colliery where he suffered extreme pains to his legs, resulting in bowleggedness and as a consequence only ever grew to be five feet tall. Despite receiving very limited schooling Armstrong went on to chronicle the culture of Durham's mining families in some of the region's best loved songs. He penned his first song, 'The birth of the Lad' aged sixteen and over the years found his song writing abilities a valuable source of income for beer money and the support of his seventeen children. Writing during a period of extreme change in the mining industry Armstrong chronicled some of the worst strikes and accidents in the region's history in songs such as 'The Trimdon Grange explosion' and 'Oakey's keener'. A period spent in Durham gaol also proved a source of inspiration for the pitman and Tommy penned his famous song of the same name whilst serving a six month spell for alleged stealing. Thomas Armstrong remained in Tanfield for most of his life and died aged 71 around 1919. His son W.H. Armstrong went on to publish much of his father's work in small song collections such as this.

This song book first appeared in 1909 and was re-printed in 1930. This particular copy is a reprint of the 1930 edition, issued sometime after the death of Armstrong's son in 1953. It contains some of Armstrong's most popular songs and constitutes over 40 pages. Published by Noel Wilson, printers of Chester-Le-Street, a note in the preface reveals the popularity of the 1930 edition despite being published some ten years after Armstrong's death.

Guest Account
Posted - 20 Apr 05 - 09:52 pm

From: jimbo

The song was written by T.A but the tune he directed it to be sung to was ignored- A L Lloyd wrote a lovel, balkan inspired tune and Bob Davenport recorded it to a stirring march tune. the actusl tune TA wanted was 'Go and leave me if you wish it'- an old song still sung by Dolores Keane's aunties in Co. Galway. You'll find it sung to that tune on my new CD- see!!

Jon Freeman

Posted - 20 Apr 05 - 10:10 pm

Thank for the info. here is a link.

I see it uses frames. Let's see if this finds the review.

Edited By Jon Freeman - 20-Apr-2005 10:22:27 PM

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