Women Rediscovered: The Widow

Here is our 3rd monologue in the Women Rediscovered series!

The Gresford Colliery Disaster occurred in the early hours of 22 September 1934 when an explosion and underground fire killed 263 miners and three rescue workers. It was one of Britain’s worst coal-mining disasters and brought out a nationwide response from great and small wishing to give what assistance they could to the victims’ families.

This monologue is based on the records of the relief fund that was set up to assist the dependents of the victims. As well as minutes and other administrative records the collection contains a wealth of letters: from donors, both institutional and individuals, as well as from applicants for grants. The most affecting letters are from people who had very little themselves but spared a few pennies, or in-kind items such as clothing, for “poor souls … that have no hopes of there [sic.] breadwinner to return”.

The fund was called on to pay medical bills, costs of educating children and general living expenses. It continued to operate until the 1980s when the last claimant died.

Letter written by one of the widows, taken from the relief fund papers held at Hawarden Branch (Ref: D/GF/247)

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One Response to “Women Rediscovered: The Widow”

  1. John Williams Says:

    The Widow by Courtney George a very fine performance and telling of one of the saddest times of our era.I was born in a village near Gresford in 1945, it was only when I was in my teens that I learnt why there were so many widows who lived close by ,. in 1934 my mother was nursing & living in Manchester so I suppose she would have heard of the disaster, but none of our family were miners so they only saw it from a distance.

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