Poignant reminder of Pretoria 

17/12/10
Pretoria Pit Painting
A mural created by local artist Andrew Smith commemorating the Pretoria Pit Disaster

A set of commemorative postcards has been produced to mark the centenary of the Pretoria Pit disaster in Westhoughton.

Bolton Library and Museum Service has produced five postcards featuring images of Westhoughton, which will go on sale from the anniversary on Tuesday, December 21.

If purchased on the anniversary itself, the postcards will be rubber-stamped with a special illustration of the Pretoria pithead and the date of the disaster.

And, if posted on December 21 in Westhoughton, the postcards could potentially become collectors’ items.

Any postcards purchased after December 21 will not feature the special stamp, but would still make great mementos of the anniversary.

The postcards, which will be sold at Westhoughton Library for 40p each, are just one aspect of a series of events to mark the third largest mining disaster in the UK.

On December 21, 1910, some 344 men and boys sadly lost their lives in an underground explosion at the No. 3 Bank Pit, Hulton Colliery, Westhoughton – otherwise known as No. 3 Pretoria Pit.

Included in the commemorations, organised by Westhoughton Town Council, will be the unveiling of a centenary memorial in Ditchfield Gardens on Sunday, December 19 at 12.30pm. There will be performances from Wingates brass band, followed by light refreshments in the Parish Church of St Bartholomew.

On December 21, a specially commissioned disaster mural will be unveiled at Carnegie Hall at 1pm. The wall painting, depicting a scene from the morning of the tragedy, has been created by local artist Andrew Smith and will eventually hang in Westhoughton Library.

Also on the anniversary, Westhoughton Library will have a special display, created by the pupils of Westhoughton High School and Westhoughton local history group, from noon to 4pm.  Members of the group will be on hand to answer any questions. A display of artefacts from Bolton Museum and local historians will also be on show.

The poignant day will come to a close with a centenary requiem mass at Sacred Heart RC Church at 7.30pm on Lord Street, Westhoughton.

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Joanne Cooke
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