A memorial to pit disaster

A memorial window in St Alban's Church in Earsdon.

A memorial window in St Alban's Church in Earsdon.

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Memorial windows commemorating one of the north east’s worst mining disasters are to be dedicated by the Bishop of Newcastle.

The windows at St Alban’s Church in Earsdon, designed by Whitley Bay artist Cate Watkinson, have been specially created to mark the 150th anniversary of the 1862 New Hartley pit disaster.

Many of the dead miners are buried in the churchyard.

The disaster struck when the only exit from the mine was blocked by a falling beam and 204 men and boys perished.

The Vicar of St Alban’s, the Rev Andrew France said: “The new windows are a fitting memorial to those who died at New Hartley.

“We hope visitors will be as moved as we are by the very thoughtful way the disaster has been interpreted by the artist.”

The Bishop of Newcastle, the Rt Rev Martin Wharton, will dedicate the windows at a special service at noon on Saturday, May 18.

St Alban’s will be open until 5pm to allow visitors to see the new windows.

The church will also be open on Sunday until 4pm, when the dedication weekend will draw to a close with choral evensong. Refreshments will be available throughout.

Postcards of the new windows will also be on sale.