March 19th 2008 marks the 29th anniversary of the terrible day when a devastating explosion ripped through the village pit.
The last ever mining disaster before the demise of the industry claimed the lives of 10 young men working in an 11 man team 1 800 feet underground. All were married and most had young children.
Without warning, a massive methane gas explosion caused a huge fireball to sweep through the seam. Three were killed instantly and seven men, including two brothers, died in hospital of terrible burn and lung injuries. A subsequent inquiry blamed sparks from a faulty electric ventilation fan for igniting the methane.
Despite the massive importance of coalmining to Golborne's history, almost all trace of the pit head is now gone. Renowned as one of the friendliest and most productive coalfields in Lancashire, Golborne Colliery was part of the Bickershaw complex and more than 700 men lost their jobs when it closed in 1989. However, many in the community are determined it will not be forgotten.
Alderman Eric Foster was working underground ¾ mile away on the day of the explosion.
Together with Allan Mitchell, Arthur Clark and other members of Golborne Ex-Miners Association, he has lead the campaign to ensure that Golborne’s heritage and the sacrifices made by local families should not be forgotten by future generations. They have already ensured funding to create the sandstone memorial which stands at the former pit gates to remember the generations of thousands of families it nurtured in its 109 years, and those who perished in the pit. The 10 brave miners who died are all remembered by name in the stained glass memorial window at St Thomas’ Church and the Association has organised memorial marches to mark the 10th, 20th and 25th anniversaries of the disaster.
They are now trying to ensure that the pit’s former NUM branch banner is preserved in glass and displayed at the entrance to the clinic.