Lot Archive


№ 351


27 September 1994

Hammer Price:

A life saving group of three awarded to Colliery Fireman William Potter

ROYAL HUMANE SOCIETY, bronze medal (successful), (11 May 1899); BOLTON AND DISTRICT HUMANE SOCIETY, bronze medal for the Hulton Colliery Disaster 21 December 1910, unnamed as issued; LANCASHIRE & CHESHIRE COAL OWNERS RESCUE STATION, silver medal with 'Hulton 1911' suspension bar, inscribed on the reverse (William Potter) nearly extremely fine anda scarce group (3)

This lot was sold as part of a special collection, Medals from the Collection of the late Mike Minton.

View Medals from the Collection of the late Mike Minton


Bronze Medal of the Royal Humane Society: 'At about five o'clock on 11 May 1899 Timothy Mulligan aged 10 years was playing with two other boys on the top of an old colliery brink shaft in Stanley Road, Walkden, which is connected with the Bridgewater Trustee's underground canal. The cover of the pit gave way and he fell for 46 feet where he hung on part of the old ladder, there being danger of choke damp and also from loose brickwork. William Potter was lowered down by a rope and at great risk rescued the lad, who was seriously injured.'

Hulton Colliery disaster

The largest recorded mine disaster, up to that time, occurred in England in the north west industrial area of Lancashire on 21 December 1910. Before the rescue operations were to be completed, the awesome total of 370 miners were to have lost their lives - many from the same families. A terrible explosion racked the No. 3 Bank (Pretoria) Pit of the Hulton Colliery near Atherton, Bolton, in Lancashire, England, by which a portion of the casting of the upeast shaft was wrecked. The mine was some 1,300 feet deep and the subsequent fall of earth sealed various miners in the pit. 'After damp' followed the explosion releasing poisonous gas, which had disastrous effects on the trapped miners and rendered it very dangerous to enter the pit, there being also the danger of further explosion by ignition of liberated gas.

The Bolton and District Humane Society awarded 160 specially struck medals to the rescuers, all in bronze and all issued unnamed. William Potter is confirmed in the list of recipients.