Lot Archive


№ 483


5 March 1996

Hammer Price:

An Edward Medal awarded to Miner John Pearson for gallantry at the Whitehaven Pit Fire in July 1910
Edward Medal (Mines), Bronze, E.VII.R. (John Pearson) very fine

A terrible fire occurred in the Wellington Pit, Whitehaven, at a point about 4,500 yards from the shafts. Various rescue parties, with great courage and self-devotion and at considerable risk, descended the mine and endeavoured to extinguish the fire and penetrate to the persons in the workings beyond. Thorne and Littlewood (awarded Silver Medals), fitted with breathing apparatus, reached within a distance of 150 yards of the fire, but were driven back by the great heat and effusion of gases. The others got to within about 300 yards of it, working in the thick smoke. It was found impossible to penetrate to where the fire was or to rescue any of the entombed miners. Had an explosion occurred - a by no means unlikely eventuality, seeing that the mine is a very gassy one - they would undoubtedly all have been killed.
No fewer than two Silver and 63 Bronze Edward Medals were awarded for this attempted rescue.