Relief Fund

RELIEF FUND

 

A Relief fund was quickly set up to help the victims of the disaster. Reports of the disaster had appeared in the national as well as local newspapers and they also carried an appeal on behalf of the fund. Money came from all over the country. Donations came from all walks of life, from the very rich to the very poor. Mr John Dugdale, brother of William, led the donations with 250 - a huge sum in those days. 

The first balance sheet dated March 1884 shows that a total of 6,954. 10.6 was raised. Some of this money was invested on the stock market to raise even more.

A Relief fund committee was set up to administer the fund. Their main concern was for the widows and their children. Injured men were also paid an allowance from the fund. More than 400 men were put out of work when the pit had to be sealed off. Some payments were made to the able bodied, depending on individual circumstances, but on the whole they were expected to look for alternative work. At the time there were several other coal mines in the area, and some went to work at nearby Hall End colliery. Some no doubt sought work at the hatting factories in Atherstone, while others found labouring jobs where they could.

There were 20 widows who claimed an allowance from the fund. Mrs Dugdale, Mrs Pogmore and Mrs Horton Snr were the ones who didn’t claim as they had their own means.

The widow’s received 5/- (25p) a week for themselves plus 2/6d (12p) for each child under 13 up to a maximum of 15/- (75p) per week. A similar amount was paid to the injured men and their families.

 

List of widows

Number of children

Amount

Eliza Atkins

3

12/6 (62.5p)

Emma Archer

5

15/- (75p)

Harriet Ball

none

 5/- (25p)

Hannah Bates

6

15/- (75p)

Annie Besson

5

15/- (75p)

Eliza Blower

3

12/6 (62.5p)

Sarah Boonham

2

10/- (50p)

Elizabeth Clay

4

15/- (75p)

Ann Day (Widow of William)

1

 7/6 (37.5p)

Ann Day (Widow of Joseph)

4

15/- (75p)

Emma Evans

5

15/- (75p)

Mary Evans

4

15/- (75p)

Sarah Ann Evans

3

12/6 (62.5p)

Mary Horton

7

15/- (75p)

Elizabeth Knight

1

 7/6 (37.5p)

Sarah Parker

1

 7/6 (37.5p)

Catherine Radford

None

 5/- (25p)

Emma Ross

None

 5/- (25p)

Emma Smallwood

None

 5/- (25p)

Elizabeth Smith

3

12/6 (62.5p)

Payment for the child ceased when that child left school and went to work. When the widows remarried their payment ceased but they could claim a marriage gift of 5. There were strict rules applying to the payment of this. They had to wait until they had been married about 6 months before they could claim and if it proved that the widow was pregnant at the time of her marriage then her claim was disallowed. They continued to receive payment for any children under school leaving age. The widows who didn’t remarry continued to receive 5/- (25p) a week for the rest of their lives.

There was a second fund set up entirely for the children. This was established by The Hon Charles Adderley, later Lord Norton. He collected 31.13.6 among his family and friends which he specified was for “Apprenticing Boys or Girls, and for their general advancement in life.” When the children left school and started work they could claim 30/- (1.50) from this fund for clothing, usually a winter coat and a pair of boots. Again there were rules applying to this. They had to have been working for about 6 months and had to supply a reference from their employer. Even then, Mr Arnold, the secretary to the Relief fund, purchased the clothing himself rather than paying the cash to the family.

Some of the miners paid into a Friendly Society and some widows received a lump sum from societies such as the Prudential.

None of the parents of the single men who died received any money from the fund.

 

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