'Black Snow' and England's worst mining disaster

Posted on 25 September 2017

New film by Management School Professor marks 150th anniversary of England's worst mining disaster

Illustration of Oak Colliery exploding

Professor Stephen Linstead of The York Management School has teamed up with community researchers to make a new documentary film called Black Snow, which marks the 150th anniversary of England's worst mining disaster at The Oaks colliery in Barnsley on 12 December 1866.  A devastating series of explosions at the pit over two days killed at least 361 men and boys and only twenty people were rescued alive in England's worst mining disaster.  One of the biggest tasks facing Professor Linstead and volunteer researchers from Barnsely was producing a list of who the victims were.

Picture of Stephen Linstead

Based on this extensive research work, Stephen Linstead's film tells the story of the Oaks disaster and looks at the effect it had on the Barnsley community.  An article about the disaster and the film on the BBC's Sheffield and South Yorkshire website got 400,000 reads in the first 24 hours and the story has now been picked up by The Times.  Black Snow is being distributed to schools in and around Yorkshire and anyone who would like a copy should contact the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM).