Halmer End (Central) Primitive Methodist Chapel High Street Staffordshire

The chapel was built in 1867

Photo 5.
Photo 6.
Halmerend Primitive Methodist chapel
Englesea Brook Museum picture and postcard collection
Plaque in the hall to teachers and members of the Primitive Methodist Sunday School who lost their lives in the Minnie Pit disaster, 1918
Plaque in the hall to teachers and members of the Wesleyan Methodist Sunday School who lost their lives in the Minnie Pit disaster, 1918

Halmer End is a small settlement on what was once the Audley Coalfield. By 1851 both Wesleyan and Primitive Methodists were well established in the area. Mining was the main industry here and many of the miners and their families became Methodists.

The Primitive Methodist chapel at Halmer End played an important part in the lives of the miners both in the 19th and 20th centuries. In the early 1900s the Primitives became actively involved in politics and supported candidates for the Urban District Council. 15 seats were held by Primitive Methodist preachers. Halmer End chapel was regularly used for Labour Party Branch meetings.

January 12th 1918 saw the worst mining disaster ever recorded in the North Staffordshire coalfields when 155 men and boys died at the Minnie Pit mine. This pit was part of the Podmore Colliery. It was snowing on that morning when 250 miners descended the Minnie Pit at Halmer End. In the Primitive Methodist chapel the women were preparing for an old folks party that evening. Within a few hours the decorations had come down and the chapel became a make-shift mortuary. The women laid out bodies of men and boys killed during the explosion. A week later 127 bodies had been recovered. Halmer End then became the scene of funerals almost on a daily basis. It was not until August 19th 1919 that all the bodies were recovered. Altogether 156 died one man being one of the rescuers

An enquiry as to reason for the explosion was inconclusive. It was thought to have been started by a faulty safety lamp although sparks from stone igniting gas and lack of coal dust removal were other possibilites.

On the front of the chapel there is a plaque (see photo No 5.) and a memorial to the those who died is in Red Hall Lane (see photo No 6.)



Photos taken October 2015

OS Map Ref:118:SJ800490

Names on the Plaques of those who died in the Minnie Pit disaster

Primitive Methodists: John Hulse (teacher), Ernest Farrall (teacher), Samuel Brockley, Jack Barlow, Thomas Cope, Daniel Brayford, Thomas Challinor, William Kesteven, Reginald Harrison, William Pointon, Bertram Brockley, Oliver James Johnson, Albert Kirkham.

Wesleyan Methodists: Samuel Richardson (teacher, class leader and choirmaster), Arthur Rowley (SS treasurer), Albert Roberts (junior leader, assistant missionary and SS secretary), Lionel Rowley, George Rowley, George Baddeley, George A Lockett, Arthur Lockett, Harry Sumnall, Frank Tomkinson, Oliver Green, Amos Green, Eli Lee.

Comments about this page

  • Hello Jill,

    The PM Chapel in Halmerend was central to my families early years, births, deaths and marriages and afterwards Dad’s funeral took place there after a long journey from where he lived in Trent Vale, 1990.  The whole journey was at a slow pace too, typical funeral speed most of the way.  A lasting memory was how many people doffed their hat, stopped what they were doing and bowed their heads as we passed by.  We were well educated into the Minnie disaste, Dad lost his grandfather 42 and uncle 21.

    I have opened a community page, on the Imperial War Museum pages, Lives of the First World War, first time ever for miners who lost their lives during World War One as ‘solidiers of industry’.  There are 3 more lives to be added.  Yvonne Fenter a volunteer with the IWM was a great help, she has added other statutory data including in some cases where the victims lived.  For National Poetry Day October 8th 2016 I wrote a ‘blog’ about Wilfred Owen’s poem Miners, he wrote this piece in direct response to the Minnie.  You can find the pages through the web   The Minnie Pit Disastar January 12th 1918.

    Dan Snow, ‘the history guy’ has a big interest in Wilfred Owen and we shared some tweats about the Minnie.

    Yours sincerely,

    Michael Glover 

    By Michael Glover (16/12/2016)
  • I have added photos of two plaques which are on the wall in the schoolroom, in memory of the teachers and Sunday School scholars at this chapel, and at Wesley Place. The latter was moved to its present site when the chapel was demolished. A big community event is being planned to commemorate the centenary of the disaster, and a special service will be held in this church on 14 January 2018.

    If anyone has any information about the men and boys whose names are recorded on these plaques I would be delighted to hear from them.

    By Jill Barber (11/12/2016)

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