Film Theatre: Sneyd Colliery disaster of 1942

Heros of Sneyd

Chris Parr, from Shine in Media, visited the Staffordshire Film Archive this week to see a local film of the Sneyd Colliery disaster which occurred on New Years Day in 1942. On January 1st. fifty seven men and boys lay down their lives for King and Country just as if they had been fighting with the armed forces. Their deaths were not caused by enemy action but by a horrific underground explosion at Sneyd Colliery on the outskirts of Burslem and Smallthorne, bringing great sorrow and grief to the local community. 

It’s sad to think that in normal times the pit would not have been worked on New Year’s Day, but due to the urgent demand for coal, to make the instruments of war, the manager appealed to the men to work, and they whole-heartedly responded.

A memorial to those who died was erected in 2007 outside the Queen’s Theatre in Burslem. It also commemorates the heroic rescue teams who worked tirelessly and with great bravery in perilous conditions after the explosion.


A premiere screening of the moving performance given by City Voices of Paul Williamson’s Heroes of Sneyd filmed in Holy Trinity Church, Sneyd, near to the former site of Sneyd Colliery. The City Voices Writers’ Group is a mix of poets, short story writers and script/play writers, and they have raised thousands of pounds for local and national charities over the last ten years. The film was followed by an SFA documentary with personal memories and expert insight into the disaster.

Thank you to Ray Johnson


Staffordshire Film Archive

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