The Story of the Minnie Pit Bible
The story of Samuel Richardson was an interesting one. He lived in Halmer End and was one of the miners that perished, Samuel was a choirmaster, organist and class leader at the Wesleyan Chapel, in the village. When his body was found by the rescue team, he had his bible with him. It is said that the bible was bought on Newcastle market for four pence in 1915, by him and his friend Robert Challinor, a Methodist leader, who also worked at the Minnie. They shared the book to help them prepare for their Sunday classes. After his friendís death Robert gave the bible to Samuelís wife. He wrote an inscription in the bible and put Samuelís photograph in it. The inscription in copper plate handwriting read as follows:
"This Bible was in the Podmore Hall Colliery explosion on January 12th 1918 and was found lying with his lamp and spectacles by the side of Samuel Richardson, whose last conscious moments had been spent reading it".
Samuelís wife told Robert that as 'he and her husband had shared it then he should keep it'.
There is a conclusion to this story, which must be told. In about 1921, when Robert Challinor and other miners were locked out by their employer, during a strike, he gave the bible to a Lady Slessor to be sold in London by the Womenís Committee for the relief of miners wives and children.
Mr Richardsonís son Arthur read that the bible had been donated to the fund and sent a guinea and bought the bible back. It is believe that it is still in the care of the family.