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Mining Checks, Tallies, Tokens & Medals
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Tallies from Hulton Colliery Company

2010 IS THE 100TH Anniversary of the Pretoria Pit Disaster when the Hulton Colliery Company no3 Bank Pit at Wsthoughton, Bolton, exploded on 21st December 1910. 344 Men and Boys were killed and it was the third worst British Mining Disaster.The townspeople of Westhoughton will be commemorating this sad episode in their History. I myself lost my Great, Great Grandfather in the accident along with his 16 yr old son. I was wondering if anyone has any Hulton Colliery Company memrobilia pre 1947 and specifically a Tally or picture of a Hulton Tally/Check from the period.I have had an idea of possibly reproducing tallies for the men who were lost so they can be momentoes for the relatives who attend the memorial services later this year. Any assistance would be Appreciated. If anyone wants a full History of the Disaster they are welcome to look at the Westhoughton Local History Group Website of the Lancachire online Parish Clerk project. Both websites have extensive records on the incident. Cheers John Woods

Re: Tallies from Hulton Colliery Company

Hi John

I have never seen either a Pretoria Pit or a Hulton Coal Company lamp token. As the disaster occurred in 1910 there is a probability that they didn’t use them as token based mine access control systems didn’t become mandatory in the UK until the passing of a 1913 supplementary amendment to the Coal Mines Act of 1911. . That said I think the probability in this case would be relatively low given the large size of the mine’s workforce it would have been in the mine owner’s interest to have had some form of mine access control and/or time checking system in place.

It would be good if somebody could locate a Hulton token and post an image of it on this forum to share with others.

One thing to bear in mind - don’t be confused by the tombstone shaped and oblong cast zinc tokens bearing the name HUTTON plus a raised identification number on them. These are putters and hewers coal tub identification tokens that were used in the Durham Coalfield in the early 1900s. In the case of these tokens it is not uncommon to find them with letters worn off or damaged such that HUTTON might appear as HUlTON. In the case of these tokens the name HUTTON refers to coal emanating from the Hutton coal seam. This being one of the principle seams in the Great North East Coalfield.

In terms of other memorabilia relating to the disaster I am aware of at two different decorative designs of commemorative paper napkins. These are based on a number of standard designs held be certain UK printers that formed the basis for commemorative paper napkins issued/sold at the time of several different pit disasters around this period (so common were such events). One of the commonest napkin designs illustrates a pithead within a decorative coloured floral patterned border. The printers would modify this stock design to include the details, i.e. the colliery name plus time, date and names of the dead etc., relating to the specific pit disaster.

In addition I know of the rescuers medals that were issued by the Bolton and District Humane Society Medal. These were specially designed to commemorate the actions of rescuers. It would be interested to know how many and to whom these were issued to. Does your group know of a list of recipients? In addition St. John of Jerusalem plus at least one Edward Medal were also issued to certain of the rescue party members.

If you require I can provide images of at least one of the Pretoria Pit disaster commemorative napkins plus one of the Rescuer’s medals issued by the Bolton and District Humane Society.

Hope this is of some help.

Mark Smith

Re: Tallies from Hulton Colliery Company

Mark, thanks for the reply. With regards to the Hulton Co. having Tallies for their workforce as early as 1910 if you look below at the entries from the inquest and Redmayne report into the disaster my two relatives are shown as having tally numbers. TUNSTALL George
Age 56. 3 Alick Fold, Westhoughton. Collier.
Born in Cobridge, Staffordshire birth registered Wolstanton 4th Q 1854.
Recovery No.155. Body position 272. Tally 951.
Recovered 24 Dec 1910 from Yard Downbrow District: between 2nd and 3rd places to north of No.2 jig, in face, in a group. Identified by Arthur Tunstall (son) of 494 Hart Common, Westhoughton.
Cause of death: CO (gas). Burnt.
Buried: 28 Dec 1910 St Elizabeth of Hungary, Aspull (with George Tunstall his son); Register No.62.
Death registration: BRO 1911 HOR/33/179. GRO 1911 1st Quarter Bolton 8c 282.
Family at home: Wife Mary Alice (Fearick) 51; Children George 16 (killed), Eveline 12, Phoebe 11, Margaret 7, Catherine Horrocks 5, Aaron 3, Elizabeth Bullough 1.
Relation to other victims: Father of George Tunstall.
HCF Dependants: Mary Alice, Eveline 12, Phoebe 11, Margaret 7, Catherine Horrocks, Aaron & Elizabeth Bullough Tunstall.
Compensation: LCM Widow and children’s annuity 12s./w. WCA £189.3s. (£50 lump sum, balance of £136.13s. invested to give 6s.3d./w.). Combined for father & son; HCF 21s.6d./w.
Income: Combined for father & son; Before 51s.7d./w. After 43s.6d./w.
Notes: Member of L&CMPRS.
Variants: Age 48 (G), 58 (DR), 57 (PB).

Age 16. 3 Alick Fold, Westhoughton. Haulage Hand.
Born in Aspull birth registered Wigan 2nd Q 1894.
Recovery No.181. Body position 48. Tally 1042.
Recovered 25 Dec 1910 from North Plodder District North Jig: 10 yards down Rowlands Tunnel, under jig wheel. Identified by Mary Alice Tunstall (step-mother).
Cause of death: CO (gas). Burnt.
Buried: 28 Dec 1910 St Elizabeth of Hungary, Aspull (with George Tunstall his father); Register No.63.
Death registration: BRO 1911 HOR/33/180. GRO 1911 1st Quarter Bolton 8c 282.
Family at home: Father George 57 (killed), Step-mother Mary Alice 51; Siblings Eveline 12, Phoebe 11; Half-siblings Margaret 7, Catherine Horrocks 5, Aaron 3, Elizabeth Bullough 1.
Relation to other victims: Son of George Tunstall.
HCF Dependants: Mary Alice Tunstall.
Compensation: WCA £102.14s. (Nil lump sum, balance of £100.4s. invested to give 3s.9d. /w.). Combined for father & son; HCF 21s.6d./w.
Income: Combined for father & son; Before 51s.7d./w. After 43s.6d./w.
Notes: Member of L&CMPRS. George’s mother Sarah Ann Tunstall died 4th Q 1902. His father George remarried Mary Alice Fearich in 1st Q 1904.
Variants: Age 17 (PB).

So there is evidence of Tallies in use at this early date. I have also seen the silks you describe and several of the Bolton Humaine Society and St Johns awards. The edward medal that was awarded I think went to the Manager Mr Tonge for his lead of the rescue work. There are several of these medals on display in Westhoughton Library. I will try and get some photos of them for you and further details. Coal was being dug again at Pretoria as soon as March 1911. The Pit itself remained in production until 1934 when it closed permanently. So I remain hopeful there are some Tallies/checks out there somewhere,even if they are later ones than c1910.

Re: Tallies from Hulton Colliery Company

Thanks to Jon Jackson of Telford have now obtained a Hulton Bank no3 Tally. Cheers everyone John

Re: Tallies from Hulton Colliery Company

John Woods
Thanks to Jon Jackson of Telford have now obtained a Hulton Bank no3 Tally. Cheers everyone John

Hi John

It would be great to see an image of your check as I've never seen any from Pretoria/Hulton before.

Not wanting to appear a wet squib, but I must admit that I would be a little dubious of any really rare checks emanating from the Telford area being donated as gifts. You may not be aware, but over the last couple of years there have been a lot of rare forged Lancs. area checks being produced and sold on ebay by persons allegedly operating out of Telford. This has resulted in a lot of unwanted communications to and from the would be check faker (under various "nom de plumes") on this Forum.

If you would like one or more unbiased opinion on the authenticity of your check then e-mail me an image of it or better still post one on this Forum. The fake checks have certain very distinctive features that those in the know can spot immediately.

All the best


Re: Tallies from Hulton Colliery Company

Mark, The link I followed is the one below:- There were three for sale as listed, John

Re: Tallies from Hulton Colliery Company

Hello John

I’m sorry but these checks do not look at all authentic for the period in question and are similar to other recent hand stamped fake checks sold on ebay. Most of these have been artificially aged to try and make them look more like the genuine article.

These fake checks have often been struck on original but filed down NCB period South Yorkshire area tallies. In this latest case the number dies used on the check's reverse side look fairly old but the number and letter dies used on the obverse are much more modern in style.

The web site you mention appears to be one of the known sites produced quickly and cheaply to market the current spate of fake checks. I would suspect this web page was generated directly in response to your original request on this Forum as a means of marketing such items to people who are keen to obtain some Pretoria Pit memorabilia during this important anniversary year.

I suggest you contact Charles Birdsall who has posted plenty of warning posts on this Forum about the current spate of fake checks and has alerted Telford Trading Standards to the situation along with a lot more NMMA members who have been campaigning hard to bring an end to the current spate of fake check production.

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news.


Re: Tallies from Hulton Colliery Company

The checks are definitely FAKES.

They were made by the Telford FAKER,"santaidd"
Reading the description on the manchesterlamps page it says they were purchased with there backs stuck to a canvas on a frame.
The seller of the frame stated clearly there was nothing on the reverse.
Santaidd bought them !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!THE FAKER.
Item number 220653034416

Re: Tallies from Hulton Colliery Company

Without a shadow of doubt, these are fake checks produced by Robert Mulliner of Tadorna Drive Telford. They are originally from the batch of number only stamped checks purchased stuck on a baize backing in a frame, as described by "Bill Lee" above, by him under his well known alias of "santaidd". The name stamping is by one of the two sets of letter stamps known to be used by him. The alias name is made up from a combination of one of his well used names of Jon, and the surname of the chap who published the collectors check/pit guide "5800 UK Pits" - Colin Jackson!
He will have seen the post of Pretoria on this site and seen an opportunity to donate/sell one, to generate another three sales at £30 each of checks that cost him only pence. Note that he is selling off e-bay to try and avoid us spotting his dirty tricks! The web site is just one of many websites he creates and uses to try and authenticate his crap and is easily recognised as one of his creations.
Unfortunatly the Trading Standards people are too lazy or amateur to do anything about his little trade, despite being given the evidence by our Members.
But, John Woods, please warn all your friends and societies about this man, he is an inveterate faker, liar and Fraudster, and to steer well clear of him.

Re: Tallies from Hulton Colliery Company

Thanks Mark, Billee and Charles for the run down on the tally supplied By 'Jon Jackson'. I have noted that the Ebay listing which included a batch of tallies in a Frame attached to Baize did indeed include the Tally I have now in my posession. Tally 102 is clearly in the top to right of the display. The stamp used for the figure 1 is slightly offset in all of the tallies in the display with no.1 as a prefix. This is a distinctly individual stamp. MR Mulliner if he is using this alter ego of JON JACKSON has a profitable little operation going there, seeing as they were only purchased on E bay in mid August. Seriously though, I find it distasteful that someone should take advantage of a genuine request for assistance in a memorial to 344 dead Miners. That said although I come from a long long line of Miners and Colliers, (My Grandfather was the Last and although my father trained Mine Electricians), I broke with tradition and for my sins became a Police Officer. So with regards to the pleas for Trading standards to do something I may have to contact them myself or certainly my colleagues in Shropshire. Anyway the plea for a Genuine Hulton Tally goes on. Cheers John.

Re: Tallies from Hulton Colliery Company

Hi John,
Mr Mulliner has produced hundreds of fakes that he was getting up to £120 a time for, until he made the mistake of selling me some! I spotted immediately that they were not genuine. There followed a two year campaign with myself and other collectors making everyone aware of his activities. So much so that he has given up trying to sell them on e-bay now.
I and others complained to Telford trading standards, but they did nothing. I also sent a full file to the Architechural Antiques Fraud Squad at Metropolitan Police, but heard nothing more. It has been left to us collectors to monitor our own hobby for these Fraudsters. I find this most disapointing, that the organisations we as tax payers fund, do nothing about it. Maybe you can drive something forward!!

Re: Tallies from Hulton Colliery Company

here here, well said.