A Belated Celebration of Mining Week (April 28-May)

A Belated Celebration of Mining Week (April 28-May)

Happy Thursday to you! 

BC Mining Week 2013, was officially declared to be April 28-My 4, 2013 by our Provincial Legislature to celebrate the mining industry. Communities throughout BC have held events and activities to celebrate. Although it was supposed to be a week long celebration, there are still events happening this week as part of BC Mining Week, including some events in Kamloops tomorrow and Saturday. 

For more information about BC Mining Week, click here.

The Nicola Valley is built on a bed of coal, so mining has always been a big industry in the area. Accidents leading to injury and death were fairly common in the mining industry. Our last image, is a sad reminder of the sacrifice made by seven miners in Merritt in 1912 at Diamond Vale.

There are ample images stored away in our archives of the mines that have been in operation over the years. These are just a few popular photographs.

The first image below features a "dinky" engine, used to haul coal from the No 2 mine (near the Coldwater River) to the main tipple. 

PMI29 Dinky Engine MNV


This image, circa 1911, shows a set of mule-driven coal cars at the mouth of a mine shaft.


PMI31 Removing coal from mine MNV


The scene below (circa 1912) is of the Middlesboro townsite (present day Tolko lumber yard). Middlesboro had two mines - Nicola Valley Coal & Coke (later Middlesboro Collieries) and Inland Coal & Coke. Middlesboro was about 20,000 acres, with a connection to the main line of the Kettle Valley Railway. As you can see, there were quite a few homes in Middlesboro back then.


PMI44 Midddlesboro, BC


This is a shot of the Middlesboro Rescue Corps - a group of volunteers equipped with rescue supplies.


PM147 Middlesboro Rescue Corps, 1912


The men above, were likely some of the first responders to our scene of our next image. This one shows a group of on-lookers outside of the Diamond Vale Mine after an explosion rocked chute No.13 at 9:51am on March 7. 1912. 


 /PMI02 Diamondvale Mine Explosion

Mine superintendent, Ben Browitt, immediately entered the mine to search for survivors. Instead, he found the body of John Hogg, who had suffered numerous broken bones and had severe lacerations on his arms and head. 

Dr. Williams and Dr. Tutill galloped on horseback to the mine site as soon as word of the explosion had reached them in Merritt. Because Diamond Vale Company did not possess the proper rescue equipment, men and supplies were sent from Middlesboro via locomotive. These men arrived on scene within 45 minutes of the explosion to help search for survivors. By the afternoon, the bodies of 4 more men were located and recovered. Two more men, Willilam Hurd and Willilam Baxter, were stiill missing. By 5pm the following day, both bodies had been recovered, which brought the death toll to 7 men.

A funeral was held on Saturday, March 9 for all seven men. They were:

  • Harry Grimes
  • John Pattie
  • John Hogg
  • John Templeton
  • John Kallia
  • William Hurd
  • William Baxter

After the explosion, the mine was shut down for almost twenty years. 


To learn more about the history of mining in Merritt, come check out our Mining Exhibit or pick up a few issues of the Nicola Valley Historical Quarterly  (Vol 2, No's 1 & 2, and Vol 6, No.1)

Comments (8)

  1. Barbara Pattie DePourcq:
    Jun 25, 2013 at 12:55 AM

    *JOHN PATTIE, one of the 7 miners that were killed at the Nicola Valley - Diamond Vale mine disaster in Merritt, B.C. on March 7th, 1912, was my Great-Grandfather. My Grandfather was not even a year old when he lost his Dad in this disaster, and due to that our family knows next to nothing about the man. After the funeral I believe my Great Grandmother was left with little choice but to seperate her children with the hopes of getting them reunited in the future. Sadly that appears that never happened, with the 2 older children (believed to be a sister - Catherine & a brother - Andrew?) were sent to live with relatives in Scotland while the youngest -Robert Dishart Pattie- was sent to an orphanage in New Westminster, B.C. for an unknown amount of time. I would be so very greatful to hear from anyone - maybe other family members that were also affected - Because we know next to nothing about our great-grandparents due mostly to the tragedy I'm sure, ANY info, stories, photos, clues or ideas to learn more would be appreciated greatly. Thanks to all those that work so hard on these types of websites, and archives...there simply is no way to stress the importance of this. We should never forget.

  2. Barbara Pattie DePourcq:
    Jun 25, 2013 at 12:58 AM

    I also have no photos at all of my great-grandparents and therefor have sadness I would not recognize anyone if I saw them in one of your photos. Do you know where I might find such a photo showing one of the Pattie family? Thanks again.

  3. Barbara Pattie DePourcq:
    Jun 25, 2013 at 01:58 AM

    *I was reading an article that said many of the streets/roads during the very early days of merritt were named after families living or working in the area as earlier settlers. I really do think that naming a few streets after the miners we are remembering around the anniversary of their deaths. It would be such a wonderful way to remember the 7 miners you speak of in the diamond vale mine explosion. What a honorable way to honor these 7 men 100 years after losing their lives. Where to start in describing just how many lives were, and still are forever affected by this disaster. Especially knowing that their lives didn't seem worthy enough to assure they had the proper "rescue protocols" needed should such a accident happen.

  4. Andrea:
    Apr 02, 2016 at 03:21 PM

    I have some information for you. I found this by chance and appreciate it is quite an old post. Please contact me.

  5. Andrea:
    Apr 03, 2016 at 12:57 AM

    leave your email address and I will contact you directly, if that's ok. I am Catherine Pattie's grand daughter.

  6. Barbara DePourcq:
    Sep 01, 2016 at 05:53 PM

    Would love to hear from you thats for sure!

  7. Andrea:
    Sep 09, 2016 at 12:40 PM

    Can you leave your email?

  8. Andrea:
    Sep 09, 2016 at 12:40 PM

    Can you leave your email?

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