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Fiftieth anniversary of the Springhill Mine disaster

Fiftieth anniversary of the Springhill Mine disaster

Today is the 50th anniversary of the third Springhill coal mine disaster.

The CBC has some archival TV footage from the days following the disaster. Seventy four men were killed in the disaster, and 100 miners were trapped underground for almost nine days before being freed.

Prior to the deadly events of 1958, there were two large mine disasters at Nova Scotia's Springhill Mine, one in 1956, and another in 1891.

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Topics: Labour
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Disaster anecdote

I have never lived in a mining town, but I remember fondly the web of tales my mom weaved about growing up in Springhill.

In particular, I've always held close to the story about the tragedy in 1958. My mother was probably 9 years old at the time, and was with my grandmother doing chores in the backyard when they felt the ground rumble underneath them.

"Run to your brother's place and get his wife, then meet me at the mouth of the mine," went the order from mother to daughter. My mom knew the rumblings meant that something went seriously wrong at the mine, and that was where her brother worked.

Out of breath, she finally reached the front stoop and began knocking madly on the door. But who was to answer: her brother... he called in sick for work that day.

So, ummm, there's lots of social/political lessons to be drawn from the Springhill Mining Disaster of 1958. But having grown up with this story, I learned that if you ever get the urge to call in sick for work, go for it. It may save your life!


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