William Richardson was the eighth child of Thomas Richardson & Eleanor Powell, born 1829 at Ryhope Lane, and was christened October 25th, 1829 at St Michaels, Bishop Wearmouth.
In 1851 William was living at home at Seaton Blue House and was working on the farm.
William’s wife-to-be was Hannah Coar (nee Beaney), born c1830 at Newbottle. There is a christening at Houghton-le-Spring on February 16th, 1834 for Jane Beney born at Newbottle, the illegitimate daughter of Jane Beney. The 1851 census of Newbottle shows that Hannah was first married to Thomas Coar, a coal miner, their marriage having taken place at Houghton-le-Spring in the first quarter of 1851, her name being given as Johanna Beaney. At this time Hannah & Thomas Coar were living with her mother Jane Beaney & other members of the Beaney family. [Hannah seems to have varied her name a number of times as in the 1841 census she is listed as Joanna Beaney, aged 12.]
William & Hannah (Beney) were married on June 26th, 1855 at Gateshead.
At the time of the birth of their first children William & Hannah appear to have been living at Seaton Colliery where William was a blacksmith.
By 1861 William was living at the same address as his sister Elizabeth i.e. Blue House farm, Seaton, but in a separate dwelling. He was listed as an agricultural labourer. His family were not with him at the time of the census as Hannah was visiting Newbottle where her mother Jane Beaney (a washerwoman) & brothers George (19) & William (17), both coal miners, lived. With Hannah were her 2 sons John (3), Thomas (5) & daughter Ellen (6).
In 1871 William & Hannah were living at William St, Dawdon, William having left the farm to become a miner. Three more sons had arrived – William (8), George Robert (6) & Henry (4) & a daughter, Eleanor (10). The 2 oldest sons Thomas & John were also miners.
William was tragically killed while working as a hewer in the terrible explosion at Seaham Colliery on September 8th, 1880 aged 51 years. He is buried at St Mary the Virgin, Seaham. Buried alongside him was his son, William who had died on September 9th, 1872, aged 10 years. William is also remembered on a memorial found at Christ Church, Seaham to the miners who perished in the explosion.
Memorial at Christ Church, Seaham
Durham Records Online has the following description of mining at Seaham.
At Seaham Colliery there were three shifts per day for hewers (everyone else worked much longer hours) of 7 hours each, covering the period from 4 am to 11.30 pm. The shifts were: 1) Fore Shift, 4 am to 11.30 am 2) Back Shift, 10 am to 5.30 pm 3) Night Shift, 4 pm to 11.30 pm. Each shift involved some 500 men and boys and at the overlap of the shifts there could be over 1,000 men in the pit. From 10 pm to 6 am, when the colliery was comparatively quiet, was the maintenance shift, which employed far fewer workers. Fortuitously the 1880 explosion took place at 2.20 am during one such maintenance shift, 100 minutes before the start of the Fore shift, which is why only 231 men and boys were below ground. 164 men and boys were killed in the calamity - the tragedy could have been much worse.
According to the Durham Mining Museum website Hannah received compensation of £5 plus a fortnightly allowance of 10 shillings after the death of William.
In 1881 Hannah was still living at William St with sons Thomas, now a ‘Coats engineer driver’, George Robert, a farm servant, & Henry, & daughters Eleanor, a dressmaker, & Jane, 9 years old.
In 1891 widow Hannah was living at Howarth St South, Bishop Wearmouth with her sons John (32), a marine engineer, George Robert (26), stoker on a steam ship, Henry (24), a metal founder & daughters Eleanor (30), a dressmaker & Jane H (19).
Son George Robert, an engineer, died September 27th, 1900 at 3 Howarth St, aged 36, & his burial at Bishop Wearmouth is mentioned on the family headstone shown below.
Richardson family grave at St Mary the Virgin, Seaham
Hannah (71) was still living at Howarth St in 1901 with only her daughter Jane. Son Henry had married Sarah Hannah Unsworth in 1899 & they were living at 9 Earl St, Sunderland in 1901 with their 3 month old daughter Eleanor & a niece Alice J Unsworth (17), a laundry maid. Henry was a stoker on a steam ship.
In 1911 Hannah (listed as Johanna on census) was still at 3 Howarth St, Sunderland with her daughter Jane Hannah, now married to Joseph John Simmons, a banksman a the colliery. Also living with them was Hannah's granddaughter, Rosamund Richardson (21), a clerk at the engine works. Rosamund was the child of son Thomas Richardson & his first wife Rebecca Smith. It was noted on the census that William & Hannah had had 11 children, only 5 of whom were still alive.
William & Hannah's son John & his wife Caroline were living at 5 Dryden Rd, Fleetwood, Lancashire in 1911. John was a ship fitter, the owner of a steam trawler & described as an employer. With them at the time of the census was niece Caroline Thompson (10). Son Henry was not found in the 1911 census, presumably at sea, but his wife Sarah Hannah & their 4 children – George Robert (8), Thomas Henry (7), John (3) & Harold (1 month) were living at 15 Worcester Terrace, Sunderland
Hannah died June 5th, 1915, aged 85 & is buried with husband William & sons William & George Robert. Her mother, Jane Beaney, who died July 30th, 1888 aged 83, is also interred alongside her.
The 1939 register shows daughter Jane & husband Joseph Simmons living at 3 Earl St, Sunderland & Joseph was a colliery screener above ground. Sadly Jane died later that year.
The children of William Richardson & Hannah Coar (nee Beaney) were:
r.184.108.40.206 Ellen Richardson born April-June 1855 at Seaton
r.220.127.116.11 Thomas Richardson born 1856 at Seaton Colliery, christened June 24th, 1856 at St Mary the Virgin, Seaham; died December 1st, 1937 at 7 Howarth St South, Sunderland
r.18.104.22.168 John Richardson born 1858 at Seaton Colliery, christened August 29th, 1858 at St Mary the Virgin, Seaham; died November 13th, 1925 at 5 Dryden Rd, Fleetwood, Lancashire
r.22.214.171.124 Eleanor Richardson born September 23rd, 1860 at Blue House, Seaton, christened October 14th, 1860 at St Mary the Virgin, Seaham; died August 24th, 1937 at 6 Earl St, Sunderland
r.126.96.36.199 William Richardson born July-September 1862 at Seaton Blue House, Seaham, died September 9th, 1872, Dawdon
r.188.8.131.52 George Robert Richardson born Oct-December 1864 at Dawdon, Seaham, died September 27th at 3 Howarth St, & buried 30th September 1900, Bishop Wearmouth
r.184.108.40.206 Henry Richardson born March 18th 1867 at Dawdon, Seaham
r.220.127.116.11 Joseph Richardson born Oct-December 1869 at Dawdon, Seaham; died Oct-December 1869 at Dawdon
r.18.104.22.168 Jane Hannah Richardson born March 22nd, 1872 at Dawdon, Seaham; died October 29th, 1939 at the Municipal Hospital, Sunderland