October 23rd, 1958 was a big day.
It was a Thursday, and at around eight o’clock that evening something bad happened at the No.2 colliery in Springhill, Nova Scotia. Bumps are underground earthquakes and are probably set off by our infernal digging. They are common enough and were often ignored – there had already been a bump an hour previously. The eight o’clock bump, though, was huge.
A hundred and seventy-four miners were in the deep, deep shafts of No.2 and only a hundred would see daylight again. Under the circumstances this was good going – rescue teams came from far afield. It even became the first major international event to be broadcast live.
After the bump, the Dominion Steel & Coal Corporation shut the mine down and it never reopened. Lives had been lost, others devastated and a town robbed of its principal source of income. The disaster is now an entry in the annals of North American folklore. It has been written about in any number of books and sung of by artists from Peggy Seeger & Ewan McColl, to Peter, Paul & Mary, to U2.
That said, most people are probably more familiar with the other thing More