I am pleased to be able to set Mrs Owen’s mind to rest about Samuel Richards’ certificate for ‘long and meritorious service’, which is still safely in the collections of the National Coal Mining Museum for England, at Overton.
Mrs Owen’s cousin, Alan Richards, visited in March 2000 and donated the certificate to the museum. In fact, we recently had a telephone call from him in Australia to let us know his address had changed.
Samuel Richards was the longest serving miner at Fryston Colliery on his retirement in 1950, with 64 years service to the coal mining industry.
He celebrated 61 years in the industry by helping to raise the flag of the new National Coal Board over Fryston Colliery in 1947, when the country’s coal mines were still nationalised.
Although he lived to a good age, given the dangers of mining, Samuel Richards’ life was still a hard one and not without tragedy. He lost one of his three sons, John, six weeks before the end of the First World War while he was serving with the East Yorkshire Regiment in Belgium.
Today little remains of Fryston Colliery, as it closed in 1985.
It is our job at the museum to ensure the stories of people like Samuel Richards are preserved and passed on to future generations.
Of course, we cannot do this without the valued and generous support of our visitors and donors like Mrs Owen and her family.
National Coal Mining
Museum for England