Jump to content

Ewart Hill Opencast


Thumper
 Share

Recommended Posts

Thanks for that I may have seen them before on the Durham Miners Website There very Good anyhow!!!

The Sixtownships has just released a dvd called `Digging up the past` which visits the Acorn Bank opencast in Bedlington 1959 if that`s any good to you :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 year later...

The group has converted the cinefilm to DVD of the Acorn Bank. Its about maybe 5 minutes or a little more.

Its actually on one of our DVDs "Digging Up The Past"

Cracking footage and when you see them working in 1959 to todays opencast standards its unreal.

visit

http://www.sixtmedia.org.uk. and go to online shop if you want to purchase it.

Edited by johndawsonjune1955
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 year later...

Acorn Bank site was one of our favourite playgrounds when we were kids!

Sunday afternoon's,we used to play in the Euclids,when they were parked up on the top of the cut.

No security men in those days,weren't heard of..didn't need them.

We played in the driving seats,not locked,didn't damage anything,went down the cut and played on the feet of "Bucyrus Erie",which,at that time,in around 1954,[i was ten years old!]was the biggest walking dragline excavator in Europe.

At nights,after school at the old Whitley Memorial,we used to go over and lie at the edge of the cut,and look down a 200 foot drop,to watch Bucyrus chewing out the strata like toffee!

It looked magnificent,all floodlit up the jib,and around the cab.

It was an amazing sight to watch this huge beast,teeter forward on it's feet,the jib slowly bowing down slightly,then lifting it's whole weight,and slowly moving backwards,always backwards,about ten feet at a time.It's feet would then lift on a huge eccentric camshaft ,then they would move backwards and slowly thump down onto the ground,making the dust rise all around it.

What a sight

2,500 tons of steel walking as if it was on eggs!

Must rank as one of the finest amazing feats of engineering ever done in the world!

Yes,we watched the two Bailey bridges being built,over the Bedlington Bank road,and over the River Blyth.

We watched as Greenheart timber beams,more than two-feet -square,were sawn by hand,with two men at each end of a huge handsaw,must have been about six feet long.

These were to be used to build the trestle-work pillars to support the river bridge.

Greenheart is so dense ,it sinks in water!

I found this out,still as a kid,when we played down the river after the bridge was finished,and being used to transport coal to Bebside pit.

There were loads of bits of wood all lying around,on the river bed![i mean..BIG..bits!]

Loads of happy memories there,collecting fossils from the overburden heaps at the top of the picnic field......etc!

Getting rides in the Euclids,by canny drivers,who would let you push the lever to tip up the rear of the truck to empty it's load onto

a conveyor belt via a hopper....can you imagine it?.....this was before peoples brains were poisoned,and who,nowadays,would think that every canny bloke was a pervert out for young kids...these blokes just knew that THEY were kids a long time ago.......!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Even when my Brother and me were 10,and 13 yr old kids,we loved lying in bed,listening to the draglines chains clanking,the wailing eerie noises the dragline made when it was walking,the three blasts on the hooter as a pre-warning when blasting was about to take place,then the long single blast after you heard the loud explosion,followed by the house windows rattling!!

What with all that,and also the strong thud from the ground,usually about 9-0pm,every night almost!,

when the stonemen down the drift at the Doctor pit,fired their shots on the "caunch",on the coalface....now THAT was eerie!

Can anybody else remember all this?...surely the Millfielders wouldn't forget!!...they were closer than us at Hollymount.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

High Pit Wilma, I love reading your stories, and had the pleasure of reading them to my husband, then trying to work out where all the places you mention are. We think weve worked it out, thank you, I look forward to reading more. Eileen :thumbsup: .

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We lived in the Riggs in the 60s when they were digging adjacent to 20 acres (the hole is where the golf course is now) so the distance was only a few hundred yards.  Just like HPW I can remember the clanking, the hoots, the bangs, the ground shakes and the glass rattling.  But what an adventure playground it was for us lads ... I've post elsewhere on the Forum about the mischief we got up to on the site.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I lived at my Grandmothers house in East Riggs in the late 50's and i remember all the sounds Symtoms recalls,but we just put up with things like that then and got on with it. Not like to-day

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You had it easy!

I remember 'getting up half an hour before we went to bed'

Oops sorry at Westlea we had it tough with the Euclids driving past the bedroom window.

Noise, dust and just the sheer size of them.

Try sleeping with that!

What an adventure playground!

Not to mention the Red House Farm.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 4 weeks later...

I was just telling my next door neighbour yesterday,[a retired woodwork teacher..],about how we,as ten year old kids,used to go down Bedlington bank,next to the river Blyth bridge,and watch all the floodlit action,as the joiner's sawed through twenty or thirty foot long Greenheart beams,to make the wooden trestles,with a long four-handled saw...and i mean about seven or eight foot long!!

There were two men at each side of the beam,each man holding his respective handle on the saw,and it took ages,probably more than an hour,or even two hours,to saw through one beam.

The beams were about two-feet square,and so dense,that the off-cuts just sank in the river ,they didn't float!!

There were no power saws capable of handling that capacity of timber,out by the riverside.

I can vividly remember the laying of the concrete foundations,on each river bank side,which,if i remember rightly,are still there.

Watching the beams being put together to form the huge trestles for the bridge,was fascinating,especially as all the activity we witnessed was under

powerful floodlighting,with big generators running,through the night to carry out the work 24 hours a day.[after school was when we would go down].

The first time we saw euclids going over the bridge,making the centre section bounce up and down like a yo-yo,was amazing,until we watched the 42 -ton coal-haulers go over.......it was frightening to watch at first,cos we thought for sure that the bridge would collapse under the load....it bounced so much!!

Now,with the benefit of the dvd which six townships has produced,there is evidence that,60 years on....there is proof that my old grey matter isn't

letting me down!!

There is a scene of a few seconds ,showing the coal-haulers going over the bridge,and yes.....the bridge DID bounce like a yo-yo.....a credit to the engineers who designed the Bailey bridge!!

It was a blast from the past to see the construction of a Bailey bridge in Rothbury,last year,while repairs were carried out to the old stone bridge,and it all came back to me..........1954....meccano type sections,clevis-pins,washers,split-pins,cross-beams,wood decking.....simple but very effective!!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 5 years later...

Some photos shared by John Brown - along with the comment he posted on the Facebook group Bygone Bedlington :-

 

The Acorn Bank opencast site at Bedlington around 1956. We called the dragline Big Bertha but it could have been anything really. It is amazing to think how many kids used to play around the site, climbing on the plant and getting rides in the Euclids which seemed to be as high as a house. Health & Safety what?

76771577_2465893513688829_7039068553349169152_n.jpg

75635946_2465894053688775_32870059026153472_n.jpg

John Brown.jpg

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 month later...

Wahey!! ...it's noo 2019 ,December 23rd,and aav just caught up with this thread,and there's me Greenheart wood trestles holding the bridge up!!...ye can see by the scale of things,that aa wasn't far wrang aboot thi beams being aboot two feet square!

The top pic shows a " Butters" crane,building it's Marra up,[another "Butters" crane],which ran on rails,along the edge of the cut,and which lifted skips,full of coal,and which then loaded the Euclids,and the later 42-ton coal-haulers.

The middle pic shows one of the two "Bucyrus Erie" Draglines,which we used to play on,when the site was closed,on Sunday afternoons.

I always thought that they were the bonniest designed Draglines of all the ones I have ever seen...including Big Geordie,and the Ace of Spades!!

If I am not mistaken,you can see St Cuthbert's Church tower in the background,and to confirm this,you can also see the smaller line of overburden heaps which were deposited at the top of the Picnic field,and which was a haven for fossil-hunters like me,at 11 years old!!

I spent hours looking among the rocks,finding loads of fossils of Fern leaves ,and tree bark,some which were really tropical,with pineapple "Diamond-cut" patterns on them.

My goal was to find a fossilised Insect,or Animal remains,but sadly this never happened.

I took loads of fossils to the old Whitley School for Mr Davidson,wor smashing teacher,and a often wonder what happened to them..they were historic examples which would never be available ever again,once the Opencast site was re-instated to it's former state.

Thanks for uploading these great pics,Alan,and thanks also to John Brown for sharing them.

Brings back loads of happy memories!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 year later...
On 14/11/2013 at 01:06, HIGH PIT WILMA said:

Acorn Bank site was one of our favourite playgrounds when we were kids!

Sunday afternoon's,we used to play in the Euclids,when they were parked up on the top of the cut.

No security men in those days,weren't heard of..didn't need them.

We played in the driving seats,not locked,didn't damage anything,went down the cut and played on the feet of "Bucyrus Erie",which,at that time,in around 1954,[i was ten years old!]was the biggest walking dragline excavator in Europe.

At nights,after school at the old Whitley Memorial,we used to go over and lie at the edge of the cut,and look down a 200 foot drop,to watch Bucyrus chewing out the strata like toffee!

It looked magnificent,all floodlit up the jib,and around the cab.

It was an amazing sight to watch this huge beast,teeter forward on it's feet,the jib slowly bowing down slightly,then lifting it's whole weight,and slowly moving backwards,always backwards,about ten feet at a time.It's feet would then lift on a huge eccentric camshaft ,then they would move backwards and slowly thump down onto the ground,making the dust rise all around it.

What a sight

2,500 tons of steel walking as if it was on eggs!

Must rank as one of the finest amazing feats of engineering ever done in the world!

Yes,we watched the two Bailey bridges being built,over the Bedlington Bank road,and over the River Blyth.

We watched as Greenheart timber beams,more than two-feet -square,were sawn by hand,with two men at each end of a huge handsaw,must have been about six feet long.

These were to be used to build the trestle-work pillars to support the river bridge.

Greenheart is so dense ,it sinks in water!

I found this out,still as a kid,when we played down the river after the bridge was finished,and being used to transport coal to Bebside pit.

There were loads of bits of wood all lying around,on the river bed![i mean..BIG..bits!]

Loads of happy memories there,collecting fossils from the overburden heaps at the top of the picnic field......etc!

Getting rides in the Euclids,by canny drivers,who would let you push the lever to tip up the rear of the truck to empty it's load onto

a conveyor belt via a hopper....can you imagine it?.....this was before peoples brains were poisoned,and who,nowadays,would think that every canny bloke was a pervert out for young kids...these blokes just knew that THEY were kids a long time ago.......!

@HIGH PIT WILMA if you haven’t published yet it’s high time you did. Your beautiful description of the site and especially the movement of the machine is almost poetic, while reading it I could see it as if I was there. Who needs dvds when such graphic written records are available. I’ll be looking for more of your posts during my rummagings in Bedlington then and now, if that’s ok. x

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Waatcheor lilbill15! As everybody on the forum knaas, aal my recollections of my Childhood and comments on mining years, are totally and explicitly from memory, with nae references  whatsoever taken from books, other than things like the Spec of Bucyrus Eerie, The Draglines, at Ewart Hill, then later, Acorn Bank Opencast Coal Sites. Thanks fo ya kind words, Marra, my time is being taken now, caring for my Disabled Wife, 24/7,so my book has been on hold for a lang time, Book one has been finished for a year or two, which Chronicles my life from as young as Two and a half yrs old, until I leave school aged 15yrs,and begin a new life un an adult world, starting to work underground in the Coalmines. Book Two is also finished, and tells of my early life as a young miner in an atrocious, hostile, wet, rough, environment, down Choppington B Colliery, otherwise known as "The High Pit" (as opposed to it's Sister Pit at Scotland Gate, known as Choppington A Colliery, ((The Low Pit)))... both Pits connected by a dead straight railway line, nearly a mile long). I am busy writing book three, which tells of my years at Bedlington A Colliery, and which will, hopefully tell of my years at Bates Colliery, and finally, Ashington Colliery, when, in 1987,I was made redundant when the thatcher the hatcheter government, nailed the coffin lid on the Mining Industry, and closed Ashington Colliery down. I got re-trained as a Cabinet Maker, and went on to make very expensive hand made furniture, until a bad accident to my hand put me out of action, as well as health problems with my breathing, etc, due to Mining dust on my lungs, COPD etc. So if a ivvor get me life story finished.. it'll be interesting, seeing as half of my Marras in my book are sadly now deceased, and CoalMining is a forgotten piece of History.. kids now have never heard of Coal, and wouldn't know what it looked like if ye gave them a cobble, or a treble.. or a single, for that matter!! Noo hadaway an get ya pipe.. ye'll be be scranny by noo!! Heh heh! Cheers! Bill (aka HPW). 

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

As an afterthought, the problem I have noo, wi getting my book published, is, a started writing with pen and paper, longhand, before I became  Computer literate, and noo have more than 600 pages written! Hoo cud a get aal that published? A think it might be best to create authenticity, by scanning every page of my book, and somehow getting a Publisher to put it all together, like an ancient greek manuscript!! What do you think folks?!! Cheers HPW. 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 hours ago, HIGH PIT WILMA said:

As an afterthought, the problem I have noo, wi getting my book published, is, a started writing with pen and paper, longhand, before I became  Computer literate, and noo have more than 600 pages written! Hoo cud a get aal that published? A think it might be best to create authenticity, by scanning every page of my book, and somehow getting a Publisher to put it all together, like an ancient greek manuscript!! What do you think folks?!! Cheers HPW. 

 HPW -OCR = Optical Character Recognition has been around for years - we had an OCR machine on the Longbenton DHSS site in the 1970's. It was used to read all the 'GIRO's, issued for all Benefit payments, and cashed at the Post Offices.  Even though the relevant details were were typed on the GIROs the OCR system still had a few problems identifying all the characters and there were two teams of staff - working 09:00 to 17:00 & 17:00 to 01:00 - to input the details from the rejected OCR input GIROs onto the computer system so that the reconciliation process of all the Benefit payments could be completed.

The following are not my words but 'copy & paste' from The Gaurdian online article :- 

 

How can I convert my handwritten notes into Word documents?

Michael has a large pile of handwritten notepads that he would like to convert into Microsoft Word documents

 

writing by hand Your handwritten notes would be more useful in Microsoft Word format because you could do lots of things with them. Photograph: Acestock/Alamy

 
Thu 18 Dec 2014 16.19 GMT

 

  •  
  •  
  •  
 
 
32

I have many A4 pads of handwritten notes, which I would like to convert into Microsoft Word documents. To type them all in would take a very long time. I’ve noticed that Google’s ability to read text from photos has vastly improved in recent months. Are you aware of a tool from Google or anyone else that can do a good job of this, please? Michael

The idea of converting written or printed text into digital text is generally called OCR for optical character recognition, and it has similar problems to speech recognition. That is to say, if the input is close to perfect, the output can also be close to perfect.

 

But in practice, it works best when dealing with restricted inputs and/or limited domains. For example, it’s possible to recognise the English names for numbers and the names of major UK cities, especially if you can get people to write each letter in its own little box. The same software wouldn’t have the domain expertise to cope with a Russian-speaking coroner who liked to include Sanskrit quotations in his handwritten autopsies.

Handwriting matters

OCR works best with high-quality printed materials and worst of all with handwriting, so you’re not starting from the best position. In my experience, you can only get handwriting recognition to work well enough by doing it in real time. That enables you to train the software to recognise your input, while the software also trains you to write characters in ways that it can understand. I’ve had some success with this approach, starting more than a decade ago with Microsoft OneNote (which can also record your voice in sync) running on Windows XP Tablet Edition, and more recently with a Livescribe Echo digital pen and MyScript software. However, all this has more to do with keyboard replacement strategies than with OCR.

 

It’s generally agreed that the best OCR programs are Abbyy FineReader (£99) and Nuance’s OmniPage 18 (£79.99) and Ultimate (£169.99), though neither is suitable for cursive handwriting recognition. Both companies offer free trial versions so you can test them before you splash out. There’s also CharacTell’s SoftWriting ($49.95), which the company says is for students taking notes in class and professionals taking notes in meetings. But it also says it is designed “for recognising non-connected handwriting and machine-printed text” (their emphasis) so I wouldn’t bet on it reading your handwritten notes.

Like most if not all the programs in this field, SoftWriting has to be trained to recognise your handwriting. When it is processing a document, it will present you with words it doesn’t recognise, so that you can tell it what they are. If you have 250 words on a page and the program miraculously gets 90% of them right, you will still have to correct 25 words.

If you want to try a few pages as an experiment, then you can download FreeOCR for Windows, though be careful not to install any crapware that may be included. FreeOCR is based on the widely used Tesseract OCR engine, which was originally developed by Hewlett-Packard in England in the 1980s. HP made it open source in 2005, and Google now maintains the source code.

You can also use FreeOCR online by uploading PDF files to free-ocr.com. Google Docs and various other services also use the same Tesseract OCR engine.

Wikipedia warns that “Tesseract’s output will be very poor quality if the input images are not preprocessed to suit it: Images (especially screenshots) must be scaled up such that the text x-height is at least 20 pixels, any rotation or skew must be corrected or no text will be recognized, low-frequency changes in brightness must be high-pass filtered, or Tesseract’s binarization stage will destroy much of the page, and dark borders must be manually removed, or they will be misinterpreted as characters.”

PDFs and scanners

Your handwritten notes would be more useful in Microsoft Word format because you could do lots of things with them. For example, you could change the typeface, size and spacing, correct and amend your notes, add illustrations, and so on. But unless you have extremely neat, clear and very consistent handwriting, that probably won’t be possible. Instead, think about converting them to high-quality, scanned PDF files that you can store on a hard drive or in the cloud.

You can feed these PDF files to OCR software and hope that it will recognize enough words to make your notes searchable. If not, you will probably have to tag them manually. Either way, if someone does come up with an OCR program that can read your handwriting – not impossible, though I’ve already waited 30 years for one – you will be ready with sharp PDF files, rather than curling originals where the paper has aged and the ink has faded.

Of course, if you are going to scan your notes then you must already have a scanner, or be prepared to buy one. A cheap Epson or Canon flat-bed scanner should give good results, though it is time-consuming to scan a lot of pages. If you intend to do a lot of scanning, consider a sheet-fed model like the Brother ADS-2100 (from £222). You can also get scanners that include OCR, such as Fujitsu ScanSnap iX500 Duplex (from £352), which scans both sides of the paper at once. (The scanner’s OCR software usually runs on your PC.)

Scanning services

If you have to buy a decent scanner and perhaps good quality OCR software for a one-off project, add up the cost and divide it by the number of pages of notes to find the cost per page. It’s a boring job, so perhaps you should add the cost of your time. The result might prompt you to abandon the whole idea, or start looking for a company to do it for you.

Most of the companies that provide scanning services cater for businesses that need to clear away large volumes of paper records. However, some cater for low-volume and home users. One example is Oxford-based Scanning Geeks, which charges 25p per page for documents up to A3 in size. (One page means one side of a page.) They can do OCR (“Textual Data Capture”) as well. Ideally, find a good local company where you can drop off your notes securely and collect them afterwards.

It’s an expensive route if you have lots of paper: it could cost £3,000 to scan the contents of a four-drawer filing cabinet. But if you only have 100 to 500 pages of notes to scan, it could be the best option.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Folks! Alan,many thanks for that bed time reading! A think my best bet is to first scan the pages,like it says ,if only to preserve a clear image,as the ink IS starting ti fade. A haven't had books one and two oot the carrier bag in the drawer where they are kept,for a few years..time flies!!..and a took them oot yistidi mornin',ti let wor lass read them,and book one one was written wi a fineline pen,and aam sure it looks faded aalriddy.

Aa started reading book one ,just ti check it oot, a few pages like,and a got absorbed and interested in thi bugga...and a thowt...it's MY  story,and AA wrote the bugga!![Hoo crazy is that?!!..aav forgotten wat a wrote aboot me childhood,even though aal of it is still fresh in me mind!]

Aam not that clivvor when it comes ti pdf's word documents etc,aav nivvor done owt at aal wi Word,and a wadn't knaa wheor ti start!

Mind, aav got a ton o' patience,so sitting printing oot 600 double sides,[ie 1200 sides!..],doesn't bother me at aal,it's just thi time factor involved,it's 24 hour care more intense noo wi me Wife,since she had another big Seizure on May 1st ,at 6-20 am,resulting in a fall from a standing,seized,position,forward onto her face,flat oot,which bust her face aal up and broke her nose.

So aam waatchin' her like a Haak,and the days just fly by wi being on thi go aal day.

So,aal hae ti try and dae a bit at a time before thi ink fades and it will aal hae been a waste o' time!

Cheers Alan,and lilbill,from this Bill!!

 

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ten past one in thi morning,here,on Thursdi,27-5-2021,and aam fading harder than thi ink on me books! 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create a free account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

Hide Adverts


  • Latest News

    • Get the latest Northumberland news and updates delivered straight to your inbox
      All they want to do is cradle their newborn baby in their arms.
      But Bedlington parents Carly Walker and Ryan Murphy have been forced to watch from the sidelines as their daughter fights for her life.
      Little Ayda Faith Murphy was born prematurely on March 31, weighing just 4lbs, at Newcastle's Royal Victoria Infirmary.
      Rushed for her first operation straight after birth and another at just four days old, she's battling terrifying odds after being diagnosed with a series of incredibly rare birth defects.
      An almost unique variant of gastroschisis, a defect of the abdominal wall, has left her intestines pushing up into her chest - a condition doctors estimate is suffered by no more than 10 babies worldwide.
      Meanwhile, her heart appears to have flipped over and lies on the wrong side of her chest, while she's receiving oxygen from a machine due to her underdeveloped lungs.
      Keep up-to-date with all the latest news in the county by visiting our Northumberland Live homepage.
      You can sign up to our daily Northumberland newsletter here.
      Facebook: Here's our main Northumberland page.
      Twitter: You can follow the Northumberland Live page here.
      Find The Journal's Northumberland editions on the British Newspaper Archive here.

  • Popular Now

  • Latest Topics

×
×
  • Create New...