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48 minutes ago, HIGH PIT WILMA said:

A divvent knaa Djevvy's Marra,Jas...did he nivvor work at the Pit?..in fact,aam wondering if Djevvy is still knocking aroond yit..

A wus wondering if any o' ye's had a musical talent that might o'tekkin ye's doon ti the high life...cos that's why my eldest Son went doon...ti be a recording engineer/record Producer,and that was in 1987 when he went,when the music biz was thriving.

 

Don't know about Djevvy - I will try and find out.

Neither Jas, Ovalteeny or me worked at the pit. I remember I applied to be an electrician at the 'A' pit a few weeks before I left the Grammar school, July 1965 but what told there were no apprenticeships going at the time so I would have to wait 6 months or more. Didn't tell me parents as I would have had me ears clipped but I always enjoyed watching me dad (who eventually became an electrician at Blyth Power Station after years of labouring) strip down and repair any electrical appliance belonging to us, or the neighbours. My mam, eldest of nine, Beatty Road (friends of the Graham's that lived near you in Hollymount Square) never wanted my dad to go down the pit when he cam out of the army after WW2. My mam had to help me granny look after the miners in the family and she knew all about the dangers. My uncle Luke Henderson was at the Dr Pit until an accident prevented him from ever working again. Some kids had found some detonators from the Dr Pit and were playing with them. Luke took them off the kids but one went off and me mam always said that the scars on his chest looked like a map of Great Britain. So granda Martin Henderson, uncles Martin, Lule.,Bob and George all worked at the pit. The second youngest son, Brian, joined the navy. 

Jas worked for LEP transport in Newcastle and transferred down to the London Office. After a short spell at Blyth Ship yard, whilst I was waiting for an apprenticeship at the 'A' pit joined, and it was announced that it was going to close I joined the Civil Service, much to the delight of me mam. I transferred from DHSS Longbenton to a DHSS Local Office in East Ham, London. I can't remember what Ovalteeny  was doing before he let Bedlington.

None of us had any musical talent, just a sense of adventure:D.

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On ‎11‎/‎12‎/‎2018 at 23:10, HIGH PIT WILMA said:

473290312_BedlingtonApitheadgear.thumb.jpg.903e6f9eaea6665e8fb5b8fe95009c6a.jpg819940351_BedlintonApitheadgear2.thumb.jpg.6424831e0fcbbabda7b81999decea212.jpgYour query aboot the Shafts,Alan..!...thi  Aad Pit was a weird set-up..The "Smallest" Headgear,[on the left..] was the deepest and widest shaft,cos it ran both cages conventionally in the same shaft.

The shaft was 900 feet deep,and and the lowest seam was the "Harvey",at anything from 1 foot 10 inches high,varying up to 2 feet and 2 inches high.[They drifted down to the "Denton Low Main" seam not long before the Pit closed in 1971.]

A think they worked aboot twenty seams from that shaft,over the 145-or so-years of the Pit's life.

Noo,the "biggest" Headgear ,[on the right] was that size,because each cage had it's own shaft,sunk adjacent to each other,for some wierd reason which aa canna fathom oot![unless Geological conditions meant it had ti be that way.]...this set-up was referred to as "The Little Pit",and the "Harvey" shaft was referred to as .."The Big Pit".

The Little Pit was sunk down to the "Main Coal" seam,when a started,although it might have been down to a deeper level in the old days,and may have had a false "Sump",at the level it was when Aa started.[The Sump was generally at the shaft bottom,below the level where the cage would come to rest,to change tubs,and was a collection point for all of the minewater pumped from all over the pit...Where huge shaft pumps pumped all the water up the shaft and out to what we called.."The Pit Ponds"...settling chambers to allow all the silt to settle out.]

The "Banksmen", on the Heapstead",at the surface,and the "Onsetter's" at the shaft bottom,used ti walk a million miles a day,to load and unload each cage in turn,even though the shafts were only a few yards apart![as opposed to a normal set-up where they would only have to step a few feet from one cage to the other.[daily average..winding aboot 25-30 score of tubs a shift....i.e. 25 x 20 or 30 x 20...one score=20 tubs]

So the two headgears had three shafts between them!

Ye canna see from this angle,but if ye check oot any pics in thi gallery,showing the Headgears fully sideways on,ye wud see hoo the big headgear has the two cage wheels offset,and slung one below the other...and by scaling,ye might can envisage hoo far apart the two shafts were....the average Pit Cage Wheels were aroond 12 feet high...give or take a foot or two!...so ye can judge the size of the headgear...but summick is telling me that them wheels were a bit smaller than average....aa not sure!!

Hope ye dinna mind the lang-winded explanation Alan...ye knaa me!!

Cheers!

I have attached a couple of photos of the headgear from different viewpoints showing the unusual arrangement of the pulley wheels at the “Little Pit’.

In James Tuck’s book “The Collieries of Northumberland”, there is a chapter on “The Auld Pit” and he says this is known as a ‘Tandem Headgear’ and that the only other tandem headgear in Northumberland was at Seaton Delaval colliery. He also mentions that the ‘Little Pit’ had 2 small diameter shafts but until I read your posting I didn’t appreciate that the reason for the tandem configuration was to position the pulleys over two separate shafts situated next to each other -  Thanks HPW for your excellent posting.

There must have been a ventilation shaft, so the ‘A’ pit would have had 4 shafts in total.

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On 12/12/2018 at 20:57, Alan Edgar (Eggy1948) said:

Don't know about Djevvy - I will try and find out.

@HIGH PIT WILMA - unfortunately Davey Bower is no longer with us. If only I lived in Bedlington and still saw some of the lads from my teenage years.

Let's try one more photo that I think one of the lads in it, Eric Theilman, worked at the 'A' pit.

Eric lived in Shop Row so crosed the lines at the bottom of Shop Row to go to Barrington CP school.

After leaving secondary school I think he started the pit along with Norman Hills and Davey Bower. 

 

Station Welfare Park named.jpg

Edited by Alan Edgar (Eggy1948)

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On 12/12/2018 at 11:36, Alan Edgar (Eggy1948) said:

 but was admired by what he swung around in the pit baths:).

.... that must have been one of them bonny coloured, chequered bath towels that they sold in the pit canteen.

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8 hours ago, Canny lass said:

.... that must have been one of them bonny coloured, chequered bath towels that they sold in the pit canteen.

Aye, and I'd bet all the other lads were jealous!😉

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Hi Alan! Thanks for letting me know about this! A canna think where Union Street is.. but aal check it out and go to see it to take a picture for posterity! Been a bit heavy here for a while now wi health..both of us. This is a great way to remind people how the town prospered by the hard work done by the Miners!.............. Alan, this was my reply to the post aboot the mural, and I lost it... noo it has been restored!! SO!.. Eric Thielman.... was my Electrician (or fitter... not sure noo.. lang time ago!), at Bates pit.. canny quiet lad.. when a was a Deputy, he wud dae owt ti help ye. A nivvor knew he was a Bedlington lad. 

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...... and we aal wanted a bonny big towel like his..... it wasn't a school tale either..!!... eh, he really was a canny lad. 

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Alan, the ventilation fans were aalwis connected to the up cast shafts in aal pits. Ye had wat was caaled the "Fan Drifts", which led from an "Inset", aboot 20 feet doon the shaft from the top, and which "Drifted" up and aroond ti thi Fanhoose. The Upcast shafts were aalwis just for Manriding, cos ye had ti travel through two sets of airlock doors which was impractical for any thoughts of high speed coalwork. But noo ye mention it, a really canna mind where the upcast ventilation shaft was, cos they had to stop coal drawing to ride men.. and the Ba ksmen and onsetters were paid so much for riding men as opposed to coal... they were paid by how many Scores of tubs they set up the shaft. So there must have been a separate air shaft.. or drift. Queer for me not ti remember!!... worrying! 

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12 hours ago, HIGH PIT WILMA said:

Hi Alan! Thanks for letting me know about this! A canna think where Union Street is.. but aal check it out and go to see it to take a picture for posterity! Been a bit heavy here for a while now wi health..both of us. This is a great way to remind people how the town prospered by the hard work done by the Miners!.............. Alan, this was my reply to the post aboot the mural, and I lost it... noo it has been restored!! SO!.. Eric Thielman.... was my Electrician (or fitter... not sure noo.. lang time ago!), at Bates pit.. canny quiet lad.. when a was a Deputy, he wud dae owt ti help ye. A nivvor knew he was a Bedlington lad. 

Eric was originally from Shop Row and went to Barrington CP school same time as me - 1953 to 1960. Bedlington Station secondary modern school - 1960 -1965. 'A pit when he left school but then went out with, and married a Bebside lass - Kathleen Popely and moved to Bebside. I think the first house he lived in at Cowpen was the street just past the Sydney Arms pub = Cowpen Road. No idea where he moved to after that. 

Union Street is where the old Wallaw cinema ( now Wetherspoons) used to be. Going down Union Street, passing Wetgerspoons on your right the mural is just a 'gud hockle' up the road on the left.

Edited by Alan Edgar (Eggy1948)
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12 hours ago, HIGH PIT WILMA said:

but aal check it out and go to see it to take a picture for posterity

If you can't get down to Blyth and want a copy of the mural that I posted from Google street view then I am sure we can get it to you via your niece. Is your niece on the local Facebook groups - Bygone Bedlington - Past Times (just change it's name from sixtownships) ?

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Hi Alan! Aav got problems wi health at yem,and haven't been able ti come onti the forum as much,a was pleased ti see young Steve Tosney on this pic,he was a canny lad,and a talented lad also!

A wonder if he can mind when he did the engraving in colour on glass wine vases etc,he did a lovely set of two glasses in a nice presentation box for my Nephew and he's Fiance as an engagement present from us...a lot of years ago!!

Say whatcheor ti Stevie from Billy,thi best deputy  at Bates Pit in the 1970's....!![....says he!]...heh heh!

No 11 is nagging at me mind wi a "Billy..?" ..either a fitter or a blacksmith..a canna mind...might be totally wrang....just a nagging feeling!

Also No 17 looks like a fitter caaled Colin.P.?..again..cud be wrang!

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By the way Alan, a been and seen the mural..it's great!

Thanks for offering ti get it ti me anyway!

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Alan,aav just been studying them two pics of the tandem heedgears,wat we discussed earlier,and thi top pic isn't the Aad pit,that must have been Seaton Delaval heedgears,cos the Heapstead is totally different ti thi Aad pit.

Whey ye can see by the top frameworks of the two pits,as weel.

When ye went owa thi rail crossings from the baths ti thi lamp and tally cabin,at thi aad pit,ye wud luk owa ti ya reet and see the steps leading up onti the heap.

Thi top pic shows a different configuration,where the heap is in front of the heap steps,which ye can just see a few treads in the middle ground,and on thi bottom pic at thi far end of the pit road,ye can see the tally cabin at thi Aad pit.

A can just picture me and me marra's sitting on thi grund ootside yon building...waiting for thi buzzer ti blaa..on a luvly reed het summer's day,and then just seeing thi bright sunny sky disappear as the cage went doon past thi horsehole...then it was blacker than neet...aal in thi blink of an eye!!.....wat wi did ti put a loaf o'  bread onti thi  tyeble for thi wife and kids...!

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9 hours ago, HIGH PIT WILMA said:

Hi Alan! Aav got problems wi health at yem,and haven't been able ti come onti the forum as much,a was pleased ti see young Steve Tosney on this pic,he was a canny lad,and a talented lad also!

A wonder if he can mind when he did the engraving in colour on glass wine vases etc,he did a lovely set of two glasses in a nice presentation box for my Nephew and he's Fiance as an engagement present from us...a lot of years ago!!

Say whatcheor ti Stevie from Billy,thi best deputy  at Bates Pit in the 1970's....!![....says he!]...heh heh!

No 11 is nagging at me mind wi a "Billy..?" ..either a fitter or a blacksmith..a canna mind...might be totally wrang....just a nagging feeling!

Also No 17 looks like a fitter caaled Colin.P.?..again..cud be wrang!

Update on the names from Steve Tosney and he says they are Surface Fitters & Blacksmiths:- 

Bates clarting2.jpg

Edited by Alan Edgar (Eggy1948)

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Whey yi bugga!Barry Muldoon went on ti Deputy -work and eventually became Face-Overman in charge of wor District doon the Three-Quarter drift..well-liked and respected by all the lads.One day we had a stretcher-case,and we carried the lad oot doon the Mothergate till we came to a lang deep swalley..pump had burnt out,[which was the norm!],and the water was above waist high..Barry was with us escorting the stretcher bearers,[me included!]..the swalley was about 50 yards long,and ye cud see the girder crowns gaan away in the reflection of the black stinking water.Barry looked at me,[cos aa hadn't been off Deputy-work very long,and had more pit experience than him..with respect..],a said to him.."Barry..we haven't got any choice...!" ...he looked at me again and replied.."ya reet bill..aal stop the belt.."

He went to a "Latch-box",safety  stop-button,and stopped the conveyor belt.We humped the stretcher,with the lad strapped onto it,high up onto the coal-laden conveyor belt,Bill Etheridge..[my long time Marra..and "pit-Brother"]..lay completely flat on top of the coal,facing outbye,and holding the stretcher handles to steady it,and aa did the same thing at the other end of the stretcher..only aa was laid flat and facing INBYE!,going out legs first,and fully trusting Bill to direct me when to keep my head down in the coal,when to move my head to one side or the other,to avoid broken timber struts from taking my head off,etc.[cos the roof was only aboot 12 inches above us in places!]

Barry stayed in control at the latchbox,and "Janted"  the conveyor,[got the conveyor belt button man to switch the belt on and off in short bursts],each time the belt would run about 15 yards and stop...we were thrown up and down over the rollers and the lad on the stretcher was screaming in pain...but there was no option..we were in a dead-end situation,at this point the conveyor belt was slung high to the roof because of the deep swalley,to keep the belt-line straight and level as possible,but it mean't we couldn't get back off the belt once we had cleared the water,so Barry had to keep Janting the belt for about a hundred yards till we were near to the ground again..!

Maybe doesn't sound much of a story,but I can tell you that going backwards on a conveyor,nearly ten feet up from the ground,in bad conditions,with the risk of being thrown off the belt,or the belt breaking with continuous Janting,and being cast into four feet deep black freezing water..wasn't much fun..and I can honestly say I had the wind up until we were safely on the ground again.

After that,we had to carry the stretcher half a mile more outbye,and up a quarter-mile long drift,with a 1-in -6 gradient,rough-shot stone ground..slipping and sliding all the way,and hanging onto the girders with one hand for support,and holding the stretcher with the other hand.

Barry was cool as a cucumber the whole way,with no flustering at all...a great lad to have in charge![funny situations occurred like that,where I used to be in charge of a team,one minute,then some of the teams went to be Deputies,and Overman,then they would be in charge of me..!!]

Les Coleman..[Deceased..R.I.P. Les..],was one of our fitters when we were winning new coal-faces and roadways oot..["Composite-work"..it was called..].

Les wasn't very tall,or well-built,but what a fitter he was,among the best...and we had some gud fitters,and electricians!!

He wud have been an apprentice on this pic,cos he was an underground coalface fitter full-time....so would Jimmy Mulvain,he was an affectionate quiet lad,unlike Les and all the tradesmen,who had wits sharper than a pit bowsaw!!..ye had ti be ready ti counter most of the crew,or they would make mincemeat of you,in front of an audience underground..Jimmy didn't have that in him...so docile and mannerly,he used to take a lot of flak from his Marra's..in the way of banter!

Eh! These pics bring back loads of memories!

Sadly,a lot of the lads died at very early ages,and we often wonder if it was through handling fluids such as Phosphate-Esters ,Hydraulic fluids,Aquacent soluble hydraulic fluid,gear oils etc..another one was "Rodol",a caustic agent used to burn heavy Carbon deposits off the Flame-traps on the Diesel loco's used underground..as well as diesel fumes and exhaust fumes from the loco's.

We will never know..

Thanks for posting Alan,and could you pass my regards ti Steve,please!

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@HIGH PIT WILMA - another photo from Steve. This time Surface Electricians. Steve named them but wasn't sure about the bloke on the right as you look at the photo. he thinks it could be Basil Timlin the brother of Bill Timlin who is in the photo.  

51395144 named.jpg

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Peter Whitiker is the only lad a can mind of on this pic,he also went doon the pit when he passed he's apprenticeship.

He was a reet canny lad as weel,quiet,sociable..when a think back,we had a greet big bunch of canny lads,that's hoo the banter and comradeship was so strong and binding!

Some of the lads went on ti be Engineers,Harry Ross,Joe Tansey,instantly come ti mind..they were gud fitters,John Bennett..electrician..went ti be an engineer..Steve Carroll  was a mechanical engineer..last time a saw Stevie was alang the road at the Stakeford Welfare,he was running..[or helping ti run?] the Bowling Club...that was a few years ago..Geordie Lawson..electrician..John Coultas..fitter..Ted Carse.fitter...[he's Faatha was a Deputy..a really funny fella,and a gud marra of mine when aa was a Deputy] ..a cud gaan on and on...aal smashing natured lads..

It was a culture shock when a got ti working in factories and small Cabinet-maker's workshops,after the pits closed ..better working conditions but nae comradeship or banter like doon the stinking black hole!

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Hi all.

New member - very interesting and informative thread.

Does anyone know the small fenced-off Coal Board site on the south bank of the river between Humford Mill and Plessey Woods? It’s near the top of the bank, and there’s an entrance door and a half-visible fan of a few feet in diameter. Presumably it’s a ventilation fan and its machinery. 

Unfortunately I didn’t have a camera on me when I saw it, but it’s just north of the Hartford part of Cramlington, so would it likely be related to the Hartford (or possibly Plessey) mine?

It’s not easily accessible - I came across it while on a walk to see how far the footpath goes on the south bank after the steppingstones at Humford. The path soon becomes blocked by fallen trees, overgrown bushes, etc, and is quite dangerous at a couple of points, with steep muddy drops to the river!

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@Bill 19 - I have no idea what the site is you mentioned above. This is a map showing the old Plessey Wagonway from Plessey Mill to Blyth. Close to where I think you are saying the 'entrance door' is ( just to the right of Plessey Mill next to the number 79 on this map), there are some old mine workings identified - 'Rodney Pit' & 'Old Coal Workings'

Plessey waggonway.jpg

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