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Lots of farms had Gin mills (same system as horse powered capstan and windlass used at early pitheads) but used to power grinding of grain ... there's one at Home Farm, Beamish.

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I understand women actually worked down the Bedlington pits ??? Is this fact true and do we have any supporting data.

Not in Bedlington. But Dinnington Colliery was for sure. Its the only colliery i know of locally with women.

The group also have records of a women underground at Netherton Colliery. Funny thing about the story tho was that her husband was on the coal face and the face was near the shaft. She actually went underground to give her husband his bait.

Hard to believe, but you can only go by records that have nbeen left and this was the story.

I will try and get the records together to share with the forum members when i can. Hopefully soon, as the names of the family are also on record.

Look at our DVD "Coal Queens" Fantastic accounts of women working in the pits. Mostly women worked on the surface in Scotland and the Wigan districts. But as i say previously they did work at Dinnington.

There is another DVD available online "Women and Mining in Scotland" I purchased it a year ago, what an account by women who did the job. They tell you the info you want to know, but with still pics. Worth buying if your interested.

Coal Queens by Sixtownships has lots of footage too. But the Scotland one is good, just to look at their faces telling you the story speaks for the hard graft they did. Type it in Google and it should come up.

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Reedy,the name of "Prime" [5 along from the left],reminds me of a little fella called Jimmy Prime,who was a cutterman at High Pit,

in the early sixties,and who was crushed by his coalcutter when the "stays"[wood pit props put between the cutter and the roof to control the movement of the cutter,]flew off,allowing the cutter to swing around with the picks in gear,and crush him up against the only hydraulic face chock in sight of him on a newly won-out coalface. The "Desford " face chocks were just being installed on

TB23's face at the time.

Jimmy was about 60 yards up the face,cutting it,My Marra's and me were at the tailgate end,in the high roadway,[high...!!!...10ft widex8 feet high...!],when we heard a loud shout asking for a stretcher...there was a man fast in the machine.

Big Harvey Tilbury,the pit joker,immediately took charge of the situation,and began barking orders out to all the lads..me included...i was 20 years old,not long face trained.

Me and Harry Undeldorf [Polish] ran outbye,in stinking,rough wet conditions,slipping all over the place,to seek a stretcher.

When we got back up the coalface,Harvey moved the cutter and released Jimmy,who looked like he was dying,his eyes rolling up and disappearing,and his toungue coming out down past his chin..it was a horrible sight to see.

We carried him all the way out to the surface,and even though he was about six stones,wet through,he was a ton weight on the stretcher,after about half a mile,in terrible conditions,swallies of water up to the knees etc.

We heard that he had only been in Hospital a fortnight,when he was playing hell with the nurses,cos he couldn't get out for a pint!!!

Were we pleased when this report reached us at the pit....we had all given him up for dead,he was so badly crushed......

it was a happy ending after all...now this fella in the pic,at Netherton,closely resmbles what memories i have of little Jimmy Prime,he is older on this pic,which would fit...unless it was his Brother......

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My Grandmother was one of a team of young girls employed as an assistant to help the shaft sinkers at Ashington pit,in the 1800's.The sinkers drilled and fired the shots,and the young lassies had to fill the buck[kibble...skip...etc]with the loose stones.

Check it out John,see if there is any truth in the story,which came from my Mother,and which i don't doubt at all.

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Reedy,the name of "Prime" [5 along from the left],reminds me of a little fella called Jimmy Prime,who was a cutterman at High Pit,

in the early sixties,and who was crushed by his coalcutter when the "stays"[wood pit props put between the cutter and the roof to control the movement of the cutter,]flew off,allowing the cutter to swing around with the picks in gear,and crush him up against the only hydraulic face chock in sight of him on a newly won-out coalface. The "Desford " face chocks were just being installed on

TB23's face at the time.

Jimmy was about 60 yards up the face,cutting it,My Marra's and me were at the tailgate end,in the high roadway,[high...!!!...10ft widex8 feet high...!],when we heard a loud shout asking for a stretcher...there was a man fast in the machine.

Big Harvey Tilbury,the pit joker,immediately took charge of the situation,and began barking orders out to all the lads..me included...i was 20 years old,not long face trained.

Me and Harry Undeldorf [Polish] ran outbye,in stinking,rough wet conditions,slipping all over the place,to seek a stretcher.

When we got back up the coalface,Harvey moved the cutter and released Jimmy,who looked like he was dying,his eyes rolling up and disappearing,and his toungue coming out down past his chin..it was a horrible sight to see.

We carried him all the way out to the surface,and even though he was about six stones,wet through,he was a ton weight on the stretcher,after about half a mile,in terrible conditions,swallies of water up to the knees etc.

We heard that he had only been in Hospital a fortnight,when he was playing hell with the nurses,cos he couldn't get out for a pint!!!

Were we pleased when this report reached us at the pit....we had all given him up for dead,he was so badly crushed......

it was a happy ending after all...now this fella in the pic,at Netherton,closely resmbles what memories i have of little Jimmy Prime,he is older on this pic,which would fit...unless it was his Brother......

Harvey always was a joker. Good crack he was. His sone, Keith was a good friend of mine

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My Grandmother was one of a team of young girls employed as an assistant to help the shaft sinkers at Ashington pit,in the 1800's.The sinkers drilled and fired the shots,and the young lassies had to fill the buck[kibble...skip...etc]with the loose stones.

Check it out John,see if there is any truth in the story,which came from my Mother,and which i don't doubt at all.

Have no reason to doubt you.

It would be nice if we could get more info like this and piece things together as it is important to record for future generations.

Thanks for that info

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Maggie, did you ask about women miners? This is from A Creeful of Coals.

post-2953-0-58724300-1374671669_thumb.jp

Edited by keith lockey

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Maggie, did you ask about women miners? This is from A Creeful of Coals.

post-2953-0-58724300-1374671669_thumb.jp

We wonder what colliery that photo was at?

We don't have to look far.

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Maggie, did you ask about women miners? This is from A Creeful of Coals.

post-2953-0-58724300-1374671669_thumb.jp

Keith that pic from creeful is of women in the Wigan district.

Got that and many more like it from Wigan M8.

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The 1842 Royal Commission into the Employment of Children in Mines found that children as young as five or six were working full days in some mines. They were mainly employed as trappers or door-keepers. This job involved opening doors so that the trucks carrying the coal through the mine could pass through and then making sure they closed behind them. It was essential that this was done so that the mine remained properly ventilated. Although not physically hard, the work was boring and was often done in complete darkness. As the children grew older they were sometimes moved on to opening the barrow-ways (larger openings designed to allow larger trucks and sometimes ponies through) before starting work actually moving the coal.

The Commissioners were deeply shocked by what children were asked to do in the mines. They found that girls as well as boys were expected to haul and push trucks weighing up to 200 kilos through the mine, work which caused deformities and long-term injuries. In response to the findings of the Royal Commission, Parliament passed the Coal Mines Act of 1842. This banned all women and children under the age of ten from working underground and prevented anyone under the age of 15 from working the winding machinery. Although children could still be employed above ground, the Mines Act was at least a start in offering them some protection.

Despite the terrible working conditions, few children complained about having to work. Most recognised that the few pence that they earned each day helped their families survive. However, it also meant that they missed out on the already limited opportunity to gain some education and were given very little chance to play as children today do.

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Betty Harris, aged 37, drawer in a coal mine, to the Royal Commission on Mines, 1842

I have a belt round my waist, and a chain passing between my legs, and I go on my hands and feet. The road is very steep, and we have to hold by a rope; and where there is no rope, by anything we can catch hold of. ... I am not as strong as I was, and cannot stand the work as well as I used to. I have drawn till I have had the skin off me; belt and chain is worse when we are in the family way.

Children's Employment Commission, 1842

I found at one of the side-boards down a narrow passage a girl of fourteen years of age, in boy's clothes, picking down the coal with the regular pick used by the men. She was half sitting, half lying, at her work, and said she found it tired her very much, and 'of course she didn't like it'. The place where she was at work was not two feet high... In great numbers of the coal-pits in this district the men work in a state of perfect nakedness, and are in this state assisted in their labour by females of all ages, from girls of six years old to women of twenty-one... although this employment scarcely deserves the name of labour [trapping], yet, as the children engaged in it are commonly excluded from light and are always without companions, it would, were it not for the passing and re-passing of the coal carriages, amount to solitary confinement of the worst order.

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Patience Kershaw, aged 17, to the Children's Employment Commission, 1842

I hurry the corves a mile and more underground and back; they weigh 3 cwt* ... the getters that I work for are naked except for their caps, sometimes they beat me - if I am not quick enough.

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When Barton Rafie asked the original question: "I understand women actually worked down the Bedlington pits ???" back in post #21, I replied: "Official accounts suggest that women were not employed underground at any pits in the Northumberland and Durham coalfields but I'm sure they must have done so in the very early days." JDJ55 confirms this with his reference to the Coal Mines Act of 1842 in his post #41 but of course they continued to work above ground.

So to summarise for Barton .... Yes, women probably did work down Bedlington pits before 1842 but not after this date, however they may well have continued to work in above ground jobs when employed at the Bedlington pits.

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I found this in Evan Martin's BEDLINGTONSHIRE book. Thought it was of interest to this topic.

post-2953-0-46519200-1375549613_thumb.jp

Edited by keith lockey

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Have a look here for the 1871 British Geological Survey of our local pits ... all the details of the different strata and where the coal seams are and the depth of everything. There's also data on how the pits relate to each other ... same seams, etc. You can zoom in and navigate across the chart to read the details.

www.largeimages.bgs.ac.uk/iip/historicmaps.html?id=1003563

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Interesting that Syptoms.

I have noted the clay in the area and hense the huge ammounts of clay that were extracted for brickmaking.

I am interested in the brickyards and brickmaking and this actually gives me a good account of the deposits of clay.

Many thanks.

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My dad worked at bedlington brickyard before he went to the pits

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    • Cemetery-walking dog owners who allow their animals to foul graves and headstones are to be targeted by enforcement officers.
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