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Havannah drift mine, pit 6


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Great pic!  Pity it hasn't been rotated,the uneducated [about mining  that is!],among us will not have a clue what this pic is about!

The roadway size looks like standard... heavy - section 12 feet wide by 8 feet high two-legged arched girders.

Braced with 3 feet long steel struts bolted together to make the roadway rigid and secure against shotfiring blasts,and strata movement.

Top right shows the spirally wound plastic-coated canvas exhaust fan ducting,which ventilates the roadway by the fan which is situated outbye in the fresh-air stream,and which pulls shotfiring fumes and dust out from the working area,as opposed to a forcing fan which pushes air INTO the working area.

In a working environment like this one,and on my Bates pit pics,these systems were  pretty useless,and the men worked in fume and dust - laden air all of the shift...no health and safety as we know it now....we wouldn't have gotten into the cage if H n S inspectors were around in those days!

These bugga's were lucky here though,they are using an electric materials transporter....in the 60's!!

The girder legs on the transporter weigh a ton each...[figure of speech!].....usually a two-man job to handle each one.

At Choppington High Pit,the girder-lads trailed them all the way inbye across rough ground with no rails laid in the Mothergates,using their faithfull ponies.

Where you couldn't get a pony into a low roadway,you had to hump a leg onto your shoulder,by yourself,and walk away inbye, maybe a quarter of a mile,times four legs for the caunchmen to put the two full girders in after ridding the shot of stones.

Every day I used to carry a leg on my shoulder,and carry the two girder-plates with four bolts in,in my free hand,as I had to keep one hand over the top of the girder leg to steady it as I walked.

You had to walk like an Egyptian,and swing your hips to counter-act the swing of the girder  leg,cos if the sway of the girder got out of hand,it would pull you down onto the ground and trap you there!

I had a Marra who only lasted two hours and he had to pack up,after a leg pulled him down and trapped him!

It was a very labour-intensive job,and the average human body wasn't made to lift weights like this..they used a crane on the surface to load them onto trams to send them down the pit...then us silly bugga's had to hump them by hand....but that's the way it always was at Choppington High Pit!!

The coal looks about six feet high,assuming they are winning out at floor level,but they could have been taking a bottom caunch and keeping the seam,[if it is lower],up in the middle of the roadway.

I wish the pic had been a bit clearer,to identify the machine,it could be an early cutter-loader ,which I think it is,judging by the paddle-chain conveyor mounted on it and which is loading onto the rubber main belt...[or an early gathering-arm  MC3 Joy-type loader].

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