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BigLoada :- I cannot see tye Ventora in the car park. Was it there?

high pit wilma :- Sure thing! It would have been doon in that little area at the dorty end o' thi pit baths..hidden from view by the buildings.[see note].
hoggy03 :- Hi Bill, when was this shot taken? i would say it was late in the day with only a few cars in the car park and the "trusty steed" parked up he,he,he. but i don't know.
high pit wilma :- Hi hoggy,all the surface pics up from the wheels were taken about 7-0pm,after the gaffers had all gone home![ Give or take a haaf-hoor or two!]
Jilly2k2 :- Love all these pictures! high pit wilma :-Thanks Jilly,i'm really pleased i had the foresight to take a camera down.before the pit was closed,and lost forever.


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From the album:

Bates Pit by High Pit Wilma

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Photo Information for PIT BATHS - CANTEEN

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hoggy03 :-

Hi Bill, My dad was just telling me about the masons cabin (blue shed) in the pic and how someone wrote above the masons bit "free" thought it was funny, did you know/hear about it?

high pit wilma :- Hi Hoggy!
Naa! Nivvor hord that one,but very typical wit of aal the tradesmen,with the exception of one or two real canny lads like your Dad,[he was always just like he is,canny and quiet,and very sociable..].
Mind,Russel will confirm that you had to have razor-sharp reactions to stand up to the wit of the younger fitters and sparky's,some of who are now deceased,at a very young age.
The conditions we worked in were bad,but the banter was great,like i never experienced in factories and small workshops,after i left the pits,in 1987.
Comradeship second to none.

BobbyG25 :-

Seeing these pics takes me back a few years.
Yes it was hard working underground those days but have to admit I enjoyed it.
Sure my bad knee is caused by crawling along those coal faces.
Take care 
Bob Gregg electrician 1964 1972

high pit wilma  :-

Hi Bob!
I started Bates in June 1971,and as it's so far back in time now,i canna place you.
Were you in the Beaumont or the Three-Quarter seams?
I was a Deputy when i went to Bates from Bedlington A pit,and was all over the whole pit,at various times,so got to know a lot of the men over time.
I went back into the N.U.M. in 1978.
Did you go by a nickname,Bob,cos lots of lads i worked with for years,just had nicknames,and,funnily enough,i never knew the real names of some of them....odd?!!!

Edited by Eggy1948

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skida :- My good lady's dad, the late Frank Herron was a banksman at Bates, after moving from Crofton, and we have really enjoyed looking through you photos Wilma. Thanks.

high pit wilma :- Hi skida,noo...!.....it's a smaall world,as we aal knaa,but did Frank live at Hollymount Square Bedlington by any chance?
Many thanks for your kind comments,and i am pleased you had pleasure and nostalgic memories from seeing them.

skida :- Hi Wilma. Frank was a Newsham Man and as far as I know never lived in Bedlington. His daughters used to have a great time going into Bates' canteen where the dinner lady spoiled them. I am no fan of Thatcher and it was interesting reading your comments and getting an insight of the miner's perspective. I doubt this country will ever recover from the loss of heavy industry, especially in the North East, which resulted from her government allowing the fat cats to invest profits made here to be invested in sweatshops in the third world.

BobbyG25 :- Hi Wilma
I was at Bates between 1964 and 1972. Spent most of my time in the Plessy seam on mech faces.
Served my apprenticeship as an electrician then stayed on till the strike then went out to South Africa, gold mines. That was an eye opener.
Never mind I'm retired now and can spend my time thinking of those wonderfull times crawling along the face with water every where and dust coming off the machines especially if they where cutting through a fault. Those where the days !!!!!!! theres a song there some where ..............
Take care

high pit wilma :-

Hi skida,aye it's a different Frank then.
I used to take my two Sons fishing at Blyth pier,35 years ago,and we used to call in to the canteen to get our pasties,which were huge,and my two lads loved them,especially on cold winters days!!
There's a lad called Davy...? worked at the Plessey,and he says his greatest wish is that thatcher [ no capital t for her...i'm petty!],dies before him,so he can witness her funeral with glee!!
Hi Bobby,i started Bates in June 1971,as a Deputy,up at 8's [84's faceline]in the Beaumont Seam.
I came back into the N.U.M. in 1978,onto Composite work.[known as Development work
at other Pits.]....winning out new roadways and coalfaces,installing the mechanised conveyors and face chocks etc,and doing any specialised work that we were called upon to do.
I went down the 3/4 drift and pioneered by blasting out the back drift from the start at the top,just past the south loader...that was a humdinger!!!....150 pounds of Polar Ajax
[P1] in 50 x 9ft long drillholes,using 0-15 millisecond delay detonators,fired by the Beethoven 1500volt dynamo - "battery"..[ not really a battery..cos it was a dynamo-capacitor exploder...]
The rule was,because we were so close to the South loader cabin,which was built on an overhead girder framework,in the main roadway,about 200 yards outbye side of us,we had to let them know when we were going to fire..so they would open both doors of the cabin,and so relieve the air pressure,to prevent damage to the cabin.
Well,for a while that went o.k...........
But one day,i was under a lot of pressure,with a fault on the detonator circuit,and after a 
lot of time spent checking the wiring,i finally had a good reading on the ohm-meter,so i went and fired the shots............
There was hell-on!!
The pressure-wave from the shots actually lifted the steel cabin,with all the hydraulic
control gear for the loader,plus the loader-lad,and pushed it outbye on it's framework,for a few feet!!!
The loader lad thought his end had come,cos he didnt expect it,mind...he let me know about it when he saw me!!
No danger from the shots mind,just pure air movement!
I remembered after that to let him know i was gonna fire!!
Was it as scatter-brained in the goldmines,Bobby?....bet it was hot!!
Cheers,and thanks to you both for your comments.


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BobbyG25 :-

Interesting to here about the explosive side to your job.
I remember testing the Beethoven exploders in the workshops at Bates. We used to use little yellow caps to test them.
In the gold mines they used to fire a level at a time and only when the mine was totally clear. Sometime you could be out shopping and you would feel the shots going off.
and that was from 4500 ft below you.
I worked a good bit on the winders at Bates and the shafts, went down inspecting them. interesting to see this photo of the Baths, I used to change next to Ronnie Campbell, knew his brother skinny Campell, wonder how he is doing these days.
The gold mines had a lot of Methane in them so I was surprised to be asked to take some sausages down one morning for a Barbacue........... yes and there right before my eyes down at 4500 feet we had a barby and a smoke.......wonder if its changed.
Better go now, take care HPW.......

high pit wilma :-

Bobby, those were thi days my friend,we thought they'd never end, we'd cut and drill....and fire every day,we'd catch thi loco oot,off ti thi baths we'd shoot,those were thi days,oh yes those were thi days....la la la laaaaa,la la,...........!!
[it cums natural ti a brilliant muso like me......!....mind,a DID try ti keep me day job,till yon b.............ugga,med sure a wadn't gaan doon a pit ever again,cos it was a working man I was,and I worked down und...er..ground......!!!!!heh heh!] 
Are yi still oot there Bobby?
Ye probably dae knaa that Ronnie Cambell has been thi Blyth valley M.P. for thi last 20 years..[a think it'll be 20 years...]
A didn't knaa his Brother.
Keep a hauld ,Marra!

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BobbyG25 :- Hi HPW
It's been a while since I have been in here.
Hope you are keeping well.
I'm living in the south now, retired and watching Ronnie Cambell on TV, Wednesday morning.
Still miss the north and the way things used to be.
How life has changed down here, feel like I am in a foreign Country.
Take care

high pit wilma :- Hi Bobby.
My eldest Son has lived in North Finchley,London,for the last
26 years,and can still relate stories aboot gaan owa the Bomar heaps scratching for coal,in 1984,during thi strike..amang aal
thi otha things he did as a kid growing up in a colliery hoose wi an ootside netty....in the '70s and 80's!
Some people caal Ronnie Cambell a nugget etc....a divvent knaa why the Blyth people wud have voted him in for the last 27 years,if he was a nugget!!
Aav hord mair gud reports aboot Ronnie,than bad ones mind.
Me and him got on aal reet at Bates,even after a tried ti run him 
doon during the '72 strike.......!!![that was a pit joke started by Jimmy Hall,it was his favourite introductory peice when meeting anybody doon the pit,if a was present!!]
If ever ye see Ronnie,ask him if he can remember the story!

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