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high pit wilma :- The shaft had to be examined down the full depth,every 24 hours,and was done in night-shift [5-0pm till midnight shift ] Any maintenance work was also carried out in this shift ,by these two men.note their safety harnesses which they attached to the cage chains....they are standing on top of the cage..with a thousand foot drop over the edge!

ALL OF US UNDERGROUND,DEPENDED UPON THE SHAFTSMEN BEING UTTERLY RELIGIOUS IN THEIR WORK....![looking back noo,aam wondering hoo many o' thi lads actually realised,and appreciated, the importance of the shaftsmen...]

frazerweb PRO :- 

Great shot guess these shafts were deep

high pit wilma :-

Hi! This shaft was one thousand feet deep,down to the sump level,i.e. the level below the shaft opening into the roadway at the shaft-bottom. The main pumps for pumping water out of the pit to the surface,called the shaft pumps,were submerged under the water,down in the sump.[These were huge pumps,mind, to give the necessary head of water of over a thousand feet,they had to be robust...!] The shaftsmen were devils disciples...! [if you know what i mean!] I worked underground for nearly thirty years,in really rough conditions, 10 miles out under the north sea,but i wouldn't have their
job for a gold pig...!! Glad you like my shots!

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From the album:

Bates Pit by High Pit Wilma

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BigLoada (deleted) 9y

Hahaha! A "gold pig". Classic Northumberland phraseology man. I love it.

BigLoada (deleted) 9y

I pity these poor English folks here now you have been let loose on Flickr!!

high pit wilma :-  Howw! If thi waant photo's doon a geordie pit,thiv gotta expect geordie twang as weel...cos aam an aad geordie pitman...!!
ER....sorry folks, just went on a bender there.....!!

BigLoada :- Just noticed the title. For anyone not from Northumberland, "Marra" means "mate"!

billsharp :- I knew a shaftsman when I worked at Cambois who said "If I go over the edge just cut the chain, because I'll be dead before it tightens!"

high pit wilma :- Hi Bill,yeah,i wouldn't have the job for a gold pig...!

Bill Carnaby :- Done this job mate -first time you are really scared -then your just thankful you could do it again! 
Great memories

high pit wilma :-

Thanks Bill!
Yeah,i knew a lovely natured lad who was a shaftsman,at the auld pit,in Bedlington, i was carrying on with him at the start of our shift,then i went inbye to the coalface.About 4 hours later he died in the shaft,due to a tragic accident.
He had the biggest funeral that i have ever seen,bar none.
Everyone,including management,and engineers,etc,were there ,cos he was so well-liked throughout the pit.
When i think back about accidents like that,it brings it home to the dangers miners faced,but never thought about during the course of their daily lives.
Coalmining has a lot to answer for.............


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high pit wilma :- 

It is now 26 -11-09, and 108 miners have been reported killed in a massive gas explosion,in a Chinese coalmine,550 metres below ground,
unreported number of injuries to the rest of the 500 miners who were underground at the time of the blast.

morrisoxford61 :- I am stunned, I never realised nor even thought about the fact that the mine went outside of the land
10 miles out to sea thats amazing, once you were at the bottom of the shaft how did you get to the pit face/ sorry to ask a daft question, but I have no idea, , if you kept going you would have ended up under belgium?
what did these men inspect for on the shaft, is it some form of movement or cracking?
and how long did it take to go down and check the shaft

high pit wilma :-

Hi Morris Oxford,i should have been called MG.MAGNETTE MK1V..!
Anyway,the shaftsmen had,by law,to examine the shaft walls,for any signs of side pressure causing damage to it,also they had to check the condition of everything in the shaft,i.e.the "skeets"..[cage guide rails,which keep the two cages held in their respective positions,so they don't crash,in the middle of the shaft,like they often did at Choppington "B" pit,in the old days..]
They had to apply thick black grease to the skeets,regularly,examine pipework,which carried mine water to the surface,and electrical cables,for any obvious signs of damage.
They also had to transport unusually bulky or large bits of machinery,or heavy girders,down the mine,by "slinging" them UNDER the cage on chains,in the old days,they slung the pit ponies
under the cage in harnesses to take them down,or bring them up to the surface!
The shaftsmen,could be on top of the cage for a whole shift,if the job needed them to be,for hours and hours,that's why i wouldn't have the job for a proverbial "gold pig"..[northumbrian miners slang term!]
They have a lot more duties than i have space for here.
We faceworkers used to get a "manriding locomotive " set,inbye,for 
a few miles,then jump onto a conveyor belt,for a couple more miles,walk a couple of miles,another "battery electric" loco set,for another mile or two,walk a bit more......then when you got inbye,you were knackered,before you started,but the job didn't magically go away...it still had to be done,regardless how fatigued you were...mining toughens you up...[this was to get into the Plessey seam at Bates pit,which was over 12000 metres to the last officially designated "meeting station"..where the deputy of the district you were in would record your names,and tally numbers,in a book
provided by the government,[mines and quarries act].,before you actually went onto the coalface.
The 3/4 Drift,where these pics were taken,was about 4 miles inbye,maybe a bit more,and we had a 2 mile ride in on a deisel loco
manriding set,then shanks pony,the rest of the way....![soaking wet,cold,depressing,you just wanted to go back home to your nice warm bed,that you had just left,at 12-0 midnight...........]
Do you think i was a "greedy miner",like the tory press used to print in their gutter papers..........?...!!
Latest news from China...25 miners presumed dead,missing,search goes on for more,over a 150 being treated for malnutrition ,after being found in an emaciated state,having survived by eating the bark off the pit wood timber props,and drinking filthy mine water.........ANOTHER DISASTER IN CHINA,UNREPORTED BY OUR GOVERNMENT.
At least we DID have the protection,[in latter years..i.e.,of the mines and quarries act...]
My heart and soul goes out to those guys,and their famiies who are left,in that Country....especially when we are importing "cheap"[?]
coal from there...and we left 60 million tons of virgin clean coal,under the sea,at Bates pit,alone...!![ today is 14-4-10]

morrisoxford61 :- NO I never thought you were greedy miners in fact a friend of mine is a policeman near retirement and he had to go up for those big protests
talking about it one day he told me how difficult it was to police because he respected the miners and his job was safe by comparison
he made a good few friends their
I think like so many things in goverment back handers were involved, masonic practises, golf course meetings etc
thats how its done
they shut down the pits to buy it in from overseas and get a backhander or a good pension from it or act as consultants
what they shouyld have done in the miners strike was to ask the general public to come up and visit you and see what it really was like, that would soon have swayed opinion
I wonder if any one will ever buy a mine adn run it privately, would be amazing to bring them back to life at a profit
after all cheap coal from china still has to get to this country and that costs money

high pit wilma :-

Aye,Morris,if ever they do open up the existing mines,like Bates,people will stand in awe,at the amount of machinery and equipment,like all the hundreds of miles of really heavy duty,6,600volt armoured copper cables,massive transformers,sub-stations full of banks of heavy switchgear,miles and miles and miles
of conveyor belts,haulers,miles of steel hauler ropes......i could go on and on...[as i usually do!],because it makes me very angry,every time i think of the hundreds of millions of pounds worth of gear left in all our nation's pits,not just this one,by a greedy selfish uncaring government,who i am sure,were really acting in their own interests.
Thanks for your comments !


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high pit wilma :-

Today is Sunday 16-1-2011,and a few more unreported disasters,in China,Russia,and other countries,have taken place,just like it does every week that goes by.....so important is the life of the miners....and their widows..and families left behind......
I heard a news report [in English],on Short wave radio,["Voice of China" radio station..],
that 3000 miners are killed,and many more badly injured,or missing underground,due to roof falls etc,EVERY YEAR!
NOO!,.....a notice nobody has come on here ti accuse me of being slanderous ti thatcher -thi- hatcheter,or any other of her cronies.....cos i speak the truth!!

Dr. Drewboy :- i heared stories about them... really hard men!

high pit wilma :- Hi Drewboy!
My heart goes out to any miner in the world,and thier families,when disaster strikes them,as it does to mankind generally,but i have an affinity to the men who are the salt of the earth,and get no thanks for doing a uniquely dangerous job.


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