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high pit wilma :- Just time for a quick shot,while the conveyor was standing..! [Busy loading a full shot out.]

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Bates Pit by High Pit Wilma

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Photo Information for TOM AND BILL

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kellmarnumber1 :- dinting..takes me back to my good old days at gedling colliery..great shot......psi would love this picture.................

high pit wilma  :- 

Hi Kell! We didn't call this Dinting,it was called Driving....this was "10's Tailgate drivage." Conditions were dry,for the first few yards in,then the North Sea broke in,as was usual in the Three/Quarter R seam,at Bates pit,in Northumberland,England. When word came in on the jungle drums to "switch off and pull out",we were driving through a 36 foot thick Blue Whinstone dyke..[igneous intrusion..],with water teeming in from the roof strata above us,with 60 million tons of virgin clean coal,5 feet high,which no other pit had ever worked,at the other side of the dyke! But our evil tyrannical bitch of a prime minister,[who as a junior minister,stopped the free school milk for schoolkids..as well as free swimming lessons..etc etc...],had a personal vendetta against our National Union of Mineworkers,and very cleverly shut down virtually all our Nation's mines,except for one or two "RICH"pits,in southern England,which she then privatised. We now buy so-called "cheap" coal from China,and other countries on the other side of the world,at the cost of many miner's lives[with poor safety records],to fuel our power stations etc. Ellington colliery supplied Alcan smelter,[about a half a mile away],with coal for about 40yrs, then when thatcher closed our pits,they built a new shipping berth at North Blyth,to unload Chinese coal ships,and a new rail facility,to transport the coal to the Alcan aluminium smelter plant,about 6 miles away.....! Talk about carrying coals to Newcastle...!! Check out my pics of the surrounding area ,taken from up on the pit headgear............!

high pit wilma :- Tom and Bill are my two "marra's",by the way..!

Dr. Drewboy :- nice shot of the working place!

high pit wilma :- Aye,Drewboy,we lapped it up for about 60 yards,decent conditions,from the start of the new roadway,but days after i took this pic,it was like a pig-cree!!

ws60041 :- Aye - Thatcher will rot in Hell soon, we have the bottle of bubbly sitting in the fridge, I'm looking forward to opening it

high pit wilma :-Whey aam a teetotaller, but the day she.....sorry......IT!....dies,aal hev a nice cup o' coffee,wi a wee dram o' rum or brandy tippled inti it,....not ti be seen drinking yi unnerstand...., just ti celebrate thi occasion!!
.........er.... a forgot ti remind the people oot there,that thatcher and her cronies didnt just stop the bairns free school milk,and swimming lessons,as a junior minister,but as prime minister during the 1984 miner's strike,she also stopped CHILD BENEFIT,to the children of miners who were out on strike .....NOT FOR EXTRA PAY...but to try and stop her ...it's...government from closing down the majority of our nation's coal industry,except the few big,rich pits,so she could privatise them,and sell them off to her rich buddies,not surprising when you see what they did to Northern Rock,and other big institutions.......
By the way,my comment about the Rio Tinto Alcan Smelter,[above],IT has since been shut down,puttIng THOUSANDS MORE MEN AND WOMEN ON THE DOLE!
Last comment........it wasn't the poor little bairns's fault that their dad's and brother's had the GUTS to stand up and fight against these evil people,to try and save their jobs......
Oh!....i forgot,.....she also sequestrated £9,000,000 of money from the N.U.M,so that the union couldn't help their members to feed their bairns ...literally starving the men back to work......now, who was this churchill brat,didn't he say,in 1926,about the miners.....[nobody else mind......and it WAS a GENERAL STRIKE...]......."GET THE RATS BACK DOWN THEIR HOLES WHERE THEY BELONG".......as he smoked his fat cigar,while sitting in front his COAL FIRE....!!!!
Sorry for ranting......i got carried away with all these home truths!

high pit wilma :- ....Er....i forgot,thanks for your comments ws60041..!!

Stephen Franks :- Is this photo an official NCB photo or did you sneak a camera underground?

high pit wilma :- Er........,protocol,Westdrie..!!..you don't ask questions like that,man!!
Seriously, i own all copyright to the whole of my photostream,and these are before the digital camera age,so the pile of 35mm negatives are here in my drawer.
Nothing in the Coal Mines and quarries Act 1954 says anything about it being illegal to take a camera underground,unlike Specified "Contraband",which was any naked flame, cigarettes or matches,lighters,candles, or any other lighting contrivance having a naked flame,or liable to ignite Methane.
As time went by,ammendments to the Act came in,and this included the prohibition of Aluminium foil in bait-boxes,or any mining equipment containing Aluminium ,as it was found to be liable to "flash" if struck forcibly,thus causing dangerous sparks,capable of igniting Methane.
My camera has no Aluminium,or any prohibited materials in it's construcion. The camera was a xmas present from my [then!] Girllfriend,in around 1963/4-ish,has taken hundreds of pics,over the last 50 years,took these pit pics,and is still better than any digital camera i personally,have ever seen,for taking night-time shots,on prolonged exposures!
The hardest part is keeping your subjects absolutely still for long periods!!
Noo,Wesdtrie,after that long-winded answer to your question,may I ask what made YOU ask in the first place?

Stephen Franks :- I was just curious! I was just wondering if it would be frowned upon by management for photos that may contain scenes of breaches of mining law etc?

high pit wilma :- Cheers Westdrie,there's no breaches of mining law....why are you so persistent on this point...it's history now..there's no coalmining industry to speak of,other than opencast mines,it's too late too even think about breaches,the pits are gone....we are importing coal from China to a shipping berth which was recently built across the river Blyth,directly opposite Bates pit where these photo's wer taken..is that rubbing salt into us old miner's wounds? Anyway,you didn't breach mining law if you had any brains....it was a very dangerous place to work in....to start with!!! I kinda think it's a bit different out in the States,and every other coal producer in the World! The only people who put our lives at risk,were those in management at a higher level than the Colliery Manager...[who was a stickler for safety],and those B....tories in power who decimated the industry,and killed thousands of communities all over our country. Now that's my rant for today ,Pard,how's your industry doing,? same as ours did? Cheers,have a nice day!!

high pit wilma :- By the way Westy,all the old - timer pit lads are either ill with mining injuries,or mining diseases,caused by Coal,and Stone dust,or already dead!
So if any body in our NON-EXISTENT industry wants to think about frowning,it's a little bit late in the day,even thatcher herself has one foot in the coffin,every miner left alive,and thier families,are just waiting for the other foot to go in,then the breweries will record the highest beer sales ever....if you get my jist?!!!!!!!!
....and i haven't forgotten the American [ scottish by birth] macgregor b..............d who thatcher brought over from your Country to do the dirty work in our Coalmining Industry...
i don't know what happened to him,maybe he went back to the U.S.A to retire on the Million or two pounds golden handshake he got from thatcher!
I'll explain how a retreater longwall coalface operates next time Westy!![my nickname for you!]
S'long Pardner!

high pit wilma :- Update on August 11 th 2013..at 12-45 am..........
thatcher-the-hatcheter finally snuffed it a few months ago,[this is for the benefit of our friends across the world who might be out of touch!],and the word came around quickly that she wasn't in hell for 10 minutes,when she closed 50% of the furnaces down and made Lucifer redundant........!
Seriously,it cost the British taxpayer,over 10million pounds,for her "State" funeral,when she should really have been burned at the stake for her atrocities while in power as prime minister,and also as a cabinet minister before that,when she stopped the free school milk for our children...and free swimming lessons.....

high pit wilma :- Update on the subject of "Breaches" as referred to by Westy.........i was a bit slow a few comments back there........there ARE breaches of mining law seen/not seen in my photo's............AND THEY ARE ALL BREACHES BY THE NATIONAL COAL BOARD!!
Ventilation in our drivages...non-existent.[no wonder we all have lung diseases and C.O.P.D.]
Toilets...non-existent....you had to empty your bowels[if you were caught short and couldn't wait till you got to the surface],by going down the roadway,out of sight of anyone,do your business against a dirty wet strata,by the side of the roadway,sometimes use a sharp peice of coal to clean your backside,[no toilet rolls down a mine!],and cover your muck up like a dog would.[very inhuman to say the least..but you got used to it].
No efficient lighting,we worked in very poor light every day of our lives,[no wonder that the world seemed dazzingly bright when we rode to the surface at the end of our shift..][that is...IF it was light at all..we sometimes didn't see daylight for a week,in the winter....dark when we went down...dark when we came back up!]
20 Minutes only allowed for meal break...[Mines and Quarries act 1956.........yes ...1956!!...no change as time went by !!!!]
Working with vibrating tools,[Compressed-air percussive drilling machines,as shown in these pics,with NO protection
whatsoever,to prevent "White finger" disease,or proper sound-deadening on the drillers,which the Coal Board KNEW could cause damage to miners who were using them.....
Need i go on?    Yes,there were breaches all right!!
Trouble was,we just accepted anything that was thrown at us,and said nowt!
Oh!,and another thing,when i was 17 yrs old,and earning £4 a week take home pay,on heavy transport,down Choppington High pit,in 1961,in atrocious wet rough conditions,i was sent "to bank"[to the surface,home,without pay at all...],because i refused orders from the overman,in charge,Joe Barratt,to go and work with the "girder-lads",carrying in extremely heavy steel heavy-section arched-girders,into the coalface,where the roof had caved in,making it impossible to take a pony in,to transport these girders.[so they had to be taken in by hand].
Why did i refuse?
Because the girder-lads were paid three times more than i was,and the overman,Joe Barratt,refused to pay me the same rate of pay for the job,as he was paying the others,which i thought was an entirely justifiable reason for standing up for my rights!!
Joe had his hooks in me from that day until that pit closed in 1966..[used to send me to the roughest places on the coal face whenever he could,and all my marra's noticed,but he was boss and nowt i could do to prove i was being victimised. It wasn't hunky-dory working at that pit!!
Mind,it didn't help my situation much when i stormed up to the Undermanager,and told him straight that i was going to see my union secretary,which i did,to see about getting my pay re-instated!![at 17 yrs old!!]

high pit wilma :- Update;Tom in my pics,seen above,sadly passed away a few weeks ago,after a long spell of illness.R.I.P. Tom.
We had some good times,even in these conditions,when a bit banter with your marra's kept your sanity!
Bill.[High Pit Wilma]

high pit wilma :- Tom is the one sitting in the Eimco machine.

high pit wilma :- Tom sadly passed away recently,after a long illness.although it was rough where we worked,down the 3/4 seam,we had some good times working together,cos we had to make the best of it whether we liked it or not!
[that was mining!]
R.I.P. Tom.

high pit wilma :- UPDATE 4-2-14-...........Westrie,now i know why you were persistent and very knowledgable to ask about breaches of mining law,.......I noticed your comments on another person's photostream,and you state that your Father was an UNDERMANAGER FOR THE NATIONAL COAL BOARD...!!........THAT'S WHY!
It puzzled me from seeing your first comment,asking if this was an "Official" photo,or did I "SNEAK" the camera underground?........I assure you there was no need to sneak.....I was searched by the banksman for "Contraband",[illegal objects such as lighters or matches and cigarettes...],and passed through to get into the cage to go down the mine.
You didn't know whether this was a Coal Board shot,or not,and if I had said it WAS an official shot,breaches of law wouldn't have entered your mind,now,would it?
Heh Heh!!! 
Funny old world isn't it?! 
You see,lots of people have seen these pics,including many experienced Miners,and if you notice,it has taken the Son of Management to query mining law relating to them.
Sorry if I seem to go on about this,but that was the effect your comments had on me,upon first seeing them!
Cheers Pard,no offence meant to you or your Dad!!
Freedom of speech is what it is all about here!

Stephen Franks :- I hope I haven't caused any offence! I was purely asking out of interest. I remember my dad saying he broke loads of mining rules when he worked for the coal board. I had to sneak a camera underground to get my gold mine photos. I was just wondering if the coal board was ok with people taking photos or if it was just a case of taking a quick snap when nobody was about? Like I said I do hope I haven't caused any offence with the question, if I have then I am sorry to have upset you.

high pit wilma :- Hi Westy! Now it's my turn to apologise!
Sorry for being a bit blunt with you,and not even knowing you,but I appreciate your kind comments,and I just checked out your pics and they are certainly something else!!
We both were in the same boat,and I wonder if you could understand my Northumbrian way of talking!
I thought you were in the States,till I checked your pics,was it South Africa?...,and are you still there?
Great pic of King Arthur you got there,as well as all the rest of your pics...!
Cheers Marra!
The Coal Board had their own film crew,who made loads of promotional films in the years after the second World War,and you can check them out,unless you already did,on You-Tube.

high pit wilma :- Westdrie,I wish you and me could have had a good natter [talk] face to face,we would be up all night,sharing mining stories, and experiences,like us old Coalminers do when we see each other in the street,now that all our mines were shut down by a ruthless government. 
With regard to mining law,it was sometimes great to be a Deputy,cos if the pit Manager came into your District,with a Government Inspector,WITHOUT notifying you to meet them at the meeting station,[or "Kist"...as we called it..].. and just turned up at the coal face,neither of them would be in a position to reprimand you ferociously,with any kind of threat to your employment,if they found a breach,such as not enough timber supports in.
The Mines and Quarries Act 1954,clearly states that "NO PERSON shall enter any district underground without the prior PERMISSION of the Deputy of that district."[that means NOBODY!...not the Manager,nor the Chairman of the Coal Board...... ...NOBODY!
So if they DID threaten you,it would go down on your Official Mines and Quarries Shift Report,that these people entered your district without your permission,whilst you were on the face doing your General Examination of the district...[ an act of Parliament,which must be carried out twice daily.]
Mr Hindmarsh ,Bates pit Manager,[and a Gentleman],often came in unexpectedly,but would never shout at anyone,He would take you to one side ,say to you what he wasn't happy about,and leave it at that,very quietly,and you would do whatever was necessary to correct the fault he had found,[the above comment about permission,was never required,cos he was a good Manager.]
Yeah,your Dad will know that if everybody,incl. Management,had rigidly followed the regulations to the utmost,we miners wouldn't even have went down in the cage .
Did you know that it was LAW that "Every roadway in every mine shall have toilet facilities,and it shall be an offence for any man to relieve his bowels while underground,in any roadway,except where these facilities are provided for that purpose"
[Quote...Mines and Quarries Act 1954...]
Of course there were no toilets,and wash basins........and of course men had to relieve their bowels....nearly 12 miles out under the North Sea,and a thousand feet down.......away from civilisation......what else could they do?
THAT, was a favourite one of mine!,I used to tell the lads that if they needed to go outbye early,during the shift,that THAT was the best legal reason for leaving their workplace early,without fear of losing their pay!!
Heh heh!...what a subject to be talking about ,after I just had my Corned Beef Pastie and fried vegetables for dinner!!
Cheers Westdrie!

Stephen Franks :- Hi Bill, Steve here (Westdrie) I'm glad I didn't cause any offence! Right, well, I live in Yorkshire, I worked for only a year in South Africa from July 97 till July 98. I got the chance of a life time so took up the offer. I finished as a skilled mine worker after I qualified as a shotfirer, I came back to the UK and never worked on a mine again. I took an interest in coal mining and its history when I was about 10 years old, I love hearing old stories and looking at photos etc of mining and mining history. I also like asking questions (hence the question about photos underground!)

My dad was a Barnsley miner, he started on the pit top in 1951 and when offered the chance to study he got his managers ticket with the coal board and finished in the late 80's as an Assistant Manager. My dad had many stories about when he was shotfiring and breaking all the rules as the need for coal was so important, also had loads of stories about the strikes in 2,74 and 84/85.

My dad was an Undermanager at Kellingley in the 70's, he told me many stories about the Geordie lads, leek and onion growing competitons that they held regularly!!

Cheers Bill!

high pit wilma :- Hi Steve,glad to know you after all!
I started learning about everything to do about mining,from 1956,when I was 12 years old,cos my older Brother,who was born on the same day as me,but three years earlier,started the pit in 1956 also,aged 15 years.
From his first day at the pit,he used to come home and tell me about everything he had learned.
As he got a bit older,he took me to a local mine,where the coal they got,was sent by overland endless rope haulage,about a half of a mile,over the fields,to a larger mine,where the coal was screened and washed.
Sets of three tubs at a time were hung onto the rope using "Hambones" [rope clips].
We rode our bikes over to where the middle of the haulageway was,between the two pits,and my Brother showed me how to "knock-off" the hambones,and "Dreg-up" [wood sprags pushed into the tub wheels],the tubs.
We were making up sets of about twenty tubs at a time,and hanging them back onto the rope!
It wasn't long before men from both pits came along the line to investigate what was going on!When we heard shouting and bawling,we got onto our bikes and buggered off really quickly,and never got caught!
That was about the limit of any mischief we got up to in those days,but it was in the name of education....i would say!
From then on on,I got books out the library,about mining,and by the time I left school at 15 years old,in 1959,I had a good
understanding of most aspects of mining,right through to how coal-cutters worked!!
My whole family on both sides of my Parents,were all miners,so I also heard many stories when very young!

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