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high pit wilma :- I carried this tally,at bates pit,for fifteen years,1971-86, until it closed.

The original tallies were just like all the other pits,made out of brass,but during the '60s and 70's,the recruitment campaign must have been better than they expected,cos they had to issue more unexpected tallies,so we were given these cheapo things,but they served the same purpose,at the end of the day!

I have since carried it on my keyring, as a piece of nostalgia, and nobody but me, my family, and my old marras, know what it is!!

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From the album:

Bates Pit by High Pit Wilma

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Photo Information for BATES COLLIERY TALLY - ISSUED JUNE 1971

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BigLoada :- Night Fly...dont get WIlma started on pit stories, I have had over 30 years of his tales....lol!
Nah, they are great really! If you want to know anything about working down the pit, ask him :)

morrisoxford61 :- Wilma you should write down all the stories about your life working in the mines or even record them on video or dvd
I reckon if you visited schools and sat them down and told them about it the children would listen and learn, its their history after all be nice for the great grandchildren to open and album adn see pictures and read about it. My father did a book with lots of pictures about his working life and gave it to my then small daughter, she now has a daughter of here own, one day when he is not around she can openit and read about some one she has heard about and met but was not old enough to know

high pit wilma :-

Yes Morris,that's why Big Loada,and his brother,have nothing between their ears but coaldust.....!!
I used to tell them stories from them being just old enough to talk, drawing pictures of coalcutters,etc,before they even knew what a windy-driller was...!
Seriously,i do believe in keeping that part of our heritage alive,cos kids nowadays have no idea about the hardships or dangers of mining.
Try to tell them about the miner who fell out with his wife,and weren't speaking to each other....so she would write on the "bleezer",to tell him his dinner was in the oven,and she was away to her Mother's!
Chek out my responses to your comments on other pics in my set.
Cheers,and thanks for taking an interest!

morrisoxford61 :- no problems, its wonderful to find out about the heritage and history of mining being a city boy its all alien to me
I am going to take my grandson down the big pit and Bleanavon later this year, he is only 5 but I am sure it will leave a mark on him my father worked as a civil engineer and had a keen interest in industrial archeology so from an early age I was able to appreciate and respect the work done by these men

Slippy Cundy @:- Wilma they did that to us at Ashington!!!!

First time down, in The Duke Shaft inside a cramped small cage.
I thoroughly enjoyed it but there were a few who didn't want to go back in it......

I'll never forget what it looked like down there - perfect brick arch roadways with a strange breeze blowing along. An unusual smell combined with the distant sound of machines. Hundreds of machines.
Our instructor told us to enter a doorway off from the main roadway - it led us into a fully equiped classroom!!
Imagine a classroom with no windows and you get the idea.
We were then led around on a short wander through the old workings where the mine began. 6 foot high seams (with some lower) and narrow railway tracks. We were shown conveyor systems, why bolts in a mine face one way, explosion suppression systems - balanced planks of wood with lime dust on them etc.

That tally needs looking after mind - watch that hole doesn't spread.

high pit wilma :- Heh heh!! Stone dust barriers eh?!!
Yeah,you should have been a deputy in a district,when an awkward H.M.Government Mines Inspector was doing one of his frequent visits......[went by the nickname of "Split-pin"...because of his rather lean physical stature....!]
There were many other inspectors,like "Split-pin"..,who,instead of taking notice of the atrocious working conditions that men and ponies had to endure,and bollocking the management,to get something done about it,[ponies trailing heavy girders and machinery over bare rough ground,because there were no rails laid,in mothergates,for instance..],they would come in and fine you for throwing your bait papers down at the bait-hole,[no bins down there..you know!].
But some would ask the deputy technical questions such as... "what is the minimum quantity of dust required,and how many barrier shelves would you erect in a 12 x 8 ft arched roadway,where there are at least 30 men in the district,with an air quantity of at least 12 cubic yards a second,flowing at 50 ft per second............"
and......."how far from the caunch would you erect the barriers...?"
...I'm not kidding you,there were a lot of what we used to refer to ,[politely...]..,as "idiots.."!!
You might have been in a coalface,with sea water teeming in through breaks in the strata,the roof breaking up severely,falls of roof threatening the men's lives,a severe shortage of timber planks and props etc,and these so-called "law-enforcers",would come in,with the "bible" of regulations,under their hats,and absolutely no idea about mining at all!!
When i came back into the N.U.M.["onto the tools"],after seven years of Deputy-work,i was sitting one day,getting my bait,against an air-receiver,[a big one],getting my wet clothes dried,with the heat from the tank,[illegally,but everyone did the same..!],when the colliery Manager,and the Inspector,came in and sat down beside me,for a short rest.
We cracked on a bit,[the Manager was a nice bloke,very well liked..], when i suddenly noticed something glowing around the Inspectors wrist,out of the corner of my eye,in the darkness...
A RED L.E.D. DIGITAL WRISTWATCH!...[when they were first invented,back in the late 1970's/early 1980's.]

high pit wilma :- You always put girder fish-plate bolts in facing outbye.
"Why? "
So the salvage men had easy,and safe access to the nuts,when it came to removing them,during salvage operations,it mean't they didn't have to lean into exposed roof,to put the spanner onto the nuts,and also,of course,WE didn't have the same risks either!!
There were lots of little common-sensicle things a miner had to consider,and do,in the name of safety!
Good point you made there Paul!!

Kevnorth :-Lol Paul & Wilma you have both brought back my school leaving days to life, I too followed my dad down the pit after a short training session at Darnley Road school and a couple visits to the underground training centre at Ashington and one underground visit to Shilbottle I went on to work in the stores at first then as an electricians mate at Lynemouth working with a maintenance team, it was a grand job for learning about mines we would go into faces that had been shut down for maintenance and we had the run of the face. 

Of course Lynemouth was a dream to work at with it's high roadways and seams and I can still remember the feeling of seeing the massive machines used to hew the coal and transport it from the face. Lynemouth was two collieries in one or thee counting Ellington I always prefered working at the drift side with it's long manriding conveyor belts and sets to the old side where you had to decend in the cage!

Oh those were the days!

high pit wilma :- Thanks Kev!
I met a canny fella at North Shields,a few weeks ago,works at the opencast at Ashington,over from where the workshops were,and guess what he told me...!!!
They are down to the first shallow seams,pulling pit tubs and rails,and cables, [and god knows what else by now],by the dozen!!
Wait till they reach the abandoned coal-faces,and start pulling shearers and armoured face conveyor pans out...!!![like i've said all the time,millions of pounds were left down there to rot..]

steve chaplin :- can any of you lads help me with getting some brass tallies i collect, 
cheers charlie
ex newdigate/ keresley pits
02476366732 / 07591155419

Slippy Cundy :- steve chaplin Ebay? There's usually loads on there.

steve chaplin :- Hi, I look on their, but im mainly after warwickshire collieries ie; binley, arley, griff clara & others
cheers m8
(how do i get a picture on instead of the grey face, ive uploaded but can't move it on here)

Slippy Cundy :- steve chaplin You have a picture on now. :)

I don't think any of the users on here actually collect tokens and tallys as such (the one above has huge importance to the family ) and really can't help as such.

steve chaplin :- k paul, ive about exhausted other avenues, thought maybe some of the people might have'em
cheers m8

high pit wilma :- Hi Millie!
Thanks for your visit.
Lots of tallies would have been chucked away with disgust for thatcher and british coal.
Some lads i worked with kept them for thier kids,with foresight,as i did also,only mine isn't traditional,as i have already explained.
I'm now pleased i had the foresight to get some pics for posterity,but seriously regret not taking any of Choppington "High" pit,where i started from school at 15 years of age.

Blythboy :- My dad, Tommy (Tucker) Henderson worked at Bates from the war's end till he died in 1979. Fantastic pictures and many memories. 

What pisses me of is the Google maps picture of the old Bolckows wharf, where a ship is unloading coal. most probably from Russia. Underneath that heap of coal are almost limitless reserves of UK coal. The UK still uses circa 50 million tonnes of coal per annum the vast majority of which is imported; yet the coal is piled above a viable coal reserve. As you will recall, Bates employed about 2,000 men and Ashington over 5,000 in their heyday. Thus, if the UK mined coal seriously again the circa 30 million tonnes imported would equate to circa 12 Bates and 12 Ashington collieries. 


Slippy Cundy :- Blythboy I couldn't agree more!

Yes coal is a dirty fuel but there are many ways around that!

high pit wilma :- Hi both you lads,and thanks for your comments!
Whey, it's what aav sed aal alang,tha's mair than 60 million tons of virgin 5' high clean low sulphur content clean coal lying under the north sea around Bates colliery alone!
We would have been mining it for the last 25 years[since 1986],if thatcher -the hatcheter hadn't killed our industry and communities.
I'm convinced there was some personal clandestine financial gains to be had from somewhere by thatcher,for her to carry out such a murderous deed to our country.
Years ago,maybe 40-odd years,i saw a book in a local shop window,with the title ........ ...."The Lynemouth colliery scandal", and it referred to a period in the colliery's history whereby an official at the pit had agreed contracts with mining machinery companies in return for gifts,holidays,cars etc.
The Manager of Bates colliery told me and my two marra's that he was of the opinion that Mr Archbold [the then area Director for the NCB IN Northumberland],had a "personal vendetta against Bates Colliery,and wanted it shut down as quick as possible"[and i quote!]
Noo,ever since then,i've been convinced that Archbold was involved in a similar position,seeing as HE ALONE ordered complete sets of Face supports,which were 
quite safe in other pits and locations where conditions were good,but were proved to be absolutely useless in the Three-Quarter Seam at Bates Pit.
There were times that the Chock-fitters had to change as many as 70 chock legs in a week,on one face alone,due to them actually bursting open like a peeled banana.
Often the severe roof pressure at the goaf end of the chocks,pushed the whole chock-line forward,into the face-line,flattening as many as 80 chocks,fully onto the floor,like crushing a beetle underfoot....which took months to blast out and replace all the damaged chocks........it was proved in time,that it was quicker to just abandon the whole face,advance the roads,and win a new face out and install it with new chocks.
Only thing was,they used the same chock-types again,which was a disaster!
Finally,i was on the development team who won out a new face called 50B's and we installed "Revlem" chocks on,which had "grasshopper- leg" side braces on,and these chocks held the roof amazingly,which then made the face very profitable,with very little if any damage to contend with.
When i asked the manager why we couldn't get these chocks for the other new faces we were winning out,he replied,and i quote word for word...."You know they're good,and i know they are good,but Mr Archbold is my Paymaster,and if he says we put the ordinary 6-leg chocks on.......we put them on!"
I pressed the safety issue with him,and he shrugged his shoulders and said to try telling Archbold about that.
Now it makes you wonder why,for a few years,we were installing face chocks,which were known to be dangerously unfit for the job they had to do in those conditions,when
all the time we could have had very safe chocks installed....not forgetting that every shear that was taken off,it took sometimes a week or more,to advance the whole chock-line,ready for the next shear..........no wonder Archbold wanted it closed down,i bet somebody was on his tail from higher up,i just wish i could meet him and put my feelings to him personally!

bewildebeeste :- high pit wilma Many interesting tales and bits of information on this thread. I'm not surprised about the issue over the chocks....any excuse to get the government what it wanted. As someone who wasn't old enough to realise what was happening regarding the murder of our industry at the time, It's Maggie's regime that I hold responsible for everything being owned by foreigners these days. Now more than 40% of the UK's listed firms are foreign owned - so essentially we're all working for foreign shareholders who have no compunction in rising prices by 8% or so when they see fit (am thinking primarily of utilities - legalised thievery is what I call it).... I also blame the same administration for a large part in the breakdown of society ("there is no society" remember?) into a bunch of self interested, unthinking arse lickers who divorce themselves mentally from the consequences of their workplace actions in order to please their immediate superiors. It starts with teaching kids that simply passing an exam is enough to suceed - never mind instilling a sound work ethic or passing on the joy of learning - and I'm sure you've all seen how cynical and ultimately destructive subsequent governments' target driven education policies have been. I despair at the path my own generation has been led down and what it will lead to for future ones.

Ok...rant over :)

high pit wilma :- Thanks a million Bewilderbeeste!
I'm 70 yrs old next year,and i've never ever wished i was just a young lad again,as i have been really content with my life,hard as it was.
BUT.........i sort of would have been happy to be around,when the time comes....and they DO go back down to get the coal we left....AND find all the machines etc that i have ranted about,JUST to prove that i have told no lies.!!
Mind,all the old pitmen who know these facts to be true,hopefully,will tell stories to thier children's children,and hopefully,keep our heritage alive.
I have spoken to miners from Wales,Scotland,the Midlands,Derbyshire,and lots of other places,since our industry,and our communities,were destroyed by thatcher-the-hatcheter,and each time we have compared stories,the end result was the same....i.e......tales of millions of pounds worth of mining machinery abandoned to rot underground.
This is Nationwide...and is a very serious situation,and the government has virtually just ignored,nay,covered up on the matter.
But a fella i spoke to recently,said,"Just wait till next year!"
When asked what he meant,he replied that the thirty-year rule was up,and all the archived files will be available to the press and the public.........now THAT might just put the cat among the pidgeons!!!
I can't wait!! 
Cheers and thanks Beeste,for your kind comments.

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