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Wastemen Dr Pit 1950's.jpg


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Doctor Pit and Rows

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Photo of two Wastemen at the Doctor Pit taken by Willy Ward. No names unfortunately.

Wastemen were miners who were too old for heavy work and were employed to maintain the return airways – clearing falls of roof, renewing supports etc. and they often carried on doing this work even in their 70’s.

Willy Ward worked at the Doctor Pit till it closed in 1968. He was an excellent photographer and a few of the photos I have posted were bought at his shop on Front Street East. I wish I had got more of them and taken a note of the names. (Many couples would have used Willy to take their wedding photos – we did!)

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Note their pants!!.."Fustons"...indestructible thick warm material,most Miners wore Fustons,it was like ...what else wud ye wear doon a black hole?...not ya Wedding Suit! See the Steel corrugated Straps,[or "Planks"] holding the roof up? They were 6' long and canny heavy! Aboot three or four years ago,me and LBJ [me wee Lab x Dog],were waaking back from owa the Bomar fields ahent wor hoose,and a got me eye on summick familiar,sticking oot the thick bushes,next ti the Farmer's fence.A howked on and pulled it oot,it was one of these steel straps,bent at right angles,wi the weight of the roof underground,and it came from the Bomar pit heaps when they levelled it oot..noo hoo it ended up where it was owa the field a divvent knaa,but a fetched it yem on me shoulder,and mind,a was knackered when a got back yem!A hae it at the bottom of me garden as a feature,next ti me fence!! Just a little reminder of when a was strong enough ti lift them with one hand up ti the roof,and put a Lazy-Man prop in ti haad it there,so ye cud knock a prop in at each end to support the roof.[When a was in me Twenties - Forties...!] The Dr Pit was a "Naked Lamp Mine",under the M n Q Act 1954, so Willie Ward was ok using a Flashgun doon the pit,but wadn't hae been allowed doon any other "Flame Safety Regs " Pit.

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6 hours ago, webtrekker said:

Billy Ward took our wedding photos too, St. Paul's Choppington, then at the Bedlington Bottom Club in 1974.

@webtrekkerIt seems 'Willy' Ward did the majority of family weddings in Bedlington in the 1950's and 60's. Everyone seemed to know him and about his business. Does anyone know if he was a local lad or just moved to Bedlington to start his photography business? 

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