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Dr Pit miners.jpg


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Doctor Pit and Rows

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I got this photo at Willie Ward’s shop so I assume it was taken at the Doctor Pit.

The person on the left is holding something I’d forgot about. I think we called it a “shotbox” – can anybody confirm? It was a canister to hold explosives.

The person on the right is holding his carbide lamp.  These were lamps with an open flame and were used at the Doctor Pit until around 1955 when they were replaced with electric lamps.

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Aye,James,the metal canister held 5 lbs of Explosive Cartridges,what we ,[the miners] referred to as "Sticks o' Pooda"..[Powder]. That was the Legal limit that a miner was allowed to carry,under the "Mines and Quarries Act 1954"..of course,like any other Industry,rules were made to be broken! Down the Three-Quarter seam,at Bates,in the early 1970's,I used to be hurrying inbye to fire  the Solid Drivage Maingate or Tailgate,or Back Drift,[1-in-4 gradient!],carrying a 50 lb Box of Polar Ajax,[33% Nitro-Glycerine..],under one arm,another 50lb Box on the other shoulder,and TWO - 10LB Packs ,one each side inside of my Overalls!! So I was carrying 120 lbs of High Explosives,with my Glennie on my belt,my Self-rescuer,also on my belt,my Caplamp and Battery,which weighed 9lbs...Heh heh...I was only in my Thirties,and strong as an Ox!! Noo,aam nearly 77 yrs aad,and a canna lift me aan shadow! Four feet of lovely clean coal here,maybe 4' -6" ,and great dry conditions,gud hard laminated Sandy Post Stone..with a wee bit of Blue on top of the Seam. A great pic of times gone by! Thanks for posting it! Bill.

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@James - posted the photo on the Bygone Bedlington group to see if anyone recognised the two men but nothing so far but there were some interesting comments from Tom Eltis :- 


I started Bedlington Dr Pit 1954 which was split into two parts you had the pit which used electric lamps and the drift where I was placed which used carbide lamps.
 I remember when I was a timber lad leading timber into the face with the pony there was an old shotfirer He said when I'm going to fire shots hold a bit of wood in front of your flame when the shots go off the burning stick will relight it but make sure the stick is out.
 Hi Alan when I worked at the Dr Pit the stone men who drove the roadways got their powder free but the coal fillers had to buy theirs.


Edited by Alan Edgar (Eggy1948)
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