HIGH PIT WILMA

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About HIGH PIT WILMA

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    Bedlingtonian

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    Male
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    BEDLINGTON NORTHUMBERLAND
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    Guitars,Motorcycles,my wee Labrador cross...Little Black Jess!

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  1. Aaaahh! That's Tommy all right....smiling as always,and the gentlest fella as ever walked this planet. A never knew he had had Alzheimers,sad to hear of his passing away. Thanks Eggy for the sad news. R.I.P. Tommy Easton.
  2. Heh heh!Too true! At Bates in 1971-ish,there was an Overman,[herinafter caaled "thi Owaman"],who was a champion leek grower,and I think,President[?],of the Blyth Rosecarpe society[?],and a well known Judge on both circuits. He was a canny fella,sociable,but he's job was to get work done.....and that he did! Ivry body that passed him got a job of some sort...! Alec Waite was he's name. One day,he came down from 8's district,in the Beaumont seam,and told me he had seen a ghost. He corrected he'sel,and said"Whey it might not a been a ghost,but a definately saa an apparition." Three massive wooden airlock doors,under a LOT of Air pressure,had opened and closed one at a time,and he had seen a "Greyish Mist" come through the last door. Noo these doors were so big and heavy,ye had ti put ya foot against the waal and pull like hell on the handle ti ease the the air pressure,afore ye cud open them ti let a set of three and a half ton mine cars through.[aboot 8' wide x 6' high.] Within two days,me younger Sister came yem from her work at the Ronson Factory,on Cramlington Ind,Est,and sed.."Howw Youngin,wat's this aboot a Ghost at Bates?,it's aal aroond the factories"!! The story made the Evening Chronicle front page! Later on,in fore-shift,one of me Marra's was doon thi pit and the lads got on aboot thi story. Me Marra,[a proper wit!],torned aroond and sed ti thi lads...."Whey haddaway ti hell,if Alec Waite had seen a ghost he wudda givven the f.....er a job"!! The lads aal howled at thi time,in thi pit evironment! For months afterwards,Alec was sick ti deeth of the greetings he got from ivvry body he saa on he's travels doon thi pit..."Halloww Alec,seen any ghosts lately?"!! Pitmen were a hard lot when it came to personal feelings,ye developed skin like bell-metal!
  3. Before a gaan ti pile sum ZZZZZ's up,a thowt a better clarify a previous comment aboot the Canteen Lasses on Area bonus,me comment wasn't meant ti soond derogatory,cos them lasses did a gud hard job,at a pit like Bates,wi 2000 men! Naa,me comment was meant ti include AAL surface staff who were contracted on the area bonus scheme,which was the average of the bonus's of every individual pit in the area,and included Wages clerks,Time office staff,and aal them[thoosands of them!!]...at the Area Headquarters at Teems Valley Gateshead. People in the offices,nae disrespect,cos we wud be badly on withoot them,but it made us sore,ti knaa they were getting £40 a shift,sumtimes when we were gettin hurt in accidents,roof falls of stone,soaking wet,coming oot the pit wi arms hanging doon like a gorilla,tired oot,after filling two "Shots" of coal,humping heavy girders,etc,soakng wet,dust,fumes........for sumtimes 90 pence a shift!!![rant over!!!....purely for educashun porpises...like!!!]
  4. A thowt just came ti me,when aa was thinking aboot hoo we drew cyevils,locally,amang the spare men,ti fill cyevils that were temporarily vacated because of sickness or men on rest days ,or whatever. This was at every pit,and right up till all the pits closed in the Thatcher years after the 1984 strike,from the start of pits! The overman would call the spare men together and say.."Howweh lads,hoy ya tallies in the hat".[this was directly before gaan doon in the cage at the start of the shift.] They had ti wait till everybody had clocked in by the start-time,before draa-in' the spare cyevils. So the owaman wud caal oot "22's face,Shearer-man",then he wud get one of the lads ti pick a tally oot thi hat,or he might pick them oot he'sell'. Whey me point was,me Marra,who was a proper character,weel knaan and weel liked,AALWIS drew a gud cyevil!! One day a said ti him,"Hoo cum ee elwis draa a gud cyevil,and ivry bugga else teks pot luck?" Wi a sly grin,he pulled he's tally oot o' he's pocket and sed,"Wilma,in this world,ye gotta get wise if ye want ti get on!!" "Hoo di ye mean like?" He pointed doon ti he's tally,and sqeezed it between he's two fingers and thumb,bending it inti nearly a right-angle shape,then as he hoyed it inti the hat for the draa,he laughed and sed .."Waatch Wilma!" The best cyevils were aalwis draan forst,so as the Owaman put he's hand inti thi hat,while caalin the cyevil oot,he rattled aal the tallies,fiddled aboot,and who's tally came oot?.........Spot on!! It was me Marra...AGAIN! Whey after a while thi lads started thinking it was a fix between the Owaman and me Marra! So me Marra sed,"A think aal let it gaan for a day or two,ye see Wilma,the bent tally aalwis finds it's way inti ya hand,inside the hat amang aal thi other tallies! Noo ye canna say it was truly cheating,cos ya tally DID get bent noo and again,cos ye were craaling aroond in very low rough conditions,wi mebbe a knife in ya pocket or other bits and bobs...mebbe a drill-bit etc. But the tally clerk wud straighten them ti hang them on the tally-board at the end of ya shift when ye hoyed ya tallies in at the time office,or when ye hoyed ya forst one in ti thi Banksman as ye got inti thi cage ti gaan doon. Me Marra was as sly as a fox,with a gud set of philosophies!
  5. Heh heh! Nice one Eggy! Many thanks Canny Lass!...we're aal part of the team here,so aam grateful for your info on the word Cyevil,aav only ever seen it in pit head documents posted up owa the years and aalwis knaan it as Cavil,but like ye point oot,it's typical of the mining fraternity ti slang the dialect! It's interesting ti knaa that it came from New Zealand,but how on earth did it arrive here,I always thought that it was wor poor sods who were deported owa ti Australia and them faraway places for little things like pinching a stotty-cyek cos the bairns were starving.....and that sort of thing!! Who,would want ti cum here from N Z and why?...aam baffled..!![but mind,tek me away from Pitwark,and aam bugaad!]
  6. "Bread and jam..." = Hard up!! [poor cyevil!] "Eggs and Ham"...= a canny pay.[gud cyevil!] Those were the days my Friend....!
  7. Hi Eggy,and Pete! Forst off! ...A "Cyevil" [slang],spelt and pronounced correctly,in Queen's English,would read as "Cavil" ,and sound like "Kayvil". A Cyevil was any place of work in a seam,for the Pieceworkers,i.e. Coalfillers,Caunchmen,Coalcuttermen,"Pullers"..[or,at some pits].."Bumpers",[who advanced the conveyor belt into the new facetrack each day,after the coal had been cut,drilled and fired doon,and filled off onto the conveyor belt],Drillers,and in the days before longwall faces and conveyor belts,you had the Putters,and Drivers. Before mechanical coalcutters came alang,you had what is depicted on my photo of Wor Auld Chep,aged 14,and he's old Marra the Hewer. The Hewers literally "Hewed" [picked] the coal down from the solid seam,and filled waiting tubs,to which the Putter would either "Hand-put" [push by hand],or hang his pony on and take the tubs out to a landing. Aal the putters in the different flats,[or "Cyevils"],would dae the syem,until there was enough tubs to make up a "Set",to which the Drivers would hang thier horse onto,and tek the sets oot ti thi shaft bottom...["Thier"? ..or "Their"?!!!] When longwall faces came alang,ye had the Caunchmen etc,as aforementioned. So!...because conditions varied throughout the pit ,wet seams,and coalfaces,dry seams,but with raggy roof-stone or floor-heave,generally bad conditions,and some with what miners would say was "Stannin' like a Palace..",it was only fair to have a means of giving every worker a fair chance to take the gud wi thi bad. It became practise to to "Draa the Cyevils"..[Draw the Cavils],every "Quaata",[Quarter],which was the 13 weeks referred to in Jack's poem. All the workers' "Tallies",[pit safety tokens with each man's number on],would be thrown "inti thi hat",[so to speak!],and a list of all the Cyevils available would be drawn up.[In categories to ensure the experienced workers were alloted to a cyevil in thier domain!] The person "Drawing" [picking out] the tallies,one at a time,would call out the name of the Cyvil first..."Beamont Seam,Forst North Mothergate Caunch[these would be drawn from the quota of Caunchmen] Then the Coalfillers Cyevils would be drawn next,the Cuttermen,Drillers,etc. Pete is right,as far as the Fillers go,cos they could Draw a good stretch of coal,nice and dry,gud roof conditions,meant gud money,or he cud draw a stinking wet cyevil,on the same face,further along,with faulted ground,[bad roof conditions],which meant slow progress....less money!! In the old arc-walls,with Hewers,if he had a stinking bad cyevil,nea money,then the putters and drivers suffered also,cos coal paid thier wages! At the end of each "Quaata",the last friday of the quaata was called "Shifting-gear-day". All the faceworkers brought thier picks shovels,saws,mels,and wativvor else they needed,out of the pit,cos they might draw a cyevil in another part of the pit a mile away!!,so they needed to have all thier gear ready to go with them to the new cyevil...wherever it might be.[they had to buy all their gear in the old days!] In a nutshell,it was virtually a raffle of job places!! Now,although the Cyevilling system was brought to an end with the introduction of the Power Loading Agreement,in the early 1960's,when Mechanisation took over coal production,there were still some Cyevills which were agreed as a "Bargain" with Management,long before the P.L.A. came along,such as the 6th North,in the Plessey Seam at Bates Pit,and the teams of Development [or "Composite"]men,were still on the old-fashioned "Piecework" agreement,making really good money,right up to the pit closing down in 1986! When Thatcher and British Coal brought out the new "Productivity Bonus Scheme",we all new it would put "Man against Man"...,and ..."Pit against Pit". It DID! Up to the pit closures,those who had a gud Cyevil,[or pit!],like Ellington,or the Nottingham pits,made fantastic money,and those who had rotten Cyevils,like those poor sods down the Three-Quarter Drift,at Bates,which was a heavily-faulted Seam,teeming in with Sea-water,and atrocious roof conditions,made NOWT! There was a time when the pit canteen lasses who were on the Area bonus,had forty times more bonus per shift,than my Marra's and myself,who had 90pence per shift sometimes,[due to really bad conditions],when ELLINGTON MEN WERE GETTING £100 PER SHIFT!! Now THAT was the unfairness of a modern "Bonus" scheme,compared to a century-old "Cyevilling" system,where at least,everybody was given a fair crack of the whip,and lads could,if they so desired,swap cyevils with another lad,if it suited them both. Sorry folks,but ye canna explain pitwark in one sentence!!,hope aav helped ye understand, Eggy! A just remembered,at Choppington High Pit,when aa started ,in 1959,the Coalfillers used ti "Bargain" with Management,by the whole team of fillers on each face,putting "Tenders"in,to try and get ["Win"] a good "Bargain price",for the next Quarter,when a new face was ready for production,and existing faces were being abandoned. Just like businesses,whoever put the lowest tender,got the FACE,albeit,at a bit lower pay,but better than Shift-work! At Choppington,we had 13 yards of coal per stretch,[ from 2'-3"..down to 18" high,and soaking wet bad roof]and,at Bedlington A pit,we had 9 yards of coal per filler,at 1'-10" to 2'-2" high. [and dusty dry,with a solid post-stone roof!]..this was in the 1960's don't forget!..hand-filling with a huge "George Rock" pan shovel!
  8. Hi Britbob,and welcome to the site! I first met Phil Bryant at the preliminary training centre [mining]at Seaton Burn colliery,in 1959,where I started aged 15 yrs. He was the most gentlest giant you ever met,I say giant,cos when we were 15 years old,he towered above the rest of our little group of marra's,who included Tom Pearson,who's Parents ran the Hartford Hotel,[we used to sing Elvis' Heartbreak Hotel but subsitute Hartford for heartbreak!] Billy McGlen,Willy Wake,Jim Hardy,[are ye in there Jim?!be nice ti hear from ye!]. In those days,most of the lads who were learning guitar or bass,or drums,had to make do with budget instruments,and like me,were self-taught,by playing records at slow speed,learning the riffs or tunes,like me......Hank was my Hero,along with Duane Eddy and all the other masses of instrumental groups...[NOT bands!!!],that hit the charts every week,in the 50's and 60's. So,when time went by,and our training ended,Phil and me lost touch as we went to different pits. It so happened that I had started practising with an old friend and two other lads,when one night there was a knock on my Mother's door,and when I opened it,there was Phil Bryant standing,along with some members of a group he had formed. He came ,upon recommendations from people who had heard me playing,to ask if I would join his group. Well,I have always been a loyal sort of lad,and couldn't even think of deserting my own marra's,to go with Phil and his Marra's. This was around 1962-ish,I was about 18 yrs aad by then,and knew Robin Hadaway only in passing,cos he played guitar as weel,starting,like me,with a Rossetti "Lucky Seven" guitar,made out of plywood,and was virtually a guitar-shaped orange box!![mind,aav still got mine,but it's in a sad state noo!] Next thing aa knew,Phil was playing bass guitar in the Avengers,with Robin on lead guitar. They were about as average as my group,seeing as we had 8-watt Hohner amps,no echo units,cheap guitars,no mikes,had to use the club's mike's which were atrocious......but we passed,until we did get better gear as time went by. I used to play 50-50 sometimes,at the Clayton Ballroom,with the Avengers,where I met my Wife,in 1962,at the skating rink,one Wednesday night in February. This was before The Avengers were taken on by Alan McKay,[who was a manager at Bedlingon CO-OP],and who signed for 1200 pounds worth of the top quality instruments,"Burns Marvin" for Robin,"Hofner Verithin" bass for Phil,etc.[THAT....was a LOT of pound notes!!] Suddenly,with a top-notch P.A and Echo/reverb unit,and several gud mikes,they would be entering for the "Northern Echo" Group competition...and they were bloody fantastic! Sadly,Graham Bell passed away, a few years ago,and when he was in his prime,he could match any of the rhythm and blues singers of the day. His rendering of Stones' early tracks were great,and his Harmonica playing made your hair stand on end! Last I heard of Phil,was that he had joined the Merchant Navy after the group split,don't know exactly when. I wud luv ti hook up with Phil again,if he is still knocking aroond!! He was a great bass-player,and a smashing lad!
  9. Great idea for those who are able to attend /organise! Hope it all goes to plan. Cheers ! HPW.
  10. Eggy,would a be in order if a was ti put a list up of every single pupil who sat in my class aal the way through the Whitley and Westridge,even though odd ones either moved away or changed schools at some point? It might help to jog memories in order to help in identifying subjects on the pics..[mind thas a canny few on the list!!] Apologies ti Norman,cos a just canna place him at aal,even though we are P.M.'ing at present. Noo aal them on me list are 100% definite cos a cudn't mek them up if they weren't in me class!!
  11. Vic,aa sat next ti Alan Wilkinson,in the same twin desk,[as they were then],aal me school life till a went inti the Upper Remove at Westridge in aroond late-ish 1957/58-ish.[canna mind exact date] Doreen sat in the same class as me at the Whitley,ask her if she can remember the times when aad Mouldy-cheese med me sit amang the lasses[directly behind Doreen,for taakin ti Alan in class..[a humiliation exercise on Mouldy's part....unsuccessful seeing as Doreen and a lot of the lasses were me friends and neighbours!!]... Ask Doreen if she can remember passing a full pack of playing cards to me,in two's and three'ses,[till I had the whole pack],every time Mouldy turned her back to the class! We were aboot 10 or 11 yrs aad,and she knew we were hard up and we never got pocket money or sweets or toys throughout the year like some of the others did. [Cue violins.....!!].....Point is,Doreen says she was a year older than this class,but I can count at least sixteen of our Whitley school classmates who went from class to class all the way through.......mind aam not sure if classes were formed from your date of birth,and you could find pupils leaving at different terms in the same year? does that mek sense or aam a taakin stupid....? Aal a knaa is we were aal the same age give or take a month or two,and a dinna want wor Doreen ti think aam being disrespectful,just trying ti jog her memory,which is one of the great things aboot this site!! Me like heap big pow-wow any time...noo wheors me tab-leeta and me blanket!!.....[methinks ye are risking a bashing...!!]
  12. Hi Eggy!Thanks for doing that! Wor lass came inti thi kitchen where me laptop is,and saw Davy Walker before aa sed owt...he's nivvor changed from the infants school...and still a great lad,even though it's a few years between seeing him! Jim Hardy and me were gud friends aal thi way through school,and even did wor pit training together at Seaton Burn pit in 1959,straight after leaving school at 15 yrs old. Some of the other pupils are still bugging me!..ye knaa wat it's like when ye knaa sumbody,and just canna get tha nyems!! Cheers,Eggy,ya still daeing a grand job for aal of us on this site!
  13. Heh heh!...Nice ti see Davy in this pic!! My Best Man at my Wedding 50 years gone, last week! Foxy,if you see Jim Hardy again,pass my regards on to him,he knew me from 5 years old at the infants school![re:infant school class 2 in this gallery] Tell him Billy Allison's asking after him! Eggy...more names! No 4 John Moore [Ginger!]? No 5 definately Norman Taylor [deceased at an early age R.I.P. Norman] No 6 Jim Bradley ? No 8 Gordon Parmley - definately![nicknamed "Twiggy",older Brother Brian was "Branchy"-a big strong lad likeable but nobody would tassle with him!!] No 12 Tommy Tyler ? A bit of doubt in my mind where question marks appear! Vic,wheors wor Doreen?..and Ronnie Leyland....and Brian Richmond,and a lot of others from wor Whitley class?....ask the boss if she knaas if they aal left skyeuul at Easter ,in 1959,cos aa left in the start of the Summer holidays,aa was 15 yrs aad in July 1959 Nos 15 and 26 are bugging me..on thi tip of me tongue.....! Canny Lass...best way ti stop Mr Bebbington's math's lesson was ti suddenly ask him ti wiggle his ears.....and it was domino!! Quote.."You know,it takes a lot of practice and a certain amount of skill to do this..."...[as he put down his chalk and started the half-hour long demonstration....while we were in fits of laughter!!] My older Sisters and Brother educated me on this topic long before I went into his class!! Great seeing these old pics...wonder if Jim Hardy has any more!..
  14. Hi Eggy! The lad with thi donkey jacket on,third from the left is Derek Burt. In the 1970's a was in charge of him,when a was a deputy,then when a came back into the N.U.M. ,HE went onto Deputy work,and was often in charge of ME! Smashing natured lad and a bit wildly,likeable,hot-headed! A knew most of the lads but 30 years have passed since a left mining.........!
  15. Sym, a spent an hour describing everything about Teddy Coils,in my e-mail box,meaning ti cut and paste it on the P.M. box ti you,like Vic telt me ti dae,but had ti tek L.B.J. oot,in the middle of typing,so a put it in me drafts box,and when a finished it,it wudn't paste on the P.M. ti you . A tried ti paint an accurate picture of everything I knew about the case and my relationship[working...that is!] with the poor young victim's Dad. It's still saved in my drafts box,so aam still trying ti send it. Noo L.B.J. has just woke up and crying ti gaan oot!....aa divvent knaa...!! ...wat ye hae ti dae for those you love!! Cheers,Sym.