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HIGH PIT WILMA

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Everything posted by HIGH PIT WILMA

  1. Heh heh!..so I was sort of right, in my supposition that it was a possibility that these steam haulers could be used underground. I have since learned by reading an article on "Disaster Glasses"..i.e.[Commemorative Glasses and other "Disaster Memorabilia.."], that these WERE the first haulage engines to be used underground,and did,in fact,have dedicated boilers,fired by coal,to generate the steam to operate them. On the website article,regarding glass tumblers,which were engraved and sold in villages where disasters happened,it goes into lengthy detail on several Colliery Disasters,including all the local Collieries, and on one incident,a boiler had blown up,and the fatalities ,and injuries,to men and ponies,was horrendous. It is an article worthy of reading,to those who are really interested in our Mining Heritage,and was entitled.."Disaster Glasses".
  2. Waatcheor Alan ,once again,a big thanks for ya untiring work in mekking the world a smaaler place! This is incredible! Another luvly shot in winter..a bet it was caad up there,it was a summer's neet when Russell tuk me Son and Me up. A hope Trevor and Russell hook up through the power of the Net!,young Adam is boond ti see thi pics..if he still comes on the forums that is... Cheers Alan! Bill.
  3. Aa was 15 years aad when aa started the pits straight from me school desk..in 1959...and aa was a little lad back then,aboot the height of the lads at the left hand side...and looking back noo,it was child labour even in more modern times compared to this era!
  4. Those were the days when miners had to carry on working as long as they were able to..till health reasons made them retire! Love the improvisation for a presentation table...two barstools and a well-worn coal-hoose door! This looks like the 1950's to me,going off their suits,..oh!,and the old type cast-iron based Microphone stand in the background![I would notice that wouldn't I...being a musician..!] Salt of the Earth,these guys,utmost respect to all of them...I followed in their footsteps,in 1971,for three weeks ,as part of my Deputy's course training,I was along with Dougie Moore,and Norman Smeaton,[Deputies in charge of me],and Bob Cowell was the Safety Officer..aal canny fellas,but mind a didn't care for the Undermanager at the time...Peter L....he treated me as if a was a five year aad kid! Nivvor mind,Matty Smith was the Deputy's Union official,[Secretary or Chairman..canna mind which,but a smashing natured fella!] Bob,if ye ivvor see these pics,a kept me word in your office..never forgot to this day how you helped me! Thanks to Bob,and also to Carole for posting these great pics.!
  5. ...When Community spirit ruled!! Great set of pics Carole!
  6. Just a queer thought!,has anybody ever wondered why all the Winderhouses at the pits,had Church-like windows..["Cathedral-arches"]...? Was it because it was sacrosanct that no-one was allowed in the Brakehouse,except the Brakesman,and other Authorised personell. These window frames would have been a lot more costly to produce and maintain,than normal oblong ones!
  7. Great old pic!..notice the guy on the left,he would be the "Keeker",or man in charge of all surface operations,Dressed appropriately,shiny shoes,waistcoat,jacket,scarf!...could still have been a timberyard man,or worked on the screens,but not dressed like that,so yes,a chargehand. I used to work with old fella's with one arm,or one leg,on the screens at Choppington High Pit,in 1959,the one-legged fella was a lovely gentle bloke,who had his leg blown off at the knee joint,by a bullet from his comrade's .303 rifle ,during the war,which happened because the rifle was loaded ,and dropped accidentally. The viscious coal-cutter machine was also responsible for a lot of amputees,who ended up on "Light" work...sometimes working harder than they did underground!..ironically..
  8. Just as a matter of further interest,the original post quotes the company as saying they make "Continuous rope haulage systems"...I would like to clarify the difference between a "Main and Tail " hauler,like this shown ,which had a "Main" rope,and a "Tail" rope...and a "Continuous" rope haulage system. The two ropes swapped titles when the hauler was in a reverse mode..such that,when pulling a set of tubs inbye,the MAIN rope would be attached to the front of the set,and the TAIL rope would be attached to the rear of the set,usually with a "D"-shaped shackle,[we called them "Sheckles"],and a Sheckle pin to secure the rope within the sheckle and fastened to the middle "Cock-hole" of the tub.[ not obscene...the proper pit terminology for the holes in the tub at each end which is forged into the banding around the tub!] The hauler driver would keep gentle braking pressure on the tail rope to keep it as taught as possible without overloading the hauler motor...and also to prevent the set from going "Amain"..[running out of control],down any anticlines..["Swalleys"]. When the empty set was ready to haul back outbye,the "Tail" rope would now be the "MAIN" rope,and vice versa. Now on a continuous hauler,it was as the name suggests, a continuous loop of rope,which ran the full length of the rolleyway,[roadway],driven by a single-drum hauler,where the drum was only about a foot wide,and which had three coils of rope wrapped around the drum. From the hauler drum,the rope was laid between the rails,and ran over floor mounted rollers placed about thirty yards apart,to help prevent the rope from sawing through the sleepers,which it did any way!..and also to reduce frictional drag on the hauler. At the inbye end of the roadway,the rope went around a "Sheave",usually,but not always,mounted up on the girders in the roadway...sometimes the return Sheave was laid beneath the rolleyway..it depended which method of clipping the sets to the rope,was being employed...then the rope returned to the hauler slung up high in the roadway,and which ran over idler pulleys all the way back outbye,and being fed back into the hauler drum.[this was called the "Dead" rope. This system depended absoloutely on the correct tension of the rope between the hauler,and the return wheel..[the Sheave],to keep the three coils taut on the drum..in order for the hauler to drive the rope..without slipping on the drum. Now I have given the scenario of a single -roadway system,where the driver had to switch over the hauler motor to reverse the rope direction,to bring sets outbye. On shaft-bottom rolleyways,there were two rolleyways,a "Full " side,and a "Chum"..[short for Chumming..or empty ]..side. The "DishLad",hung the sets onto the rope,from where the Chummings collected ,in a "Dish" [Swalley]...at the shaft-bottom area. The Loader-end lad hung the full sets of coal tubs,onto the rope inbye,in order for the sets to be transported out to the shaft-bottom area. So in this case,there were two sheaves inbye,spaced so as to take the incoming rope from outbye,feed it across the roadway,and down onto the rolleyway leading the sets outbye.The rope usually ran continuously all shift,unless a fault occurred. There was "Top-rope"haulage,and "Bottom-rope " haulage,whereby in the former system,the rope went over the tops of all the tubs in a set,using clips called either "Jockies" ,or "Hambones".[there was another stupid system using clips called "Pigtails"..which were highly dangerous in inexperienced hands...!] Bottom rope haulage used equally dangerous systems ,such as the "Victor Dog Grip",Lashing chains,which were the ultimate deadly method of attaching a set to a moving haulage rope!,and in some cases Hambones again. All of these systems involved the person,[usually young trainees for their first underground job],standing in front of a set of tubs or trams...whatever,and clipping whatever type of clip,or lashing chain,to a moving steel wire rope,which instantly jerked the set away from standstill,with very little,if any at all,time to jump back out of the way. There were some nasty accidents,with serious injuries sustained,using these systems in the old days ....OLD days!!!...we were still using these clips and chains up until the day that thatcher-the-hatcheter gave the word to "SWITCH OFF AND PULL OUT EVERYONE" The other deadly thing about haulage ropes were,they used to wear in places,and single steel wires,from their construction,would stick out,only an inch sometimes,what we called "Strands",and they used to catch hold of your boots,clothes,or your bare skin,with no mercy whatsoever. Many a time I have been ripped by a strand,or pulled off my feet by a strand catching hold of my boot..there was no stopping these haulers,they used to rip out the supporting arched girders ,if a set got off the way[derailed],and the front tub went into the girders. So back to the endless hauler system,at the inbye end,someone had to unclip the sets,still with the rope moving,unless Jockey's were in use,these unclipped themselves. Google search for "PIT TUB HAMBONES,OR JOCKIES,OR PIGTAILS,OR VICTOR DOG GRIPS/CLIPS,OR LASHING CHAINS" I canna think of any other method of clips used in my time,I would be interested to hear of any others used at other pits. In the old days,1950's-on,for me,haulage ropes ran at four miles an hour,and the big shaft main and tail at Choppington,used to run at about eight miles an hour at full speed...now that's fast...underground!! where you have nowhere to to go except refuge manholes set into the road side every twenty yards apart....if you were in between those manholes,and a set was coming toward you! In latter years haulage speeds were regulated to two miles an hour,which was still fast if you were following the set,in charge of it,and you tripped on a loose sleeper...it was away from you in seconds! Hope I have explained clearly so the uninitiated can understand at least a wee bit better than before!
  9. Heh heh!...a little bit late on catch-up Community chat,as usual,but saw this and HAD ti gie me tuppence - worth! Aa was brought up by a smaal-time hobby gambler Father,who never in his married life,ever went two doors alang ti thi Bookie's runner. [before a was born..he used ti gamble he's pay away every week,at his Family's houses,amang themselves.] But when we moved ti Hollymount square,he used ti send one the bairns ti thi runner,who,in the early 1950's ,had the phone in..I heard that the racecourse paid for it to be installed,but not sure aboot that!..[he was thi only one apart from the doctor and Aad pit Engineers who had the phone in,that we knew of!] Anyway,fast forward till aa was aboot 10 years aad,and it became MY duty ti tek me Faatha's bets alang,and collect he's winnings. 10 YEARS AAD!!...thi runner used ti aalwis try it on wi me faatha,and a bet a lot of others as weel. My Faatha's Faatha,was a bookies runner hese'l,and my Faatha knew ivery trick of thi trade. When thi runner gave me thi winnings ,me Faatha was AALWIS short...sometimes even just a ha'penny. Me Faatha used ti gaan leet wi me..."Hadaway back n' tell thi bugga,a had a three-cross-double on shifting the double,and aam a haapinny short....."...[this is grained inti my brain..cos it was nearly every night] So a wad gaan back ti see Mr S......and he wud reckon up on a bit of paper in front of me,explaining hoo the bet worked,and said me Faatha was wrang!. Me Faatha wud send me back wi it written doon,and the runner aalwis gave in and paid me Faatha..who used ti brag ti me that "thon bugga canna tell me owt aboot gammlin.." Noo,looking back on aal that scenario,which was nightmarish for a bairn ti be thrown between two grown men arguing owa a haapenny,seeing as his Daughter was one of my friends at school and at home,and a luvly family,aa often wonder if he just gave in ti me Faatha,cos he cud see the anguish aa was gaan through,and didn't want ti prolonge thi agony for me. Also,aam thinkin',if he was being accused of robbing me Faatha,why didn't he gaan alang and sort it oot man ti man?...a knaa aa wad o' dun!! So aa grew up totally against gambling of any sort..even raffle tickets...lotteries...owt!! A also grew up ti totally against alcohol,and smoking,cos a lived amang it! Me marra's at thi pit used ti say ...."What DAE yi dae Wilma?...dae ye BREATHE!!!"...Heh heh!
  10. Jimmy Milne's aad hoose ..isn't it...wasn't it!...and was it not the top club for a while...next i thi Post Office? Somebody was weel off who built that hoose! For aal a lived in Bedltn till a got married,a nivvor knew the history of that place,tha was a luvly orchard behind there,us kids cudn't wait for this time of year ti gaan raiding aal thi apple orchards!...[slap me hand ....Sir...!]..a hevn't been doon thi street for a waak for a lang lang time..oot o touch noo Alan!
  11. Heh heh!... boots!.. they used to dry oot and curl up at the toes... and covered in the white salt deposits... ye cudn't get them on.. we used ti either wet them under the shower.. or if ye were late for clocking in ye had ti painfully squeeze ya feet in, waak aal hobbly.. and gaan ootside and get a diddle on them... owt ti just get them comfortable! Vic, noo a knaa wat ye mean, doon the pit, whe n discussing conveyors, we just used a "Colloquial" term like either a "Rubber" or a "Chyne" (Chain) belt... we knew it wasn't Rubber, and we knew somebody might mean a 61W,rather than a Crawley afc, sometimes it wasn't important, just general conversation... so aye, a flight belt meks sense! The Dalek. (Flyght), pumps were the best thing since sliced bread, for shifting waata quickly, for us lads, but were they a sod ti repair, Vic?
  12. Thanks a lot Alan!.. noo aam wondering whoo aal us buggaas wud manage here.. if ye fluke the coop..!!! Cheers, Al. (lukking forward ti a reply from Wor Vic noo!.. just ti settle my mind on the differences in pit terminology!)
  13. As an afterthought,studying this luvly scene...notice the cloud of moisture condensing as it escapes from the Ventilation Fan Duct Funnel! 90% of that would be coming from the Three-Quarter Seam..where the water from the seabed teemed in constantly,and where everything just seized up over a weekend,on the coalfaces,all of Vic's electrical switchgear,panels,Shearer handles,etc,if there were no Electricians working over the weekend,on maintenance duties,...it was so humid,you could see the moisture droplets in the air like fine dust,in the beam of your caplamp. OH!..and the other 10% would be from me...sweating..after cutting the coal with the trusty old-fashioned coal-cutter,drilling it with the trusty old "Huwood" driller..firing it down,and then filling 24 tons of coal,and wet stones,onto an old ,old,old-fashioned "rubber"[!]conveyor face belt,using even older-fashioned big "Pan" "Filler's" shovels..["Shuul's"]....in a pit ,[right up to the day that thatcher--the-hatcheter,gave the order to pull out],that left two £30 million-pound Dosco Road-header driving machines of the latest Technlogy,in the "Plessey" Seam! Two vastly contrasting methods of winning out new roadways and coalfaces at the same pit,in different seams!! Cheers again! Bill.
  14. WOW!! THAT is a stunner!...yi wadn't cud imagine the scene aa tuk on a summer's neet,[ interesting but pretty dull to the uninitiated eye!],ti turn into a beautiful scene like this...wad ye noo?...but this pic should be on a mining calendar...if it isn't aalriddy![It's a lovely January month pic!] Me youngest Son used ti gaan extreme exploring,and a lot of it was doon the aad Lead,Fluorspar,Flourite,etc,mines from the 1700's..owa Weardale and places like that. Noo the Mine Explorer Society,had calendars printed,composed of pictures each month,and chosen from the Members' pics. Me Son had one of his pics published,and they were aal stunners,so aam wondering if any Coalmining calendars are printed from pics of wor pits. Alan,please pass my comments of appreciation to Trevor,for posting this gorgeous shot of a bygone age! Vic,thanks for your comments aboot the flat conveyor belts.Mind ,aam puzzled as ti wat ye mean by "Unplugging"..regarding a conveyor belt? Also,a think ye might have got me wrong wi me poor description of the screen belts at Choppington high pit. AFC belts were "Armoured,Flexible, Conveyor", belts,and the abreviated description applied ti all steel flexible conveyors. My very first encounter with an Armoured Steel Conveyor belt,were the ones that I described up on the screens at the High Pit,unlike any other screen belts at aal thi other its I worked at,and visited. When I say "Flat",I mean exactly that...flat steel plates,on a four feet wide belt,with each 4'long by 12" wide plate,overlapping it's neighbouring plate by a couple of inches,like the plates on a slatey beetle's back...or an armadillo.....! No "Flight" bars as in AFC belts in the years of mechanisation..[the term AFC came to be accepted as "ARMOURED FACE CONVEYOR",in later years]....just a completely flat moving conveyor belt..[like the moving pavements in the new Asda superstores to take trolleys and Customers to the upper level]. Now when one of those pates got a smaal stone trapped in the guides,it buckled the plate,which screamed like a wailing banshee..and when it went around the head-end,the sparks flew like hell and slivers of sharpsteel like thin knives used ti come aroond on the next revolution of the belt..deadly as hell. My next encounter with an AFC,was when I started underground,on heavy transport,with a pony,tekking everything steel inbye,or bringing gear outbye that had ti gaan ti bank. The Overman sent me in to a coal face,ti seek two "Panzer pans"....a sed Whaat?!...The pan sections were from the face conveyor,and were made by a German Company called "Panzer"...mebbe the same company that made the Tanks and guns during the War. Noo they were a minaiture version of the big Crawley AFC's,which we got in later years at other pits,but not High Pit! The Panzer belts were aboot 16-18 inches wide,with trapped "Flight" bars,spaced aboot two feet apart,and which were snaked into the new face track by the "Pullers",using the deadly old "Sylvester" pulling device. At Bedlington aad pit,in the High Main seam,they used 61AM flexible "PAN" section belts,which had high spill plates,and no guides to trap the "Flight" bars..completely open pans,and which had to be laid as flat on the ground as possible,the slightest rise at the head-end which wasn't graded properly...and the chain and bars just flew up out of the pans,and lashed around wildly,due to the tension put upon the chain,by the motor head. At Bates,we used the same type of belt,but it was a heavier duty version,called the 61W,and the term "Flight" bars,was a misnomer,cos the correct term was "Flyght" bars,made by the same company who made the "Flyght" pumps,["DALEKS"...ti thi pitmen!],which can be seen in my Bates pics in the gallery. So when "Flyght" belts came into thi pits,in the early years,the "Flyght" bar system came to be universally accepted and referred to,on every flexible belt that had bars!...the 61W and 61AM,belts ran with a single centre chain,with the bars mounted like wings,on the chain. The small Panzer,AND the larger "Crawley",belts,had two chains,one each side,with the bars connected to each side chain with a "Kidney" link. SO!!..Vic,ti clear up in my mind,which system were you referring to,when ye say "Flight " conveyors,cos the screens at the High Pit,didn't have "Flight/Flyght"..bars at all...completely flat!...and they weren't referred to as anything but the "Screen belts"...["the belts with no name"...!] As I said earlier,[a think!],the only other place aav seen these belts,is at Beamish Museum,up on the screens there,cos the guide was fascinated when aa started telling him aboot the dangers of them,cos HE hadn't actually seen them working...he just got the job,and with a bit of training,he was gud at he's job,but didn't have hands on experience ! Aa wondered if they came from Choppington,and a wud luv ti knaa if there was any other pits,even in Durham,that used them. Maybe in the old days aal pits had them,and maybe it was just that the High Pit hadn't been modernised,wi being a little tetty pit! A speak from me aan experiences,wi nae references from books or owt else,so a stand ti be corrected if aav had a severe memory lapse and aid thi wrang things!! Cheers to ye Vic,and Alan,and Trevor,and aam wondering what's happened to Canny Lass,and Maggie...been off the Radar a while? Bill.
  15. Whey,me comment posted by itsell afore a was finished,and when a tried ti edit by adding more text,it wadn't save,so me detailed description of the screens and heapstead was wiped..! The last sentence above should read as: " ....before the Government inspectors and Area Director and Safety in Mines People aal came ti the pit" The next night's Evening Chronicle read ..." a safety guard rail has since been erected aound the machinery..." Just came to me,they have the same steel-plated four foot wide flat conveyor belts on the screens at Beamish museum,the only other place where I have seen these deadly peices of machinery,deadly, cos the plates used to get bent up with hard bits of stone becoming trapped in the guides,and sharp, long bits of swarf edge spikes used to rip your hands and arms,as they were concealed under the load of wet coal and stone slurry on the belt. Malcom Mckenna,the washery tower looks like a giant ice cream cornet..whey, a bit like one..! Thanks again Vic for helping me oot! Cheers Alan! Bill.
  16. Well,that was a fine example of pooled education!...We are aal wiser and richer noo!.....thanks Vic for rescueing me here,a remember noo,aboot the drum,thanks to your prompting my grey matter,but aal the rest of the fascinating information aboot thi other processes are completely new to me. A nivvor saw another improvised Washery like the one aa described that was at the High pit..when a say "Improvised" ..it's not be taken lightly!..A lot of engineering,went into thi making of that mechanical monster! The single-throw crankshaft was forged from steel maybe a foot thick,maybe more or a wee bit less,as was the connecting rod. The bearing saddles had to be massive also,to withstand the forward/reverse motion,and inertia which was sufficient to move the whole of the screens and upper heapstead,where all the tipplers and creepers were..and which were all built on heavy girder stilts. The platform weighed a canny few tons,and danced back and forward as if it were a kids toy. Noo! We stood wi wor backs to this moving and rackety deafening monster,with a gangway separating the sreening belts,only aboot four feet wide,so if yi fell backwards,which ye med sure yi didn't,ye wud hae ya arms tekking off by the carriage wheels which ran on rolleyway rails,and which went completely unguarded from installation,until Old Jimmy,the oiler and greaser,got trapped in the moving machinery,sustaining fatal injuries...then within hours of Jimmy's death,the Blacksmiths,engineers,and senior management,were all up there installing guard handrails aal aroond the washer,before
  17. Alan,in the Pegswood pic,you can see the railway 21-tonner,underneath the washer,being loaded with stones. I stand to be corrected if I have given any misinformation,through ignorance of the actual process..not being experienced in the process..only what I learned in training and asking questions of those who did know and worked up there!
  18. Hi Alan! It was the coal washery plant tower. All the pit's coal output went through this process,cos no coal was ever just perfectly clean coal! When the coal was brought to "BANK"..[..The surface!],it went first to the screens,which were flat conveyor belts,where, usually,older disabled men,and young boy trainees,stood at each side of the belt,and hand-picked what stones they could,and threw them down a chute which took the stones,plus any other rubbish like pieces of damaged conveyor belt,old steel stranded haulage rope ,etc,into a waiting railway truck underneath the screens,or onto another short conveyor belt which took the waste into the big hopper which you might have seen travelling up the pit heap to be emptied at the top of the heap. The coal was then taken by conveyor belt up and into that big round washery tower,which was full of water,being swirled around to create a vortex,like a big whirlpool,into which was added a product called "Magnatite",the purpose of this being to cause the coal to float like bits of wood,and allowing the heavier material and waste products to sink to the bottom. In a nutshell,it was a separation plant. Noo! ..that's the bit aa knaa,but how they retrieved the coal,and the washed out waste stones etc,without leaking water oot...is still a puzzle to me,and it's something aav nivvor thowt aboot,Alan,since the pits closed doon. A dae remember being curious aboot the process,and asking Russel,the Shaftman/Joiner,who took me and me Son up the heedgear,ti get them excellent shots from the pit wheels,but aav forgotten noo. A think we might find oot on Google,surely somebody has posted info of the process online!..not often HPW is stumped on mining,but I was never up there in the washery,only the plant Attendants,and maintenance men were allowed in there,due to the chemicals being used..probably. This process was used at most "Modern"-ish pits,with the exception of the old Choppington High Pit! Did you notice how,on your posting of the old O.S. maps of Choppington,that the "A" pit,[or "LowPit"],was drawn out with all the buildings around it,whilst the High Pit is shown as just a "dot" saying the word..."Colliery"..of little importance...! All pits in the sight of the public main roads,were fancy girder-framed and brick-built buildings...a sign of modern industry and investment..methinks! On the contrary,the High Pit,was sunk over the fields,out of sight to most passers-by,and was all corrugated sheet-clad,like the old shanty towns you see in the old west in the States of the early days...[ a virtual hillbilly shack type of vibe!]. Now when I started in 1959,the weather had taken it's toll on the wrinkly tin sheets,and they banged and rattled,with loose sheets flapping in the wind...and freezing in the winter,inside! Noo,the washery there,WOULD have been modern,in it's day,and consisted of a massive flat platform,aboot 30 feet long,by aboot 8 feet wide,and which was mounted on a rolling carriage,which in turn,ran on rails. The platform was called a "Shaker",cos it moved back and forth ,driven by a huge connecting rod and crankshaft,which was driven by a webbing belt running on a motor,like the farmers use to drive implements from the tractor auxiliary pulley. The crankshaft throw was only aboot 3-4 feet,at the most,but when it was running,the sheer end-of-stroke,shock,as it changed the direction of the huge platform,was enough to make the whole Heapstead building move in sympathy,so if you were getting your bait,you had to hold your cup of tea in an outstretched hand, at arms-length,or you would be spilling tea over yourself...worse than the old steam tankeys![ the shaker frequency was aboot once per second..and was a violent thump..each time] Noo wat a missed oot was,this platform had rows of various sized holes along its length,the smallest ones being nearest to where the coal was tipped onto from the tipplers above which turned the pit tubs upside doon,and tippped the load down a chute and onto the "Washer"..[which this platform was.] At different places along the washer,the rows of holes got bigger,and bigger,and high pressure water sprays were mounted aboot two feet above the platform,on a separate frame. If you can visualise this,Alan,here you had this huge machine shaking violently,back and forth,aboot three feet each way,and the machine was built with a slight gradient up-over,with a series of steel thin strips welded on the flat platform,running crossways,and aboot a foot apart,aal the way alang it's length,so as the coal was tipped on,it was shaken up the gradient on the bed,washed clean by the sprays,[pure water-no chemicals at all!],the coal "crept" up the washer,with the smaller "Nuts" falling through the smaller holes,into the railway trucks underneath,the "Singles"..[house-hold sized coal],fell through the next rows of larger holes,the "Doubles",.."Trebles",..and "Cobbles",all fell through respective holes,which was an effective way of grading the coal out..and a lot cheaper than the later washery,and environmentally friendly also!! Finally,any larger stones which escaped the grading holes,were shaken over the edge,tipped straight onto a steel flat sheet,hand-loaded into a wheelbarrow,and wheeled around the floor past the screening belts,and tipped down a chute into the "stone " truck below. That was a hard,thankless task for an old miner,and which had been done since the washer was installed in the early 1900's![it was like that in 1929,when my Father started up on the screens as a 14 year old miner..] It all changed as soon as HPW had short spells on the screens as a 15 year old trainee! I watched this little old man every day I was up there,[cos my main job was in the timber yard],and one day,I plucked up the courage to tell the "Keeker",[Chargeman]..Jimmy Framm,a suggestion,which aa thowt he wud tell me ti....yi knaa wat! Whey Jimmy knew,and remembered my Father well,and had taken a liking to me,cos a was a quiet hard worker,so he listened to what a had ti say. Next thing aa knew was ,within a few days,the Blacksmiths were burning a hole in the floor where the all the stones tipped from the washer,constructing a steel chute,with the purpose of directing the tipped stones directly into the stone truck below,saving a man's wasted labour!! Only one of my claims to being an unrecognised inventor at the pits,in my pit life! Somebody else would always get the credit for my inventions,usually a Deputy,or or Overman,cos they were the ones that took my suggestions to the Management,to get things done and put in place...same in the furniture trade...I was robbed of credit there as well! Not that I was going ti be paid anything,just nice to be recognised and appreciation shown! Well Alan,I hope you are a bit wiser now,and you might have found my recollections interesting..if not tiring to read! Cheers Alan! Bill.
  19. Late of catching up as usual,but a BIG thanks Alan! Caring duties at home becoming more intense Alan,so will be checking in whenever I can. Cheers Bill.
  20. Eh Alan!..thanks a lot for notifying me of this great pic of my old home village! Please convey my special thanks to the person who made the reference to me on Facebook. Brings back a lot of memories..climbing on the wall behind the chapel,which was a helluva height....for a three year old laddie..in truth it was probably about the same height as the one shown here..maybe four or five feet high!...playing in the back lane..up the field where the ponds were...in the days when they were lovely green meadows stretching aal thi way up the Barn'ton Born! Imagine,we just used to walk over that road ti play in the "Front" field,in the bomb crater,which grassed over by then.. Cheers and thanks again!
  21. Pete,a just realised!....The Olympics..!!! Aad forgot aboot them till ye jogged me memory...they called themselves that name,after the budget "Olympic" drum kit that most of the young groups like us had to start out with..they were a cheap but canny sounding kit,better than old oil drums for sure! A canna mind of any of the lads noo,there were so many groups,in them days,ye cud gaan ti a different place and see a different group any neet of the week!
  22. Hi Pete,would it have been Billy McGregor..AKA known as "The Elvis Experience",in his earlier days? He lost his lovely old Dad ,"Old Billy",who moved into my Mother-in-Law's house when she had to move into a Bungalow..years ago. It was exciting times being a lead guitarist in the sixties,Pete,there were so many instrumentals in the charts at any one time,from so varied a mix of musical genre[..is that the correct word? ...Canny Lass?!!] In between playing all the lead roles in the instrumentals,almost every song had either dazzling guitar riffs for intro's and little tinkly bits and pieces all the way through the song,and usually a "Middle Eight" guitar solo...and sometimes a guitar outro as well,so I would be busy all night...take the Beatles and Stones for example....just great times! Cheers Pete,and Alan,and BritBob..! Bill.
  23. Heh heh!..apologies to all,for digressing..this forum and aal ye folks are like a was sitting at yem,and a just get carried away! Pete,we first started to practice at the Wharton Arms,as we had all just gotten togitha,ti form a group. We were aal young,no group experience,no proper gear,as aa just explained,and we had to learn as we went alang. One of the other lads knew a lass who was a canny singer,[Sandy Shaw/Cilla Black style],and we agreed to give her a try.She played three or four "bookings"...as we caaled them in them days....not "Gigs"...[which a think came from yankeeland and soonds poncy as hell ti me....!],but wor Bass player and her got together,and were married within a few months...at short notice. The poor lass died a few years ago,much too early in life,as did wor Singer,who a mentioned in the above posts,but this was in later life,and still much too young to die. Once we got a bit experience,and a bit better..[proper!] gear,we changed practice venue to a place which no longer exists... ...the place was pulled doon ti put a new road through...but aa digress.....! ....just ti keep ye in touch wi Geordieland/Northumbrian/Bedltn dialect,Pete ,ye spell nivvor,like "nivvor" Hoo did ye knaa we practiced there Pete,aam ashamed ti say aav forgotten ya sornyem,after we met doon thon Fornace Bank woods orlier in thi yeor... Can ye mind the big fella who ran the Wharton,Pete,he was a giant of a man caaled Derek,it was kind of him ti let a bunch o yung kids mek a racket and chase customers oot!..whey, a say "Kids",we were aal working men,two of us were pitmen,aa was just eyteen ya- -raad-ish..!..[ ye grew up quick doon thon deep black hole...ye had ti stand on ya aan two feet...!] Noo aam just torned 75 last month,and a still plonk on wi arthritic fingers and hands,and wrists...but it's as much fun noo,as it was 60 yrs ago when a forst larn't thi guitar mesel. Cheers Bill. ps..aam still puzzled as ti hoo Pete remembered wor nyem!
  24. Hi Pete! ..."Dynacords"..no "h" in the name...it was the name of a German -made and imported guitar amplifier,that our Bass-player's Brother,who was in the R.A.F,stationed at Dusseldorf,in the 1960's,brought over here,at a time when only VOX,SELMER,and WATKINS,were the only Amplifier manufacturer's of any real worthiness. We couldn't afford any of those amps at thi time,in the early 1960's,and ,like loads of other groups...GROUPS!!....not BANDS!...,we started out with little 8-Watt amps,as small as a wee speaker cabinet,about 12 inches high,and 10 inches wide,or thereabouts...and the old-timer pitmen in the clubs used ti shout...."Ya aal reet ,but ya owa lood,man,torn thi buggaas doon..!" 8 watts!!....then Jimi Hendrix came along with 200-watt Marshall Stacks,with two 4x 12" cabinets which stood six feet tall!![the "4x12"..denotes that each cabinet held four 12-inch diameter loudspeakers! Now THAT used to lift the roof off the City Hall at the Toon!
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