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HIGH PIT WILMA

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Everything posted by HIGH PIT WILMA

  1. I just thought on,after I switched off last night,a while ago I watched a short film on U-Tube,which was a visit underground at Kellingly Colliery,[I think],and in one short clip,in the middle of the film,the Manager and his visitors went to jump onto a manriding conveyor belt,which would transport them away inbye.It was at a transfer point,where one conveyor belt loads onto another one,and high above the conveyor belt,hung from the roof,was a full-size mock-up of a horse hanging from the chains holding it,with a proper leather body harness, holding him in a comfortable position,simulating being slung from the cage,and being transported down the shaft,[or up the shaft,as the case may be. The thing what struck me was...not one person glanced up to see it,they all had eyes down,and followed the Manager..Pidgeon fashion,onto the conveyor belt. How nobody saw a full-size model horse hanging there...beats me,and I also thought that I wouldn't have wanted any of that lot as Marras working down there with me!!....you needed a hundred pairs of eyes,and instinctively learned to be aware of all your surroundings at all times...your life depended upon your vigilance,and common-sense! If I can find the film link,I will try and post it for your information. Cheers ! HPW.
  2. I hope I was clear enough to help you understand about these haulers,cos upon me re-reading again,I was thinking that you might have thought that this particular engine would have been used underground,which is not entirely impossible,but highly improbable! It would have involved having a steam boiler within a short distance away,but seeing as the earliest pits depended upon a huge fireplace at the bottom of the upcast shaft,which heated the air,causing an updraught,which in turn,caused fresh air to be drawn down the "Downcast" shaft, which travelled all around the roadways of the pit,then I don't see why a boiler couldn't be installed into the fireplace..like a larger version of a domestic back-boiler,to provide the steam pressure necessary to drive this engine. Ashington colliery,in Northumberland UK,still had the fireplace,along with all the fireman's rakes,and other tools which hung up on a large rack,on the side of the shaft walled area...it wasn't in use,naturally,after Electricity was installed at the mine,but it was a museum piece frozen in time!!..I think it all went to a Museum..not sure. So my main point was that it was electric hauling engines that were used underground.
  3. Hi Pete,if ya in theor!...Hoo di ye remember the Dynacords?....were they that bad!.... Alan,can ye tell Jean that we ARE aal Dinosaurs noo!...sadly except for wor lead vocalist,who passed away many years ago,aged only 46 yrs,after a long illness,due to a very rare disease called "Poitsieager's Syndrome", which causes Polyps to form on the Intestines,and which required frequent operations to remove them. Geordie was one of only 40 people in the UK,who was known to suffer from this awful disease..R.I.P. Geordie.
  4. Laddies aboot 13 or 14 years old,and older ones....and we criticised other countries for using child labour!!
  5. Netherton pit was relativeley dry,as was Bedlington A pit,and Ashington,as well as other pits I worked at,so looking at the scale of this engine,I am nearly 100 per cent certain that it would have driven the Colliery 's Ventilation Fan,which had a massive task to do!
  6. Great pic!..completely different to the 100 years old steam winder at the High Pit!..mind,theres something about steam engines....Raw direct power,from massive twin cylinders,all the copper and brass pipework and valves polished like mirrors,and you just lay one finger on a pipe,as I did aged 15 years,and you got a steel pipewrench rapped over your fingers..as I had,from the Brakesman! they were very proud of their engines in those days...and that is fact!
  7. A very good friend of mine lives in the Cottages opposite!
  8. Netherton pit was unique then!At all pits,the ponies were stabled,fed,groomed,shoe'ed,and bedded down in the underground stables. Ponies were never put in a cage with a man!...they used to sling them in a proper body harness UNDERNEATH the cage,for the ponies own safety..he could kick and fling all he wanted..and wouldn't come to any harm.At Choppington High Pit,right up until it closed,in 1966,we had ponies sent down that weren't broken in at all. We didn't have limbers [shafts] at all,until just before the pit closed,and that was only for one pony to supply the men driving a new drift.[scratching around for coal!]. We had what was called "Tracing Chains",which were two long chains,one each side,and attached to the pony's collar "Yem-sticks",and which had a hook at the end. We used to trail all timber and steel materials across the bare rough ground..really hard labour for both the pony and his handler.[that was in all the Maingates.],and we had small trams with steel bars at the sides,upon which materials were loaded,and which were used in the Tailgates,with the pony's chains attached to each side of the tram...the roadways were too small too take pit tubs right up to the coalface,due to severe crush from the roof and sides. We had to break the ponies in ourselves,by giving them twice as much of a load as we would normally,the pony would wildly try to escape the chains by straining and pulling constantly until he just tired himself out,and calmed down,then it was a case of a lot of love and attention,commands rewarded,as you would a dog or any other animal. Once you bonded with your pony,and not a lot of miners did!!,he would do anything you asked him to do. My gorgeous dapple grey Stallion,Charlie,had to be put to sleep after he suffered a serious injury underground,and I was in tears,and upset...in 1963,and even now,in 2019,aged 75 years,I still well up every time I see a rider passing on a Dapple-grey! I watched the film.."Warhorse",just a few weeks ago,and I was breaking down watching the way the horses were treated,purely because of flashbacks to the conditions our ponies were subjected to..it was cruelty for man and horse at the High Pit...and the NCB and Government inspectors turned a blind eye to roadways so low that the ponies' backs and flanks were stripped to bare flesh bleeding,and having to be stabled for days,or weeks,untill they healed....sorry for ranting...wound up...thinking back...it wasn't like that at Netherton in 1971,I did a training course there for a few weeks,and saw how completeley different it was,and a lot easier on the pony's..better drier conditions made life a lot easier!
  9. This is a main and tail hauler,[not a motor!..],used for hauling sets of pit tubs and trams, loaded with coal,and materials respectively.They were usually installed at the pit shaft bottom area,as the main means of transporting the total of the coal seam's requirements for a day.At the end of the roadway there would be "Return wheels",[or "Sheaves"],upon which the hauler ropes would be slung,and these wheels and blocks would either be slung up high in the roadway,or mounted beneath the rolleyway,at the end of the line. Not nitpicking ,mind,only for correctness,but this not an electrically-driven hauler...it is a magnificent example of a twin cylinder steam - driven hauler. In a very small,shallow mine,it could have been used to wind the pit cages in a not-so-deep mineshaft,it is a smaller version of the big winding engines...except these only had a single drum,with both ropes on the same drum. Hope I have been of some help with this information. Cheers HPW.
  10. ...like a said earlier..not for the poor peasant coalminer,for the Officeworkers...Stone built frontage..a bit better class! Luvly garden..and blinds at the windaes...!
  11. Spotless clean street...nae litter in them days!
  12. Brilliant set of pics throughout!
  13. The reason why there was a small number of these fancy houses built,wasn't cos they were for miners as such...!..they would have been for the Engineers,Surveyors,Clerks ,and Mine-owners families,just my guess,based on my experience of having lived in a pit terraced hoose wi an ootside netty ...right up until we got the chance to buy it..and that was in 1984...outside toilet across a yard in the middle of a freezing winter,in the middle of the night,brushing and wafting the forky-tails off the door and walls and roof,before you went in....in modern 1984....doesn't compare with the quality in appearance alone...with these houses!A think the arches above the windows,which have been bricked in,suggest they were a wee bit of a better standard than the average pit rows which were back to back,and completely characterless!! Please correct me if i'm totally misguided!
  14. Canny Lass,a just remembered,when Ashington Pit closed,in 1987,a year or two went by,then they started to reclaim coal which had been tipped along with all the stones from the screening plant...which all pits had,ancient methods..young laddies from school started on the screens usually,before going underground to work.It toughened up even the smallest and weakest of kids,cos you stood there from clocking on,till you clocked off,legs ,arms,and back feeling like they were breaking.It really was slave labour for a 14 year old,like my Father,and 15 yrs old for my generation. So, they used modern technology to sift through the pit heap,[or "Spoil" heap..if ya posh!],using big machines,bulldozers,etc,and if my memory serves me correctly,they reclaimed over 20,000 tons of coal ,which had lain there for over one hundred years! So it shows you what was lost at all the other pit heaps around the country!!...well,not exactly LOST,cos the heaps are still there..only they made country parks out of them,forested and nice grassy places for picnics etc. Let's say,when all the available power generators run out of fuel..theres a hell of an asset above ground in those heaps,as well as what millions of tons was left underground...but that's been covered by me in the past!!
  15. Aye Tony, we were the same..a mean,Hollymoont Square is a mile and a haaf from the Station,and me and me owlda Brother,[by three years..born on the same day ...three yeors apart!..gud shooting!],used to luv watching the flames and acres of red and white hot cinders flying off the heap in a gale force wind,on a winter's dark neet..for aal we were so far away,it was so high that it loomed owa the toon!! It was the oldest and biggest pit heap in the country,in the sixties,afore they lowered it by nearly 200 feet,a think that figure was aboot reet. Wor Liz is still gorgeous..a great personality,we are at the ages where we only meet at family funerals noo..did ye knaa her younger Brother Ray,he passed away last year aged 56. Next time we meet aal pass on your regards Tony. Cheers HPW .
  16. Heh heh!....it's a small world aint it....? I never thowt anybody wud have ivvor have remembered!!....a played Lead Guitar..it was a great time ti be a lead guitarist,wi aal the instrumentals in the charts in the Sixties! Thanks for the references Alan!
  17. Hi Folks! Tony,welcome back,Noo!..as a bairn,growing up at Hollymount Square,from 1947-ish,it depended which way the wind blew! If ye had a North-easterly,ye had aal thi Sulphur and other combinations of chemical smells from the Aad pit heap,which burned ferociously in a strong wind,also the same from the Doctor pit heaps. If it was Westerly, ye had the stink from the Slaughterhouse across the road from us,Pigs being shot with a humane .23 Cal. bullet,by the dozen,on a peaceful Sunday Morning...it's just dawned on me this minute......THAT'S why the Salvation army used to stand reet ootside my bedroom windae,between us and the Slaughterhouse,and blast oot wi tha brass band!![ reminds me of the Clint Eastwood movie scene where the band and choir sing ti drooned oot the soond of the guys getting beaten ti hell in a shed!] In the beginning of the spring gardening season,ye were poisoned by a multitude of aal the nybors borning aal tha garden rubbish...and mind....tha used ti be fires in ivry garden practically!...tha was aalwis aal the hoose rubbish if the bin was full,Domestos bottles being the most toxic..even ti this day! When we moved ti Stakeford ,in 1970,[Me Wife,Me and wa young 2 yr aad Son],it was like Tony sed,Glaxo being the most obnoxious reek,24hrs a day.[..it was bad enough for me breathing Oxides of Nitrogen and Sulphrous fumes aal shift ,working undergrund..ti be subjected ti Glaxo wen a came yem at lowse!!] Alan,when one was a wee bairn,sharing a bed wi a Brother three years aader,and very devilish...who used ti frighten oneself by saying there's a burglar at the windae trying ti get in...blankets owa heeds,stop breathing till ya lungs were bursting,cos the man wud heor us,then when one had ti suck a desperate breath in...foul smells emanated from ones Brother....!!..[mind the three year' s made a difference in intelligence and wit,when one was aanly fowa yeors aad ,and he was sivin yeors aad!] Canny lass,the pit heaps contained thousands of tons of coal,which was thrown off the screens,by the screen belt pickers,which was the method of cleaning the coal,by throwing all the stones off the conveyor screen belts,into a chute which sent it into the hopper,that you would have seen being pulled up the heap on a railed buggy,by a hauler rope. The coal thrown off would have been full of stone "Bands",where the lump might have been mostly stone with a few thin bands of coal which wud be inseperable from the stone. NOO,at Choppington High pit,the Beaumont seam went from less than two feet high to ten feet high on the same coalface,and was full of stone bands the whole height,atrociously bad quality coal,and which also contained a lot of what the miners termed "Brass",and which used to spit and spark out of the fire and burn wee holes in the Clippy mat in front of the fire..! It wasn't Brass,it was Iron Pyrites,which,when tipped up on the pit heaps,and which was subjected to Acid rain,over the hundred -odd years,produced H2S [Hydrogen Sulphide]...rotten egg smell...highly lethal in confined spaces underground,cos it quickly kills the sense of smell,giving a false sense of security..but can poison one to death in minutes,if gud fresh air supply cannot be gotten quickly. In the case of the heaps,it wasn't so deadly because it was quickly dispersed in the wind,not before we all got a gud whiff or two.....for years ...and yeors!!! Added to this was the sulphur content of the coal,which appeared as a yellowish soft substance in the cleat of the coal,so when the heaps had lain for a few decades,the middle of the heap is like a giant compost heap,it heats up to the point where spontaneous combustion occurs,and all them nice tasy odours are released! ....mind aal the pits,not just Choppington,and Netherton,or Bedlington,wud have worked these inferior quality seams,during the Industrial revolution,and during the two world wars,the need for coal was so great,aal thi pits wud have had to extract as much as possible,being less selective,like last few decades where clean coal was required for Power sations...which was the reason for coal blending plants such as was at Lynemouth/Ellington complex,and Bates pit,to blend low Sulphur,sweet coal with the higher Sulphur,sour coal,to make it just right,cos Bates,for instance,coal was so high in Sulphur,that it was burning the Power Station boiler grids out too fast.So blending with Ellington coal solved the problem,to a certain extent. Noo in this day and age,the smells we are subjected to are mainly from foul-smelling fertiliser being spread by the farmers,Cow slurry usually,bad enough,but a few yeors back,my Wife and me had been ti Blyth on a luvly sunny day,and when we got yem,and aa oppened the car door ti get oot,and inti thi hoose,aa wuz neaorly owacum by the most obnoxious toxic odour,so strong it was catching me throat,mekkin breathin difficult..actually choking us. Thi wind had got up strong Easterly,and it started to rain torrentially. Aa phoned the police,telling them a suspected a chemical leak from the factories at Cambois...a polis came stryght doon,and as he got oot he's car HE was choking,and he hurried inti wor hoose. After a short natter,he said he was away ti Cammis ti investigate...he was back in a haaf hoor,and telt us it was coming from the farm at the Havelock. The farmer had gotten loads of HUMAN waste from the sewage plant,which was entirely legal..[whey aal thi Bates lads used ti get it from the plant where Aldi is noo..in the 1970's],and he had just sprayed all he's land,when the rain came,which prevented him from ploughing it into the land. The polis said that the condition of spraying human waste was that it had to be ploughed in within 24 hours of being applied,or the farmer could be prosecuted..but in this case it was an impossibilty for the farmer,due to the atrocious weather....so we had to endure the reek for weeks until the land dried oot for him ti plough it in..mebbe sumbody else can mind that incident? Cheers folks! HPW.
  18. Great pieces of footage,many a blast from the past for me there! When My Parents moved to Hollymount Square,in 1947,I was three years old. After a couple of years,aged 5 years old my Friend [same age],and his older Sister,[nearly 8 years old,and a big lass to look after us two!],we used to go down Bedlington Bank,to play in the river stretch that runs past at the bottom of the Picnic Field..catching "Tommies" [small catfish],with our bare hands..and having a picnic which my friend's Sister used to carry down. The field was full of big-horned cows,grazing among the long grass in the field.We never came to any harm as that became a way of life for all our young lives until we were in our early teens! The thing is,I canna remember exactly when they first mowed the field to have the Miner's Picnic there,cos it used to be held at Ashington. Picnic day was the only day that I ever saw some of my Aunts and Uncles from Ashington and North Seaton,and Cramlington,even my Mother's Uncle and Aunt once came from Massachussetts USA, to see the family one picnic day,and why was that the only time I saw them?...cos we lived not 50 yards from the front street,and my Mother's place was handy for a cup of tea and a sammidge,...AND we had a modern flush toilet....AND hot and cold running water!![in a brand new post-war cooncil hoose!]...when they were still living in colliery hooses wi a stand pipe up the end of the street...pails of waata etc!!So a remember every year,when they mowed aal the grassy areas up the front street,and the year we lay on the grass watching a STEAM ROLLER..YEP!..NOT DIESEL!..laying modern "Tarmac" up the main street past the Old Hall ti the top-end,in readiness for the picnic,mebbe it was for the first picnic,and the council wanted ,naturally,to make Bedlington a lovely place for future visits by strangers to the town...it was magical for us little kids seeing all the buntings,[what we called.."the flags"],being strung criss-cross all the way from the top-end down the street,and all the lamp-posts with lovely flower baskets hanging from them. Three-gee,The highlights what drew crowds of people back up the street,who might have been about to leave ,was the wail of the "Kilties"..Scottish Pipe Band...[who from Whitley Bay..I learned in later years!],and the Children's Jazz Bands. There were sometimes over 100,000 people from all over the County and beyond,and the day was regarded as a "Picnic",for the hundreds of young kids and families,with the "Shows" starting at 2-0pm,till 11-0pm. The pubs spilt out into thi streets,at closing time,having had exemptions for extended opening times as earlier rather than later,and the only time I ever personally witnessed drunkedness causing bother was when a fella tried to molest womenfolk walking down Church lane on a sunny afternoon,on their way to the "Showfield"..[20 acres],at Millfield. He came across to my Family,and got in the way of us,shouting and swearing,and picked on my Father ,who had told him to cut the swearing out. He wnt for my Father,who was stone cold sober ,and to keep the entertainment light....let's just say he "backed a losser!" The police came and took him away..and that was it,but it spoiled a lovely day out for us,cos us kids were shaking with fear,seeing our father being set upon. Usually on the following Monday,the Journal,and Evening Chronicle,would carry the story,with pics,and always remarked that there were one or two arrests..for drunkedness....out of over 100-000 people! The black drapes over the banners was a mark of deep respect and sorrow for those who had been fatally injured in the respective mines,in the year leading up to the day of the picnic, and not for historical fatalities,as suggested..if that was the case,every banner in the parade would have been draped so far down you wouldn't see the banner in it's beauty! On picnic day,everybody went down[,well not everybody!..most miners and families!],to the picnic field to hear the speeches,by political party and union members,but you never,EVER,saw any flag-waving politically obsessed people...it was a case of listen to the speeches,come back up the bank,home for a quick tea,and take the kids to the Shows,or for those who put the pubs before their families...away for a few pints..nowt more,nowt like what you seem to suggest in your strong comments threegee!..I didn't read or research anything..I lived through it in a mining community where everyone in my families on both my parents sides,my friends in the whole of Hollymount,Millfield,Haig,and Beatty roads,and 90% of those I knewall worked in the mines,myself included,which I know that you know already,just for the benefit of newbies coming onto the site! We know it was basically a political rally,and Lord Attlee could be heard from the rostrum,all the way up to the top-end,by virtue of what we kids used to call"Picnic-day speakers"..mounted high up on the lamp-posts,[loud-hailers],and all connected by cables strung from the field all the way from lampost to lampost....wat a job for the sparky's!!,but in the years following Nationalisation,wages and conditions underground were atrocious,well they were at the High and Low pits at Choppington...and the speeches were to rally the miners ambitions and hopes for the future...it still didn't stop banners being draped black ,sometimes on more than one colliery banner,in the same year... Our next door neighbour at Hollymount used to film the Picnic every year with his Cine Camera,and he used to have his snapshot camera also..he is sadly deceased,I believe,and last I saw him,a few years ago,he said he had filmed my wedding day..service and reception,but the bulb had failed in his projector,and was obsolete,so if we could trace where his boxfuls of films and photos went..it would be a historical goldmine for us bedlington-tonians. Eh,it's weel seen aam back! Thanks cympil for the memories being re-lived for me!
  19. Noo! Carr's Buildings ring a bell,but a just canna bring it fully ti mind..thi only buildings doon aside Hollymount Square were Front street east,Vicarage Terrace,Bell's Place,and Hollymount Terrace,and Avenue,which are back to back terraces,and where my Sister,and her Daughter still live. Surely they can be found on the old Ordnance survey maps..or even on more modern [1950's..?]maps of the area? Best of luck Alan,if aa find owt oot aal post it!
  20. Hi Alan! If aa can get my bent aad neck aroond it then aal thi young cheds'll hae nae botha ! Enywheh!..Aa went ti schyuul wi a lad caaled John Henderson,from Haig Road,[a think..definitely owa that way..],and a few years later as the High pit closed,[6 years ti be exact],aa was transferred ti Bedltn Aad pit,as yi knaa. Noo a worked wi a canny quiet aader fella caaled Tony Henderson,sumtimes,cos a was wat was caaled a "Spare Man",through being transferred from anotha pit. So through a process of conversation,it turned oot that Tony was the Father of the aforementioned John,who was my young classmate from aged 5 yrs,in 1949! ..smaal world,and a wonder if Tony was a relative of those entered in your Granny's Bible. My Wife's Uncle John Oliver,from Puddler's Row,entered the dates of death of all his family and friends in his diary...nothing else of local interest...just deaths..."...Joe Broon died today"...in that manner! In them days,wi pit disasters,and diseases locally,such as Diptheria,Polio,Typhoid,etc,people died young and it would seem like every other day somebody would lose a family member or friend. Mind,having said that,Mary Ann Hall,was born in 1899,and died in 1991,according to the entry in your posting,so she reached a grand old age...102!!
  21. Hi Ingrid,check out my reply to your post on "Miner's killed in the pits"..I knew a fella called Jacky Lake down Choppington B pit,from 1959 -1965. Hope this helps! Bill. [HPW]
  22. Hi Ingrid,I have just lost a post which I have spent an hour typing to try and help you! I don't know where it is gone,but never mind,welcome to this excellent forum! When I worked at Choppington B pit,[also known locally as "the High Pit"],there was a fella who was a pit Deputy called Jacky Lake. He was a well-liked ,jovial ,stocky fella,and had the appearance of an ex-army Sergeant or similar rank,with the obligatory army tash!! I think he lived in the High Pit cottages which are still there,and occupied. If any of the residents are long-standing,or descendants of the original pit families,they would have bound to have known Jacky,cos every knew everybody at that pit,when I started,in 1959. Hope I have been at least a wee bit of help! Good luck with your research. Bill [aka HPW!]
  23. Hi Dorothy! My Wife and I spoke to Edna on the phone on Wednesday evening ( co-incidentally.. she phoned us as she hasn't seen us for a few weeks). She said you had been in to the coffee morning, and remarked that.. "... She was a lovely Woman..".. heh heh!.. old Edna is a lovely woman as well, very old fashioned but an Angel on Earth, for all the work she does for the children of War torn countries, and poverty in third world countries in general.. it's all the year round.. non-stop with Edna and the rest of the church family. I'm pleased you met her! Hope you get more success as time goes on. Cheers. Bill x
  24. Thanks a lot for saving me Alan!,apologies to you Dorothy for not getting back to you sooner,it's very difficult here just now,has been for a for the last 12 months or more..health issues with us both ,but I am heavily committed to looking after my Wife,so I have to grab a minute or two when I can to check out the forum. I hope if you went to the Chapel,that you found them a nice group of People,Maureen Chilton,Chris Ruddick,and wor aad gud friend Edna Million,who lived on Sheepwash Bank many many years ago. Let us know if you got any helpful information about your family,please,Dorothy,as any historical info is fascinating to us Bedlingtonians! Kind regards, Bill.
  25. Belated birthday wishes Foxy,hope ye hae many mair ,bonny lad!!
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