Silverwood Logo by John Doxey background photo Mick Carver1900 - 1994

Dedicated to the Miners of Silverwood

History of the Mine

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Silverwood Mine

Hollings Lane

Thrybergh

South Yorkshire England

Webmaster John Doxey

Main Photos Jonathan Dabs.

Additional content Mick Carver

 

 

 

 

 

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The Shaft is Sunk

Dalton Mining Co

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1913 Accident

1914

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1916

1917

1918

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1919

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1940's

1947 Accident

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1966 Disaster

The Silverwood Disaster song

1970's

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Journey to the Face

1980's

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1984 Strike

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The 1985 Strike

One Million Tonnes

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Stuart Tomlins Collection

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1980's

 

 

Miners strike 1985 photo supplied by Bruce Wilson

 

The photo above kindly supplied by Bruce Wilson depicts just one of the many scenes witnessed at Silverwood during the miners strike of 1985, a lasting image from one of the most disturbing decades the people of South Yorkshire endured. A decade which was to witness the destruction of  local industries, leaving South Yorkshire amongst the most economically depressed areas throughout Europe, a sad fate indeed for an area that had been the backbone of England's prosperity throughout the Industrial revolution, two world wars and the intervening years. A decade that left most of us pondering WHY?

On these pages you will read about the madness that prevailed during this period, the lies printed in the media, the deception, a time when miners were labelled as the enemy within, and the miners of Silverwood were to be singled out as prime targets by the real enemy within, the government and allies of one Margaret Thatcher. One only has to look at Rupert Murdoch the newspaper media magnate to realize the total lack of integrity prevalent amongst those allies, here is a man who immediately changed his alliance to the labour party when Mrs. Thatcher thankfully fell from power.

 

Dave Hadfield who at present [ 2007 ] volunteers for the South Yorkshire Miners' Advice Centre. worked as a miner at Silverwood  until it closed in 1994, and took part in the 1984 strike.

 

In the 1980's Kevin Irving, was appointed under manager at Thurcroft and then Silverwood mine.

 

In 1983 Gary Evans arrived at Silverwood Colliery and worked there until 1994 as a Face-worker and Deputy.

 

Lee Miree started work at Silverwood in 1983 as a Conveyer operator until the pit closed in 1992

 

R. W. Stidger, in Oct 1st 1983  published an article regardin Automated steering ups longwall output concerning Coal, Lignite, & Peat-- Mining; CUTTER LOADERS-- ELECTRONIC GUIDANCE; LONGWALL MINING-- CUTTER LOADERS;

From the article:-

"After many stages of development automatic steering is earning its way on a 275 metre longwall face. The use of gamma rays makes this system the best developed to date. A prototype system developed by MRDE of the UK National Coal Board, is the third to go ahead at the longwall face at Silverwood Colliery."

 

Tunnels & tunnelling: Volume 9
1977
Production is expected to begin in the Spring of 1980, with an annual target output of 500000 tonnes of coal from that district which will be used in the the NCB Silverwood Colliery.


Mick Carter, like many of the other miners, was transferred to another pit when Cortonwood was finally closed in 1985. 'I was a marked man,' he recalls. 'I had friends in management, and the first day there one came to me and said, "Mick, watch your back, kid."' This, of course, was due to his vociferous activism during the strike, but there was another reason he 'hated every minute' of his time at Silverwood. 'In a pit village you work together, and you play together. Then we were turned into commuters, and you don't have friends, you have...' Carter's voice reaches a pitch of venom, '"work colleagues". The social cohesion was gone, there was a fragmentation, and that takes some adjusting to. Most of the lads were transferred; we were shoved around like gypsies.'


Ken Rowlett who worked at the mine from 1984-1994)  as Assistant Deputy Manager was primarily in a support role to Terry Bowe Deputy Manager, and later, as the Management team was altered, he maintained the same role for Andy Devey. Basically, due to the running down of the industry the number of Deputy Managers at each colliery was increased from one to two specifically, a Deputy Manager for Services in the case of Silverwood -Terry Bowe and a Deputy Manager for Operations for Silverwood which was Andy Devey.

 

Alf Evans ex Silverwood electrician was one of the many miners transferred to Silverwood and writes: "Really surprised to find my name on your list of miners. I Got transferred to Silverwood when Elsecar shut in 1983, I stayed there till the shafts were filled in. Walked out of the yard with lump in throat on 10th July 1995 for the last time. "

 

Alf kindly sent in the photo left of two of his old mates Geoff Barker and Johnny Rowlands who are having a minute or two being photographic models. Geoff Barker is currently [ 2007 ]the Steward at Jump W.M.C. Johnny apparently went into the fish&chip business.

 

A further mate of Alf's at this time was Pat Clamp who now is mining in Australia, trying to keep up with the coal demand from China.

 

 

 

 

 

 

1985 was the year Silverwood set yet another record with a  One Million Tonnes    yearly output.

Despite the turbulent times the miners of Silverwood never lost the spirit of comradeship, a spirit which embraced many of the newcomers to the mine.

 Stuart Borthwick writes,

I have been working my way through your fantastic Silverwood Site, and it has brought back some wonderful memories. My father Don Borthwick and I, along with quite a few others transferred from Yorkshire main in 1987 and were instantly made welcome. Both myself and my father worked on the Loco's with Bruce and Bob Wilson as well as Shaun Bisby, Dave Vickers and Tommy Bartholomew. I worked on Braithwell 3 with my Guard Dennis Douglas. I later worked on the Methane with John McClean, Kegger and the infamous Captain Bob as well as the Samplers Tim Sheffield and Pete Haigh. We had the best Boss anyone could wish for in Steve Sedgewick and Jeff Lovell.
My years at Silverwood were some of the best years of my working life and I will never forget them, or the fantastic comrades who I had the privilege to work and socialise with. I hope they are all enjoying a full and fruitful life."

 

Intercontinental press combined with inprecor: Volume 23, Issues 1-26 1985
... near Doncaster; an underground visit at High Moor Drift Mine south of Sheffield; and a canteen meeting at Silverwood colliery, near Rotherham, with 250 miners who delayed the start of their afternoon shift to hear the Sal- vadorans

 

 Paul Moorhouse writes:

I was an electrician there 1974 to 1988 had an accident on S17's face December 1980 crushed my right hand and wrist back to work October 1981 spent the glorious summer of 1981 at Firbeck rehabilitation hospital getting my right hand working again. Went back underground after that working on the paddy mails electrical safety testing. I would also like to mention Paddy Burke a real character, Mick Hope pit overman and Kenny 'Fingers' Skelton (we used to compare scars) who have all sadly passed away during 2007.

 

Glyn Watts writes:-
I started working at Silverwood as a Methane Borer back in 1989 to 1994 as part of a recruitment drive negotiated by the NUM. As a result of the number of contractors within the industry the NUM put forward for 10 new starters to be employed direct by British Coal, I was one of the fortunate few. My appointment was possibly to do with my fathers reputation within Silverwood, my father being Keith Watts. <more>

 


In March 1989 a coin was presented to the staff at Silverwood in recognition of a production record. The coin is considered rare and one of them was recently on auction at ebay.

 

The railway sidings at Silverwood were dismantled during the 1980s.

 

 

In the period 1987 to 1991there was only one fatal accident reported at the mine which occurred in 1989. In 1987 there were only three accidents recorded which were classified as major but no fatalities.  During 1988 there were 73 minor accidents and 6 major accidents totalling 79 for the year with no fatalities. During 1989 as well as the 1 fatal accident there were 7 major and 58 minor ones recorded totalling 66 accidents for the year. 1990 saw 7 major and 29 minor accidents with no fatalities for the year.

 

Coal abstracts: Volume 11 IEA Coal Research. Technical Information Service 1987
Doncaster, United Kingdom, Institution of Mining Engineers, p. 3-13 (1986) The joint paper deals with the working systems and results of retreat mining in the Parkgate and Swallow Wood Seams at Manton and Silverwood Collieries, ...

 

 

 

 

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