Silverwood Logo by John Doxey background photo Mick Carver1900 - 1994

Dedicated to the Miners of Silverwood

History of the Mine

SIMPLY THE BEST

Silverwood Mine

Hollings Lane

Thrybergh

South Yorkshire England

Webmaster John Doxey

Main Photos Jonathan Dabs.

Additional content Mick Carver

 

 
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BRUCE WILSON

Miner and Unofficial Mine Historian

 


Bruce WilsonBruce was born in Parkgate the son of a steelworker, his Granddad was also a steelworker so it is no surprise to learn that Bruce started his working life in the local steelworks.

In 1960 the family moved to Kilnhurst Road Rawmarsh.

In his School years he developed a keen interest in History an interest that he was to keep in his life.

Leaving School in 1971 he worked at Parkgate Forge, and then Steel Peach and Tozer. 

In 1977 he parted company with Steelo's and gained a job at Silverwood. Bruce states  " I was well prepared for it the environment was different, but to me the men were the same . I came across the older end, whom you respected, good old fashioned, down to earth, stand no nonsense men, do your job, have a laugh, you couldn't put a price on those times."

Bruce became an underground loco driver at Silverwood, but during his time there he did something else. He listened to the old miners tales, he explored the old workings underground, and he made notes. The notes he kept are an historians dream, past events , mining terms, miners tales, a wonderful record of the mine he worked in during the latter part of the last century. That is not all, for his notes also contain records of the miners themselves, their humour, their heartbreak, and insights into their lives.

This note keeping or Diary keeping was to be a of greater value than perhaps even Bruce realized at the time, but inevitably this hobby produced one of the most informative insights into the 1984/85 strike.
Not the kind to sit idle and watch his livelihood being taken away Bruce like many others joined the front ranks of the pickets during the strike. He recalls one of the last pickets in February 85 at Silverwood most of the pickets were from Silverwood, Manvers, Kilnhurst etc. Bruce just managed to evade arrest, Bill Robson of Silverwood was not so lucky on that day.

As a "Flying Picket he witnessed many of the major conflicts on the picket lines and he wrote in his diary what he had observed. These observations were later used to produce a book by local author Brian Elliott aptly titled " Yorkshires Flying Pickets" complete with a photo of Bruce and his mates on the front cover.

Now the flying pickets received some very heavy press coverage during the strike and were labelled as rabble and even worse by just about every tabloid, so you may be forgiven for having the wrong impression of men like Bruce. The truth is, here is a man like many others who believes in fighting for his right to work, to picket, to help save the jobs of others and his own job, after all he is living in a democratic Country.  Today [ 2005 ] some of the memories of the strike still haunt him, the brutality, and the fear of being chased by riot Police.

This man also has a dream and that dream is that his records may be accessible to future generations so they may learn about Mining, Miners, and something very important to him, the truth of the 1984 strike. In a recent correspondence he wrote "I would dearly love for people, family, and friends, in fact anybody with a genuine interest in mining to have a copy, to try and understand what their grandfathers, fathers, mothers, and  brothers, stood and fought for."

This is a sentiment expressed by many of the miners who have contributed to these pages, and I believe that the memoirs of men like Bruce will give future generations a fantastic insight into the lives of the men we know as coalminers.

 

 



Bruce and friends photo copyright Brian Elliott

 

On the left is a photo of Bruce with some of his mates standing in front of the Silverwood N. U. M. Branch Banner. The small writing reads 'Unity is Strength' and those three words signify what being a miner was all about. When you think about it unison and standing together got Britain through two World Wars, it was the spirit that bonded communities, the spirit to fight for what you believe is right. and this was the spirit that Mrs. Thatcher tried to destroy. Like others before her she failed.

Bruce appeared on the T/V program PEOPLE TO PEOPLE
Bruce Wilson and his memoirs, will be part of the constant reminders, that it takes more than a would be dictatorship to destroy the spirit , unity, and strength of the British working men and women.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Copyright John Doxey.

 

 

 

 

Many thanks to Bruce Wilson for his contributions to this site

Other pages by Bruce

Mining Terms

 

Tales from the Mine

 

The Miners Return

 

Underground 1994

 

Silverwood Ghost

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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