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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Ralph Law  pg2
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DON PICKERING

Presented by Don Pickering

 

 

TEA LAD TO DEPUTY

 

In my last year at school 1975/76 I had the pleasure of going on an underground visit to Silverwood Colliery around the end of September a couple of months after the Queen's visit, once underground we travelled on the same paddy mail that the Queen had used, and I sat in the same seat or was told that she had sat there on her visit. We travelled up the Swallow wood mail plane to S10s where every thing was still white washed as it was for the royal visit.

We went onto the tail gate and travelled by the loco paddy mail, one of the things I remember was a face trainee called Paul (Jack) Watts who had a big mop of ginger hair under his yellow trainees helmet, and stood at his side was Bob Bridges another trainee. Jack and Bob were in the same class as my brother at school so I Knew them both well. As we went through the face we saw the machine cutting coal a fascinating operation, when we got to the loader gate end I saw two men working in what they called the stable where the miners' bored and fired the coal and then cleaned it up with a shovel ready for the machine to come in and shove it over then started its next cut.

 

One of the stable men was a gent call Geoff Walpole whose's son Geoff was in the same class as me in school, (named after his dad) then in the loader gate was a ripper called Patrick Burke (Paddy) who wore his helmet on a slant on his head about 45 degree's I often wondered if he had a nail in his head holding it on. When we got to the end of the loader gate we went back through the air doors to wait for the paddy mail and there sat waiting was  two of the safety department men Keith Watts and Terry Guest, I knew Keith well as one of his daughter's Gill was in my class, she had to baby sit younger brother Glyn who followed his dad down the mine and became a methane borer when he left school, still see them all as they still live local the same as me.


For some reason I was bitten by the mining bug and when I left school in Easter applied for and was set on as a mining craft apprentice, so I started my mining career in September 1976.


My first job was tea masher and boot cleaner for the manager Peter Lawrence and under managers, Rolly Mellish a very good angler in his day, Mr. Newton and two others I cannot recall, I had to make sure they always had a pot of tea or coffee and snap ect. when they came out of the pit. At Christmas I got about 30 in tips from them all, not bad for a 16 year old tea boy.

 

Then I went to do my underground training 50 days at Manvers Main in mid January 1977, after training I then went to work with the surveyors as a line lad with Gary Frith, Brian Slack, Mick Burgin, Chris Abrams,[ Photo} Arthur Neal, Paul Rowbottom, and the Surveyors' Harry Shaw And Rodger Hall.
When I became 18 years old I then went and did my face training, 120 days + 40 days improvership, worked on faces learning ripping and face work including shearer operator on S11s and S14s.


After the 1984/85 strike I went into development work with Roy Oakes, Bob Bridges, Danny Cooney, Phil Boulton, Steve McGuiness, Alan Bierley (deputy) Paul Bassingdale (fitter), and Dave Hudson (electrician) we worked together as a team developing s21s main gate through the first 2 phases of development.


From about 1990 I went on to management as a deputy and deputized on 3rd phase of s21sdevelopment and face when up and running continuing up to the last day the pit produced coal which was December 23rd 1994. On coming out of the pit the manager called me into his office and asked if I would like to be a salvage over man as s21s face equipment had to be got out so I got another months' work as we had all ready got redundancy, why not! When the salvage was done I was asked to be one of the acting colliery over men supervising the demolition and the filling of the shafts. during which I got the opportunity to ride on cage tops and also go down the well shaft which was wood lined, on the last days when the last shaft was filled my mining career was over mid 1995.

I still see friends who live locally and it was a pleasure to work with everyone of them, friendship is different up on the real world but underground cannot be bettered, still go fishing with Billy Rookes (overman) and a few of the lads
I now drive Busses for a living and still keep picking the old lads from Silverwood and we have a chin wag, missed but not forgotten.

 

 If anyone needs to keep in touch look me up on facebook

 

Take care everyone, remember we maybe apart, but not forgotten

 

Don Pickering
 email Breambasher@btinternet.com 


 

Many thanks Don for adding your story here.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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