Silverwood Logo by John Doxey background photo Mick Carver1900 - 1994

Dedicated to the Miners of Silverwood

History of the Mine


Silverwood Mine

Hollings Lane


South Yorkshire England

Webmaster John Doxey

Main Photos Jonathan Dabs.

Additional content Mick Carver







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Ralph Law  pg2
George Baker
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Foreword by John Doxey

Photos from the Rotherham Advertiser and provided here by Nadia SimpsonWhen I started trying to remember the local characters in the area the name Fred Kelly was one of the first to spring to mind. Thanks to information supplied by his Children we have the life story of a local Legendary Figure  Mostly remembered for playing the big bass drum in Silverwood Brass Band Fred was also involved in other aspects of the community. When you learn that Fred's Father was quite a character of Irish linage then it is hardly surprising that Fred himself grew to be quite a character. Fred's son Raye tells this little story concerning Granddad Kelly Granddad Kelly had a fight outside the Grapes Hotel with Ian ( iron ) Hague from Mexbro, it was just before Haigh was due to fight Sam Langford for the title  I don't quite know which title, anyway the tale goes that due to his poor performance outside the Grapes, all the betting went off him and sure enough he lost.

Granddad Kelly died in the Great War 1914-1918





Fred was featured in the newspaper article below which is more than likely from The Rotherham Advertiser. The article relates just some of the many involvements he concerned himself with during his life. The photo above is from the article.



My Father like most people had a great respect for Fred and his final comment on Fred would always be "Nobdy played that drum like old Fred". There is no doubt that Fred was one of  the best known figure's locally during the last century, and you are left in no doubt that Fred was the kind of person who would have succeeded at anything he chose to get involved in.

Sincere thanks to Raye Kelly, Nadia nee Kelly and her husband Ken Simpson for the information and photos regarding Fred presented on this site.
I have been in contact via phone to Nadia, Fred's daughter here in Australia, learning that Nadia is the family historian and has published a book of her memoirs I asked her to relate the story of her father's life, to which she kindly consented. Nadia and her husband Ken are two very nice people and Nadia has not lost her Yorkshire sense of humour.
John Doxey



By Nadia Simpson nee Kelly

Fred Kelly addressing a meeting Photo kindly supplied by Nadia Simpson Nee Kelly Frederick William Edward Kelly was born on the 21st of November 1905. He lived on Doncaster Road side of Whinney Hill from being two years old. He was the eldest of eight children. His father worked at Silverwood. He went to an infants school in Dalton and then St. Leonards Church school in Thrybergh. Fred's father enlisted in the army during the first few weeks of the Great War in 1914 and was killed in France. His mother married Jack Baughan in 1918. She opened a second hand furniture shop in Dalton. She later changed it to a general store and kept it until mid 1940's.
Louie Simpson came to Thrybergh from East Ardsley. She met Fred who worked at Silverwood Colliery but was also a lay preacher at the Wesleyan Chapel on Doncaster Road. They married in April 1926. They had five children, two girls and three boys but two boys died when babies. Fred started Thrybergh Wheelers Cycling Club when he lived down Chesterhill Ave. (China Town) together with some other young men. A few remembered names are : Ron Longmate, Jim Slater, George Dabs, Jack White, Harold Saunders. It was a very active club until World War Two. Fred had a good bass baritone voice and used it to earn extra money singing in clubs around Rotherham. The pit-head baths opened in the 30's and he landed a job as attendant. When baths opened at the Notton Colliery he left Silverwood and  went there as superintendent. Next he went to I.C.I. in Huddersfield and worked in the boiler room. As the 2nd world war progressed, ex coal miners were sent back into the mines to dig coal. Fred did not want to go back into the pit. He tried to join one of the armed services but he was forced to return to Silverwood. That or jail for the duration. The Mine Workers Union became his great interest from then onwards. He was in turn president, delegate and secretary of the Silverwood branch. For many years he served on the committee making both friends and enemies along the way. Cricket was a favourite hobby. The crowd in the Dalton cricket pavilion cheered the runs and the ducks with equal enthusiasm. Fred was a born showman. He was a founder member of the Miners Welfare Club in Dalton. Later he became a life time trustee. For years Fred M.C'd every dance held in Thrybergh. They were family affairs, kids and all. He dressed and acted the part with aplomb. Fred took an active roll in local activities. In the early days there were big May Day Parades. In one he rode a bicycle with a steering wheel, borrowed from Siddalls in Rotherham. In another he rode a penny farthing. For some years he helped to organize a big sports day on Whitsuntide Monday in the Fullerton field. Later he played the Big Drum in the Silverwood Band. There was a well attended parade on Remembrance Day. He was active in all of these events. It is important to note that for years Fred visited old mates who were in nursing homes. He did a round, taking tobacco or ciggies, mint imperials or humbugs or whatever was their fancy. His wife died in 1982 and when he was 80 years old he went to live in Australia with his daughter, Nadia but he couldn't stay. He needed to be among people he knew best. His son, Raye and his wife, Wendy took him under their wing and he lived his last years in Greasbro'. He died in a nursing home in 1992, aged 87.


Fred would be very proud to read this biography and would enjoy it enormously. John Doxey asked me for a profile on my dad for the web page. I could write a book but I've tried to keep it short. He was a a real man and lived in a real man's world. I loved him very much.

Nadia Simpson (nee Kelly)
Sunshine Coast, Qld. Australia.
February 2004
e-mail address



Fred features also on the Silverwood Brass Band, The Miners Welfare Club, and The Thrybergh Wheelers page and I have no doubt old Fred will turn up on other pages he was that kind of a legend. Many thanks to Nadia, Raye, and Ken.


John Doxey



Fred Kelly

Reginald Gray

R & F Green

George Baker

Mike Longden

Brass Band

Brass Band 2

Brass Band Drawing





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