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
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Miner, Musician, and Bandleader




By John Doxey

Reginald Gray [ Pictured above seated centre with hands clasped ] was perhaps the most successful leader of the Silverwood band, born in Rotherham the son of a Welsh Miner. People like Reginald were without doubt the givers in local communities, taking a great pride in what they did, and giving up their time , the end result being a gift and treasured memory for the whole community.


Reginald's story.


[ Please note that some of the census information below has to be verified. ]
30 Caroline St Ystradyfodwg, Glamorgan, Wales we find a young James Gray future father of Reginald.
William Gray Head 35 ;born in Ireland Coal Miner Banksman
Mary Ann Gray Wife 39 born in Merthyr, Glamorgan, Wales
James Gray Son unmarried age16 born in Merthyr, Glamorgan, Wales Coal Miner Haulier
Anna Gray Daughter age14 born in Merthyr, Glamorgan, Wales General Servant
Sarah Ann Gray Daughter age 10 born in Ferndale, Glamorgan, Wales Scholar
Public Records Office Reference RG11Piece / Folio 5300 / 7 Page Number 8

Cliffe Terrace Upper Hallam, York, England we find the future wife of James Gray, Bertha Depledge
Thos. Spencer Nowill Head age 34 born in Sheffield, York, England Cutlery & Electro Plate Manufacturer
Ellen Matilda Nowill Wife age 27 born in Sheffield, York, England
Gordon Spencer Nowill Son age 5 born in Sheffield, York, England
Mary Margarett. Nowill Daughter 1 born in Sheffield, York, England
Bertha Depledge unmarried age 21 born in Swinton, York, England General Servant
Public Records Office Reference RG11 Piece / Folio 4628 / 10 Page Number 11

Approximately 1884 James Gray a miner born in 1863 at Ebbwvale Wales met and married Bertha a girl born in 1860 at nearby Swinton South Yorkshire. We can assume like many people that James had arrived in Yorkshire to work in one of the many coal mines. You will note from the information above the birthplace of James differs on the census records.
The newly weds settled in nearby Kilnhurst where James may have worked at the Thrybergh Hall Colliery. Three children were born during the families time at Kilnhurst
Mellia Gray born in 1885, Alfred Gray born in 1887 who became a Iron Works Labourer by 1901
Elsie Gray born in 1891.
By 1893 the family had moved into Rotherham presumably James had gained employment in one of the Rotherham collieries. The family was to increase with the birth of Florence Gray in 1893, three years later Lily Gray was born in1896.
The year 1898 was to welcome into the world Reginald Gray the future Miner, Musician, and Bandleader.
Two years later Jessie Gray was born in 1900.
1900 onward
Young Reginald was found to have a wonderful musical aptitude and mastered the Tenor Horn, however like many others at the time despite his talented abilities young Reginald needed an income. At the age of 13 in 1911 he started employment in the mining industry, he remained a miner until his retirement in 1962.
Joining the Silverwood Brass Band Reginald was at least able to pursue his love of music, and his obvious talents led to him eventually becoming Bandmaster. A position he accepted with great relish. Under his leadership the band developed a very real presence in a very competitive musical arena. This resulted in the Band playing at an international level with their appearance at Amersfoort which in itself was a great accomplishment, shadowed only by one of the golden moments in the bands history when under Reginald's leadership they appeared at the Royal Albert Hall to compete in the national finals.
Reginald was a hewer at the coal face for many years, and then as his health began to fail ( he died from emphysema) he ended up driving the engine underground which brought the coal back from the coal face. All tough work. He would always work morning shifts, which began at 5am, in order to accommodate band practice and so forth in the afternoons. Like most miners Reginald for many years, and particularly during World War 2, worked 7 days a week.


Reginalds favourite tune was "Bonny Mary of Argyll" and he named a daughter Mary after that tune.
Mary to the delight of her father went on to study music at the Royal Academy in London, and became a very successful teacher. [ Another local achiever ]


Playing with the band sometimes had its downside on occasions, and much to the irritation of Reginald's wife on Christmas Day when they were instructed to play carols at the Pit Managers house on Hollings Lane Thrybergh. Which meant the band had to walk all the way from Dalton with their instruments, not to mention the fact that they were missing out on valuable time with their families.
The colliery owned the band instruments and this of course to a large extent had a leverage on the band members and their time. [ Say no More ]




The Grays had a pet dog whose name was Darkie, a much loved family pet. Often Darkie would accompany Reginald to band practice, and much to everyone's amusement the dog would start howling to the music, now that must have been quite a sound a brass band with a canine crooner! Despite his efforts Darkie was made to go outside until the band had finished practice, a sad end to what could have been a promising career.



Yorkshire Region Championships

Silverwood Colliery on Saturday, April 23rd, 1949 Led by R.. Gray gained fourth place Fourth Section

Saturday, May 6th 1950 Silverwood Colliery led by R. Gray entered the  Fourth Section
Saturday, April 18th 1953 Silverwood Colliery led by R. Gray entered the Third Section


The Gray Family and John Doxey



Many thanks to Mary and Maggie Daughter and Granddaughter of Reginald for sharing with us the information above.

Census research 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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