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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SILVERWOOD MEMORIES

 

Photo courtesy of Fionn Taylor from the Shane Phillips collection copyright Shane Philips

 

Silverwood 1994 Photo copyright Shane Philips courtesy of Fionn Taylor,

double left click on photo to see more of Shane Phillips work

 

 

 

MY MEMORIES

 

As a child one of the hardest jobs was to return home from School to find a ton of Coal tipped on the footpath outside our House. The Coal was delivered on a regular basis to each and every miner. To store this coal we had the coal house which was usually near to the back door. The slight problem with our house was the narrow passageway which was both ours and the next door neighbours access. It was not very wide and the trick was to swing the wheelbarrow around to the left and dump the coal outside the coal house door without losing the coal or your knuckles halfway around. So you would dump two or three barrow loads outside the coal house and then shovel it from there into the coal house, and then repeat this process until all the coal was gone off the street. On a windy day the dust from the coal made this task even harder. That was the nearest I ever got to being a miner. I wonder how the Kids of today would react if asked to perform this chore.

COALMANS BIN

John Doxey

'Ome from School lad, well coalmans bin,

Get thisen shovel 'n' barra, 'n' gerrit in,

Al open coaloil door for thi, 'n' wedge it back,

'N' when tha's finished, al mek thi a snack,

Dun't forget to sweep up rowd,

When tha's emptied thi last barraload,

Tha'll ave plenty a time ta play later on,

But tha'll need a bath first won't tha son,

 

'Av' finished it Mum, nah can a av a drink,

Awreight al wash me hands in kitchen sink,

Dad'll be pleased when he cums ome,

He'll see all coils in coilouse won't he Mum,

Think he'll gi me a half a crown for gerrin it in,

Or tek me ta footy ta watch Rotherham win,

Am goin' fa me bath, is water hot enough,

An can a ave that towel that's not rieght rough.

 

Heyup lad thanks fa doin that fa me 'n' thi Mother,

Tha gerrin big 'n' strong just like thi brother,

Fancy going ta watch Rotherham on Satday,

It'll be special 'cos the're playin' away,

Ah!, al buy thi a drink n summat to eight,

Not too much tho', dun't want thi puttin on weight,

Awreight gerrof aght wi thi, go an', ave a run,

But dun't be too late back, or tha'll be in trouble owd son.

 

I can remember walking up the 'Pit Hill' Hollings Lane from Thrybergh to Silverwood Pit, to wait for my Dad to finish his day shift. Often we would watch the Ponies that once had been used to haul coal down the pit. We would stand on the Bath House side of the road waiting for the Miners to emerge from the Timekeepers Shed. Then they would appear onto the footpath . for a moment they would stand there lighting that long awaited cigarette, blinking in the daylight, carrying their metal lunch boxes and water cans, laughing and joking. Then they would cross the road and make their way into the Bath House, and after a short while would appear once more but this time sparkling clean. A short bus ride later they would be home and having a cooked dinner. Dad once showed me his legacy of bruises he received over the years, blue in colour and many of them. Dad had to retire at the age of sixty four due to ill health and spent his retirement fighting for his breath each day, just two years later he died choked by his own phlegm, which gave him a heart attack whilst sleeping in a Hospital bed. He of course like many other Miners had silicosis, and after a hearing, due to the Coalboard Pathologist destroying the lung samples a open verdict was returned, and that verdict stands today. My Fathers story is not an isolated one and is added to these pages as an example. However recently the miners and their Families are receiving compensation.

John Doxey.

Šopyright John Doxey

 

 

 

Keith Barraclough former resident of the Blacking Mill writes:

 

The Blacking Mill on Oldgate Lane was owned by the 'National Coal Board' throughout the 20th century. It was used from before I was born as the 'Holiday home' for the pit ponies. I was not allowed to walk them down from the pit, because of their state of high excitement at being 'up top'. Once they were released into the field, they all ran round the perimeter of the field until they were exhausted.  When they had settled down we were allowed to ride them (bare-back). I used to take a string of three or four back to the pithead after their two weeks, ready for another 50 weeks down below. I used to help Mr Sargent, the ostler, prepare 'Short', a chestnut brown pony for the shows at Clifton Park, Wickersley etc. I remember there being 47 ponies when I was 5 to 10 years old. including Blue, Porter, Stallin, (All greys) Thistle, Tony, Gyp (Chestnuts) and Twig a black stallion. and yes he was a beauty. When the South Yorkshire pits stopped using ponies, The Blacking Mill became the South Yorkshire rest home  for all the local ponies. Latterly this was transferred to the fields on the left side of the road, as you approached Silverwood.

 

Glynn Edwards recalls

 

The coke ovens at the pit as a child we used to go and watch them being emptied, I never worked in the pits, Dad said no but I am still proud of my heritage


John Waller writes :

Reading your memories of coming home to "get the coal in" brought back memories of things once so common in our area that they were the norm.
Returning home from school and turning into Reasby Avenue to find a ton of Dinnington doubles tipped in the road waiting to be shovelled into the wheel barrow then carted up the drive to the coal house. Shovelling in the first loads with ease and adding the retaining boards. As the coal house filled the coal had to be thrown higher and the job grew harder. A careless throw and you got your own back! Taking pride in being big enough to get the coal in while dad was on shift. Without realising it the job growing easier as you grew older. You can't half shift some coal when you're 10. Thinking all the time how lucky you were to have a barrow rather than getting a ton of coal in using 2 galvanised buckets.
Chopping sticks to light the fire was another regular chore. To cut the wood used underground to length most pits had a large circular saw in the pit bottom area. Some had two and I think that Silverwood was one of them (CORRECT ME IF I AM WRONG) that has a snap tin saw whose sole purpose was to trim prop wood to the correct size to fit in a snap tin (a snap tin was a sandwich box) - sandwiches go down the pit and a block of wood comes out in the same tin! John, on a personal note you talking of your dad and silicosis brings back a much less pleasant memory; that of jelly fish on the pavement from men with congested lungs spitting. In later life it angered me greatly when men circumvented dust suppression equipment on the coal face just to keep the job running - not for the pride of the job but to achieve bonuses. 

 

Cliff Bierton writes

 

Now living with the softies of the South of England and showing them what a real graffter looks like. Born and Bred on School Street in Thrybergh, by the side of the railway line that ran up to Silverwood Colliery, moved to St Leonard's Ave in 1969 into flats at the bottom end by the school field, so it was just a hop to school for me, left comp in 1974 and went straight to Silverwood as an Apprentice Fitter (surface then underground) left in 1986 now residing in Bognor Regis in West Sussex, but even now I still miss my roots and I think I will till the end of my days.


Fred Spencer writes.

 

I started at Silverwood in 1955 at the age of fifteen, along with several other school leavers, I recall a number of the names, there was of course George Speight, Alf Lord, Garry Frith, John Longden along with others who's names will no doubt come to me at the wrong time, generally in the middle of the night, I will have then forgotten by the next morning. We travelled by Coal Board bus to the Manvers Main Colliery, the training centre, where young lads of a similar age, joined us from other South Yorkshire Collieries.
The wife and I went to a show at the Rotherham Civic Theatre, last year, it was a sort of chat show, the host being Steve Smith a well known criminal solicitor, I don't mean he's bent, he is very good at representing those that have fallen by the wayside. His guest for the show, was the one and only Paul Shane alias George Speight, a very good show it was, Steve interviewed George about his life, if I remember rightly, George was born on Eastwood lane at Rotherham, this was opposite the old part of the Rotherham Technical College, he then told the audience of his going to work at the Silverwood Colliery and whilst underground in the Melton Field at Manvers, he took at chew of tobacco from an old boy and of course it made him as sick as a dog. I was there at the time, so after the show I wrote to Steve Smith and told him I was present and that the name of the old boy was 'Archie' now Steve is a good Author and has written many humorous books about his own life as a solicitor in Rotherham, he has also completed several biographies I can foresee one coming about George.

 

Andrew Mullins writes:

 

My Father, Douglas Mullins gave me the site address. I went down the Pit twice, once with my Grandfather, Overman Arthur Mullins and once on a school visit from Scarborough College. It brings back many happy memories of my time spent in Ravenfield and of my Grandfather. Sad to see the loss of such a huge part of our History.

Cheers Andy.

 

 


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