Silverwood Logo by John Doxey background photo Mick Carver1900 - 1994

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History of the Mine

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Silverwood Mine

Hollings Lane

Thrybergh

South Yorkshire England

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William Hitchen


William Hitchens 1974 

WILLIAM, ROUNDWOOD, AND THE HORSE

From Mick Carver

I was reminded the other day of a story my grandfather William Hitchen ( my Moms dad ] once told me.
He went for a job at Roundwood ( I'm pretty sure it was Roundwood, but it could have been Orgreave it was a drift mine ?) Anyway him and about 10 other men were interviewed and then the official said right lads you can all start on Monday be sure to be here and don't forget to bring a horse.


When they were all walking home one of the men said to my Granddad "Well Bill we've all got the job so why are thy looking so glum". "Well said my Granddad I really need this job but how the ****** can I afford to buy a horse". At which all of the men fell about laughing. and then explained that what they called a 'horse' was an old boot or clog with the top cut off and a load of steel segs nailed in the sole. When the men got to the top of the drift they would put the horse on one side of the railway line and sit on it. They would put their foot on the opposite line (as a brake) and slide down to the bottom of the drift, he said that when you got to the bottom of the drift you had to get out of the way sharpish. This was because some of the men had what was called 'a fast horse' and they would plough into the man in front.
. I wonder what the safety officers would think today?. He also said that the men would hang up their coats and hats at the bottom of the drift and when the men had finished the shift and were heading back up the drift if the tubs were being drawn back to the surface they would run up grab their coats and hats to jump on the tub to get a lift to the top. But sometimes some clown would have nailed the coats onto the wall
I have often thought about this story and then the other week I was watching a documentary about slate quarries in north Wales and they used some old film of the men sliding down the railway line in the way my granddad described.

 

The family had quite a few Miners and those were.

WILLIAM THOMAS CARVER born1852 MINER
ERNEST HUTCHINSON CARVER born 1877 MINER
GEORGE OSWOULD CARVER born 1874 MINER
CHARLES CARVER born 1882 MINER
THOMAS CARVER born 1879 MINER
ALBERT CARVER born 1887 MINER
GEORGE CARVER born 1896 MINER at SILVERWOOD
ARTHUR CARVER born 1897 MINER at SILVERWOOD
HARRY CARVER born 1899 MINER at SILVERWOOD
FRANK CARVER born 1904 MINER at SILVERWOOD
WALTER CARVER born 1906 MINER at SILVERWOOD
GEORGE WILLIAM CARVER born 1925 MINER at SILVERWOOD
WILLIAM DALTON born 1839 MINER
JOHN HENRY DALTON born 1869 MINER
JOSEPH COX born 1850 MINER
WILLIAM COX born1871MINER
WILLIAM HITCHEN born 1900 MINER at SILVERWOOD
JAMES ARTHUR HITCHEN born 1871 MINER
ROBERT HITCHEN born 1878 MINER
ARTHUR CUTTS born 1868 MINER
ARTHUR CUTTS born 1896 MINER at SILVERWOOD
WALTER CUTTS born 1900 MINER at SILVERWOOD

 

On the day of the 1966 paddy train disaster William Hitchen produced a very poignant statement after becoming emotionally upset upon hearing who had died on that dreadful day. A statement that reaches in and wrenches your heart.

Mick writes

My grandfather (Hitchen) had walked over from Wingfield to see if my dad was ok , not many people were on the phone in those days. When we told him that my dad was ok but that Mr Coulson had been killed he burst out crying and we couldn’t console him. When ever I hear of similar disasters around the world I often think about what he said when we had calmed him down. He said

"When a woman packs a mans snap and sends him of to work the very least that she can expect is that he will come home alive ".

 

 

 

William Hitchen started at Silverwood as a Stoneworker in 1924 aged 25, he was living at 47, Arthur Street Thornhill at the time and had previously worked at Treeton Colliery.

 

©opyright Mick Carver

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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