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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Tales from the Mine 2
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Tales from the Mine 3a
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Tales from the Mine 7
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Author Bruce Wilson

 "When I used to work with old miners down "pit  I would listen intently and even prompt them for more".


From the diary of Bruce Wilson the following tales are recollections of the authors time at Silverwood, the tales are a mixture of personal events and stories related to Bruce. In with the tales are some first hand descriptions of the mine workings, and a fascinating glimpse into the history of Silverwood. So read on, explore the mine and meet some of the miners


Please note that the "Tales from the mine" pages are linked at the foot of each page.





Every now and then our Deputy Johnny Long who was a Lighthouse Keeper amongst his professions would take me on his rounds, checking old roadways and districts which would have been 70 years old.

It was the early 1980's and Silverwood started coaling in the very early years of the century. John would leave his chalked initials on an old roof support or an old airdoor to show he had checked his district and the Egress [ Emergency way out ]

One day we went into the old Barnsley workings near the pit bottom, these old roads you had to walk bent over, they were notorious for black damp. John checked for methane, we came to an old roadway as we were walking down it I noticed camber arches set in the roof. You could see that in these days they weren't very safety conscious, money was not spent as today  on a full set of road arches[ Rims] and corrugated sheets.

I had to kneel down to look up these camber arches, there was literally a hole chiseled out either side of the roadway as high up as possible, and a camber arch was set. Fixed in with a few wooden wedges to hold the flimsy bar in place. Camber arch seatings were like miniature train lines with a slight curve in the middle to reach the roof. Sometimes they bent an old piece of pit tub track.

All of a sudden we came to the coal face, the roadway came to an end. You could look to your right and for about twenty five yards when you shone your cap lamp down the coal face you could see it, just as it was left all those years ago. Even old grease paper bags men had their dripping sandwiches in. Then the Gob, we started walking down the face, we only got a few yards and I looked into the gob, an empty space, a solid rock roof, and it went back as far as the eye could see, and no supports in it at all. The rock roof, looking up again I was knelt down, everything was only four foot high, you could see fossil plants in the roof, rocks sticking out. Millions of years ago they were rocks in a muddy river bed, or estuary. After all those years if that rock decided to go there was no way out for us.




In the late 1980's the floor of a roadway collapsed at Silverwood, a guard was put on it by a Deputy.

The Manager, and an Overman made their way into the old workings with a briefcase, after half an hour they came out saying nothing even to this day. Nobody has ever explained what went off. Ted Holtan was the overman, but what was the big secret, nobody would say anything. A witness who saw it all, Dave Vicars pit bottom loco driver.  [ more ]




One of the first things I saw going back down the pit was the writing on the girder " Torquay here we come" . Anyway what I learnt at the steelworks came in handy. The sense of humour was no different in fact I think it was escapism from your surroundings and reality. Making your daily routine more exciting, at Silverwood it was as good as the steelworks when you got to know the men.

There was a Deputy called

MAURICE his nickname was " Car radiator face" very appropriate.

JACK WATTS "Busted settee" he had a mass of red hair especially when he took his pit hat off.



Before the strike and after our way of life was what we made it.

Me and Shaun, me a loco driver Shaun my guard we worked down the Braithwell development taking men and supplies in etc, but there was Mullock all over.



F.P. Fred Powell our Deputy asked us to move some cable one day about 3/4 mile inbye on the 8th development, it was catching the side of the loco. Fred was like an old mother hen always following you about giving orders like there was no tomorrow, we dropped it alright.

Sat in the slit at the end of the shift, full of men, Fred shouted out " Na then you two bastards, did you do that job ? Shaun stood up patted his snap bag and said "Asda Price" the slit was in uproar.


HARRY DAVIES A while later owd Harry Davies went scrounging down some old gang roadways, Harry saw piles of old baggins, instructed man who was with him to load them up for the pump packer.


LOL SCALES advised him to have another look, Harry did, and then run off, it was copper cable with the copper missing!

The Knack  how the miners removed the copper


opyright 2006 Bruce Wilson

Tales from the Mine Page 1 Bruce Wilson

Tales from the Mine Page 2 Bruce Wilson

Tales from the Mine Page 3 Bruce Wilson

Tales from the Mine Page 3a Bruce Wilson

Tales from the Mine Page 4 Fred Spencer

Tales from the Mine Page 5 John Doxey

Tales from the Mine Page 7 Geoff Walker


Many thanks to Bruce Wilson for his contributions to this site

Bruce Wilson

Other pages and stories by Bruce


Mining Terms

The Miners Return

Underground pre 1994

Silverwood Ghost






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