1900 - 1994
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|Legends and tales from the Mine|
|Tales from the Mine|
|Tales from the Mine 2|
|Tales from the Mine 3|
|Tales from the Mine 3a|
|Tales from the Mine 7|
|TALES FROM OTHER MINES|
|INFO ON MINING|
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|The making of the Mine|
|History of the Mine|
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TALES FROM THE MINE pg 3a
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.
Silverwood Pit bottom was like a rabbit warren, a lot of the present roadways etc. were done in the restoration of Silverwood pit bottom. The gates and roadways were at least 12 ft high in places, all the roadways were ringed and sheeted, no signs of rock and coal were visible. Everything was painted white and all of the pit bottom was lit by electricity.
I was a loco driver, my mate and guard Shaun Bisby from East Herringthorpe. When we'd done our job and had time on our hands we used to love scrounging and exploring the old gates and the pit bottom was riddled with them.
During all this modernization of the pit old gates, roadways, sometimes only 4ft high were just behind these corrugated sheets.
On one occasion me and Shaun made our way from the diesel garage down old gates and followed a light in front of us. Stupid really because the areas we went in were known for black damp which was deadly. Anyway we followed the light at the end of the tunnel and it fetched us to the Swallow Wood mail station, a corrugated sheet had slipped by about six inches.
We crept up and from our position in the old gate we could see some men waiting for the mail they were sat on wooden benches. Me and Shaun both nodded at each other and silently agreed not to do anything, we made our way back to the diesel garage. When we got there we both broke out in hysterical laughter, patting each other on the shoulder. We could have frightened these men to death, we just laughed thinking about their reactions if we'd a gone "Wooaaaa " We'd have got the sack as well!
You'd measure 8 pieces of redundant cable [ It had been there since the 1930's & 40's ] cut it to length, and depending on the length of time you had. i.e. on nights, all the time in the world, then you'd do this 8 times. So you had 8 lengths of cable, 8 yards long. Then you would middle each length, that is cut with an hacksaw the middle of the cable, only the armour and case. Not cut the middle, copper. Then you would get a belt sling [ length of thin steel with a loop on each end ] Tie one end of the cable to the loco rails, the other end to the Loco coupling, take the weight with the Loco just like towing a car. Set off steady with the Loco and the casing just pulled off, you were left with just copper cable and an empty casing.
We once borrowed an hacksaw and blades off the pit bottom fitter he was an ex serviceman
[ He was home on leave and got called back to the front and was in the last bayonet charge of the second world war, think he was a Desert Rat ] but you should have seen Jacks face when we gave him his hacksaw and blades back at the end of our shift all covered in copper filings. He would'nt lend it us no more, he'd charge Germans at bayonet point, but he wouldn't help us re-use a bit of mullock of the N.C.B.
Jack the old school, all Gents.
My guard before the strike was George Coult " Juddy Coult". George used to tell me some stories, he was in his 50's before the strike, he retired and left me about 1982.
George used to live near the Ring o Bells at Kimberworth, he got married in the Town Centre Church in 1942. He told me about all the big coloured American service men in Rotherham during world war 2, and the white Americans used to treat them like S--- . Him and his mates used to have many a Friday night fight with the Yanks.
George used to work at Skiers Springs Barley Hall pit, the seams worked were not far underground, and when a train went past you knew about it. He told me about floor lift and on one occasion he was on the face when the floor lifted and not the roof. George got out of the Loader gate Rip with 9" to spare, then the face closed up.
One day we took some supplies inbye, George had lost his uncoupling hook, the mine cars wanted uncoupling, George spotted a metal bar but it was covered in grease, he wiped the grease off and used it. He sat on the handbrake wheel next to me and we set off. George says to me " Bruce has tha shit thisen?" " No Jud" Juddy smells his hand " Oh no " it wasn't grease. I would have gone out of the pit, not George, he spent the rest of the shift with his smelly arm outstretched, even ate his snap with one arm pointing East.
When he finished he got £500.00 and a bit of paper for 45 years down the pit!
I got a message from one of the lads during the strike" George Coult wants to see you " I went up to see him. Owd George gave me 40 cigs and a tenner.
I would have loved to see Jud again, sadly he's no longer here, but I don't forget.
©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
Other pages and stories by Bruce
All information on this site is correct to the extent of my knowledge,
should you spot an error please let me know and that error will be