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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The Miners Working Life pg 1


Ike Doxey worked at Silverwood, 1920's - 1964Like most of the old miners my Father [ pictured left ]started his working career down the mines at an early age. With his brothers Charlie and Jack he worked in the coal mines around Wigan Lancashire, moving to Thrybergh in 1923. The Mines like the Factories provided good money, but the work was hard and dangerous.  In the early days of mining miners provided their own work clothes, and often clogs were the footwear.


Sanitary conditions down the mines would not have been the best to say the least and we will leave that to your imagination. Other than the sanitary point of view there was the health hazard of working in a dusty and gaseous atmosphere. Extractor fans were to be introduced later. So apart from the time spent in the army during the later months of the first World War, and the final two years of his working life, my father spent the remainder of his working life on the coal face as a coal hewer.








Food was carried in a metal snap tin, pictured left an oblong shape box, square at one end and rounded at the opposite end. A handle was fixed on the square end. Water was carried in a metal round container named a Dudley. Metal was used as a defence against vermin that found their way underground. Many Miners would take simple sandwiches for their lunch, bread and dripping being one of the most popular in the early half of the 1900's.


[ Photos like the one on the left from Caphouse museum can be viewed here ]




By John Doxey

What's tha got fa thi snap today then,

Bread n dripping, how can tha eat that,

Al tell thi young un n then tha'll know,

What's so special baht this bread n fat,


When families wa poor n eat what they could,

Nothing was wasted like they do today,

Bread n dripping wi a bit a salt,

Kept a family fed wiaght aving ta pay,


So juices from 't' meat are left to set,

Brown on't' bottom white on 't' top,

Dun't look much al gi thi that,

But it taste better than owt from 't'shop.


Nah tha mignt scoff n ave a laugh,

Baht what I'm aving on me bread,

But if tha thinks what thas got is better,

Then tha not reight int head,


While tha eatin' thi processed meat,

Wi no goodness or taste that I know on,

Am eatin' a Sunday Roast on bread,

Nah tha can't beat that, can tha owd son.


©opyright John Doxey



Comment from Mick Carver

When I was an apprentice near Holmes my job every day was to go to the local butchers for the dripping breadcakes, some of the men wanted dripping with jelly others without and I would get a clip from them if I got the orders wrong . As my grandma once said when I once mentioned cholesterol Cholesterol !! we couldn’t afford that in our days.


Medical treatment was carried out by the Ambulance staff who were kept consistently busy treating wounds received by the men in the course of their work.

At Silverwood the first bath house was installed around 1939, prior to that the miners went home exactly as they emerged from the depths, as Johnny Cash wrote in a prelude to a Merle Travis song " Nothing clean but the whites of his eyes"

Most of the houses back then did not have a bath as we know today, and so water was boiled, and an old tin bath was used, usually placed in front of the fireplace. So the miner would sit in his bath enjoying the warmth of a fire, whilst probably having a cuppa' .

It is worth noting that in the early part of the last century [20th] that a lot of Miners had very little other clothing than the clothes they went to work in. Gradually as their lot improved some of them became very snappy dressers in their leisure time.
On Doncaster Road just down from Doctor Sedgewicks was a small shop owned by Ethel and her husband Jack Thresh pre 1960. Ethel used to make pit pants for the miners and sell them in the shop as a sideline, I gather they were a type of shorts:
Chewing tobacco was often used by miners whilst underground and though this may sound like a particular disgusting habit, it served a purpose. It kept the mouth moist and also collected a lot of dust from within the mouth, the combination of dust and tobacco juice was spat out constantly. Fred Spencer whilst attending a local chat show recalls George Speight aka Paul Shane being interviewed and telling the host of the time he had his first taste of chewing tobacco and being violently sick immediately after.

Fred also recalls,
"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, and John Longden 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"

There is little doubt that the coal industry in great Britain was one of the major reasons for the rise in the power and wealth of England during the 19th and early 20th centuries. Miners were aware of this, and took great pride in the knowledge of just how important to the economy coal mining was.





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