My wife (Margaret Ryan) and I were reminiscing last night over dinner and a bottle of wine (red) on our time growing up in Wheatley Hill and the stories of each of our respective families. It struck me that we are part of the last generations who can remember members of our family working in the local coal mines. One hundred and twenty plus years of village life around coal mining gone in the twinkling of an eye. It was a big blow to families as well as the economy of the area when that happened. We each have stories to tell of what life was like and the interaction of our family and friends in the community. The present generation only have second hand information available to them, that is, if they are interested, I’m not sure of that one. It’s important to keep these stories alive either orally or written down so that future generations will know who we were. I’ve seen on here lots of stories, photos and queries but they appear and only last for a short while. These stimulate us all and we share our own family history stories and they appear and are gone in a short while too. There is no archive of these anywhere. I don’t know how to collect these or where they should be located for future generation so thought I would throw this out for further discussion.
These are a sample of “I Remember” stories from my own past…….Our front room in our house at Liddell Terrace was always a busy place with little or no space as my Mam had the frame out and working on a clippy mat or if it was a rainy day the wash would be hanging in there drying from a line strung across the room by a couple of hooks. Cooking was done on a coal fired and oven and that fireplace was the source of heat in the house. When we had holes in our socks my Mam would place a shoe polish tin in the sock so she could darn them in a cross pattern with wool thread…..Mothers were the true heroes of the coal mining villages as they had to do it all, clean, cook, shop…etc the list goes on.
Anyway thought I would just share this observation and send it out as food for thought.
Irene Aspinall "I remember".. when we lived at 1 sixth street, dad worked at Thornley pit. Our tiny kitchen was the main room with the huge black open fire/oven providing heat, meals and hot water. The tin bath in front of the fire where we had to take turns or be bathed together lol.I can't ever remember being allowed into the 'front room'-that was a no go area for us kids. Outside netty, pee-pots under the bed for during the night. Mam sitting for hours at the sewing machine making our clothes, or putting rags or pin-curls into our hair ready for school on Monday. As the family expanded we moved to Liddell Terr, a house with inside loo AND a bathroom!! Much more space but still freezing in the winter.... we are spoilt these days...lived there until I got married. Thank you mam and dad for putting up with us lol xx
Kevin Coils I remember my grandparents (Ned and Mary Dawes) making clippy/proggy mats at the frame in front of the fire. Old saying of the family being "ya can tack ya coat off, he's not maken a mat". The same mats used to double as a heavy blanket during the cold weather. x
David Cook Kevin that was funny but I wonder if many of the present generation would know how clippy mats were made......from old clothes cut into strips and stitched into hessian cloth using a proger. Put your coat down too long and it could end up in the mat whatever colour it was!!!
Johannes Andrea Allart remember being buried under a clippy mat on the bed and still like to be snug and buried under our quilt - if we weren't pinned to the bed - we weren't warm! fond memories
Margaret Wharrier We were just talking similar tonight at the kitchen table. When Ruth mentioned her grandma talking about the back kitchen. I told her despite having a newish council house the 'front room' was also the kitchen. We had an open fire and an oven in the fireplace. All the meals were cooked and eaten there. The back kitchen held a fire under a built in 'set pot' where the washing was done. She asked where everyone would sit and I replied that the kitchen was also the living room. We didn't have a TV until well into the 50's. We had a radiogram. A radio with a turntable on top. My mam and dad had a great selections of 75's that they used to dance to. They rolled up the carpet to dance on the boards. My dad also played the piano and my mam was a wonderful singer. My childhood was surrounded with music either from the radiogram or the piano. Washing day was always a Monday and my mam was as black as a crow after she had washed my dad's pit clothes.
David Cook Margaret, didn't know you had a piano.....you must have been rich. That's probably why Greg married you for the money, the little tinker!!!!! Only music we had was to blow on the top of bottle to make a sound like a fog horn. On our floors under the mats was canvas. Under the canvas at Liddell Terrace we had concrete.
Margaret Wharrier Haha, thinking again, the floors were concrete too in Byron Street. We used to dance on the canvas! As for the piano, my mam was like second hand Rose and she bought it almost for a song. All my dad's family were musical and most of my mam's could also play. My aunt at Hetton had a one of those that you put rolls of paper music in and you could pedal it for a tune. I think they were called pianolas but I could be wrong. Nevertheless I could belt out 'Lady of Spain' on it. It used to play fast and slow depending on how fast my little legs could pedal! Greg's mam had a piano too and Greg can still do a respectable rendition of 'Jesus Loves Me'. But thinking again about the 'kitchen', most of the houses had a pantry that opened up into the living room/kitchen. There were no fridges then just concrete slabs to keep the food cold.
David Cook Margaret Wharrier I remember Greg playing the piano but to the music of 'Jesus Loves Me' he used to sing 'Gladys belts me when she can'. Gladys being Gregs mother for those who don't know the family. Thought I had posted this already but cannot find it!!!
Brian Purvis A typical day for a youngen in the mid to late 60's .....non school day....always up early, none of this lying in beyd arl day....like the youngens today....gan in the pantry and fill yer coat pockets up with brocken biscuits from the Meada Dairy, get yer bike out the outhouse and off .....nae specific place to gan but off somewhere ....usually alang the borrums of the Dardenelles to see whey was out. Always youngens playing Alleys, alang from Pratt's shop and the top of the allotments. You would have a bulge in yer pocket, carrying alleys, just in case but usually there would be a game of gatey gannen on in any one of the numbered streets that yer could join in on or mounty kitty, lasses playing skips, jumping in and out and singing songs whilst they did,women standin gassing at the gate, stockings rolled down over their slippers, arms folded, lowering their voices if they where talking about you know what,..... couple of hours later.....when next goal wins, lads would gan in for dinner or jump on the bikes to gan somewhere else. Lets have a look up to Albert's (Baldaseras) see whey's in eh.....a vimto or bovril with a couple of cream crackers and fower tanners to play the ballyhole machines and a thripenny tab shared between yers. On the way round the 'wreck', have alook in the slaughter house to see some poor animal getting chopped up and swilling the blood down......loads on the mountain glide and the tea pot lid spinning it as fast yer could and ower the keps on the swings......nae health & safety then. Strite ower the pitheaps to dae duffs, jumping off the top on yer bike or race on the tracks that had been formed ower the years.Back alang the borrums ....siven-a-side gannen on in the field next to Mini Tyers house, jumpers for goalposts, next goal wins and back yarm for yer tea
Margaret Wharrier You know how something triggers off a memory from childhood? Well we were talking about the old church hall at Wheatley Hill and I said to him indoors, 'do you remember going to the clinic there for sun ray treatment?' He hadn't a clue what I was talking about. So does anyone else remember? I think I was about 5 or 6 years old and I can remember playing in a side room with several other children in our pants and vests with a very bright light shining. (possibly ultra violet) We all wore goggles whilst we played. So come on someone and tell me i haven't dreamt it!!!
Avril Naylor Yes Margaret, I was just talking about the same memory of the sun ray lamp treatments at Wheatley Hill Welfare Hall. My brother Malcolm and I both went. Mum says it was supposed to cure his knock knees, don’t know what I was supposed to have... Didn’t work on his knees anyway. Haha Memories
Ellen Butcher I did ,my hair had started to fall out in quite a few patches and I had to go there . But there was only me in the room with the dark glass and I had to stand so long facing the light and so long facing away. And wheather it was coincidence or it worked but my hair started to grow back this was in the early 60s maybe 64 I was about ten years old x
Doreen Robson My sister had Sunray treatment at Wheatley Hill when her hair was falling out in the 50s
Russell Portues A common sight around Wheatley Hill / Thornley was the heaps of concessionary coal waiting to be shovelled in. I was reading some old Durham County archive documents and came across Section 24 of The DCC highways act which came into force in 1964. This forbid anyone from leaving coal coke or wood on pavements or roads - the fine was £5 or 40 shillings for each day 'the stuff' was left there. My mother says she got lots of work 'shovelling in' down around Wood St so folks could avoid the fine. Then coal bunkers and proper coal houses came along and she then had no option but to train to be a nurse but that's life
Russell Portues Found an early bit of archive from 1963 - it states all chilldren in the village got sweets upto school leaving age - 2000 kids. By 1968 this had changed to miners children and others upto age 5. After 1969 it was all over near enough. Which serves to show that my sibblings were stealing my sweets from at least 63 to 68 wtf !
Gordon Tempest Easter Time arrives. The lead up, the last Sundays in Lent, Carlin, Palm and Easter Sunday - Paste Egg day. The religious aspect of Easter duly noted and respected!!!
Can you remember Carlins?
Very popular when I was a young'un, lentil/pea type vegetable, soaked overnight in water and served on Carlin Sunday. They could be cooked but usually they were mixed with vinegar and eaten uncooked. Most clubs and pubs served them on the bar in a similar way as peanuts. I would get into trouble at home by pinching them by the handful and just scoffing them
Easter Sunday - "Paste Eggs", yes we got a chocolate egg or two but the hard boiled eggs made the day. We would dye them. paint them both at school and at home and then "jarp" them in competitions. Do the younger members of the group know what "egg jarpping" was? At the end of it all, lots of hard boiled eggs eaten, Cool Hand Luke style again (as with pancakes on Shrove Tuesdays, bragging about how many you could eat) - along with all the consequences of eating too many hard boiled eggs.
Joe Armstrong Anyone remember these pencil sharpeners, school "scratchers", Blotting Paper, Jotters, and porcelain ink wells?.....what a "Hedumacation" we had....all modern technology of the day!!
.......not a computer, mobile phone, Wikipedia, Face Book, Google or NOWT!!.....we learned from books!!....and in my case, as with a few of my old marrra' "The Freeman" Catalogue....or going around to Ian Watson's house with Geoff Toye and Gordon Pattinson to watch a naughty programme which I cannot remember the name of.......Cassanova, Don Juan, or The lover or something with Ian somebody in......never mind, all mammaries ...errr. Memories now......
Anne Smyth In the 60s at St Godric’s it was the ink monitor filling the inkwells on Monday mornings. Had to suck the new nib to get the coating off so it would write properly and only got a pen when you could show the teacher joined up writing. Remember I ‘christened’ the cane first week of my juniors so that would be standard 1?? Mrs Darby was the teacher. (Mike Smyth)
Anne Smyth I lived in Gowland Terrace opposite the pit and the field leading over the beck was our footy pitch. It had a couple of craters near the road but never found out what made them. One day a man came and fenced the field off with barbed wire and chased us if we snuck in to play footy. I remember coming back from church one Sunday morning and the fire men being there- John Hardy had made a fire and it got out of control. There were cars parked close by so I guess they were worried about them. Another Sunday morning the film crews and locals acting as extras over from my house. My cousins have posted great pics of this which include my Uncle Tom Hagan. We played footy and cricket on the green which was a narrow piece of grass with a few trees next to the pit baths and of course in the summer holidays if mam had a few bob spare had fish and chips in the canteen. (Michael Smyth)
PUBS IN VILLAGE
Gordon Tempest added 3 new photos to the album: Wheatley Hill Club Land.
March 3 at 6:30am
Unlike Thornley, Wheatley Hill never did have many Pubs, only 3 but it ONCE had 3 well supported Clubs, The Working Men's Club, The Constitutional Club and the third - The DDS&S (Discharged and Disabled Soldiers and Sailors) Club, aka The Soldiers or commonly "The Tin Club" beside the Central Kitchens near The Dog Track. The Soldiers Club was the first to close, having moved up to the Front Street into what was Scotts Shop in the 1970's, before closing and then re-opening as The Dunkirk Club.
Gordon Tempest The infamous “Gassy Gutter” I’m off again with one of my short stories, please bear with me and enjoy a quiet read from yester-year.
In the 50’s and 60’s this “meandering waterway” was a playground of wonder to many a young’un.
Having said that, it’s a marvel of Science as to how none of us who played in and around it, never contracted Cholera, or Typhoid from those “magic waters”.
Starting at Thornley Pit, the bulk of the water was pumped mine water from underground, topped up from the Pit Head Baths as end of shift showers were taken (including everything else????? that happens in the showers) I can always remember the water going warm and soapy at different times and wondering why?. This was supplemented from run-off rainwater from the pit heaps and fields and we have just reached the bridge across the Gassy on the “Black Path” just down from the Railway Weighbridge.
The Gassy then continued “flowing” on to Thornley Road where it went through the culvert under the road picking up overflow from the roadside gulleys. It skirted the Council Tip that contained all the “flotsam and jetsam” of the contents of our village ash bins, (including the remaining ash middens from St Godric’s school). Along the bottom of the “Whinny Field” and alongside the Pit Heaps to the second culvert under the Railway line and skirted the Heaps to Sandy Beach footbridge, passing “Bondsey’s pond” under Crows-House Road Bridge and Lynn Terrace bridges. Interestingly this Stretch of “The Beck picks up sewage overflows from the sewers, particularly during heavy rainfall. As it continues on its way it picks up exactly the same “effluent” from Wheatley Hill Pit and Baths and on it flows…… Add to that the fact that dead dogs were often found in it and once we actually found a dead man in it, near to where we were pushing each other into it. Healing waters I definitely think not, well nowadays but looking back we thought it was just, well, "The Gassy"? We plodged in it, lay in its “warm healing waters”, fished in it, jumped over/in it, pushed each other into it etc. etc……. and here we are none the worse for it (hopefully?????)
Finally, and interestingly, when the Gassy reached the Sandy Beach bridge and beyond it changed its name, usually being referred to simply as “The Beck” and the residents of Club Buildings and Lynn Terrace lived “owwah the Beck”.
Syd Hutchinson You have to be a good age now to remember the Gassy Gutter in its heyday of the 1950s and 1960s. The ‘Gassy’ was a large stream of waste water which was endlessly pumped out of Thornley Colliery during the life of the pit. Following a route about midway between Thornley and Wheatley Hill, from the colliery (some have said it was the unofficial border between the two villages) the stream passed under the Black Path to Wheatley Hill through two sturdy big pipes at about the point where the two hedge rows intersect in the photograph above. Then it went into the open again to the main road, and then under the road and back into the open in the general direction of Shotton.
On the left, Thornley side above, slurry was periodically dredged and dumped by a dutiful bucket crane into a series of low heaps. This turned that side into a permanent long bank of caked slurry. The path on the Wheatley Hill side of the stream was always clear though and this was the usual route followed by Thornley children attending the schools at Wheatley Hill. Beyond the path, on the Wheatley Hill side, was a wide slurry pond which often froze in winter and became a popular skating lake. The slurry pond is now open farmland, as seen in the middle of the picture above.
It would be great if there are pictures out there somewhere of the Gassy Gutter in its prime. However, there is still a drainage ditch and the trace of a small stream on the route of the old Gassy. The sequence of five photographs on this and the following pages were all taken on a snowy winter’s day in December 2005. Who would have thought back in 1969 that the place could look so pretty!
In the picture above, the area of thick bushes in the left foreground was a steep black slurry heap in the 1960s. The hedgerow going off in the middle to the right marks the route of the Black Path to Wheatley Hill. The large building in the distance on the road to Wheatley Hill is St Godric’s RC School
Gordon Tempest shared his album. Remember the days so vividly, I had completed my apprenticeship at the Colliery in September 1967 and in November had applied for and was granted a Transfer to Easington Colliery to gain Mechanisation experience (Wheatley Hill Colliery with few exceptions, was a "Grafting Pit" manual hard work producers - Coal Hewers, Fillers, Putters etc.). I lived in the village and had worked in amongst these men and had enjoyed every day doing so and whilst I wasn't directly involved, I felt for the men, their families and for our village community - in our village, everything good can be traced back to the miners at the pit who through their Welfare scheme had given so much.
Gordon Tempest This is a bit of a read but important and topical - Last week 50 Years ago, in fact on the 21st February 1968, the decision to close Wheatley Hill Colliery was disclosed to the miners representatives at a Colliery Consultative meeting held in the Colliery Managers Office.
At the time, a number of local newspapers sent reporters to the village and they interviewed and published articles on the human side of the loss of the village's employment mainstay.
One such article is illustrated below, it was taken from an original copy of the newspaper retained by my good friend Brian Miller who loaned me it and a host of other treasured articles he has preserved over the 50 years - thanks Brian.
The article features an interview with Harry and Norma Maratty of Wheatley HIll, whose daughter Bronwyn Lomax, now living in East Anglia, posts regularly in this Group.
Durham Chronicle Friday March 1st 1968
Article “Wheatley Hill Pit Closing”
Father of five Typical of these is 31-year-oki Harry Maratty. the father of 5 young children between the ages of three and eight, who lives with his wife Norma at 6 Wheatley Terrace. Wheatley Hill. As a power-loader he brings home about £21 a week. He told me. '”We felt at the colliery there was something “in the wind during the past 6 months because there has been little development but we did not expect the pit to close so soon.
Mr Maratty, who also has an 18 years old stepdaughter has worked at the pit since he left school at 15 but now, he said, he was seriously thinking of leaving the pits for good. He added." The way things are going all around here there does not seem much future — and what is the good of being transferred to another pit only to find it closing as well, just as you are nicely settled in?"
It would mean a " big drop in their income- if her husband did not get another job, said Mrs. Maratty as well as themselves, their children would have to " go short " of a lot of things.
"Not fair play" She added : "I don't think they have played fair with the miners — steps should have been taken long before now to bring other employment. There is just nothing for them!”
Robert Elliott THE WRONG ARM OF THE LAW I was in the lamp cabin in night shift when the local policeman walked in BOB CAN YOU TELL THE BANKSMAN TO TELL THE MINERS WHEN THEY COME TO THE SURFACE THAT THE POLICE IS IN THE LAMP CABIN. Miners used to take either sticks or a log home (A perk) been going on for generations ! But in was a fineable offence,so when the miners were aware of the police all Sticks&Logs were thrown away This was the police's perk he would wait 20 minutes till the stragglers were out of the way,get his mini van drive to where the wood had been abandoned fill the van up and go home.I was back in the electric shop whe the police came in . BOB DID THE TELL THE BANKSMAN I WAS IN THE LAMP CABIN ? Yes I told him Hows that ? THERES NOT A STICK OR LOG I JUST CANNOT UNDERSTAND IT He must have forgotten I also had a Van
Robert Elliott Worked with Sammy Elliott at the pit he found a pair of boots that someone had thrown away,better than his own he wore them,we were loading 21tom railway wagons with coal.The wheel went over Sam's foot flattening the steel fiscal the gaffer who was supervising us Fainted, Sam took his boot off not a mark on his foot How come I asked in amazement Sam said I take a size 6 and these are 9
Syd Hutchinson Best I can do is in my last year at school we had a visit to the pit. Going through the showers were all these naked men and one was a classmates uncle. We just about made it out when a voice shouted," Hey xxxx, make sure you wipe your arse when you start mind". All but one of us laughed.
David Cook A lot of the miners used snuff to clear there sinus's and they also used it when they were in the club just a habit like smoking. One lad who used to take snuff was a driver who's job, with a pit pony was to take timber into the coal face for support purposes. He would always use his snuff every day and sometimes he would give some to the pony but it never would sneeze. One day he had just given the pony some snuff and then he sat down to have his 'bait' usually a sandwich and a bottle of water. As he was sitting the pony wandered over and right in front of him gave out with a huge sneezed. He was covered from head to toe with pony snot......sweet revenge.
David Cook In the mechanics shops at Thornley some of the lads would send some of the new apprentices over to the Chemists opposite the pit for rubber hammers, glass nails and maidens water. Those were the days.
Brian Phenny they sent me to the stores for a long stand, but I wasn't that dumb, they thought I was standing in the storehouse waiting for a long stand and I was in the canteen drinking tea
David Cook In the early 60's I was going to Stockton Tech and the college had arranged a visit to Thornley Colliery. Bunty Hubbard was the Training Officer at that time and he took us down the pit and had a look around and we made our journey back to the cage for our return to the surface. As the cage was going up the shaft it started to go slow as it neared the surface. At that time Bunty said that he had had a bunch of student nurses from Sedgefield Hospital the previous week and as the cage slowed down he had them stand on one leg so that it would take some weight off the rope and that they would get to the surface quicker. He was a good bloke.
David Cook I didn't hear this story directly it is second hand or maybe third hand.....In the pit yard at Thornley there was a building that they used to make repairs to the shunty that moved the coal wagons around the pit yard before they were sent on their way out to their final destination. One of the men working there was a man called Joe Green a blacksmith who would tell a good tale. He once said that during the war the German battleship Turpitz was holed up in a Norwegian fjord but the RAF couldn't get close enough for them to bomb it. They had tried midget submarines but with no success. Winston Churchill said the only man that could sink it was Joe Green. Winston called on Joe and Joe came up with an idea. The plan was for Joe to be dropped into the fjord with diving gear and an oxyacetylene torch so he could burn holes in the bottom of the Turpitz. Joe started burning holes but was not making any headway. Joe said that as he was burning the holes the the sly German bastards (his words) had a man on the inside welding them back up again. He left and as he was surfacing the search lights were flashing and he heard on the ships loud speakers...'Get Her Joe Green' so they knew he was there to sink the ship. He escaped and made it back to Thornley. Another character from Thornley.
Peter Hall I heard about a bloke who when it came to bait time he picked his bait out of his his pocket and threw it straight into the goaf and shouted f...... Cheese sgain .his marra says how do you know it's cheese ya haven't opened it
.he's says cos I put the b....... Up
Syd Hutchinson My dad smoked a pipe, condor tobacco. A man he worked with was always asking for some baccy for his pipe and my dad didn't like to say no but got sick of it. One day he took an extra tin and mixed dog dirt in with the bacci. He was never asked again.
Bob Elliott THE TRILOGY OF THE LAST ESTA I started work at Wheatley Hill Pit at 15 some time later a official asked if I could ride a bike as they needed an ESTA what's an esta I asked ,he's a person who tells a man he esta gan to work.Start at 3am tomorrow the bike had no light so I was given a cap lamp,a list of 4 men living in Shotton I did not know any streets in Shotten at 3-30am I knocked someone up and asked if he knew where Tommy Snowball lived he started to curse he told to me stay there till he came down,I passed the offer up and got on the bike after knocking up half of Shotton I finally found Mr Snowball (The EASTA gan to work for 5am I said)Tommy Snowball looked at me then his pocket watch and said Son it's twenty to five now.I don't know to this day why I lost the ESTAS job
Bob Elliott As an apprentice at Wheatley Hill Colliery the dare of the time was to ride the timber pony I tried George Anderson tried lasted 2minutes Les Barker got on the pony it bucked like he'll then flew out of the pit gates Les still clinging on.He came back on the pony 15 minutes later he had won Then he told us his thumb was caught ,in the harness so he couldn’t get off if he tried
Peter Baxter Nice story Bob. I have a similar one. I too was an apprentice for the NCB as it was then. I did my Underground Training at Seaham Colliery. The NCB, trying successfully to cover all the angles, instructed us in the use of air-flow and methane-detecting instruments as well as how to handle pit-ponies. This is late sixties, which I thought of as super modern, which, at the time, it was of course. I was amazed to find that they had stables underground, with ponies in them, like something left over from a bygone age. Which of course they were. Me and a couple of others were shown the evil smelling stables and introduced to the ponies. We had to harness a pony to a token tub and have the pony pull the (empty) tub to a way-station and back again. Now the gallery at Seaham Colliery had hills, it wasn't flat, it had uphills and down hills, and I was amazed, and amused to find that the braking device for the downhill sections was a metal dreg which you rammed in between the spokes of the wheel and the tub thereby jamming the wheel.
What we didn't know, and were mischievously not told, was that the ponies spent most of their days pent up in the stable and went wild when they were allowed out. We got the pony harnessed to the tub and I was the brake-man. The pony set off gleefully, probably in the knowledge that these clowns were useless, and shot along the gallery at a hell of a pace, with us in our pit-boots and NCB overalls scrambling to keep up as we came to a hill which the pony simply barrelled down with me, literally sprinting after it trying desperately to get the dreg into the whirling wheel. To no avail. The pony chugged along triumphantly, laughing to itself I thought. Pony 1, apprentices 0.
Just a thought ......anyone have any expressions that have come from coal mining that we still use today.
Here are a couple that I have used in the past that may be of interest....After seeing a lad who was really drunk we would always say 'He's o'wer the keps'. To the layman or woman that wouldn't make any sense but it came from language at the pit. The keps were a safety device used at the top of the shaft to hold the cage in place after traveling to the surface for both man rider and tub rider. It was engaged manually by the banksman and made sure there were accidents with the cage. Anyone over the keps was beyond the safety threshold!!!!
The second one I have is Chum'uns....this was used in the clubs and pubs for empty glasses left on tables as they were collected by the bar staff. Chum'uns are empty tubs in the coal mine which are filled with coal before being sent to the surface........so the connection between empty glasses and empty tubs!!!!
Another observation from working at the pit......the men working on the coal face would walk to the coal face (in by) with their coats on and take them off when they were at the face. If they had bait (sandwich) and didn't have a bait tin the bait was usually wrapped in newspaper. To stop the mice, (yes mice)from eating the bait the men would take their coat and hang it on anything that would hold it up against the supports. From there they would take one sleeve of the coat close to the top of the sleeve and twist it like a Christmas cracker a couple of times and then put there bait in the sleeve up against the twist at the top. From there they would take the bottom of the sleeve and make another twist or two at the bottom of the sleeve and then but the bottom of the sleeve in an empty pocket. The bait was wrapped up like a Christmas cracker in the sleeve and the mice couldn't help themselves to a free meal. Pit men were very inventive when pushed!!!!
Kevin Hagler Connor Snr We still say. I'm owa far inbye now mara. Meaning I'm to old for that now.
Russell Portues Whilst staying with London relations my daughter and cousin returned from playing in the park and were filthy - I said 'you two hackie black buggers need a bath' well there was hell on as a result of my racist slur. Had to explain about the effect of mixing sweat with coal dust.