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Emails - Other Topics
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Jeff Bartram I am a Dowser for "secret" passages and tunnels. How would ventilation have been implemented and used?
Colin Goode Bentley Save the Ilkeston Winder
Adey Allison Winder and Generator, how long is the cable. . .
Adam France Can you help? We are looking at what life used to be like and what it's like now
Bernard Brunt Wakefield Mines Rescue Station. The ex-mining community wants information
Beth Chapman Can We Run a Davey Lamp on Coke? OR a calcium carbide lamp
Dan Buxton. When did the mines in the Eastwood area Nationalise?
Dave Shed We Need A Memorial For The Miners Of Bradford Colliery, In Manchester
Debbie Galloway Was there was a film made about the Knockshinnoch Disaster?
Diana Daniels Any Pictures of Old Coal Engines?
Eduard Smoke Helmet For Sale
Ian Henderson, Emeritus Professor of Vertebrate Endocrinology What Do You Know About Pit Ponies?
Larry Ford Can anyone tell us about this Wolf Safety Lamp?
Paul Freer Pictures of Old Coal Wagons
Ray Turnor How do you fill a Davey lamp?
Steven Lumb What is the name of the fuel used in a davey mine lamp?

Emails Page 1 5 10 15 20 21 26 Lamps


From: Jeff Bartram
22 March 2002
I am a Dowser for "secret" and escape passages and tunnels. How exactly would ventilation have been implemented and used?

My name is Jeff Bartram and I live in Newcastle upon Tyne. When I was a young lad, I was offered the chance to go down the Winning pit in Wallsend but did not take it up. I have always regretted that decision. I can empathise with the miners who worked in such conditions. I also realise what it must have been like to live and die in such dank and dark surroundings.

For many decades now I have had a great interest in both local and world history. I am also a Dowser. However, I do not look for water, but for underground "secret" passages and tunnels. With great success I might add. I look for what I strongly suspect are secret communications tunnels built by the Roman Catholic church long ago. They would also undoubtedly have been used for escape purposes during times of troubles. These would include 1539 (Dissolution of the Monasteries) 1650 (Cromwell) 1715 and 1745 (Jacobite Rebellions). These tunnels go from churches, to Halls, and to grand houses which were owned by staunch Roman Catholics supporters. They cover large tracts of ground.

My question is this. Actually, I have several.
If I built a "secret" tunnel connecting separate properties, how exactly would ventilation have been implemented and used. Newcastle is famous for coal, ("Carrying coals to Newcastle" is a saying which I never considered would become redundant). I am not that familiar with coal mining ventilation other than by fire near the shaft or perhaps an air shaft here and there not necessarily easily seen in modern landscapes. If I had a better idea of how ventilation could be hidden from view, then perhaps I might be able to figure out just where exactly they might have been.
Along the tracks of my dowsed "tunnels", I HAVE come across sealed-up entrances, but a vent of any kind is never obviously apparent. Perhaps I have missed them? How far could one dig a tunnel before ventilation became absolutely vital? How could one ventilate it without making it apparent to a casual observer up top? Disguise it as something else is the obvious answer but this subterfuge may stick out like a sore thumb and so become found out. If one wished to dig a tunnel from A to B, then how exactly could one guarantee hitting the exact spot? I.e. the cellar of the property concerned? It seems to me that such activity would need the co-operation of casual labour, or have strong support from them to the exclusion of all others. Fear could engender that security, or the threat of death or "Hell" perhaps. Whatever, the secret WAS kept. To such an extent that now, mention of such a tunnel is met with scepticism of the highest order. However, I am convinced of my theory and have searched for several years now for concrete proof.
I have mapped out the local area to a considerable degree and find that many of these "tunnels" connect to other areas where I have dowsed. I have covered a substantial area of ground without finding evidence of such ventilation and am anxious to understand just how ventilation was effected by miners to give me an idea of how these tunnels may have been ventilated.
Thank you for your time, I look forward to a positive response.

Colin Goode Bentley
Save the Ilkeston Winder
Sat 13/09/2003

I have just found the Ilkeston Emergency Winder and Scammell Mountaineer generator truck featured on your web site I have managed to purchase the Scammell and generators and some of the other ancillary bits but I have no room or time to take on the Winder I am trying to find someone or somebody to purchase the winder to stop it being cut up for scrap. I have managed to secure a stay of execution for a few weeks from the present owner. If you know of anybody who is willing to get involved please contact me via Email
Colin Goode Bentley

I would not normally put up an email address with out permission but I am having so many problems with my computer (virus attack) and because of the short time scale you can contact Colin at

Winder and Generator, how long is the cable. . .
Adey Allison
Mon 23/06/2003

Dear Fionn and Liz
I'm putting together an article, for publication in a magazine about the current Mines Rescue Service. I've been up to the Mansfield Station and taken some photographs, but nobody on station can give me any technical information on the Winder and Generator.
Hopefully you might be able to help.................
What is the length of the cable on the Winder?
What is the Diameter of the cable drum?
How much power can the generator produce?
And finally a slightly obscure one, but............
What would be the the power produced equate to for example "X" number of kettles?
Heres hoping you can help.

Some information about the Winder

Can you help? We are looking at what life used to be like and what it's like now
Adam France
Fri 25/04/2003

Hi there (sorry we do not know your name!)
We are a group of young people doing a heritage project in Greasbrough a small village on the outskirts of Rotherham.
We are looking at what life used to be like for people and what it's like now.
I am doing an article on mining after seeing old accident books at Sheffield Achives.
Can you help us at all or put a call for help up on your site?

This would be much appreciated
Look forward to hearing from you
yours Adam France

Wakefield Mines Rescue Station
Bernard Brunt
Sun 16/03/2003

I have been asked by a mate in Middlestown Working Men's Club, wf4 4qe, if you could give him information as to the above i.e., names of people who served at that station, plus any pictures at all. The ex-mining community would appreciate anything on that subject as to Wakefield's Rescue Team based in Ings Road WKFD in the 60s and maybe 70s.
Thank you
Bernard Brunt

When did the mines in the Eastwood area Nationalise?
Dan Buxton.
Fri 10/01/2003

Dear fionn-and-liz
I hope you can help me answer a question could you tell me when the mines in the Eastwood area became nationalised and part of the NCB. Many thanks.

Dan Buxton.

So far as I know all the mines, apart from one or two individuals, were nationalised at the same time.

World war two brought partial state control to the industry but day-to-day control remained with the individual owners. Policy making was placed in the hands of a National Coal Board, on which owners and unions were represented in equal numbers, and in each region there was a Regional Coal Board similarly constructed. The staff of these bodies formed the nucleus of the staff of the new National Coal Board which took over the mines on behalf of the nation on 1st January 1947.

I will put your e-mail up on the web site so that if anyone knows anything different they will, with luck, get back to us. If you do not want your amyl on the web site let me know and I will remove it immediately.


Was there was a film made about the Knockshinnoch Disaster?
Debbie Galloway
Sat 09/11/2002

Wondering if you can help me with the answer to a question. My parents say there was a film made about the Knockshinnoch Disaster but i cannot find out the name of it, is there any chance you would know this.

Many thanks

Hello Fionn,
There was a feature film called 'The Brave Don't Cry' based on the disaster. It is many years since the this has appeared on British TV and I guess it is unlikely that it will be shown again. I know that Stephen Kennedy, who runs the New Cumnock Then and Now web-site was trying to get copies off the film on to Video.

Some news footage of the disaster appears in the video 'Back to the Fields' by Francis Lopez (see my web-site) and there have been a number of documentaries on the disaster, the most recent in the BBC marking the 50th anniversary. One of the heroes of the disaster also featured in EamonnAndrews 'This is Your Life' way back in 1960.'

hope this helps,
best wishes

Diana Daniels
Any Pictures of Old Coal Engines?
Sat 06/09/2003 20:13

Please can anyone help with pictures of the old Coal Engines...My father used to drive these engines for the Burradon Colliery from 1950 till 1977 when the pit closed down.
Any info would be greatly appreciated.

I have found a photo of my Dad and his engine, but I am still looking for more pictures, can anyone help?

Smoke Helmet For Sale
Sat 13/09/2003


When my computer is working better I will add some more photos.

What Do You Know About Pit Ponies?
Any help would be enormously appreciated;
Ian Henderson, Emeritus Professor of Vertebrate Endocrinology
11 January 2002

I am trying to prepare a description / analysis of the endocrine conditions of pit ponies - poor things they spent 50 of 52 weeks in darkness or, at best, very artificial light. Their hormones, their rhythms would undoubtably been affected. My long term aim is to try to assess the differences in pathologies.

I have visited the Coal Mining museum in Wakefield and met a couple of former pit ponies, who seem fine and I am attempting to arrange for their bone densities to be assessed [no natural light, rickets, soft bones etc]

I have another avenue of investigation - the ponies and horses that partook in the construction of the Paris Metro, where, I am told, they spent several years totally underground.

Any help would be enormously appreciated; I seek veterinary records and anecdotal accounts. I have had access to some veterinary records and they should prove useful - we'll see. One aspect that is fascinating is that being in the semi-constant light (not natural regimes) did the ponies undergo the annual moulting and regrowth of their coats? I am told, anecdotally that collars had to be changed because of thicker necks!

I am having some local excursions in Derbyshire and South Yorkshire but my detective work is not proving too successful, although I will have an interesting file of anecdotes.

I do hope you can give me some guidance

Ian W Henderson,
Emeritus Professor of Vertebrate Endocrinology

Division of Genomic Medicine
Academic Unit of Endocrinology
University of Sheffield Medical School
Beech Hill Road
Sheffield S10 2RX,


Paul Freer
Pictures of Old Coal Wagons
Tue 02/09/2003

I am looking for pictures of old coal wagons from the East Midlands in order to have some models produced.
Any help would be appreciated
Paul freer

How do you fill a Davey lamp?
Ray Turnor
Sat 23/11/2002

I was wondering if you could help me out.
A friend of mine has got a Davey lamp, but we can't figure out on how to fill it up !, it seems that there is a round adapter type thingy under the base, if so what did it connect too ?
All I can tell you about the lamp is.

* The Wolf Safety Co (W.M.Maurice Ltd Sheffield)
* Wolf type FG M&Q safety lamps
* APP No B2-222

Ray Turnor

I think the round adapter thing on the bottom of the safety lamp will in fact be the adjuster for the size of flame. We hardly ever took lamps in to the pit with us (only when the inspector was coming and then there was a mad rush to find a lamp by the deputy's !) The man that used to monitor the shaft pumps and fan used to service the lamps which he had a special tool to open the lamps. It was simple enough to open them without it however. On the ones I have see (the protector type) there will be a small lever on the side of the base this prevents the base from turning. To pull the lever out of the way requires a magnet. The lever has two pins, one to pivot on and one to lock the lever in place. Place the magnet under the locking pin and slowly pull the magnet down (pulling the pin with it) and then you should be able to pull the lever out of the way and unscrew the base enabling it to be filled up. Tip to light the lamp is to swing the lamp with one arm and then to blow into the top holes (you exhale about 16 % oxygen so it helps). A good hard push with the lighter and it should light up. As is the case the lamp lights up ok at bank and will not underground ! I hope it helps.

James Findlay

What is the name of the fuel used in a davey mine lamp?
Steven Lumb
Sun 06/04/2003

Hello there
My name is Steven Lumb, I have a Question that some one may be able to answer for me, could you tell me the name of the fuel used in a davey mine lamp, the nick name and the chemical name. I believe it is called naphthalene or naphtha, hope that you or some one else can help. I worked in the mining industry for nearly twenty years, but suffer bad with my health now, with various work related complaints.
Yours Faithfully
S M Lumb

Steven Lumb is correct - naptha or napthalene is the normal fuel for the oil safety lamp. Naptha is a light oil fraction obtained from either coal tar or crude oil. Naptha is predominantly used as the basis for production of further more useful products through "cracking" of the molecule, e.g for plastics. It was valued in the safety lamps for the brightness of its flame.Rgds,
Joe Henshaw

The commercial name for the fuel used in Davey lamps / Clanny lamps was Colzalene, we used it also for cleaning ball and roller bearings. Should be still available......Jack Hallam

Pit Terminology - Glossary