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The pit is now closing with one last face to be won out and is due to finish in May with the capping of the drift and ventilation shafts in August.

Page 11


Tue 12th February 2002

24s shearer face stopped coaling.
The west conveyors have pulled out and is now flooding.
The heading I was in has now also stopped.

Sat 24th February 2002

I have not written for a while as I've been injured by a falling roof support

Wed 13 March 2002

The final face has started coal production.
Wrytree has started to dismantle already.

Tue 26 March 2002 Wrytree is being dismantled pretty quickly and all that is left of the didcot tube and crusher is just a pile of scrap. Most of the storage yard has been flattened.
Wed 10 April 2002 I finally managed to get a plan of the mine
Wed 17 April 2002 We have had a rescue practice at the Houghton-Le-Spring rescue station today.
Fri 10 May 2002 Well we finally have notice of redundancy and I have absolutely no idea of what to do.
Thur 27 June 2002 Amazingly I have managed to get myself a job
Wed 24 July 2002 James Findlay, The gravel that will eventually fill the drift has arrived.
Fri 2nd August 2002 Coal production at Blenkinsopp has stopped.
Sat 24th August 2002 Mines Rescue Entrapment
Sat 24th August 2002 Wrytree is finally filled with gravel!
Sat 7th Sept 2002 Some of the last photos of Blenkinsopp
Pit Closure Part 2 Pit Closure Part 3
The Auction

 

Friday 1st February 2002
The heading that was going for the coal reserves in the west conveyer road have been stopped.
The pumps have now stopped although they are continuing with the ventilation for the time being.
The only things that have been salvaged have been the electrical cables the rest of the machines are going to end up in a watery grave which is sad when you consider the time they have had underground.
The machine left is an AB Arcwaller and I believe was in use before the 2nd world war. I have some photos of the three left at surface and I will try to get a shot of the last working one which will also be left.
This is a strange point to the pit closing, a fitter, Angus Evans who has been at the pit the longest told me the finishing point of the last face is more or less were the pit started when the Blenkinsopp side was being opened up again !!


Tuesday 12th February 2002
It is hectic at work at the minute.

  • 24s shearer face stopped coaling.
  • The west conveyors have pulled out and is now flooding.
  • The heading I was in has now also stopped. We were heading towards an old face line (21s) with a Dosco Dintheader while an Arcwaller was heading up towards us, to make an alternative route, to get any equipment out when the new face sets away in about four to five weeks time. When we hit the faceline there was more water in it than we expected and we got flooded out.
    The machine stopped most of the water from coming in at full flow so we managed to get out in time although the machine went under and is now stuck and is waiting for the faithful Arcwaller to come to the rescue.
    I cannot see it being salvaged however and I think it will just be left.
  • One of the shafts which, is not used and I think was used for the Wrytree and Fellend pits, has been filled in and the building taken down.
  • I have been told one of the other shafts, known as the furnace shaft and was filled in some time ago was once a bell pit!
    It must have been converted when the more modern miners came and I suppose it was a ready made shaft for them.
    I have been to the shaft once and it was a bit of an experience getting there with many roof falls and having to slither through small gaps to get there!
    I can now say I have been in a bell pit it's just a pity I did not have a camera!

Saturday 24th February 2002

I have not wrote for a while as I've been injured by a falling roof support. I am currently walking around like a crow with a broken wing. Nothing too serious however and I can still type although with just one finger (what other way is there !)
Wednesday 13 March 2002

Sorry it has been some time getting in contact with you but it has been very busy these last few weeks. Just to let you know that the final face has started coal production. Every shear that the machine takes is shortening the life of the pit.

Wrytree has started to dismantle already. The majority of the men have now left leaving only 29 by the start of April. Hopefully I will send you some more stuff and some photos later on this week.
Be safe.


These are fabulous pictures, I have kept the originals, with lots of detail, for the time when large files can be downloaded quickly and easily by most of us.

Tuesday 26 March 2002

Here are some photos from Wrytree. As you can see from the photos Wrytree is being dismantled pretty quickly and all that is left of the didcot tube and crusher is just a pile of scrap. Most of the storage yard has been flattened. As far as I know the sheds will be left up as they are now the landowners property. Any building on leased land automatically becomes the landowners after a while!

Blenkinsopp will be flattened as they belong to a different landowner and he wants the land back as it was originally.
It is sinking in more about the closure especially when you see people leave. In about a weeks time there will be only 29 men.


Wednesday 10 April 2002


I finally managed to get a plan of the mine but in A3 size. A4 was not clear enough. I scanned the plan in sections and got the computer to 'stitch' them together and hey presto a copy of the mine plan is included here.

The plan is pretty much up to date apart from the south west face which has been coaling for some time now. If you would like some more idea of the places, let me know and I will resend the plan with the relevant details on.

The surveyor is going to do me a full size A0 plan for keepsakes. I don't think I have enough space on the wall for something like that and would cost me a fortune for a frame !

We received a letter with our pays today informing us that we will receive our notice of redundancy on the 10th of May and finally
finishing on the 2nd of August.

Not sure of what to do for a job. There's not much scope for miners in the country never mind the county.

Longannent in Scotland is also closing after an inrush of 17 million gallons of water. They have been having problems for a long time.



Time to start thinking about the future and what to do, hopefully something
will come up.

Wednesday 17 April 2002

We have had a rescue practice at the Houghton-Le-Spring rescue station today. We only found out we were going yesterday so it was pretty short notice. Their was only 3 team members that went this time, Myself, Bob Fitzgerald, and Keith Richardson. The reason for this if the full team went their would not be enough men to run the mine ! The rest of the team go next week.

I took my camera (of course) although I did not have enough time to charge the battery up so I only managed a few photos before the battery went flat.

Bob testing his unit after a rebuild
I have stopped taking the camera underground as it is taking it's toll with moisture and dust so I have just a few pics of the 'galleries' .
Friday 10 May 2002

Well we finally have notice of redundancy and I have absolutely no idea of what to do.
To be honest it has not fully sunk in, what is happing, or I do not want to know.
Should I stop till the bitter end or should I start looking now. What type of job do I look for?

I have been at Blenkinsopp for so long and enjoy it as well it is going to be hard to adjust to another job. It seems funny to say 'enjoy' working underground in dark, dusty and dangerous conditions but I do.
I have mostly been working at Bank lately, as I am one of the few that can work the surface hauler, plant and fork lifts. I have been kept busy sorting gear for sale and scrap and generally tidying the place up.
Of course it is nice to see and feel the sun and breath the fresh air it does not compare with working at the coal face.

On bank holiday Monday I might have spent my last day on the face. I was sent in as one of the men could not make it. I had not done his job before, covering the stage loader end of the face but I got the hang of it quick. Cleaning the coal the machine had left, knocking the wood props out and forwarding the dowtys ready for the machine coming back down the face ready for the next cut. The goaf banging on and the props creaking make you uneasy but everybody else ignores it so you do. You just got everything set up and the disc would be down at the maingate end and you would have to start all over again.
No bait time, the more coal we get out, the more money we make and we might need it for the future. Everybody knows in 12 weeks time or so that will be it.

My grandad, who worked most of his life in the mines, always said it takes a special type of man to work underground. I don't know what he would call a man that enjoys it !