Bilsthorpe Colliery Taken From the Top of Dirt Disposal Bunker 1987
Old Dumper Garage 1987
Rear view of old dumper Garage which was demolished in the late eighties, the underground vent fan housing is seen sticking up in front, with number 2 headstocks to the left. The control room is on the right with fitting shop at front right, note the new brick work in the wall which is were a Scammell Himalayan dumper smashed through it in 1968.
I started work at Bilthorpe colliery in June 1968 after working at Hutchinsons Garage in the village for seven years.
Dumper at Dirt Bunker
Contractors, Aveling Barford, Centaur 30 ton dumper at dirt disposal bunker in 1990, the concrete wall was built to allow the bunker to overflow over night and eliminate night shift drivers, the dirt was then loaded into dumper with a wheeled loading shovel, number 1 headstocks can be seen at left of picture.
Me in 1990 in my fitting shop days standing with a contractors 30 ton dumper, at the dirt bunker
They were similar to but older than our three RDO30 dumpers that were pensioned off in 1987.
I had applied to be a dumper driver on the dirt disposal, unfortunately, the job had gone to someone else, and I was offered a temporary post repairing the dumpers until another vacancy arose, however, I ended up staying in the Garage for the next twenty years, then six years in the fitting shop.
Fitting shop radial drill, I remember it well as it put me in hospital for three days in March that year
Injury after being hit by a piece of steel spinning out of drill vice in fitting shop, March 31st 1990
Gershom Marshall, who was always called Guss, was the van driver on days regular, it was driven on afters by the well pump men and a regular man on nights.
I, along with most people, got on with him from the start, He was a short stocky chap with a pleasant nature, and it was a pleasure to have known him, over the years he would often talk of his days underground where he became a chargeman, and told me that on one occasion he was talking to a deputy who had his hand on a ring support, when suddenly a girder fell down and chopped his hand off.
One day a gang of them decided to have some fun with a chap, and one of them charged into an air door headfirst bursting the door open, then saying to him they bet he couldn't do it, he took up the challenge and charged the door not knowing that some one had meanwhile spragged it shut, he bounced off with his helmet well over his ears.
Another time he was finishing his shift and found some explosives that a deputy had misplayed and on getting on the shaft cage handed them to him, the deputy was very grateful telling Guss he'd saved his job.
When he was in the Home Guard, one night his platoon were in their headquarters and one of them was cleaning his rifle when it suddenly went off, the bullet hit the ceiling and ricocheted down instantly killing someone.
Eventually he had to come out from underground and then drove a tractor on the pit top, and there was some one who was always telling jokes, and when they saw him coming, Guss used say to his mates "when he tells a joke don't laugh" and so they would listen to his tale and then keep stone faced and say "we'll see you then" and the chap could never understand it, and Guss said he told some good jokes.
Regarding Book 7, The Death Throws 1997-2000, 1997-Page 4 - New winding house - Bilsthorpe.
There is a picture entitled steam winding man, and after collaboration with my brother, who was himself a winder at the colliery, we are sure that it is Thomas (Tommy) Arthur Cooling who, when I started at the colliery, worked in the uniflock at the washery in the week, and in the well pump at weekends, which also entailed driving the van, lorry and ambulance. ( as did working in the Garage )
He was also a sergeant in the specials, and after the new coal prep. was built his old job was gone, and so he applied for a winding job, were he stayed into the electric days, unfortunately one day dying in the new winding house.
I read in another of your articles that the old Number 2 winding house was a disgrace, too true, it looked like something out of a shanty town, and the toilet was a 45 gallon open top oil drum on the lower floor, with the toilet bowl up stairs, and it was emptied by wheeling it across the floor, which was sometimes done by the then yard foreman Lenny Taylor, who in his haste would often have the contents splashing all over.
There is also a picture of the wagon lower devises, that could also push them back up if they over ran, which you couldn't do with brake sticks and wooden scotches, and although all the pit top plant machine punctures were under contract to a tyre company (thank goodness) they were not, and so the Garage staff had to mend them.
There is also a picture of a winding drum being installed, that was for number 1 winder, and when in operation it did eighteen revolutions per draw.
Coles ( Adonis ) crane number 33366, Aveling Barford Dumper number SL2941 and JCB 423
loading shovel with 3 cu. yd. bucket at dumper Garage.
Centre is old dumper Garage, on the far left is the lamp room, right of that is the control room with the boiler house chimneys behind, the power mag. lightning conductors are sticking up behind the Garage.
Right of the Garage is the joiners wood store and next to that is the old, then bricked up ambulance garage, next to that was the old medical centre which was then the fire station, the chained walk way was for the underground men.
Behind new dumper Garage (built 1984 on old boiler site)
Beyond is the dirt disposal belt gantry and to the right number 1 winding house.