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|From: Terry Cullen
Subject: Bradford Colliery Manchester
Sent: 15 January 2006
Many thanks for a very interesting and informative website.
I worked at Bradford Colliery from 1955 to 1962. Apart from 16 weeks basic training at Oak Colliery, Hollinwood this was my first job since leaving grammar school at 16 years. My father and grandfather were miners before me.
I served a 5 year electrical engineering apprenticeship followed by a further 2 years as an underground electrician.
Bradford was a great pit for young men particularly. We worked hard but there was a good social side with plenty of sporting activities, including football, rugby league, cricket, table tennis etc. I was captain of the rugby team for a couple of years.
The old part of the mine was very hot and dusty - I can certainly remember the lads on the face wore little apart from a belt for the cap lamp battery. I remember vaguely the 9's face (was it the Cromburke seam?) and the Roger West 6s face. The newer part of the mine was as a result of the innovative horizon mining tunnels I certainly remember the 2 Foot Radley seam and the Moston 6 foot seam. All the seams throughout the pit were on severe gradients.
I would like to ask if any one can help me find the depth of the deepest workings at the pit. I know the shafts were over a 1000 yards deep. I spent some uneasy times on top of the cages when we were putting new electric cables down them. I suspect at the deepest the workings must have been close to 1400 yards in depth from the surface.
By the way the best tunnel to work in was that between the Coal Preparation plant and Stuart Street power station. As apprentices we used to get the job of replacing fluorescent tubes in the tunnel lighting system.
Bradford Colliery prepared me for a reasonably successful career first in coal mines in Kent, Northern Mexico and Nottinghamshire and latterly within the Refractories Industry. I am long since retired but apart from the loss of friends and colleagues in tragic accidents I would do the same again.
In Response To The Philip Morris Request 4 Jan 2006.
In 1955 the down cast shaft was served by a steam winder. The speed of descent was fast - sometimes heart stoppingly fast. As far as I can remember the upcast shaft was an electric Koepe Winder system.
The old part of the pit - Crombourke and Roger seams - were a long way from the pit bottom. In both cases you got there via a very steep man riding haulage. I certainly remember on the Crombourke side that the cars stopped half way down and then you transferred to the other side of the track to go the rest of the way down. Memory not as good but I would think the man riding section must have been around 1,400 yards long down a very severe gradient. After leaving the cars you had to walk a long way down hill before arriving at the tail and main gates. It was hot it was dusty and just reaching the face took a lot of effort. The seams were on severe gradients with chain conveyors along the face length. The seams were undercut by Anderson Boyes or BJD cutters pre - production shift. Shot firing broke the coal down somewhat but then the colliers with pick and shovel did the rest. Ripping, panning and packing were done on the back shifts. This was similar on the Roger seams although I seem to think that the man riding haulage was a full ride no changing sides.
Later in the 1950s the steam winder was withdrawn and replaced by an electric winder. The pit had its own power station with motor generators to supply the dc to each winder.
The new side of the pit went out towards the Moston area. Moston Pit had been closed down and its coal was accessed from Bradford. Many of the lads who worked here were transferred from Moston and Woodpark pits. Access was much easier - Flat tunnels served by battery electric locomotives and man riding carriages.
The Moston seams were on steep gradients and seam height was about 6 feet. Initially coal getting was very similar to that described for the old side of the pit. Although I do remember we did start fully mechanising towards the end of my time there.
I remember the Radley seam opening - not as far as the Moston faces - but the same access. Radley seam was about two and half feet height. Again the gradient was very steep.
I think a lot of the lads from the Oak and Ashton Moss Collieries were transferred to the Moston and Radley seams when their pits were closed.
During the late 50's the two horizon tunnels broke through towards Ashton Moss Colliery.
I remember the staple shafts being opened between the 2 horizons they saved a long walk.
Other memories include the underground crushing and screening plant to provide material for stowing the waste after coal was extracted. This was supposed to replace hand packing. It was messy, noisy, dusty it was pit work.
I served an electrical engineering apprenticeship at Bradford - so I saw every side of the pit surface and underground. In the main I was happy there - we had some bad times and some bad accidents - but that was mining.
I am truly sorry that our youngsters don't have the opportunities we had. Not much money but we could all walk into a worthwhile job.
Hope this helps