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Miners and Their Families
What's It Like Being A Miner?
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Ian Morrison- Hucknall & Ollerton Collierys.
Malcolm Clarke - Doris Ball - I am a cousin of Doris Una Ball on the Palmer family side
Maureen Taylor (nee Ball) - Charlie Palmer Died At Markham Colliery But Not In The 1973 Disaster
Tony Dove - My father Ernie, or 'Snowy' to his mates, grandfather and uncles all worked down pit.
Jack Hallam - I started work at Shipley, Woodside colliery on the 3rd. January 1948.
Mick Jeavons - During a week of 168 hours we only received an average of 42 hours leave.
Tony Cox - Cotmanhay lad and ex u/g mech.
Les Cooper - My first job in the pit was as a ganger.
Ross Sharp - 1973 Markham Disaster.

Hucknall & Ollerton Collierys
Ian Morrison
Wed 20 November 2002
Dear sir,
I worked at Hucknall No 2 colliery up until it closed in 1986, and worked on both k32s and k33s both of which had sandstone intrusions at some time or another on them, the management at a very high level(London) knew that these two faces would thin out and run into trouble the further we went on that side of the workings, infact they used to phone every day from London(Hobart House) to see what problems we were encountering, obviously they didn't want miners killed for there decision to open that side of the workings up, old miners told us young lads that they were the worst conditions they had ever seen or worked in, the dust from the double headed sheerer when going through the sandstone was unbelievable, and so was the extreme heat, but we endured it, because some of us knew they were trying to close the colliery, and the effects on the wider community would be catastrophic, why else would they deliberately take two out of three working faces into the bad working side of the pit. On the North East, and East sides of the mine there were plenty of mineable reserves, in fact I was working a heading when the closure decision was taken, that was 8 foot thick with coal, and we had the first 4 face supports on, we could have gone to Skeggy with that one. The older guys were bribed with redundancy payments to close the mine in a ballot, my point is that a political decision at the very top, closed Hucknall colliery not the geology or the miners themselves, Hucknall was the first casualty of the Tory closure programme after the miners strike of 84-85. With Thatcher signing the European Emissions deal and her party's hatred of the miners, there fate was sealed.

Keep ya powder dry serry.

I must explain about keeping your powder dry though, when I first started at Hucknall in 1976 there were a lot of old miners 65 years old still working underground, some still on face work, the experience they passed onto us as trainees was invaluable, when changing shifts we would very often meet the afternoon shift or night shift underground at some point, some of the older guys had the saying , meant as a greeting as well, ''allright serry, keep yer powder dry''wich could either mean keep your snuff tin dry, or your explosives bag, which were in a locked leather barrel bag, in the past the explosives would have been gunpowder, to get this wet would mean a fine or the sack, and the very least loss of wages if you didn't have enough powder to blow the workings down to advance the face, on the down side, it could mean having to re bore your holes adjacent to the ones you already have packed with powder and detonators which wasn't a task for the faint hearted, a drill bit in the new hole hitting a detonator in the previous one could result in fatalities, it was common to see old miners with powder burns ingrained in there faces as black powder marks because of shot firing accidents.

Anyway I could write a book on the subject, but must get some work done.

See 'When I started at Hucknall in 1976 I was told I had a job for life'

Ian Morrison

Maureen Taylor (nee Ball)
25 May 2012
Charlie Palmer Died At Markham Colliery But Not In The 1973 Markham Disaster


Charlie Palmer didn’t die in the Markham disaster.  Yes, he did die at Markham Colliery but in 1974. 
He was a member of the Flying Squad who did the most dangerous jobs at various collieries and a roof collapsed on his head. 

My Dad had to identify his body, as his brother-in-law.  He left a widow, Violet and 3 small children, Denise, Elaine and Gavin. 

How do I know this – I’m his niece, my Mum was his oldest sister – Doris Una Ball (nee Palmer).

Maureen Taylor (nee Ball)

Malcolm Clarke
21 Jan 2015
Doris Ball - I am a cousin of Doris Una Ball on the Palmer family side

I am a cousin of Doris Una Ball on the Palmer family side and I am trying to get in touch with Doris’s daughter Maureen Taylor.

Is it possible for you to let me have an address or email for her or pass my details onto her.

Many thanks

Malcolm Clarke

My father Ernie, or 'Snowy' to his mates, grandfather and uncles all worked down pit
Tony Dove
Tue 04/03/2003

Hello, just had to drop you a line and say how much I enjoy your web site.
My name is Tony Dove, born and bred in Mansfield Notts, but for the last 42 years living in Somerset.
My father Ernie, or 'Snowy' to his mates, grandfather and uncles all worked down pit. Dad and I, for our sins, at Sherwood, Dad for most of his working life (excl army service ) on the face, me from school for 2 and a bit years as a supply lad, leaving in Dec '59 for a new life in the southwest.
Pride of place in my house now, 2 working safty lamps and a Sherwood commemorative plate.
Dad only lived a few years following the forced early retirement scheme but he was very proud of his pit, its records and achievements. A visit back home to Mansfield is getting a little less often, and with Sherwood along with so many other pits just a piece of wast land, or super market its getting harder to pass on what is part of my family history to the younger ones.
Again many thanks, and keep up the good work.
Tony Dove

I started work at Shipley, Woodside colliery on the 3rd. January 1948.
Jack Hallam
Sun 02 Feb 2003
Hi, Over the past months I have been trying to put together bits and bobs about my early days in the Mining Industry. I was born 20th Dec. 1933, and started work at Shipley, Woodside colliery on the 3rd. January 1948. The Colliery Manager, at that time, was a Mr. Thomas Wright, he was an excellent Manager and expected his employee's to be the same.
When signing on. I had to complete two contracts, one for Shipley Collieries Ltd and the other, two days later, for the National Coal Board. My employment was in the Electricians Shop, I was unable to work underground until I was seventeen.
Recently I managed to trace the only remaining steam locomotive left that served Woodside and Coppice Collieries. Named "Cecil Raikes"...... it is now awaiting restoration at the "Museum of Liverpool Life". Pier Head, Liverpool. They very kindly sent me photographs of the old engine and I hope to visit it in the future.
I have lots of happy memories of all the No. 5 Area Collieries which included Moorgreen , Billy Halls (Lodge) Cossall, Oakwood Grange, Manners, Stanley, (Bread and Herring) Mapperley, Langley, Woodside, Coppice, Denby Drury, Ormonde, and an unknown colliery pit called the "Treacle Mine" this was because of the tar like coal that came out. The Treacle Mine was located at Dale Abbey. A Drift Mine, excavated I believe by Stanton Iron Works. Its product was impossible to use on boilers because it ran through the Fire Bars.
If I can be of any future help, please e-mail me
All the Best

During a week of 168 hours we only received an average of 42 hours leave.
Mick Jeavons
Thu 23 January 2003 and Fri 24 January 2003
I was a member of Bretby colliery rescue team where I had been a haulage worker, pony driver, coal face stripper, packer, borer then shotfirer and deputy.
The coal face at the time was all hand filled and we received the princely sum of four shillings & Ten pence halfpenny per yard extracted plus four shillings and eleven pence cost of living.
Before I left to the rescue station permanent corps I was deputy on the development of the first mechanised face at the colliery.
The Prime Minister Mr. Harold Mcmillan in a famous speech at the time stated that we had never had it so good?

Life on the central mines rescue station Ashby de la Zouch Leicestershire.

I left Bretby colliery to become a brigadesman at Ashby Central Rescue Station from 1958 to 1969. There were seven men and three officers when I started, rising to nine men, then to ten men when we received an emergency winder. The emergency winder was kept in a garage at Measham Minorca. It weighed over forty tons and was only allowed to travel at 12 miles an hour. Besides the driver a further brigadesman had to travel in the trailer which housed the twin Rolls Royce engine power pack, so that he could signal to traffic to overtake when the road was clear, or to stop traffic to enable our vehicle to turn round awkward road junctions.
During a week of 168 hours we only received an average of 42 hours leave the rest was N.C.B s. However we were given five weeks holiday per year.
Our wages paid us the princely sum of two shillings and sixpence per hour. We also received a house rent free, eight tons of coal per annum free and a uniform measured and supplied by Montague Burton each year. I could go on for ages about life on the station but being a complete novice with computers I am very slow with my two seventy two year old fingers.
Nice conversing with you.
Mick Jeavons

Cotmanhay lad and ex u/g mech
Tony Cox
Sun 29 December 2002

Hi there, or should I say 'ey up youth'
enjoyed your web page, as an Cotmanhay lad and ex u/g mech fitter at Moorgreen Colliery now living in Suffolk
I will send you reminiscences and drawings of my experience of the mining industry, please be patient as I am a little slow of the mark.
cheers for now
Tony Cox

My first job in the pit was as a ganger
Les Cooper
Sun 01 December 2002

My first job in the pit was as a ganger (pony driver) I worked in mining between 1966 and 1989. My father was hosler at Bentick Pit in the 60s. If there is any help I can furnish I'm more than happy.

Les Cooper

1973 Markham Disaster
Ross Sharp
Sat 23 November 2002

Just a snippet of information for you about the 1973 Markham disaster. My father lost a cousin in the cage, Charlie Palmer. I can confirm that the windingman never spoke again. We were a Codnor/Ripley/Golden Valley mining family, (on both sides); my father, Edwin 'Ted' Sharp, working at Britain and other pits. He started as a boy, working ponies, and then clipping tubs on, eventually becoming a steelchecker. He left the pits after developing chronic conjunctivitis. My elder brother, Michael, was employed at the No. 5 Area Laboratories, Eastwood, on air analysis. Two other uncles, Herbert 'Bill' Frost and Peter Nicklin, were union stalwarts.

My uncle Walter Sharp, was the very last person to work on the Ormonde Colliery site. After recovery of machinery, and capping of the shafts, he was employed as a night-watchman, complete with Alsatian, a very friendly bitch called Bess, who might have licked intruders to death!

Sadly, all my uncles and Dad are long gone, and I now live in the USA

Ross Sharp

Just to let you know the mentioned charlie palmer in the article by ross sharp wasnt killed in the cage in the 1973 markham disaster but was killed in the feb of 74 in a collapse at makham.he was my father.if it is possible to contact the ross sharp please do so as i have a photo of his father as a child with my grandad.
gavin palmer

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