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Miners and Their Families
What's It Like Being A Miner?
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Rob Grieves - I’ve got some articles which might be helpful to Ken Sinclair
Ken Sinclair - I have currently spent 25 proud years in the mines rescue service
Karen Dean Arshadi - Like Coming Home!
Berty Kilday - Connel Park, anyone remember me Berty Kilday
John Jones - I started down Astley Green Pit in 1934, ANY MATES STILL OUT THERE
Derek Spriggs - I left Loscoe Road boy’s school in 1950 and went to Hartsay training pit
Derek Frost - Diglake 1895 and Bravery Awards.
Bubbles - We Had A Tour Of The Rescue Station
Jane Tegg - My Ancestors were miners, what would their life have been like?
I would also like more information about Barber Walker Co.

My Dad Worked - at Boothstown Mines Rescue Station
John New - I didn't work in the coalfields but my great-grandfather and grand fathers did.

Rob Grieves
24 Feb 2016
I’ve got some articles which might be helpful to Ken Sinclair
Hi I'm trying to get in touch with Ken Sinclair who had an article on your web site about information for Ashington Mines Rescue Centre.

I’ve got some articles which might be helpful.

I'm Robert Grieves, Seaham

Thanks Rob

More about Ken

Above Photo From Northumberland Gazette

Photos of the rescue medals I've got which belonged to A. E. ROBBINS, Ashington Mines Rescue Centre, he also worked at Woodhorn Colliery, in dust suppression, any info of him would be welcomed.

Ken Sinclair
26 June 2004
I have currently spent 25 proud years in the mines rescue service

My name is Ken Sinclair and I am the colliery safety/training officer at Ellington Colliery (UK Coal) in Northumberland. I have currently spent 25 proud years in the mines rescue service (10 years as a full time brigadesman at Ashington). I have numerous friends both working and retired brigade members and also photographs dating back to before the war years. Ashington rescue station was also used as an ARP station during the war, and I do have some photographs.

I think it is important that the history of the mines rescue service should not be forgotten.

Please contact me if you require any info on the mines rescue service in the north east.

K. Sinclair

More about Ken

Yes please Ken, I want anything you can give, stories, pictures, cuttings anything.  As you say Ken the history of the mines rescue, and the mines are important.  Coal and the  men who brought it to the surface, who died and who risked their lives made this country what it is today and I feel too much of it is being forgotten.
Since I am emailing you, I had a question about a winder, blue lights, the lot.  It was seen in York recently, any ideas where it came from?

Karen Dean-Arshadi
07 August 2004
Like Coming Home!

I came across your website quite by chance- though I am in a bit of a maudling-had a few to drink-mood, and I feel hugely nostalgic.
I grew up in Ripley, but Mum's dad, Bill Brown, was a miner at Loscoe pit. {My other grandfather, Albert Dean mined at Codnor, but I was not so close to him).
I spent many hours as a child, talking to my grandad about his years down the pit and, of course, his experiences on the Somme. He ran away to join up at 15, and I think he probably, in his naivety, saw the war as a welcome escape from the hard work underground. Miraculously, he returned, and by the time war broke out again, Mum says he refused, like most other miners, to cower in an air-raid shelter! Said he spent enough time underground, and if the worst happened he'd rather die in his own bed!
As I child, I used to accompany him to get his pit pension, and just seeing your website reminded me of those days- the magic comradery, all the old men in their flat caps greeting one another, "Ey-oop, 'ow t'er gooin' on?" (I brought a university friend from the south to meet my family, and she didn't understand a word my grandad said!) It was like coming home- which seems a bit pretentious I know, but who cares?! I live in the south myself now, and have- heaven forbid- two southern children!
Grandad only had one lung when he died. What wasn't damaged by the coal dust was destroyed by the Senior Service fags and, eventually, a continuous pipe! My enduring memory now is of Grandad climbing the hill to the betting shop- conveniently close to the pub- and stopping every few minutes to lean on his stick, gasping to catch his breath. Mum gave me his pipe when he died, at the grand old age of 84, and the smell of it can still reduce us both to tears. He was a fabulous old man, and I still miss him!
Karen Dean-Arshadi

Berty Kilday
05 July 2004
Connel Park, anyone remember me Berty Kilday, now in Australia?

Thank you very much for a wonderful nostalgic trip down memory lane. I was born and bred in the Store Row Connel Park then we moved to the "luxurious" Honeymoon Row when I was about eight. I emigrated to Australia when I was about 12 in 1955 and I have not been back since although having visited England. My father John Kilday worked in the mines around Connel Park as did my brothers Rod (for a short time) and my brother Jimmy Kilday. Love to hear from anyone who might remember me Berty Kilday.

Thank you very much - I needed a Connel Park fix - I still get homesick.

Bob Kilday

Sent: 08 June 2004 23:52
Subject: I started down Astley Green Pit in 1934, ANY MATES STILL OUT THERE
I started down Astley Green Pit in 1934 age 14 worked as a fitter as a gharghand fitter till it closed the head gear still stands as a museum in Astley Lancashire near MANCHESTER NOW IN USA aged 83 ANY MATES STILL OUT THERE JOHNNY JONES TYLDESLE


From: Derek Spriggs
Sent: 04 May 2004 22:22
I went to Hartsay training pit in 1950

I left Loscoe Road boy’s school in 1950 and went to Hartsay training pit to apprentice as an electrician. From there to Moorgreen Pit in Nottinghamshire and finally to Ormonde pit at Loscoe.

Thanks for the web site and all the information.

Derek Spriggs

Brigham Young University
Office of School Relations

Mooregreen Pit

Diglake 1895 and bravery awards.
Derek Frost
Fri 13/02/2004
Thank you for your wonderful site! It's absolutely brilliant!
I was the Ventilation Officer and then Fire/Dust Suppression Officer at Victoria Colliery for a number of years in the 60s and although I have read some of the reports before, I have found all of your site totally absorbing. However, if you go to the link below you will see that there were another 11 awards (bronze) given for actions during this tragedy. I have pasted them in Diglake 3 .

Victoria Colliery

I have also emailed them to tell them that I think they have made a transcription error i.e. the bottom name is given as Hoole, R. and I think that this should be Howle, R. who is mentioned on your site.The reason I think that you are right and they are wrong is amazing really. I am researching Sproston's (my maternal ancestor's) and my brother-in-law is researching Howle (his paternal ancestors) and the name William occurs for the last 7 generations in Sproston's and Richard occurs for the last 5 generations in Howle's ancestry.

What an amazing world we live in to think that in a disaster from 108 years ago my brother-in-law's ancestor saved the life of one of mine!

Regards and Best Wishes (keep up the good work)


Compiled by Peter Helmore


We Had A Tour Of The Rescue Station
Bubbles from Robin Hood Country
Tue 03/02/2004

I am very interested in your site.
1. My late cousin Pauline and her then Husband Gordon lived in a flat over the rescue station. It was massive.
2. I went to Cotmanhay Junior Mixed school and we had a tour of the station. I wore a white dress - needless to say that after having been shown around the tunnels it was far from white. I also remember the officer showing us dry ice.

Bubbles from Robin Hood Country.

My Ancestors were miners, what would their life have been like?
I would also like more information about Barber Walker Co.

Jane Tegg

Fri 09/01/2004

I have just found your website and would like to say Thank You for an informative and very clear site.
My ancestors were miners from Leicestershire and then Clay Cross and finally Bentley, Yorks. and I am trying to get more knowledge of what their life would have been like and their living conditions and wages etc. to build up a picture of everyday life.
There is a history I believe of the Barber Walker Co. which I am going to try and obtain but once again thank you for a lovely site.

Jane Tegg
North Lincolnshire

8 Feb 2010 - Hi Jill - Tom Barber would like to contact you with regard to Barber Walker Co.

My Dad Worked at Boothstown Mines Rescue Station
Dave Holden
Sat 13/12/2003

Hello my names Dave my dad worked at Boothstown Mines Rescue Station he had originally gone to Ilkeston rescue station in the 1960,s for an interview but landed at Boothstown.
Yours Dave Holden ex Bickershaw miner Leigh

I Didn't Work In The Coalfields But My Great-Grandfather And Grand Fathers Did.
John New
Mon 24/11/2003

I have never worked in the coalfields myself but my great-grandfather (John Fielding) who lived with us until he died in 1977 (aged 97) had retired having reached the rank of Deputy at Cortonwood and both my grandfathers were miners for at least part of their lives.
John of course had been out for six months in the General Strike.
My father's Dad died before I was born but my mother's Dad (Bernard) worked in the pits until he was injured. He managed to get out of the colliery trade and worked for the rest of his career, successfully, as an insurance agent with a speciality in the showman's trade.
All in all a typical story of a mining family really with a new generation (my parents) finally managing, through the improvements made in education, to break the circle which gave my Dad the chance to avoid "going down".
Although brought up, not that far apart in the same area of what is now South Yorkshire they had both been bright enough to get grammar school, scholarships, and met later in adult life after school.
I say Dad, because that is how I knew him, but I was adopted as a tiny baby, as my parents couldn't have children.
It was a hard trade, poorly paid in the 1920s, and the bad housing conditions had made my father susceptible to disease, he had had TB as a child, and he developed bronchitis as he got older. My father's side of the family had other connections to mining to and although I don't know anything like as much about her as I would like I know one of my father's Aunts, in South Yorkshire, worked in the explosives supply and regularly drove the delivery cart!

We miss the mines but it is often forgotten that many miners, as a parent, tried to avoid their sons following them down.

Pit Terminology - Glossary