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SummitSummit Colliery - Extracts From Interviews

By Chris Kidger

Interviews - Page 1

Edward StreetThe first tenant in the Summit rows was Billy Irons at
number 2, Edward Street.

The hot water for these houses came from the pit, you can still see the pipe where it came into the garden.

Len was born on Edward Street but now lives on Mary Street.

Len Allen born 1934, Kirkby-in-Ashfield.

My dad worked at Summit and I went to join him when I were 18, well just before I was 18.

My grand-dad originated from Keyworth and he came here when they were sinking the pit.

There used to be a party up at Miner's (Welfare) for children at Christmas and children under 12 used to go into the Welfare and have their party and them over that age used to go into the canteen and have theirs.

There used to be a pond at the back of the baths and we used to get newts out of it.

I can always remember me and a couple of lads went fishing and we brought this fish back and put it into this pond to try to make a fishery out of it.

Mr Maurice Bellamy born 1927, Sutton-in-Ashfield.

My father worked at Summit in the low moor seam until that closed and then he went to Ollerton.

I started work at Summit when I was 14.

When I went for my interview for a job at the pit, the safety officer that gave me the job said "Right you start in the lamp-room on Monday morning" and I said I've come to go down the pit and he said "Do you want the job?" I said yes and he said "You start in the lamp-room Monday morning". That was the end of that. I tried several times to get a job down the pit but was unsuccessful.

Then Summit closed I went to New Hucknall which I was very unhappy at because it was only a small pit, I used to call it the back-yard pit and I was there for 4 months and I came home and said I'm not going no more, I can't stand it, to me it was a small pit and I had always been used to a big pit. Cos' Kirkby colliery was a big pit.

Mr Bradshaw born 1938.

Mr Bradshaw was a school teacher but his father worked at Summit.

My father was an asthmatic and should never have been working at a colliery at all but jobs were scarce.

I always remember Friday was pay day and the colliers always used to get their money paid in a tin, and they'd go down on a Friday afternoon and collect their tin, but they wouldn't be alone, the wives would go with them to bring back the money.

Fred Wetherill born 1920 Mansfield.

There were lots of accidents in them days because the men themselves took terrible risks, both on the top and down the pit to keep the jobs going because it was instilled in you, keep the coal town going no matter what. Some of the things that were normal practice, they wouldn't be allowed today.

I can remember they used to send a load of coal to London area, wagon loads and if they found a certain amount of dirt in 'em, stone or whatever, the trucks were sent back and the pit would send another truck for free and the men on that district didn't get paid for that one.

When I first started work in the electric shop on the surface and I'd been there about 6 months and they were putting a lot of new armoured cables down the pits and brought a lot of old stuff out, they used to take it into the blacksmith's shop and cut the cable into pieces with a big steam-hammer and I had the job as a young lad to take them into a field behind the offices and fires to melt the copper out but nobody told me to make small fires.

I made a big bonfire and people were coming out of the offices because it were too hot to work and that were my first rollicking.

When they announced the date for closure of Summit I said to my wife I'm not stopping there, I'm going, so I went to Annesley and got a job as an electrician. I went to see Mr Cumberland to get my release and he said "What, you're leaving" and I said that I couldn't see fun in stopping here if its shutting and he said "You're like a rat leaving a sinking ship" and I said I can't bloody swim.

Summit was a happy pit.

Derek Morley born 1927. Kirkby-in-Ashfield.

My father worked at Summit, he was the foreman in the electric shop and I started work at Summit 2 weeks before my 14th birthday.

Under private enterprise it were different to what it was like with the Coal Board. Under private enterprise you had to do as you were told, there was no 'ifs' and 'buts'. I think it was better because you knew where you stood.

I used to be on the committee at the welfare and in the 50s when they had the bowling green done it cost £4000 which were a lot of money in them days.

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