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Joseph Henshaw - Ashley Hall Esq - Page 1

"A Mine of Local Information"

I became acquainted with the late Ashley Hall when working as Electrical Service Engineer for Youngman Fork Trucks in Derby between 1989 and 1992.

The above picture shows my then van next to a Coventry Climax 40EC forktruck, at that time being used in the explosive store at Tarmac's quarry at Cauldon near Leek. The journey up to the fork truck was a nightmare, as the roadways were fogbound, and you were never quite sure how close you were to the quarry edge, and a 300 odd foot drop.

©Joe Henshaw
The only water for washing was by smashing thick ice on puddles in the surrounding mudbath.

Ashley was, at that time, employed as one of the workshop based fitters repairing and preparing fork trucks for sale and hire.

Previously he had worked as a fitter at:-

  • Woodside Colliery, moving on closure to
  • Shirland (described by him as being "up to the **** in it") and then
  • Annesley (I believe),

He left the mines in the late 1970s.

He was without doubt better at swearing than anyone else I have ever met (and in the places I have worked, I have met some world class acts), with legendary tirades against tools, trucks and people wherever they did not live up to his expectations (or in some cases did).

I often spent time talking to him about his time at the mines, particularly Woodside, and found him a great source of information and stories. He wasn't a particularly tall man, but powerful, particularly in his hands and forearms. I often remember the screams of then apprentice Dean Barber, who ordinarily towered a foot above Ashley, on the workshop floor in one sort of vice-like grip or another.

This Photograph of Ashley was taken in the mid 1980s at Ashover Vintage Car Rally. It shows Ashley suitably unimpressed, this time at having his photo taken.
Thanks to Ashley's wife, Mavis, for this.

This was often precipitated by Dean having switched the workshop radio (known by Ashley as the "squawker") to some music channel or other. Don't misunderstand me, they remained friends up to Ashley's death, and later, when made redundant from Youngmans, I believe Ashley gave Dean all of his tools.

I believe he remained often furiously perplexed by other people's behaviour, and in his early 60s managed to get banned from both his bank and Sainsbury's at Ripley, where apparently all other shoppers were going the wrong way round the aisles. Good for him, I say.

Ashley sadly died in the late 1990s, after a heart attack and serious stroke from which he never recovered, but here are some of his tales.

Ashley Hall. Ex-miner, fitter, radio-ham, golfer, aviary-keeper, master of the expletive and
scourge of Sainsbury's (Ripley branch).
Sadly missed…

Pit Terminology - Glossary


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