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GUEST,David Nuttall, Wakefield who comes from coal miners? (109* d) RE: who comes from coal miners? 15 Oct 15

My Dad , Sam , was a coal miner at South Kirkby Colliery in South Yorkshire in the 1940's, 50's and 60's.

Along with my 2 sisters and brother we can never thank him enough for working all hours in difficult conditions to provide for us all...with three of us ending up as teachers and Headteachers. One must also remember the crucial role of mothers and wives at such times too as they planned and made financial ends meet for the whole family...very much a driving force.

When we were around 7 or 8 my brother and I were taken illegally down the pit by our Dad one Sunday afternoon . He had pre- arranged to have the cage ( which would transport us to the bottom of the shaft ) dropped at a break - neck and frightening speed ! I still recall how the sudden drop felt and how my heart was in my mouth....far worse than the big dipper at Blackpool!!!!! We had a good tour around and experienced first-hand the dust and muck, the standing water, the machinery, props , mice , pit ponies, smells and atmosphere and the cramped hostile conditions. The general idea was to show us the stark reality of it all so we would NEVER contemplate a life in the pit in later years ....not that he would have allowed it !!

His work was hard in spite of the improvements following the introduction of nationalisation and the end of private ownership . He had blue scars all over his body from the coal dust infected cuts etc from falling rock and coal.Through earlier kneeling with a pick and shovel his cartilages on both knees were removed and he walked with a stick following the subsequent removal of his knee cap .In earlier times he had been a collier but in later life he operated a trepanner...the very latest coal-cutting machine .

I have written ( and still sometimes sing ) poems/songs which tell of his time in the pit and of the subsequent sad demise of whole coal mining communities following closures....these effects are still very much in evidence on communities even today and much political bitterness still remains.

However , a friend often remarks that the closure of the dangerous coal mines signified the end of accidents, pain, hardship and death and so the closures,he believes, are very much for the better ...a blessing in disguise .

I have tried to write objectively and without too much sentimentality and may post some of the poems here to give a better insight into those harsh times.


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