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who comes from coal miners?

GUEST 29 May 02 - 03:04 AM
Bert 29 May 02 - 03:27 AM
Nigel Parsons 29 May 02 - 03:55 AM
paddymac 29 May 02 - 04:31 AM
GUEST,JBGoode 29 May 02 - 06:34 AM
Dave the Gnome 29 May 02 - 07:28 AM
GUEST,Davetnova 29 May 02 - 07:48 AM
GUEST,sophocleese 29 May 02 - 07:55 AM
GUEST,greg stephens cookie unset I have tried hone 29 May 02 - 08:53 AM
BanjoRay 29 May 02 - 09:53 AM
GUEST 29 May 02 - 10:21 AM
Mad4Mud 29 May 02 - 10:25 AM
Pete Jennings 29 May 02 - 01:12 PM
53 29 May 02 - 01:35 PM
weepiper 29 May 02 - 01:48 PM
Dharmabum 29 May 02 - 01:53 PM
Catherine Jayne 29 May 02 - 01:54 PM
Bearheart 29 May 02 - 01:55 PM
Dave the Gnome 29 May 02 - 01:58 PM
Bardford 29 May 02 - 03:07 PM
Liz the Squeak 29 May 02 - 03:25 PM
Gareth 29 May 02 - 03:30 PM
RoyH (Burl) 29 May 02 - 03:57 PM
Mr Red 29 May 02 - 04:51 PM
BanjoRay 29 May 02 - 06:11 PM
Pete Jennings 29 May 02 - 08:19 PM
BK 29 May 02 - 08:55 PM
Metchosin 29 May 02 - 09:13 PM
Metchosin 29 May 02 - 09:24 PM
NicoleC 29 May 02 - 10:20 PM
GUEST,Peter Cook 30 May 02 - 12:46 AM
Metchosin 30 May 02 - 12:56 AM
paddymac 30 May 02 - 01:03 AM
GUEST,Peter Cook 30 May 02 - 01:03 AM
GUEST,JBGoode 30 May 02 - 05:21 AM
Gareth 30 May 02 - 05:34 AM
okthen 30 May 02 - 05:42 AM
Bullfrog Jones 30 May 02 - 06:47 AM
greg stephens 30 May 02 - 06:54 AM
BanjoRay 30 May 02 - 07:01 AM
okthen 30 May 02 - 07:30 AM
Hrothgar 30 May 02 - 08:27 AM
InOBU 30 May 02 - 08:32 AM
Gareth 30 May 02 - 08:46 AM
Pete Jennings 30 May 02 - 10:09 AM
BanjoRay 30 May 02 - 10:42 AM
Barbara Shaw 30 May 02 - 12:17 PM
Gareth 30 May 02 - 03:09 PM
Pete Jennings 30 May 02 - 06:15 PM
Gareth 30 May 02 - 07:00 PM
GUEST,Robby, at his home PC 31 May 02 - 05:09 PM
Bearheart 31 May 02 - 11:02 PM
NicoleC 01 Jun 02 - 01:03 AM
Metchosin 01 Jun 02 - 01:32 AM
Metchosin 01 Jun 02 - 01:54 AM
Chip2447 01 Jun 02 - 02:29 AM
GUEST,Anne 01 Jun 02 - 04:18 AM
GUEST,Dave Williams 01 Jun 02 - 09:10 AM
NicoleC 01 Jun 02 - 11:35 AM
GUEST,guitarfixer 01 Jun 02 - 12:08 PM
Metchosin 01 Jun 02 - 01:39 PM
dorareever 01 Jun 02 - 04:28 PM
Gareth 01 Jun 02 - 06:24 PM
GUEST,Dave Williams 02 Jun 02 - 12:31 AM
maire-aine 02 Jun 02 - 11:52 AM
Bullfrog Jones 02 Jun 02 - 08:11 PM
RoyH (Burl) 03 Jun 02 - 06:12 PM
Gareth 03 Jun 02 - 07:13 PM
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RoyH (Burl) 04 Jun 02 - 07:22 AM
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Subject: who comes from coal miners?
From: GUEST
Date: 29 May 02 - 03:04 AM


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Subject: RE: who comes from coal miners?
From: Bert
Date: 29 May 02 - 03:27 AM

Er! Coal minors maybe!


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Subject: RE: who comes from coal miners?
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 29 May 02 - 03:55 AM

Numerous male voice choirs, who use the title "Orpheus" to denote their origins underground. e.g."The Morriston Orpheus Choir"


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Subject: RE: who comes from coal miners?
From: paddymac
Date: 29 May 02 - 04:31 AM

maybe the guest will return, identify him/herself, and clarify their question.


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Subject: RE: who comes from coal miners?
From: GUEST,JBGoode
Date: 29 May 02 - 06:34 AM

You know, like my grandparents were miners, etc. Mine were, in Pittston, PA. Just a weird late night question i suppose...


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Subject: RE: who comes from coal miners?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 29 May 02 - 07:28 AM

My great grandad on my Mothers side lost his arm in a mining accident. In keeping with musical threads I can mention that he, apparantly, sang 'Lily of Laguna' while having it cut off!

By one of those weird coincidences he went on to become a boxing instructor (yes - with one arm!) at a local boys club. Many years later after the club had been closed for a while my grandad, on my Dads side, took over the running of the building and converted the top floor into a Russian orthodox church.

Cheers

Dave the Gnome
(All Gnomes are miners at heart anyway...;-))


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Subject: RE: who comes from coal miners?
From: GUEST,Davetnova
Date: 29 May 02 - 07:48 AM

My Dad wa a miner in South Wales and by coincidence a boxer (Welsh champion at his weight). He claimed to be the only Welshman with absolutely no singing voice whatsoever, a talent he passed on to me.


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Subject: RE: who comes from coal miners?
From: GUEST,sophocleese
Date: 29 May 02 - 07:55 AM

Both great grand-fathers on my father's side were miners in Somerset. One of them was beaten up so badly during a strike that he never went down the mines again.


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Subject: RE: who comes from coal miners?
From: GUEST,greg stephens cookie unset I have tried hone
Date: 29 May 02 - 08:53 AM

Dave the Gnome I think we need to know where your great grandfather stood on the vexed question of offensive lyrics. For example, whilesinging Lily of Laguna while having his armcut off, did he sing the verse, and if so what did about the lines "It's the same old taleof a palpatating n****r every time, every time time, It's the same old trouble 0f a c**n that wants to be married very soon". Now, given the distressing circumstances he could be forgiven if he did sing this. I just wondered if family history sheds any light on this. It would be nice he stuck to the non-offending chorus, but I think we would all be quite forgiving if he forgot himself, the circumstances being rather stressful. By the way, I come from a long line of tin and iron miners, none of whom would have seen down a coalmine dead or alive, armless or whole.


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Subject: RE: who comes from coal miners?
From: BanjoRay
Date: 29 May 02 - 09:53 AM

My father and both grandfathers were miners in South Wales. My dad started as a collier's boy, having failed to get into grammar school. When the war started he was of course in a reserved occupation and not susceptible to be called up, but he joined the Royal Air Force anyway. He served as a bomb-aimer/navigator in many missions over Germany, and after the war he went to college and gained mining qualifications. He ended his career as a colliery manager. I'm very proud of my dad, even though he was the other Welsh miner who couldn't sing.

Cheers
Ray (who can just about hold a note)


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Subject: RE: who comes from coal miners?
From: GUEST
Date: 29 May 02 - 10:21 AM

My grandfather was one in Kentucky.


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Subject: RE: who comes from coal miners?
From: Mad4Mud
Date: 29 May 02 - 10:25 AM

One of my g-g-g-grandfathers was the colliery agent at Cornsay Colliery, Durham County, England around 1870 or so.


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Subject: RE: who comes from coal miners?
From: Pete Jennings
Date: 29 May 02 - 01:12 PM

My Dad was a mining engineer all his working life, first in the NE (of England), then in the Midlands. He specialised in ventilation - designing and looking after the airflow systems down the mines.

One of his duties was to contain the fires that started every now and again. A coal-seam fire is normally largely unseen - no flames or anything like that - and is usually detected by slight temerature rises or unexpected condensation. Only real cure is to seal off the relevant tunnels and starve it out.

I heard a lot of tales about him from former colleagues - he used to supervise the re-opening of sealed tunnels and one time he walked into a still-glowing tunnel, had a look around and came back out, boots smouldering, saying, "Mmmm, better seal this one up again lads" (!). They loved him. When I worked at the National Coal Board I was always known as Bob Jennings' son.

During a fire, we might not see him for days and nights on end, so when we were kids we used to forge his signature on the child allowance vouchers - it didn't fool the post-mistress at all, but she still gave us the money!

He got off lightly from his time down the mines - busted his nose one time, and later lost half a finger when he got a bit close when inspecting a coal face and it came down on him...

I've got one of his Davey Lamps, which he used at a mine called West Cannock No.5, right in front of me on my desk. He's eighty-six now, deaf as a post, but still going strong. Pete


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Subject: RE: who comes from coal miners?
From: 53
Date: 29 May 02 - 01:35 PM

What about the coal miners daughter?


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Subject: RE: who comes from coal miners?
From: weepiper
Date: 29 May 02 - 01:48 PM

My great grandfather was a colliery manager in Shrewsbury. That's about as close as I get


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Subject: RE: who comes from coal miners?
From: Dharmabum
Date: 29 May 02 - 01:53 PM

My Grandfather on my Dads side of the family worked the coal mines of West Virginia & Kentucky. He died of black lung disease before he reached 50.
I remember my dad telling the stories about growing up in the 30's in the coal mining regions.
I remember him telling me how my Grandmother wouldn't hang out the wash on days that the wind was blowing up from the direction of the mines because it would get covered with coal dust.

DB.


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Subject: RE: who comes from coal miners?
From: Catherine Jayne
Date: 29 May 02 - 01:54 PM

Hello. My Dad was a miner in a Selby mine for 30 years. He was made redundant only 2 weeks ago when the employees were told the pit would only be open for another 2 years max. My earliest memory is of the miners strike and the hardship of the families. Many of my friends are from mining families. It is a job that I wouldn't want to do and in a way I am glad my Dad is not doing it anymore although it will be hard for him losing his job in his 50's but I am sure he is happy. No more shift work. I can remember having to be very quiet when I came home from school when he was on night shifts because he was in bed! When I left school and got a part time job he would be going out to work when I was coming home!

catsPHiddle x


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Subject: RE: who comes from coal miners?
From: Bearheart
Date: 29 May 02 - 01:55 PM

My mother's grandparents all came here from Hungary at the turn of the century. Her maternal grandparents settled in Portage Pa in the mining fields. My great grandfather and most of my great uncles on that side all worked in the mines, though the uncles all eventually moved on to other things. My great grandfather worked the mines till he couldn't any more. Don't know if he could sing, but he played about every instrument he could lay hands on. (Never heard if he played Hungarian music or old-time mountain music.)My great grandma was apparently the best moonshiner around those parts as well as a phenomenal herb healer.


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Subject: RE: who comes from coal miners?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 29 May 02 - 01:58 PM

I hate to admit it, Greg, but I know neither the offensive version or otherwise apart from the snippets my Mum used to sing -

She's my lady love, she is my own, my lady love... She is my Lily of Laguna, she is my Lily and my Rose...

But I am intrigued now - give us the full offensive and I'll make sure I sing it at every opportunity:-)

My guess is that he would not have known the offensive one. After all he was just a minor...

Cheers

DtG


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Subject: RE: who comes from coal miners?
From: Bardford
Date: 29 May 02 - 03:07 PM

My Great Grandfather mined coal in South Wales (Pontycymmer) at the turn of the last century before coming to Canada in 1903 to work the mine at Fernie, B.C. In Wales, he was a check weighman, which is apparantly the man appointed by fellow miners to ensure a fair tally of the coal. That's how I understand it. Maybe someone with greater knowledge could clarify.

I'm not sure if he was a singer, but he was no stranger to public speaking, as he was a union organizer who went on to a career in politics.


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Subject: RE: who comes from coal miners?
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 29 May 02 - 03:25 PM

A great great great uncle was a collier in Gloucestershire at the time of his wedding in 1877. He returned to his village of birth in Dorset to marry, stayed there and became a woodsawyer (lumberjack/sawmill worker) like his father. I can't read the name of the village he mined at, and I can't fathom how or why he got to Gloucestershire. There was plenty of work around the area in the 1860-70s, it's a heavily agricultural area, with arable, bovine, ovine and porcine farming, fishing, plus a multitude of related trades... maybe he got the wanderlust.

The closest I've ever been is to sing 'the coal and Albert Berry'.

LTS


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Subject: RE: who comes from coal miners?
From: Gareth
Date: 29 May 02 - 03:30 PM

Bardford - Correct the check weighman was elected by the Colliers to keep an eye on the Management Coal Weighers, this was in the days when colliers were on Piecework, each to thier stall ( bit of the face )

From my bedroom/study here in Ystrad Mynach I can see the remains of 4 colleries, Wylie, Penaltna, Llanbradach, and Bargoed Brittania. And two closed Railways, that took the Coal down to Cardiff, Newport and Barry.

But as the toast went in the old South Wales Miners Federation - "To the day the last man left the last pit on the last shift"

Gareth


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Subject: RE: who comes from coal miners?
From: RoyH (Burl)
Date: 29 May 02 - 03:57 PM

My Grandad and a couple of uncles had spells of working in the pit. But a third uncle, Uncle Sid, was a miner all his working life, a total of 52 years. The story goes that at one stage he was in a roof fall that killed his brother. He escaped but within a week had lost all his hair, which never grew back, and he developed a stutter which he never lost. He liked a pint,he played football,he maintained a flourishing garden, and an aviary. He also made models in wood, notably a working model pithead mounted on a tabletop. In the interests of accuracy, he cut a hole in the table top to allow the cage to go up and down. My aunt was not pleased. At family gatherings he would clog dance and sing music hall songs, his favourite being 'I like pickled onions'. Despite the toll it had taken on him he loved the miner's life. A month before he died he spent Christmas with us and danced, sang, and chatted about old days about the pit. I sang him some mining songs. He was very happy. It was the last time I saw him. Uncle Sid was a man of character, a favourite uncle, and I loved him. I'm always proud to say that there was a real coal miner in my family. I'm very grateful to this thread for giving me a chance to talk about him.


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Subject: RE: who comes from coal miners?
From: Mr Red
Date: 29 May 02 - 04:51 PM

Mum, Dad and paternal GP's were the local agents for several pits. Coal sellers to cool cellars as it were. Skip another two generations and there were some Ironstone miners near Chesterfield.
Me? the closest I came was writing a pit shanty.


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Subject: RE: who comes from coal miners?
From: BanjoRay
Date: 29 May 02 - 06:11 PM

My brother was also a miner when he was much younger, and I remember a story he told me once. He and a few other guys were doing maintenance work near a conveyor belt in one of the two roadways (tunnels) leading to each end of a coalface. The face was squeezing heavily, with disturbing sounds coming from the strata, and with immense amounts of pressure on the pit props. Some of the wooden ones were cracking up, so the guys decided to get the hell out of there. The only problem was that one of them had got himself stuck underneath the conveyor belt, and the others tried to get him out. So the guy under the belt came out with the line "leave me lads, save yourselves!". This was such a film cliche that my brother and his mates totally creased up, and took ages to get it together enough to get the guy out. There was of course absolutely no way they'd have left him.

Cheers
Ray


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Subject: RE: who comes from coal miners?
From: Pete Jennings
Date: 29 May 02 - 08:19 PM

And my Uncle Jim painted a lot of pictures of men in the mines...being born in Ashington (Northumberland, England), almost everything was connected with the pit.

And my Uncle Billy (Mother's youngest brother) was a Shot Driller. When they had to blast the coal face again, someone would drill some rough holes in the seam, then the shot driller would come along and drill a very accurate bore, ready for the dynamite (the "shot") to go in. One day, someone had already drilled and put the shot in when my Uncle Billy went to work on the same bore hole... I think he was about 36 years old.

This thread is bringing up things I'd long ago forgotten.

Pete


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Subject: RE: who comes from coal miners?
From: BK
Date: 29 May 02 - 08:55 PM

No dramatic stories; just "coal cracker" stock from northeastern Pa. My grandad saw the men w/black lung & supposedly very quickly resolved to become a carpenter instead of a minor & went on to become a construction supervisor & travelled all over the eastern & central coal mining areas of the U.S. building the "breakers" which were used as part of processing the coal. He had a job during the depression, while many others didn't & considered himself quite lucky. 'Course he had asthma & tobacco addiction & died a [somewhat] early respiratory/cardiac death anyway.

We used to see the unending fires around the Kingston, Pa. area in what were apparently tailing dumps from the mines. Some of them were still burning when I was an adult.

Cheers, BK


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Subject: RE: who comes from coal miners?
From: Metchosin
Date: 29 May 02 - 09:13 PM

Me! Coal miners all, initially. My paternal grandfather in the Jinglepot Mine when he was young. Also his father before him and all his uncles. My greatgrandfather and one of his brothers survived the coal mine explosion of BC's No. 5 Pit at Wellington Colliery in 1888, which killed 77. Unfortunately his youngest brother did not make it out. After that disaster, my greatgrandfather decided to run a Blind Pig instead and ended up serving time for his choice of occupation, (didn't have the luck of the Bronfman's and the Seagrams) but at least he lived to a ripe old age.

My paternal grandmother's family as well. Hungarian greatgrandfather on that side, left the coal mines of Pennsylvania for those around Nanaimo BC, then eventually tried his hand over the Chilcoot Pass in the goldfield's of the Klondike. Great grandmother's first husband killed in mine in Pa., prior to her coming to BC.

Maternal greatgrandfather and grandmother's brother killed in coal mines in Scotland. Lots of tragedies on all sides. All those that made it, eventually chose other ways to survive.


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Subject: RE: who comes from coal miners?
From: Metchosin
Date: 29 May 02 - 09:24 PM

Bearheart, wierd how moonshine and coalmining seem to go hand in hand, no matter what part of the world you come from. Maybe a way to try to handle pain and tragedy.


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Subject: RE: who comes from coal miners?
From: NicoleC
Date: 29 May 02 - 10:20 PM

My paternal grandfather worked in coal mines in Southwest Virginia his whole life, and managed to escape unscathed. I remember his hat with a light on it, and his older hat with a what looked like a mirror and candlestick holder. I don't know if that's exactly what it was, and I was too scared of him to ask. Most of Southwest VA is a honeycomb of mines and leftover equipment -- left to rot and pollute. Not much coal mining there anymore.

On the other side of the family, my gr-grandfather worked for a while at the Century Mine in WV. It's closed down now, but I've been to visit. WV is a mess from all the coal mines, but mother nature works wonders eventually. My grandfather remembers some rivers running blackish-brown and being totally dead of life when he was a kid, but are mostly clean and full of fish now.


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Subject: RE: who comes from coal miners?
From: GUEST,Peter Cook
Date: 30 May 02 - 12:46 AM

"So, all, in all.... Yes, I would really rather had been a judge."

"But, instead, I became a minor, a coal miner."

From:Beyond the Fringe

Sincerely,
Gargoyle


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Subject: RE: who comes from coal miners?
From: Metchosin
Date: 30 May 02 - 12:56 AM

me too, but I didn't 'ave the latin for it.


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Subject: RE: who comes from coal miners?
From: paddymac
Date: 30 May 02 - 01:03 AM

One of my g-g-g-grandfathers was a miner in PA during the "troubles" involving the "Molly Maguires." He & a brother and their families left there the year several "Mollies" were hung (1872?) and went to Iowa. Don't know if he was involved in the "Mollies" or not.


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Subject: RE: who comes from coal miners?
From: GUEST,Peter Cook
Date: 30 May 02 - 01:03 AM

Judging Exams? They ARE noted for their Latin you know? Very rigorous exams. The minor exams are not nearly so rigorous. They only ask you one question, "Who are you?" I got 50% on that!!

Sincerely
Gargoyle


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Subject: RE: who comes from coal miners?
From: GUEST,JBGoode
Date: 30 May 02 - 05:21 AM

My father tells me my grandfather was a moonshiner as well, with people coming around to get it.

He also told me he was beaten up by state police (Pittston, PA) for sticking up for worker's rights. May have been union, not sure...

He told me that when someone died in the mines, the company would drop off the body on the front porch of his house, with no funeral or coffin or anything.

My father also told me that my grandfather love music, anything having to do with music...including Lawrence Welk!

On my mother's side, unsure...he worked in the mines...possible alcoholic, "schizophrenic"...violated his family...saw him for the first time at his funeral.

jbgoode


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Subject: RE: who comes from coal miners?
From: Gareth
Date: 30 May 02 - 05:34 AM

The Valleys are greener now, but the cost has been unemployment.

For a quick tour of the Rhymney Valley CLICK 'ERE

For a view of part of the ongoing problems with the disease caused by working underground WELL, CLICK 'ERE"

At Senghenydd - virtually every safety rule in the book was broken, bare electrical wiring, no dust (fines) removal or damping, no alternative means of escape or ventelation from the district. - The Colliery Manager, (note, not the owners) was fined £30 - or less than 2 shillings (10p) a life.

Thats the equivalent of US$50.00.

Gareth


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Subject: RE: who comes from coal miners?
From: okthen
Date: 30 May 02 - 05:42 AM

I'm sure Pete Jennings dad knows this joke;

On his first day down the pit, a young miner was shown to his place of work, given a pick and shovel and told to get on with it.He'd been working for about 10 minutes when he heard a whooshing sound, it got louder until something flew past his head. Having recovered he continued working untill 20 minutes later he heard the same sound with the same result. This happened every 20 minutes or so untill a few hours later he decided to put an end to this irritation and struck out with his shovel, killing what turned out to be a bat,pleased with himself he got on with his work, untill half an hour later someone came round yelling,"Everybody out, the ventillation's packed up".

My father didn't laugh either when I told him that joke, just told me about the time Tatgee (my Welsh grandfather, Sian please correct)threw himself on top of my uncle Morgan to stop him from being burned, and how he remembered his father laying in bed like a blistered balloon from the burns.Grandad made the pit props, and because the mine owners were so cheap, he often cut a few trees from the Rheola forest so that he had some decent timber to work with.

My father must have been about 3 or 4, the day his mother couldn't look after him and he had to accompany his father down the pit, it scared the **** out of him and was probably the impetus that drove him to obtaining a PhD.

I had an "honourary" uncle who died from miners lung, well, according to the autopsy. But not according to the coal board who had given him a physical examination a week before and pronounced him fit, which meant they didn't have to pay his widow a pension. "Say hello to the new Boss, same as the old boss"

Dad didn't talk much about his childhood in Wales, but get the impression that Dylan Thomas glamourises it.When I was a kid he used to say to me "You don't know your born", it's only now I realise how right he was.

cheers bill


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Subject: RE: who comes from coal miners?
From: Bullfrog Jones
Date: 30 May 02 - 06:47 AM

My maternal grandfather and several uncles worked in mines around Nant-Y-Moel, S Wales. (Gareth, I know Llanbradach well, too, my Auntie Flo lives there) I spent many happy summers as a boy staying with my aunts and uncles down there. For a kid from the mean streets of Sparkbrook, Birmingham, it was a real culture shock to be in a place where a sheep might wander through the back door at any time. I know what you mean about the the valleys being greener now , Gareth, much more than I remember (I once started writing a song about that --- I must dig it out and finish it). One thing I do remember though, apart from the singing, is the pride the miners took in their gardens. However small, and however steep the land, my uncles (and it was always the men) packed in as many colourful and sweet-smelling flowers as possible, presumably to make up for their monochrome existence underground. Life wasn't glamorous, and it was bloody hard, but the people in the mining communities I remember had an unquenchable thirst for life and laughter.

BJ


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Subject: RE: who comes from coal miners?
From: greg stephens
Date: 30 May 02 - 06:54 AM

Reading these wonderful memories makes me wish I could be round in 100 years time to read the threads on "anyone come from call centre workers/bereavement counsellors/regeneration outreach liaison advisers?"


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Subject: RE: who comes from coal miners?
From: BanjoRay
Date: 30 May 02 - 07:01 AM

There have been some horrendous deaths down the mines over the years.My dad used to tell the story of a missing haulage man. This guy used to run a haulage engine in a mine roadway. This engine turned a large drum of thick steel cable, containing maybe a mile or so of cable, that would be used for hauling lines of tubs of coal along a railway track from a far-flung part of the mine to the bottom of the shaft.

One day the guy didn't check out of the pit at the end of the shift, so people went down to look for him. After searching for several hours, he couldn't be found. He was eventually found several layers down on the drum.

The theory was that he'd started his engine to haul in a line of tubs, then went and stood close by the cable to inspect it for damage as it was coming in. A sliver of broken steel strand sticking out of the cable must have caught in his clothing and hauled him onto the drum, where the rest of the cable wound round him under tension and totally squashed him. An automatic cut-out would of course have stopped the line of tubs from running into the drum.

Phew!
Ray


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Subject: RE: who comes from coal miners?
From: okthen
Date: 30 May 02 - 07:30 AM

Gareth, it would be interesting to see a documentary about Senghenydd, (Britains largest mining disaster) also what happened after, why were the owners never fined (or jailed),where are their descendants?

To translate, 10pence is 14 cents.

cheers

bill


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Subject: RE: who comes from coal miners?
From: Hrothgar
Date: 30 May 02 - 08:27 AM

None of my family that I know of - thank God!


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Subject: RE: who comes from coal miners?
From: InOBU
Date: 30 May 02 - 08:32 AM

My dad was a miner when he ran away from home in the depression, hated it, didn't like to speak about it, but I think it was why he was a Union man in every thing he did until the day he died, and he raised a miner's son.
Larry


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Subject: RE: who comes from coal miners?
From: Gareth
Date: 30 May 02 - 08:46 AM

okthen, not aware of any documentary. The files of the local and Cardiff papers in the County Archieves are full of the accounts - but then the "Western Mail" was never a friend of the working class.

There is a small museam in the Community Council Offices at Senghenydd, which is open by appointment. If any catter is visiting Caerphilly PM me, and I'll have words with the curator, me old drinking butty Councillor Reg Phillips, and see what can be arranged. The memorial is just a short walk away.

But fine the owners, or imprison them, you jest !!!

In the eyes of the law in 1911 the Colliers were voulanters, willingly acepting the risks.

BTW the last known direct next of kin to the dead colliers passed away some 3 years ago. Yes and at the age of, it think, 98 she was still living in Senghenydd.

4 or Five years previously this old lady had seen the memorial to her father and many others dedicated.

Click Here for More Photos

Gareth


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Subject: RE: who comes from coal miners?
From: Pete Jennings
Date: 30 May 02 - 10:09 AM

Yes, Bill, I've heard the one about the bat...

Another story I've remembered. Whe I was a coputer programmer with the Coal Board in the early seventies, following on from the Aberfan disaster there was a lot of effort, including legislation, going into making sure that the volumes of pit heaps didn't exceed a certain tonnage for their size (after which they became unstable).

We had written a program which could calculate this volume (using tellurometer readings) and we took it to a few pits to gauge its accuracy against known volumes. At one pit in Wales, we got a negative response to our new-fangled technology, as they were quite happy with their present system, thank you very much.

This consisted of an old bloke with a big sheet of hardboard, marked into squares, a bag of sand and a bottle of water. He would circle the pit heap, building up a sand model of it on the board and then, when he'd finished, he'd tip the sand off the board into another bag, weigh it and extrapolate the tonnage of the heap.

When we got the readings from the surveyors and ran them through our program, we reckoned he was about 2% out, when the legislation demanded 5%.

We went home.

Pete


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Subject: RE: who comes from coal miners?
From: BanjoRay
Date: 30 May 02 - 10:42 AM

Hey Pete, which bit of British Coal did you work for? I was in the West Wales Area Laboratory when Aberfan happened, and we had to go out digging lots of holes in pit tips to try and work out densities and what was in them. To get the densities, we dug a hole, weighed the contents and poured sand in to exactly fill the hole, thus getting its volume. I wonder if anyone correlated our densities with your volumes? Isn't sand wonderful!

Cheers
Ray


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Subject: RE: who comes from coal miners?
From: Barbara Shaw
Date: 30 May 02 - 12:17 PM

Not coal, but my grandfather was a miner in the silver and copper mines of Arizona. He died of black lung at age 42.

I'm told that he played guitar and he and his banjo-playing brother used to sit around in the evening singing and playing songs. My husband and I sit around in the evening singing and playing songs on guitar and banjo now. There's a song I wrote about him called "One More Miner" on my ShoreGrass In Connecticut CD (now in the auction).


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Subject: THE GRESFORD DISASTER^^^
From: Gareth
Date: 30 May 02 - 03:09 PM

Not drifting from the thread, but back to Music - even if it originates in North Wales. Incidently the Fireman, was and still is, a safety man checking gas concentrations etc. By law he was, even then, supposed to keep records, of concentrations, and pockets. Shots (explosives) were not supposed to be blown when there was gas (firedamp) around.

THE GRESFORD DISASTER

You've heard of the Gresford Disaster,
Of the terrible price that was paid;
Two hundred and forty two colliers were lost,
And three of the rescue brigade.

It occurred in the month of September
At three in the morning the pit
Was racked by a violent explosion
In the Dennis where gas lay so thick.

Now the gas in the Dennis deep section
Was heaped there like snow in a drift,
And many a man had to leave the coal-face
Before he had worked out his shift.

Now a fortnight before the explosion,
To the shotfirer Tomlinson cried,
"If you fire that shot we'll be all blown to hell!"
And no one can say that he lied.

Now the fireman;s reports they are missing
The records of forty-two days;
The collier manager had them destroyed
To cover his criminal ways.

Down there in the dark they are lying.
They died for nine shillings a day;
They have worked out their shift and now they must lie
In the darkness until Judgement day.

Now the Lord Mayor of London's collecting
To help out the children and wives;
The owners have sent some white lilies
To pay for the poor colliers' lives.

Farewell all our dear wives and children
Farewell all our comrades as well,
Don't send your sons down the dark dreary pit
They'll be doomed like the sinners in hell.

Recorded by Ewan MacColl (Steam Whistle Ballads?) Note: the Gresford disaster occurred on Friday, Sept. 22 1934. Actually, 265 miners died.RG tune is another Botany Bay variant. (From the DT)^^^

BTW White Lillys were sent in profusion to Sengynedd, and Oh yes, there was a Lord Mayors fund as well!

Gareth


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Subject: RE: who comes from coal miners?
From: Pete Jennings
Date: 30 May 02 - 06:15 PM

Ray, I was with the NCB Computer Centre (Mining Systems) in Cannock (which later became Compower Ltd). I was there from 1970 to 1974, and I distinctly remember the strike of '71 when my mates in the payroll section had to burn the midnight oil because there was no provision in the system for a strike...

Gareth, I was part of a team which wrote a computer system for the control of the use of explosives and detonators down the mines. It didn't really do much other than record the input, truth to tell, but in those days everyone was so scared of computer input forms that they made sure they got things right, so I like to think that we helped in some small way. See my entry above, (29 May, 8.19), about the type of incident that we helped to put an end to.

Pete


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Subject: RE: who comes from coal miners?
From: Gareth
Date: 30 May 02 - 07:00 PM

Err, Yes Pete, we do know the incident you mentioned here in South Wales. The old Merthyr Vale tips at Aberfan have now stabilised enough for them to plant trees upon them. I see the plantings every day on my way to work up the A470.

As my father said, and before he got out of the pits he was an NCB Engineer (Thought there was a bettr future in teaching) - Post Aberfan, and the Watkins Enquiry - " There, but for the grace of God, went I" - At Crumlin, Abercarne, Nine Mile Point, and Betteshanger (in Kent)he'd ordered tipping (US = Tailing) without worrying about the long term future.

My 18th Birthday was spent underground at the Lady Windsor Colliery nr Pontypridd. Ostensibly an Union Inspection by the Lodge I found out later that he had persueded the Lodge Chairman of the NUM to take me down, and give me a hard time. Just to remove any illusions that I may have had about the glamour of being a collier.

It worked.

Gareth

They came down here from London,
They said our output's low,
Brief cases full of Bank Clerk's
Who have never been below.
And they'll close the valley's oldest mine,
Pretending that their sad,
But don't you worry butty, man,
We're really very glad !
'Cos it's hard, dew it's hard,
Harder than you will ever know,
And if ham were under ground,
Would it be five bob a poubd,
And the Pithead Baths are a supermarket now !"


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Subject: RE: who comes from coal miners?
From: GUEST,Robby, at his home PC
Date: 31 May 02 - 05:09 PM

Hey, Guest, JB Goode,

If you return to read this, my great grandfather, Thomas Matthew Loughney and at least one of his sons, also named Thomas, were hard coal miners as well in Pittston, PA. That was back starting around the 1870s. Another of my great grandfathers, Peter Donnelly, started out as a miner, then moved up to finally being an engineer for Pennsylvania Coal Company (forefunner to the Pennsylvania Railroad), also in Pittston, PA. When were your grandparents mining in Pittston?

One of my grandfathers, Patrick Meehan, started his employment, at about 6 or 7, as a breaker boy, the official job classification was slate, for a coal company in Jermyn, PA (north of Scranton).

Robby


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Subject: RE: who comes from coal miners?
From: Bearheart
Date: 31 May 02 - 11:02 PM

I remember when the movie Matewan came out a while back. A biker friend of ours in West Virginia said it happened pretty much the way the movie told it. His granddad was one of those Matewan miners. It inspired me so much I wrote a ballad about it. Maybe someday I'll have the courage to share it... In the meantime there are lots of ggod songs out there-- unionizing songs, and songs just about being a miner. I really like the one Andy Irvine did on that Patrick Street album.

Well Metchosin, those Hungarians like their alcohol. It was a hard life though and drinking was one way to deal with it. I also think that there's something about leaving your homeland, and living among strangers. What do people do with their grief?

The flowers-- now, it wasn't my great grandad that planted the flowers-- My greatgrandma had incredible flower gardens. Corse all the men in the family helped her dig the beds and stuff. That's how my great uncle Mickey put the pickax through his foot. (they didn't have shovels I guess so they used their mining tools instead). She healed it up by boiling plantain in vinegar and poulticing it. Couldn't afford a doctor. It healed right up with no infection... She was a pretty good "doctor".


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Subject: RE: who comes from coal miners?
From: NicoleC
Date: 01 Jun 02 - 01:03 AM

I think it's interesting that most of the responses are from the "right" side of the ocean. Here in America, coming from a coal-mining family is kinda a shameful thing you might not want to admit unless you are bragging about how far you've come Like it means you are a poor hick or something. Is there that kid of bias on in the British Isles as well?

Personally, I'm proud of most of my ancestors. Poor or not, many of them had courage and perseverance I can only hope to come up with :)


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Subject: RE: who comes from coal miners?
From: Metchosin
Date: 01 Jun 02 - 01:32 AM

Bearheart, it was the English side of the family who ran the still, but I have no doubt that my Hungarian side purchased their fair share from him. I use the term Hungarian loosely. From what I have gleaned so far, they were probably Rus, which would have made their life all the more lonely. There was no Greek Rite Catholic church on the Island and the Catholic Church in their area of the mines, was manned by Flemish Brothers, who spoke no English.

The coal mines of Vancouver Island were at the turn of the last century considered the most productive in the world and the most deadly.

It wasn't that the coal mined was any more dangerous or the geology particularly more treacherous, but it was away from the public scrutiny of European sensibilities in the far outreaches of the "Colonies". Rampant greed was, as always, the driving force with the owners and life was cheap.

A Chinese miner, usually allocated the most life threatening position at less pay than a European, even in death, did not warrant a name, only a number. There were always more, desperate for work, lined up to adopt the same number and continue in the fallen miner's place.

The expression for hopelessness was "not having a Chinaman's chance", coined during tunnel building on the CPR line when Asians were hired to set the dynamite charges. The expression was certainly in use in the mines as well. Along with the Chinese, Englishmen, the Scots and the Irish, Hungarians, Rus and Italians, worked on the same shift, some unable to speak the same language and many inexperienced, which only compounded the subterranean danger.

The first attempts to form Unions were over safety issues, not pay and were met with the usual harsh reprisals.

Of all the songs about mining, You Won't Get Me Down In Your Mine, which I first heard hauntingly performed by John Gothard in the early 70's, says it all for me. Rough and crude as they were, I'm still proud of my heritage.

The following provided by Malcolm Douglas:

You Won't Get Me Down In Your Mine

You won't get me down underground in your mine
Away from the trees and the flowers so fine
Down in the dark where the sun never shines
You won't get me down in your mines.

They dig for the coal for the most of their lives
Away from the children, away from their wives
To make others rich, in the heat and the dark
But who's going to care when they're too old to work?

There's many a miner who died underground
Died all alone when the roof tumbled down
Trapped in the dark underneath the great beams
And choked out his life in the gas-filled coal seams

I'll work in your factory, I'll work on your farm
Dig roads till the muscles stand out on me arm
I've fought in your army, I've been out to sea
But by Christ, you won't make a coal-miner of me.

The first verse is repeated as a chorus.

Transcribed from the 1973 Leader LP "Songs of a Changing World" (Jon Raven/Nic Jones/Tony Rose), sung unaccompanied by Jones, so you'll have to work out "chords" for yourself! Words and music were written by Colin Wilkie (publisher, Feldman), apparently in response to a mining disaster that occurred in Germany in 1963.


Malcolm posted lyrics in this thread (click)


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Subject: RE: who comes from coal miners?
From: Metchosin
Date: 01 Jun 02 - 01:54 AM

Nichole, sort of pathetic isn't it, that we've managed to produce an ethic, where the worth of a human being is gauged by the size of his bank account. Then again has it ever been different? North America has almost managed to turn monetary wealth into an object of worship.


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Subject: RE: who comes from coal miners?
From: Chip2447
Date: 01 Jun 02 - 02:29 AM

My dad worked in a coal mine for exactly three days...before he quit. He said the only way that he would go back to that job was if his wife and children were starving and it was the only thing he could find.
Now, for the interesting part of the tale; Dad retired 12 years ago after forty years on one job, thats 52 years ago. Mom and dad have been married just a bit over 43 years. So, pop worked in a coal mine long before he even had a wife and kids. Kinda tells me that he wasn't too happy being a miner...
Chip2447(can't say that I blame him, being just a bit claustrophobic hizzownself)


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Subject: RE: who comes from coal miners?
From: GUEST,Anne
Date: 01 Jun 02 - 04:18 AM

My father was a miner in Scotland for around thirty years. Both maternal and paternal grandparents were also miners. My father started in the 'pits' when he was thirteen and was determined that none of his sons would have to do this work. Therefore he valued education very highly and stressed that this was the way my brothers could avoid having to do the kind of work that he did. However after leaving the pits he worked in a factory for a while. He could not understand the attitude of people whose main aim was to 'skive' off work - he had worked in an industry where if you didn't do your job properly someone else could die. He was a shaftsman, maintaining the shaft, and often talked of his 'boy'- his assistant. I remembered being really surprised when I met this 'boy' - a man in his 50's.


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Subject: RE: who comes from coal miners?
From: GUEST,Dave Williams
Date: 01 Jun 02 - 09:10 AM

Then there were the added horrors of child labor. Two of my great great uncles were door boys in Rhymney in the 1850s at the ages of 11 and 9. Some were as young as 6 or 7.

Doorboys were used in the mine to control the ventilation by opening and closing doors to allow the trams through when they heard them coming, but otherwise keeping them closed to force air to go throughout the whole mine. They may only have had a candle to last the day and often fell asleep at their posts. Many were injured or crushed to death by the wagons.

And there were girls used to pull trams through narrow tunnels. They wore a belt with a line passing between their legs and attached to the tram, pulling it by crawling on their hands and knees.

And above ground, the breaker boys mentioned earlier, who straddled a chute sorting stone and slate from the coal as it hurtled past.

Children spent 10 to 14 hours a day on the job, 6 days a week with virtually no chance of emancipation. Not much different than slavery. How did they handle the despair?


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Subject: RE: who comes from coal miners?
From: NicoleC
Date: 01 Jun 02 - 11:35 AM

It's not just the money, Metchosin, it's also part of the "stupid mountain hick who marries their sister and sleeps with their mom" stereotype.


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Subject: RE: who comes from coal miners?
From: GUEST,guitarfixer
Date: 01 Jun 02 - 12:08 PM

I'm the first male in my family for generations that Never worked in a coal mine. My dad worked there only before college and his service in Korea. Both grandfathers worked in the mines of So. Illinois in their teens. They had to farm and run sideline businesses as well to make ends meet. In my late teens I wanted to work in the mines because the money was so good. My Grandpa told me, "We didn't work so hard so that our Grandson would have to work in the mines too." He was injured in his early 60s when he went back to work to build up his miner's pension. The compressed air used to blast the face wne toff unexpectedly and pelted his body with coal and dust. In 1984 we I recorded with pride a song of the coal miners' plight: Coal Town Road

We get up in the black Down the coal town road And we hike along the track Where the coal trains load And we make the ponies pull till they nearly break their backs And they'll never see again Down the coal town road

We hear the whistle blow Down the coal town road And we take our tools and all Down the coal town road In the cages we will drop till there's no where else to fall And we leave this world behind us Down the coal town road

We never see the sun Down the coal town road At a penny for a ton Where the coal trains load When our shift comes up on top We're so thankful to be done We head home to sleep and dream about The coal town road

There's miner's little sons Down the coal town road Playing with their carbide guns Where the coal trains load But they better make the best of their childhool while it runs There's a pick and shovel waiting Down the coal town road

If there's a God for us Down the coal town road All the miners he can bless Where the coal trains load For we're sweating in the hole sucking down the devil's dust Just to keep the fires blazing Down the coal town road


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Subject: RE: who comes from coal miners?
From: Metchosin
Date: 01 Jun 02 - 01:39 PM

Dumb isn't it Nicole? That kind of behavior, when it really does occur, has never been just the prerogative of the very poor and the isolated.

Some might like to find comfort in the belief that ones higher socio-economic level, somehow makes one immune from such stuff, particularly, if one perceives themselves of low social status to begin with and feels the need of a scapegoat. IMO, the higher stake in keeping up appearances, just gives one a vested interest in burying family secrets and misdeeds more deeply.


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Subject: RE: who comes from coal miners?
From: dorareever
Date: 01 Jun 02 - 04:28 PM

I don't think I have ever had miners in my family.My mother's father worked in a cotton mill and then in a sweets factory,his wife worked in a factory too and was a taylor.My father's father did a bit of carpenter job and then became a barkeep,his wife was an housewife that helped him at the bar such as she had helped her own mother who was a fishmonger. That's my grandparents.Great-grandparents: 1)Mom's side: great-grandfather 1:well-off farmer,then factory working for him too. great-grandmother:mondina which is a woman who worked in the rice fields,then housewife. great-grandfather 2: train conductor,then factory (I see a pattern ther *LOL*!) great-grandmother 2: taylor 2)Dad's side: great-grandfather 1:nightwatch great-grandmother 1: fishmonger great-grandfather 2:carpenter great-grandmother 2: housewife

Before that I guess they were mostly farmers,maybe we have had miners too but that WAS long ago! Sorry if I bore you,but I like talking about my family.


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Subject: RE: who comes from coal miners?
From: Gareth
Date: 01 Jun 02 - 06:24 PM

Dave Williams of Rhymney - Are we related ????

Gareth of Ystrad Mynach - 8 miles down the Valley

Gareth


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Subject: RE: who comes from coal miners?
From: GUEST,Dave Williams
Date: 02 Jun 02 - 12:31 AM

Gareth,

Could be, although I don't live in Rhymney, I live in Ohio. The two great great uncles I mentioned were brothers of my great grandmother Alice Williams (nee Gower). She and my great grandfather were married in Tredegar in 1872.

Alice herself labored in the iron foundries as a teenager, bore 11 children, outlived 3 of them, and died at 77. I know that I must have relatives living in Wales, but I've not located any yet.

Great grandfather Lewis was a puddler, and most of my direct ancestors on my father's side were in the iron/steel mills. Hellish as they could be, they were miles ahead of working down the pits, which IMO has to be the worst exploitation and worst job ever.


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Subject: RE: who comes from coal miners?
From: maire-aine
Date: 02 Jun 02 - 11:52 AM

My father's family came from western Pennsylvania, a town called Nanty Glo, where my Grandfather (d. in 1918) worked for the railroad. Only one of my Dad's brothers (there were 5 of them) worked in the mine, mostly because my Grandmother put a stop to it. The oldest brother was the only one to serve in the armed forces during WWI, and he came to Detroit as soon as he got out of the service. One or two at a time, Grandmother sent the rest of the boys to join their older brother in the big city. Finally, she and the 3 sisters joined them. According to family history, she was determined that her boys weren't going to go down into the mines. I've always felt there was a song in there somewhere. They all (boys and girls both) ended up working for the JL Hudson company, and made did pretty well, when all was said and done.


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Subject: RE: who comes from coal miners?
From: Bullfrog Jones
Date: 02 Jun 02 - 08:11 PM

For anyone who hasn't read them, Richard Llewellyn's 'How Green Was My Valley' and Alexander Cordell's 'Rape Of The Fair Country' (plus their respective sequels) are brilliant evocations of typical Welsh mining and iron communities in the 19th Century. Apart from the rich descriptions of family life, there's a genuine understanding of the hardships and unfairness of Industrial Revolution, and of the poltical upheavals it engendered. (Did you know that the Methyr Uprising is meant to have seen the first raising of a red flag as a symbol of revoltion ?)

BJ


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Subject: RE: who comes from coal miners?
From: RoyH (Burl)
Date: 03 Jun 02 - 06:12 PM

Earlier in this thread I said I liked it because it gave me chance to write about my coal miner uncle. I've thoroughly enjoyed reading about other folks uncles, fathers, great stories all. No argument, miners are a special breed of men, their working conditions made them so. The women who loved thier miner husbands, sweethearts, children, were remarkable too. It's no wonder that the songs that come out of tghe miner's life experience are such good ones. Thanks to all contributors to this thread. Burl.


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Subject: RE: who comes from coal miners?
From: Gareth
Date: 03 Jun 02 - 07:13 PM

Yes, but don't thee forget, the women and children served thier time underground as well, and on top, sorting cleaning, picking etc.

The price of coal was nasty, and it still continues.

I remember a Memorial at Aberfan - There was a school there once.

Gareth

And I see an old collier whose body stands broken,
Claimed by the dust, much finer than sand,
And I'll ak him the question that you cannot answer,
I'll ask him the question, he'll understand,
Collier Laddy, Collier Bay,


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Subject: RE: who comes from coal miners?
From: GUEST,Dave Williams
Date: 03 Jun 02 - 11:14 PM

Maire-aine,

Yes, Nanty Glo (Welsh, Nant y Glo) translates to Coalbrook in English.

BJ,

Right. The title (for those who may be interested) of one of Cordell's sequels you mentioned is "The Fire People". This one gives the history of the Merthyr Rising and the story of Dic Penderyn.


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Subject: RE: who comes from coal miners?
From: RoyH (Burl)
Date: 04 Jun 02 - 07:22 AM

Correct, Gareth. I concur, entirely. Burl


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Subject: RE: who comes from coal miners?
From: GUEST,Jim I
Date: 04 Jun 02 - 02:21 PM

My grandfather left school and became a grocer's delivery boy. He joined the army at 17 and served in France for 2 years being invalided out after a gas attack. He went down the mines and did 50 years retiring at 70 in 1969. He then got a job as a park attendant and was still working when he died aged 74.

His father was also a miner for over 50 years and I have his certificate celebrating 50 years as a member of the NUM.


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Subject: RE: who comes from coal miners?
From: GUEST,BOAB
Date: 04 Jun 02 - 09:12 PM

Iwas a miner for a lot o´years.In engineering, but I was down there with the lads-so I was a miner, and proud of it.Best bunch of mates I ever had. Was involved in the rescue at the Knockshinoch disaster in 1950. A story there, but too long for this forum.


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Subject: RE: who comes from coal miners?
From: Janie
Date: 05 Jan 13 - 12:04 PM

My maternal family worked in and around the mines in McDowell Co., West Virginia. My grandfather died in a coal shaft when the roof of the seam collapsed in 1938 when Mom was 9. My great grandfather worked at the tipple and my great grandmother ran a boarding house in an Island Creek coal camp.


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Subject: RE: who comes from coal miners?
From: Gurney
Date: 05 Jan 13 - 02:07 PM

No career miners, but both dad and I were miners for a time. Separate times, English Midlands coalfields.


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Subject: RE: who comes from coal miners?
From: GUEST,999
Date: 05 Jan 13 - 02:14 PM

My grandfather in the late 1800s.


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Subject: RE: who comes from coal miners?
From: GUEST,Big Al Whittle
Date: 05 Jan 13 - 02:35 PM

Its cockney rhyming slang....

As in wotcha mate! I'm going dahn the old frog and toad to be a coal miner

which freely translated means

I am currently studying graphic design at art college.


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Subject: RE: who comes from coal miners?
From: Janie
Date: 05 Jan 13 - 03:24 PM

My maternal family lived in southern West Virginia and southwest Virginia for multiple generations. Neither my grandmother nor my mother had fond memories of the coal camps, and after my grandfather died my grandmother (a colorful and remarkably strong woman) pulled the entire family, including her own parents and siblings, out of the coalfields just as soon as she could.

Granny BB (as we called her) refused to go see the movie "Matewan" with us. "Why would I want to be reminded?" She wasn't thinking so much about the union wars, but about life in the coalfields.


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Subject: RE: who comes from coal miners?
From: GUEST,SirCoughsalot
Date: 05 Jan 13 - 04:00 PM

Being a lifelong resident of West Virginia, there are bound to be some in there. Both my grandfathers were coal miners, but I don't think of myself as "coming from coal miners."


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Subject: RE: who comes from coal miners?
From: GUEST,Big Al Whittle
Date: 05 Jan 13 - 05:16 PM

I sort of know what you Sir Coughsalot. My grandfather was a clog dancing Lancashire miner, full of folksong and folk wisdom - and of course as a kid, it bored me shitless. And his tales of hardship (delivered with stolid northern resentment)seemed designed to make me feel guilty about the few nice things that I had as kid in the 1950's. I rejected it all. Still do - to a large extent.

But in way - that works against me. I am rootless. One of the cleverest things I heard Christy Moore said was that it is imperative as an artist to take into account your roots - even if it is only to understand what you are rejecting and why you are rejecting it.

My grandparents (even the Lancashire coal miner!) were Irish. It is only when I started to understand that my parents were the children of immigrants that I understood THEIR attitudes and actions and thoughts and decisions.

where we come from is where we come from - no getting away from it.


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Subject: RE: who comes from coal miners?
From: GUEST,ada the cadre
Date: 12 Oct 15 - 12:36 PM

Gresford Disaster was collected by Ewan MacColl from a young miner called Ford in the Sheffield area.(AL Lloyd Come All Ye Bold Miners) Does anybody know who wrote it?
Whoever it was seems to have followed the Enquiry pretty closely. It found the following breaches of the Coal Mines Act: failure to keep books, to maintain adequate ventilation, to supply separate means of egress where required, to cut off electric current when gas levels of more than 1.25% of gas was present. The management also failed to comply with requirements regarding telephone apparatus, coal dust, withdrawal of workmen and limitation of hours.
Most of these breaches were not disputed. The under-manager explaining why he had broken the regulations about shot firing said frankly "If all these men on the level of the main coal seam had to be withdrawn for every shot on that road, which I had considered quite safe personally, then the colliery would have had to close. The Act could never be complied with" 265 men (not 242 +3 as it says in the song) died. The law was broken in many ways. Nobody went to prison or was heavily fined. Britain's Coal, Margot Heinemann 1944. Something to ponder next time someone tells you that Health & Safety have gone mad.


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Subject: RE: who comes from coal miners?
From: GUEST,DTM
Date: 12 Oct 15 - 02:31 PM

Three of my uncles were miners & my gran's brother was killed in the mine. Salt of the earth.
"It's dark as a dungeon ...."


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Subject: RE: who comes from coal miners?
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 13 Oct 15 - 03:33 AM

My grandfather went into the local tileworks because he really, really didn't want to go down the coal mine. When the tileworks closed down he had a nervous breakdown, although they didn't call it that then - he was in hospital for a week. Then they packed him off home and he went down the mine, as did two of his sons. He seems to have been a bright bloke, as he was given the job of checking the weights* - he was known as Edwards Chwarae Teg, 'Fair Play' Edwards.

He was still a coalminer in 1926, when the miners stayed out all year and ended up being starved back to work on worse terms than those they'd left. My Dad got an education, got out and went to London, and lived to be nearly 90, but his father and both his brothers who went down the mine died relatively young.

So my grandfather - who I never knew - actually was a miner between the wars (unlike Billy Bragg). And it was bloody horrible.

*Family story - I don't know the details.


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Subject: RE: who comes from coal miners?
From: GUEST,MikeL2
Date: 13 Oct 15 - 06:23 AM

Hi

My grandfather on my mother's side worked in the pit at Elsecar ( near Barnsley ) in Yorkshire.

He played cornet in the Colliery brass band. My father followed him down the pit for a couple of years but came out and moved over to Cheshire where he worked as an engineer.

Both of them taught me about music and I am now grateful for what they did; though at the time I didn't always enjoy the long hours of practice.

Regards

Mikel2


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Subject: RE: who comes from coal miners?
From: GUEST,Barnacle (at work)
Date: 13 Oct 15 - 08:49 AM

My father was colliery joiner and then shaftsmen at Blackhall Colliery in the South Durham Coalfields. His father was a miner too as was one of my brothers and my brother in law was a colliery electrician.

As colliery joiner, my father made coffins for some of the 83 miners lost when, on 29 May (dad's birthday) 1951, there was an explosion at Easington Collier, two pits away.

He was proud of the work and of the friends he made, disagreed with striking for pay, but supportive of striking for safer conditions. I do remember him collecting sea coal to keep us warm through one of the strikes.

Is that close enough?


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Subject: RE: who comes from coal miners?
From: mayomick
Date: 13 Oct 15 - 10:53 AM

My father was a coal miner in Yorkshire before the war. His father and uncles and grandfather had been miners. He ran away when they tried to conscript him to train up the Bevan Boys during WW2 but put the skills he learned in the pits to use working as a leading miner- later as a pit boss - building tunnels in London (although he always said that coal miners wouldn't regard such work as real mining) .
My mother's family worked in the pits as well . She had an uncle died in an explosion in Wales.


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Subject: RE: who comes from coal miners?
From: mayomick
Date: 13 Oct 15 - 11:13 AM

Extreme thread drift alert for the following comment

Nigel Parson wrote in 2002 about male voice choirs, using the title "Orpheus" to denote their origins underground. e.g."The Morriston Orpheus Choir". This reminded me of the reference to Orpheus in Ewan MacColls song "My Old Man" . MacColl's dad was a one-eye-closed moulder thus, "one of Cyclops' smoky band" . Bricklayers in Ireland also call themselves " Cyclops" -after the way they line up their work keeping one eye closed . Do any other trades have such ironic references to the classics?


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Subject: RE: who comes from coal miners?
From: mayomick
Date: 13 Oct 15 - 11:16 AM

re. this part of my previous comment ."This reminded me of the reference to Orpheus in Ewan MacColls song "My Old Man" " . That should have been Macall's reference to Cyclops


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Subject: RE: who comes from coal miners?
From: Will Fly
Date: 13 Oct 15 - 11:16 AM

Up until my great-grandfather (locomotive driver), every male in my father's line - brothers, cousins, etc., was a coal miner. some were killed in the Pretoria Pit disaster in 1910.

My great-great-great-grandfather was born in 1816 and pulled coal carts as a small child before "graduating" as a full miner at the age of 16. He died at the comparatively old age age of 68 in 1884. Tough people.

It was a bloody awful job - and yet men mourned when pits closed and missed the camaraderie of the work and the community.


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Subject: RE: who comes from coal miners?
From: GUEST,Ebor Fiddler
Date: 13 Oct 15 - 11:27 AM

The last colliers in our family worked in Garforth pits about 1800, unless you count Colliery Managers? (I thought not!).

Chris B.


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Subject: RE: who comes from coal miners?
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 13 Oct 15 - 03:36 PM

I agree, Will - what was done to the mining communities was dreadful and left scars that are still there now.

It's just (thread drift alert)... that Billy Bragg song gets to me. I used to like it, or sort of like it; it was on the list of eight or ten songs I thought I could do when I first started going to folk clubs (so that's how recently that was). Never did do it, though, and after a while it dropped off the list.

These days it makes me cringe. I know what he's doing in the first verse - setting up the honest working man who earns a living by the sweat of his brow and doesn't want to do any harm to anyone, and so on - but it seems a really crude idealisation: "me good worker! me want world peace!". When I think of a "miner ... between the wars" I think of a fairly runty little bloke who was scared half out of his wits by the thought of going down the mine, and then had to go down anyway. There's a kind of dignity there, but it's a dignity that must have really hurt.

I suppose (wrenching it back on-topic) that's what I feel I got from the whole story - the heritage of being really screwed-over.


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Subject: RE: who comes from coal miners?
From: mayomick
Date: 14 Oct 15 - 09:12 AM

"a fairly runty little bloke who was scared half out of his wits by the thought of going down the mine, and then had to go down anyway"
describes my dad quite well .When he got down ,he'd be crawling through 3 foot seams having to buy his own explosives - if a shot misfired the miners had to take it out themselves.
At least they had some protection compared to the near slave conditions of the nineteenth century

"Robert North, who worked in a coal mine in Yorkshire, told an inspector: 'I went into the pit at seven years of age. When I drew by the girdle and chain, my skin was broken and the blood ran down … If we said anything, they would beat us.' "

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1312764/Britains-child-slaves-New-book-says-misery-helped-forge-Britain.html#ixzz3oTniSe


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Subject: RE: who comes from coal miners?
From: mayomick
Date: 14 Oct 15 - 09:20 AM

more open drift (threadwise)
The Daily Mail article above on child labour during Britain's industrial revolution quoted without naming......
"A German visitor to Manchester in 1842 remarked that there were so many limbless people it was like 'living in the midst of an army just returned from campaign'"

A German clockwinder to Manchester came , Fredrick Engels was that old German's name


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Subject: RE: who comes from coal miners?
From: GUEST,Gervase
Date: 14 Oct 15 - 05:21 PM

My great-great grandfather great grandfather and grandfather were miners; the first two were hewers, and did the job from the age of 14 until past 65 but my grandfather looked after the ponies and then, at 16, left the mine to work for a coffin-maker. And then, at 20, he walked to London and became a copper. And he never quite forgave his daughter for marrying a Tory...


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Subject: RE: who comes from coal miners?
From: Rumncoke
Date: 14 Oct 15 - 10:19 PM

When looking at my father's family in the census records, I found that his father, as a boy, worked in a pit - he was tiny, about 4 ft 9 inches, and he got an apprenticeship and trained as a hair dresser when he was older.

He never once mentioned that he'd worked in a coalmine, my father never mentioned it either - but it was definitely him.


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Subject: RE: who comes from coal miners?
From: GUEST
Date: 15 Oct 15 - 02:38 AM

Goodness, no wonder there's so many socialists in the U.K. Just awful, but heartening stories. Props to all...


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Subject: RE: who comes from coal miners?
From: Janie
Date: 15 Oct 15 - 07:11 AM

My maternal grandfather was a coal miner in the southern coalfields of West Virginia. He was killed in a mine accident when my mother was young. He was a shift foreman. There were reports of roof problems and he went down to inspect before his shift went in. The roof of the shaft collapsed on him.

My great grandfather and great uncle worked at the tipple, not down in the mine.

My grandmother pulled the entire extended family out of the coalfields after grandfather died, vowing that none of her boys would go down in the mines.


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Subject: RE: who comes from coal miners?
From: GUEST
Date: 15 Oct 15 - 08:10 AM

Janie, yes that is a tough row to hoe, but your Grandmother picked-up and moved.


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Subject: RE: who comes from coal miners?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 15 Oct 15 - 10:00 AM

The father of my first wife Valerie {1935-2007} was a Forest of Dean miner. He started at the age of 14, when that was the school-leaving age, as a pit-pony boy, looking after the ponies that hauled the trucks & trolleys, and became a face-hewer eventually. He was alive when I first met Valerie, but died soon after so I never met him. He would sometimes leave the pit and work for a while on commission as an insurance agent; but money from this was intermittent, so he would go back down the pit, much to my mother-in-law-to-be's annoyance. — There was no running water or indoor sanitation in their house until 1950, nor pithead baths or showers in those days, so it meant a hip-bath with water heated by the fire when he came home. Valerie once told one of the younger students when she was a mature student at Newnham, Cambridge, having won a mature state scholarship after we were married because she had missed out on higher education at the usual time [she got a first, so certainly justified it all -- why I still live in Cambridge area BTW], that she remembered her father's hip-baths by the fire from her childhood. "You've been reading too much Lawrence," was the insensitive reply: rather surprisingly, as this younger fellow-student was actually a very nice girl who became a friend.

≈Michael≈


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Subject: RE: who comes from coal miners?
From: GUEST,Mike Yates
Date: 15 Oct 15 - 10:04 AM

My wife's father & grandfather were miners in the Haig Colliery in Whitehaven. The site is now a museum, which would, I'm sure, have surprised them both!


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Subject: RE: who comes from coal miners?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 15 Oct 15 - 10:12 AM

Valerie was also supervised by the brilliant but opinionated Q D [Queenie] Leavis in her last year. In a supervision about Thomas Hardy, when Mrs L was holding forth on the virtues of the "organic community", a great shibboleth of the Leavises when they were influential critics, Valerie remarked that the organic life was not all it was sometimes cracked up to be: "I remember the nuisance to my mother of my miner father having to have water heated for a hip-bath when he came home from a day's shift because we had no running water or indoor sanitation".
"Nonsense, dear," replied Queenie in not-to-be-contradicted tones, "you're much too young!" The Leavises had their following -- even I admired his work in my 1st & 2nd years — but Queenie was a nasty king·sized old bitch as ever there was.

≈M≈


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Subject: RE: who comes from coal miners?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 15 Oct 15 - 10:23 AM

To continue the drift -- sorry, but it might be of interest: the male Dr Leavis would be talking to a fellow don at a party or reception, & she would come up to them & exclaim to her husband in a loud voice, "Have you forgotten we're not talking to him!" Contentiousness personified, she was. (But Valerie always blessed her supervising, at that, for the results it got her!)


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Subject: RE: who comes from coal miners?
From: Snuffy
Date: 15 Oct 15 - 10:23 AM

One of my uncles (my mother's brother-in-law) was a miner in the Durham coalfield in the early fifties. I can still see him coming home black all over and sitting in a tin bath in front of the fire with the clothes horse around it as a screen.
He later got a job at Vickers driving an overhead crane, and it was a family joke that he started at the bottom and made it to the very top.

Just about all of my ex-wife's cousins and uncles were Derbyshire miners, as was her father - a Pole who came to Britain via Siberia and the Eighth Army. I have spent many a Sunday lunchtime in Miners Welfare clubs playing crib or dominoes with him and his mates.


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Subject: RE: who comes from coal miners?
From: GUEST,David Nuttall, Wakefield
Date: 15 Oct 15 - 12:26 PM

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.

DAVID


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Subject: RE: who comes from coal miners?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 15 Oct 15 - 12:49 PM

do we win a prize if we come from miners?


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Subject: RE: who comes from coal miners?
From: GUEST,David Nuttall , Wakefield
Date: 15 Oct 15 - 01:43 PM

I wonder if the relatives of the following would consider that they 'COME FROM COAL MINERS ' as all were Bevin Boys and worked in the mines as a result of a random ballot during the last war.....

Jimmy Saville ( Bevin Boy at South Kirkby colliery...see my previous post )

Paul Hamlyn ( Of the publishing company )

Nat Lofthouse ( footballer )

Eric Morecambe ( comedian )


DAVID


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Subject: RE: who comes from coal miners?
From: GUEST,Desi C
Date: 16 Oct 15 - 08:47 AM

I come from a mining family in Castlecomer County Kilkenny in Ireland, mines famous for it's great quality Black Marble as mentioned in the Trad somg Carrickfergus. But why the question?


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Subject: RE: who comes from coal miners?
From: hsempl
Date: 16 Oct 15 - 11:00 AM

My Richards ancestors came from Wales in the mid-1800s to Pennsylvania; I don't know if my great-great-great grandfather (John Richards) was following other Richardses there or not, but there certainly were others, so maybe it was a larger family group. Anyway, he came first with his oldest son, then his wife and younger children followed, and after some time mining in Pennsylvania, they moved (I think after the Civil War) to east Tennessee and worked in the mining business in Rockwood. John's son Will was a superintendent, and seems to have been a fair, loved one. I know it was noted that black and white miners were paid equal wages. He had 13 kids, and my mom said all the boys (these would have been her great uncles) worked in the mines; and most of them died young; I don't think any in mining accidents, but of lung ailments. A bunch of the Richardses moved to Pennington Gap, Virginia and worked in the mines there (Bonnie Blue area). I have photos of my great grandfather in the mine with the lamp-hat on, but I think he only did it as a young man; by the time he was married with children, the industry was changing, and he started working in the hosiery mill, and later as a grocery store manager (and still later he moved to east Texas with his family and a close family friend and opened a bowling alley). On my dad's side, the Thompsons worked in the coal and iron business in east Tennessee, at Eagle Furnace and Rockwood. I find several Thompsons listed as "hammermen" in the censuses of 1850 and 1860; I looked up a description of that, and it seems to have been using sledge hammers to hammer molten iron that was being at the same time hammered by a (hydraulic?) hammer. The younger Thompson, my great-great-grandfather, got out of that work as a young man and went into journalism and politics.
My Richards great-grandfather is said to have had a nice singing voice and to have been always singing; but no one seems to remember any particular songs that he sang, sadly. I am guessing it was probably mens' club type stuff. His dad would probably have still spoken welsh some, but I don't think he did; maybe a few words. He died about five years before I was born.


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Subject: RE: who comes from coal miners?
From: GUEST
Date: 16 Oct 15 - 01:13 PM

DAVID, your Dad loved you very much.


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Subject: RE: who comes from coal miners?
From: GUEST,David Nuttall, Wakefield
Date: 18 Oct 15 - 06:10 AM

Thankyou for that , Guest , ...16th Oct ! It,s a very unselfish love which parents often have for their family as displayed by them doing such hard , dangerous and demanding jobs to provide for them. I often reflect on fishermen ,too ,who endure tremendous hardship and danger to earn their living....such a hard life ! Both mining ( of many different kinds ) and deep sea fishing have been the focus of so many great songs over the years. Someone has said that the best three things to have emerged from the coal mining industry has been the coal , the camaraderie and the songs !! I would recommend a guided tour / visit to the National Coal Mining Museum , Caphouse Colliery, near Wakefield to experience first- hand a visit to the coal face... it is a truly inspirational visit with artefacts and paintings, photographs , memorabilia and changing exhibitions to provide a great insight into mining life.

DAVID


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