Archived Extracts

This article shared by Mick Bostock was among his marvellous collection of photos and memorabilia that historically relates also his own time working through the final years at the New Hucknall Colliery. It was written by Jayne Holloway and published in the local press based on the far earlier memories and talented interests of Cyril Baggaley, who lived in Sutton when he started work at this colliery way back in 1922.

The Nottinghamshire Free Press

Page 10 - dated Friday 10th August 1984

Down Memory Mine

It has been several years since New Hucknall Colliery swarmed with miners, but in it's heyday it was one of the area's largest employers, turning tub after tub of coal.
  Gone are the days of the 12-hour shifts and the shilling and penny wage packet, but thanks to old Suttonian Cyril Baggaley of Banbury, we are able this week to recreate just a little of what life was like there, all those years ago.

  During his retirement, Mr Baggaley, who has an exceptional talent for memory drawing, has recreated his old pals at New Hucknall Colliery, remembering them to the last intricate detail.
  He said, "I began work at New Hucknall Colliery on Waterloo Bank in September 1922 and very soon was studying the faces and expressions of my colleagues."
  However the day Mr Baggaley showed his efforts to the men, there were mixed reactions. "Some were amused at my drawing, but generally it caused agro, so to keep the peace I discontinued," he says.
  Mr Baggaley worked on the coal wagons for around three years until moving to the check-weight cabin. His job was to call out the stall numbers on the coal which was loaded in tubs. (the numbers were written in whitewash by the miners down the pit). The weight of each tub loaded with coal was recorded by the two check weighmen seated in the cabin.
  After the tub was weighed Mr Baggaley Bill Moore and his colleague of the time Bill Moore, had to twist the weight tub and pull the next one onto the scale. The full tub then ran down a slight incline onto a creeper.
  In those days there was no pit head baths or canteen and machinery was steam driven, until about 1927 when electricity took over.
  During 'snap-time', which was a period of twenty minutes, recalls Mr Baggaley, many of the men would drink cold tea.
  He said: "I devised a method of keeping my bottle of tea warm, by fixing a small shelf on the bend of the compressed air pipe, which ran alongside the steel coal belt, covered with sacking it kept the bottles of tea warm."
  One of Mr Baggaley's most enjoyable years spent at New Hucknall were in 1928, when he was the working mate of the late Harold England. Harold England "Harold was good company to work with. He operated the tippler (a device for emptying the tubs of coal onto the steal belt)."
  "I worked behind the tippler, my task was to pull out the empty tub, which was partly pushed out to the advancing full tub. It was a noisy job and sometimes very dusty, depending on the way of the wind which blew through broken sky lights."

  The pit was very noisy in those days,Jimmy Johnson particularly where the coal was sifted over perforations on the metal to allow small slack to descend into wagons, waiting below in the shunt. Here stood James (Jimmy) Johnson with his brake stick, he was custodian for slack filled wagons.

  Despite poor wages, Mr Baggaley says all the workmen seemed happy with their lot and there were many amusing situations. Albert Miller "I recall the late Albert Miller bursting into laughter, when suddenly his false teeth flew out of his mouth and disappeared into a tub of coal. This incident held up production for a while, however the teeth were duly recovered, but were dirty with coal dust," adds Mr Baggaley.
  "My wage in the early 1930's was, if I made a full week of 48 hours, £2.20, but this came in intervals of seven weeks,Amos Stringfellow for at that time we were working only three days, with the rest on the dole."
  "The dole at that time was given out at the Wesleyan Chapel on Outram Street."

  A section of Waterloo Bank showing the creeper, with Harold England at the tippler. His right hand is holding the cock valve which governs the speed of tubs on their way to be emptied onto the steel belt.
  The late Albert Dallman (Huthwaite) is seen pushing a tub over the oiler, ready for the ascent, and the late Amos Stringfellow stands the other side at the front of the tippler.
  A coal wagon stands nearby - the wagon is the property of R H Slade & Co Ltd of High Wycombe, Bucks.
  Inset: Mr Baggaley in his younger days.

Article by Jayne Holloway - Free Press

Page also includes this related column


Most Ashfield pits were working normally this week and NCB chiefs coolly announced business as usual despite the wrecking of lorries at the South Normanton depot and the attack at Silverhill Colliery.
  Would Mr Scargill regard these outrages as standard practice in pursuance of a trade dispute?
  Will Mr Scargill publicly denounce these pathetic mobsters calling themselves a Hit Squad?
  Will Mr Scargill in his regular rantings against the media join un in asking how a Canadian TV film crew just happened to be there for the three minutes it took for the wreckers to do their dirty work?
  Or will he continue to prattle on about the frustrations of striking miners and the use of basic trade union principles to get Nottinghamshire miners to see the light?
  The answer is, of course, that Mr Scargill will probably avoid the issue at any cost but will strangely forget that this latest lunacy drives yet another support away from any platform of hope he may have in convincing Nottinghamshire miners to join their colleagues on strike.
  When will he and his so-called supporters learn the violence - and Ashfield pitmen have seen plenty of that - continues the alienation process even further.
  Violence does not breed violence amongst local miners, it breeds contempt for those responsible, and 99 per cent of the colliers want nothing to do with it.

Written 10 Aug 1984 Revised 31 Aug 13 © by Gary Elliott