Thursday, 29 October 2009

In Dad's Shoes - Part 2

On the second day I was told I would be working in the Lamp room for the next three weeks. This was where every miner going down the pit had to collect his cap lamp and safety lamp. Each miner had a brass disc with their man number on it and this had to be moved from the out- board to the in-board so that a check could be kept on who was down the pit. If any man wanted to stay for overtime or do a double shift this information had to be telephoned from the pit bottom so that everyone was accounted for at all times. When the men came back up their discs moved back to the out-board and their lamps were cleaned and recharged.

My next assignment was in the Blacksmith’s shop. This was where the minecars used down the pit were repaired . The harness and chains for the pit ponies were also repaired as was other equipment for use on the pit top. We would sometimes have our legs pulled and be sent on a fool’s errand. I was sent to another workshop for “a long stand”.

Then it was on to the screens. This is where the coal came out of the pit and was washed and all the stone and other rubbish had to be removed. This was the dirtiest and dustiest job so far. My final training was in the stockyard where minecars were loaded with gear for underground.

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