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Old 27-05-2012, 03:05 PM
janwhin janwhin is offline
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Default Marks Row Cottages

One branch of my ancestors were coal miners living in Radcliffe. My 2 times grandfather's oldest brother was killed in the pit in 1885 by a fall of stone at age 64. He left a will, passing all his estate to his wife (228 3s). His wife died 4 years later and also left a will (188 0s 3d) and what interesting reading it makes. They had no children (all died before aged 10) and must have saved their money and bought property, perhaps using rents to buy more. She owned 4 cottages on the north side of Marks Row, from photographs that seems to be all the ones at that end apart from the one nearest Edwin Street. Unexpected and it shows it's worth looking for wills even when you think the ancestors would be too poor to make one!
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Old 27-05-2012, 04:10 PM
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Coquet Coquet is offline
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And you can dig around to see what the local aristocracy were worth :

Shallcross Fitzherbert Widdrington

died 1917

left 42,690 2s 2d

which you can run through an inflation adjuster


which gives you 3,100,000 in today's money.

You would also have to compare that to average wages in 1917 to get a realistic idea of the value of such a sum.
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Old 27-05-2012, 04:17 PM
janwhin janwhin is offline
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Default Inflation

Sadly, my ancestors were not in the Widdrington league! 188 in 1889 appears to be 21000 in 2012, not bad for a pitman's widow
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Old 28-05-2012, 07:53 AM
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I doff my hat to your ancestor's financial acumen!

Income is an interesting facet of social history - I was at Beamish a few years back , looking at the row of miners' cottages, I noticed they were furnished with some very high quality pieces of furniture - beautiful walnut etc - I asked the Beamish guide doubtfully if he thought such furniture was really representative of a miners cottage and he was adamant that it was - "many of the miners were very well paid" he said.

I suspect the truth is that mining wages waxed and waned over the decades with periods of rising/falling unemployment, wars, depressions etc.


I wonder how they (the mine owners) kept a lid on wages when the industry was expanding?
Radcliffe Colliery advertised for 300 men in one advert in the 1840 - that must have put some pressure on wages? Did men move from Shilbottle? Although the mine owners probably had some kind of gentlemen's agreement to keep things under control.
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Old 28-05-2012, 12:06 PM
janwhin janwhin is offline
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I think that perhaps wages were relative. In a rural community like Northumberland, coal mining presumably paid better than agriculture and the houses were of a higher standard. Unfortunately the water supply and sewage disposal left a bit to be desired. My Radcliffe coal mining ancestors started off in Shilbottle went briefly to Eglingham (Coal Eglingham) then oscillated between Shilbottle and Radcliffe for a while. After a brief spell at Glebe colliery in Bedlington, they settled on Radcliffe. Of course they had the advantage of 7 sons, all living and all miners.

My great grandfather from another branch was an agricultural labourer until the mid 1880s and then went into the mines, I guess for the money. Apparently there was competition between the pits for miners and Pegswood was attractive at that time re housing and special offers!
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Old 23-06-2012, 09:58 AM
Grim_up_North Grim_up_North is offline
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I suspect that the advertisment for the 300 men at Radcliffe was the colliery's first expansion after the shaft was sunk. First coal was 1837 but the actual First Pit shaft wasn't sunk until November 1839.

http://www.dmm.org.uk/colliery/r020.htm

Additionally, although possibly functional before this date in some capacity (and the waggonway from the colliery to the port was probably been laid around 1840), Warkworth Harbour wasn't completed until 1844. Though, I suspect "completed" would mean all the fineries.

Although, after these times, Durham County Council have a great history website which includes a great document by Derrik Scott on the mechanics and politics of the 1844 strike which gives an indication of how unsettled relationships were with the mine owners and coal workers.

http://www.durhamintime.org.uk/Durha...eat_Strike.pdf

It also has a great snippet about Radcliffe Colliery which I'm assuming must have been after the strike had started:

"Dirty tricks were employed by the coal owners and their agents in order to entice workers from all over the country to work in the mines of the north‐east of England. An overman from Marley Hill Colliery, Co. Durham trying to recruit men in Staffordshire reported that the strike in Northumberland and Durham was settled, but Marley Hill, being a new colliery, needed men. The agents of Radcliffe Colliery in the north brought 32 miners from Cornwall to replace their workers with promises of 4s per day. When they received their pay of 3s or 2s 6d per day they struck for two days until they received assurances that the 4s would be paid. (This cost the owners money because the Cornish men were poor coal hewers not so good as the north‐east pitmen). When the owners offered the Cornish men 4d per tub (they only filled about four tubs per day) they absconded. A reward of 50 was offered for their capture but some escaped (possibly to go home). Some were captured and tried at Alnwick but were acquitted."

Derrik Scott (2011) Great Strike of the Northumberland and Durham Coalfield in 1844, Durham County Council.
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Old 25-06-2012, 12:27 PM
janwhin janwhin is offline
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Continuing the story about the escaping Cornish miners, 4 were caught in Newcastle and brought under guard to Amble for trial. They escaped and police and pit officials turned over the evicted Radcliffe miners camp on the Green Lonnen in an attempt to find them. They were not found.
Others were caught at Newcastle and to avoid another escape attempt were brought to Alnmouth by boat and onto Alnwick for trial. After they were found innocent the men and their solicitor were paraded and cheered through the streets of Amble

Apparently the local newspapers did not carry very much on the strike and were much criticised by the press outside the region.
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