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  #121  
Old 10-01-2016, 02:37 PM
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Who was the 'Patriarch blacksmith' type in the blacksmiths shop, big bloke, white beard. Was that the Arthur you mention? I was told he made the replacement metal railings/ fences for the Bede Street houses, Amble. I think it was Kevin Briggs (Whittle and Ellington Colliery blacksmith) that told me that.
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  #122  
Old 12-01-2016, 08:15 AM
jumpy shore jumpy shore is offline
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Default Whittle Blacksmiths

It was indeed Arthur, I think he lived at Bilton or Hipsburn and was regular at the Schooner Hotel in Alnmouth, I believe scrumpy was his tipple which seems to fit the persona.

It wasn't unusual for local farmers to turn up at the Blacksmiths shop on Saturday / Sunday mornings to have their equipment repaired / welded, I was once sent from a repair on the screens to help Arthur with a plough with a broken frame!

I'm not sure how, or if, they paid for our services, maybe the Manager (Kit Miller) or the Mech Eng (Bob Little) were just being community spirited!?

I remember Kevin well he was our school year and started his apprenticeship at the same time, I also remember a Blacksmith who looked every inch the part 6'3 18st nicknamed 'The Quiet Man' who could juggle hammers, he was started the year before us but transferred to Brenkley Colliery, I think he lived in the Seaton Burn area. His car was a regular weekend repair job, some of the bodywork was made up of empty 5 gallon oil drums from the stock yard pop riveted in, filled, rubbed down and sprayed, there was no end to our engineering ability!
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  #123  
Old 12-02-2016, 08:28 AM
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Pit Head Baths Soap!
It was available from the medical centre next to the baths along with towels which were indestructible, I saw one recently hanging on a line in Aerial St, Ashington.
The soap had a very 'distinctive' aroma and what was left of your skin after use would glow!
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  #124  
Old 12-02-2016, 05:04 PM
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P.H.B Soap, I remember it well. They would sell you as much as you liked from the bath attendant's office. Must have been at near cost as a lot went home with the guys.
I still had my Whittle Colliery soap dish until recently! When we cleared our lockers at the end everything when into an old plastic fertilizer sack, including the soap dish I think!

On the subject of pit head baths, it was a bit dire the shower situation there at Whittle after the merger. Two men to a shower was normal on some shifts.
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  #125  
Old 12-02-2016, 05:44 PM
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Still had some NCB knee pads until recently too

Not sure if they were VC knee pads


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  #126  
Old 19-02-2016, 04:12 PM
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I couldn't agree more, two to a stall was a luxury especially on back shifts. It often made us late for the bus and the subject of much jeering from those who were quicker through the baths and waiting on the bus.

By the time you'd completed PPM sheets, handed them in and got washed Fitters / Electricians / Deputies were always last!

The contents of my locker were only fit for the rubbish bin I'm afraid and I didn't have a soap tray it was an old nylo belt fastening box in the bottom of the locker.

The introduction of the orange overalls and the weekly laundry service was a revelation at the time. They had to build a new extension to house the lockers.

I still see the occasional NCB Donkey Jacket and wellies they must have been made of good stuff or someone has a secret supply of new ones! Apparently NCB Duffel Coats were also available?
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  #127  
Old 03-07-2018, 05:04 PM
this_is_gav this_is_gav is offline
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Quote:
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I see what you mean now Phil, the pipe shown here passing out the back wall. I think it's just an open end behind there.


Not having a clue about mining I'm guessing the below photos aren't related to the above photo in anyway? According to the sign, this is Whittle Drift Pumping Station, but it's a fair distance from where I assume most of the works and entrance were (down the hill to the north-west, among the sea of concrete?).

Click the images for the full-size versions.





The above is here, up the hill a little alongside the railway as it heads off towards Hazon. It's impossible to get a good photo as it's all fenced off and largely surrounded by shrubbery.

If the drift entrance Coquet posted is further down among the concrete then I don't think it's there any more. Obviously I don't know where it was, but there's very little of anything to be seen now; a few holes covered (second one about here I guess, or the hole next to it?), what is perhaps an old water bottle or something, some hoses, a transformer building, three or so shipping containers and dumped in the middle of the yard is what I think are the things used to suspend electrical wires above poles (these things)? The tracks for the wagons are largely still in place, though overgrown in places.


On a related note, any guesses what this, located here, is for? It's near the treatment plant further along the rail line. It almost looks like something show jumpers would use, as it looks a lot like grit or sand, it looks bone dry, completely flat and entirely surrounded by a low stone wall. It's obviously related to the water treatment station, but I've no idea what it's for.



Most of Whittle seems to have a good few few public footpaths now (no idea if it was always like this?). I assume the main entrance is still locked, but there's a public bridleway from High Hazon (or Whittle Farm if you prefer a longer route) to Newton on the Moor, of which 90% is fine and the last 10% is meadow, thistles and ankle-twisting ground and a pain to get through (it's definitely a public bridleway though); as a result I walked back along the old railway line - there was a Coal Authority guy parked along there and he said it was a public footpath, but looking on Google Streetview afterwards suggests it's private (though there are no signs on the gate now) so who knows. I wasn't going back through that meadow again, that's for sure!

Last edited by this_is_gav; 03-07-2018 at 05:09 PM.
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  #128  
Old 04-08-2018, 05:50 PM
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Face conveyor drive from 1948. Virtually no difference to the ones at Shilbottle/Whittle in 1978?



Below a drive in situ. Different set up to Shilbottle/Whittle with the drive under the mothergate canch. I assume the mothergate coal is cut and filled with the rest of the face, with the canch dropped down as the face advances. Not as easy to get on the face with this method I would imagine, compared with our way - with the drive out in the gate.


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  #129  
Old 04-08-2018, 05:52 PM
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In fact, how are you supposed to get on the face here? Walk around to the tailgate?
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  #130  
Old 04-08-2018, 05:56 PM
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Sherlock Holmes I am. I can see some scuff marks across the mothergate belt where someone has climbed over. Only problem is you end up the wrong side of the face belt.
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  #131  
Old 04-08-2018, 08:04 PM
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For us mining types, on the subject of face conveyors, here's a clever idea to get bottom belt loaded coal on to the top belt of the drive:
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  #132  
Old 06-08-2018, 06:39 AM
Alan J. Alan J. is offline
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Had them at Hauxley commonly known as "Twist Belts"
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  #133  
Old 06-08-2018, 10:04 AM
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Fascinating. I was wondering if it was just an experimental thing that made it into the texts books for a few years!
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  #134  
Old 06-08-2018, 10:16 AM
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We did have an unusual main conveyor at Whittle on the run to the drift bottom. We called this the 'booster belt'; it was a conveyor with another conveyor inside, the top belts came into contact with each other for several hundred yards with the lower of the pair just inching along a little faster than the top belt. Reasonably successful, in operation for years.
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  #135  
Old 19-08-2018, 04:45 PM
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Default whittle colliery

At whittle the canch was in advance of the face so the face belt drive was in the high , loading on to a steel scrapper belt whitch the canch men loaded on to the tail end of the scrapper. The face was bottom belt loading with a plough at head end to stop coal goinng into the head end and making the coal onto the scrapper whitch loaded onto mother gate belt
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  #136  
Old 20-08-2018, 04:49 PM
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Quote:
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In fact, how are you supposed to get on the face here? Walk around to the tailgate?
I suppose you'd have to crawl through the top and bottom belt once you were in to 'the low' but you'd effectively be in the goaf before hand!

When did they drop the caunch using this method? One the face was filled off and the bumpers moved everything forward the entrance to the face would be closed off would it not, as the caunch would be down? (no ventilation along the face until it was shifted CH4 etc)

It would also be difficult to turn and remove the cutter with the belt drive in place, this supposes that undercutting was part of the process it may well have been hewed.
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  #137  
Old 20-08-2018, 04:54 PM
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This was designed to help with the unloading of the out bye bunker, the belt speed and bunker speed were calculated so as not to overload the belt because it would overload the cable belt up the drift and it would come off the ropes if the load was too great.
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