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Old 07-05-2014, 08:27 PM
janwhin janwhin is offline
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Default Wild Widdrington Pitmen

Those Widdrington miners must have been proper desperadoes. Here's a newspaper article from the Morpeth Herald of 21 November 1868:
"A number of men have come on several occasions from Widdrington Colliery and vicinity in large bodies for the purpose of getting salmon in the Coquet....On Sunday the 15th at two a. m. a large number of people assembled on the Coquet to fish. A body of police were on watch and they succeeded in apprehending William Bolam, Robert Black, James Young, and James Liddell, all pitmen at Widdrington Colliery. Bolam is a desperate character, known by the sobriquet of "Dick Turpin" to which he answers. He is well known in Castle Division, in Bedlington, and Six Mile Bridge......"
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Old 27-06-2014, 09:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by janwhin View Post
Those Widdrington miners must have been proper desperadoes. Here's a newspaper article from the Morpeth Herald of 21 November 1868:
"A number of men have come on several occasions from Widdrington Colliery and vicinity in large bodies for the purpose of getting salmon in the Coquet....On Sunday the 15th at two a. m. a large number of people assembled on the Coquet to fish. A body of police were on watch and they succeeded in apprehending William Bolam, Robert Black, James Young, and James Liddell, all pitmen at Widdrington Colliery. Bolam is a desperate character, known by the sobriquet of "Dick Turpin" to which he answers. He is well known in Castle Division, in Bedlington, and Six Mile Bridge......"

That's early for Widdrington Colliery. Perhaps they were shaft sinkers, I think they had a bit of a reputation.
There was another colliery, at the roundabout end, near Widdrington castle, called...you guessed it... Castle Colliery, they could have worked there if it was still operational? Castle Colliery started in the 1720s. This is after the Widdringtons lost their lands so it must have been started by the new owners.


Looking at the modern map the new road must be just about on top of Castle Colliery.

[any casualties for 'Castle Colliery' Janwhin?]

1864:
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Old 27-06-2014, 11:53 AM
janwhin janwhin is offline
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I've got 13 deaths so far for Widdrington and Ferneybeds but nothing specific to Castle Colliery. The earliest death is 1871 which makes mention of the colliery starting up about 4 years previously. That would tie in with the desperadoes of 1868 being sinkers!
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Old 27-06-2014, 12:11 PM
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Castle Colliery was about half way towards the roundabout from the farm entrance. The map showing the farm buildings is accurate to this day as I know the farm very well. The area around it was one of the earliest opencasts in this area, can anyone state when opencasting started in this area?, I believe it was pre -WW11
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Old 27-06-2014, 12:57 PM
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The earliest reference I have is a site started in 1942 at Ferneybeds to help the war effort. I think there was a site at Acklington Aerodrome during the war as well. Both these areas have good seams at shallow depths, so makes sense for some quick and easy coal.
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Old 27-06-2014, 03:12 PM
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"Ferney Bed" shaft being sunk in 1909:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/368917...98857/sizes/k/

It was coaling within 5 weeks of the first sod being cut.
On the DMM site the shaft log shows 41cm of coal at 14.43 metres and 107cm of coal at 23 metres depth.


Shallow stuff.

Some sort of cage contraption attached to that winch. Wouldn't get me in that, even if it was just 70 ft. deep.
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Old 29-12-2015, 06:57 PM
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1870 Widdrington Colliery, Vindictive owners rejecting the miners' tubs because they joined a union, even sacking others. Nasty business.
Miners still paying compo to owners in the end due to the letter of their contracts. The miners didn't have many friends in the 1870s, that's for sure.



"STRIKE AT WIDDRINGTON COLLIERY

SIX MEN ACCUSED OF DESERTION.

At the Morpeth County police court yesterday, six men were brought before the magistrates, J.H.H. Atkinson, Esq., Rev. E. Lawson, and Captain Watson, charged with having absented themselves from the service of the owners of Widdrington Colliery, without giving 14 days notice, as stipulated by agreement. Mr W. Lockey Harle appeared for the owners of the colliery, Messrs W. Barkus and W.M.Lambert, and Mr Blackwell appeared for the defendants. It was agreed to take the case of George Beverley, and that the decision in it rule the others.
Mr Harle said, in the course of last summer the men, to the number of seventy, came to terms with the owners to serve on a fortnightly hiring. He was sorry to see that in January the men "struck," and left work without giving notice; and the owners asked for the penalty of 10s. In each case. The Masters would not have complained if the men had giving notice, and thus allowed time to obtain assistance and carry on the colliery; and it would have been better for the men as well as the Masters.
He called Mr William Percival Shield, agent for the colliery, who proved the agreement and the desertion.
Mr Blackwell in cross examination, asked the witness if there was anything in the agreement regulating how the tubs were to be made out.
Mr Harle objected.
The magistrate ruled that they had nothing to do with the tubs, they only had to enquire was one of the men entered on the work and left without notice.
Mr Blackwell said, in order to shorten the case, the men under his advice would say they were wrong in leaving without 14 days notice, but he asked to be allowed to show, by evidence, that the owners had most deliberately provoked the men to do what was undoubtedly a most unlawful act.
The bench said the bad conduct of the owners could not alter the case.
Mr Blackall: No; but I am extremely wishful to show that the men are not to blame except legally. They have done all in their power, and are now willing to work peaceably.
Mr Harle said this was an appeal ad misericordiam to the feelings of the bench and the employers. Who is willing to go into the question of tubs or wages but must be upon an information.
Mr Blackall said the men's tubs were to be laid out or rejected after the were coup-screened. There had been a great deal of dissatisfaction before 13 January; but on that day, out of 60 tubs, positively there were 32 rejected, before they went to the screen; only one went to the screen. It was plain that they were rejected from some motive. They were said to be rejected for small; but there was plenty of evidence that their was nothing wrong with the tubs, and supposing there was, that was not the proper way to deal with them. Under this very agreement it was stated that in cases of gross sending of small, a fine not exceeding 2s. 6d. should be inflicted; and if any tub exceeds 28lbs of stone, band, slate, or foul coal, the hewer should forfeit 3d. In this case they were laid out not only before they came to the screen, but before any complaint was made. The man was very unfortunately upheld by Mr Shield; and, although they wanted to work, they were rejected, and these summonses were taken out. A number of them had been dismissed absolutely from the colliery; but the remainder wanted to go work peaceably, and he hoped the bench would express an opinion which would put an end to the case.
Mr Harle assure his friend that the owners had never heard of these complaints.
Mr Blackwell had said almost as much as he could in favour of the owners; but in reference to Mr Barkus, who sat there, he must say that the tubs were taken from the men within a few days of the men joining the Union, as they had a perfect right to do, and Mr Barkus seem determined that the he would employ no person in the Union.
The Clerk (Mr Elliott) pointed out that, under Clause 4, if employer or employed should neglect to fulfil the contract, the aggrieved party should make complaint.
The bench thought the case quite clear — the men had left without giving the 14 days notice; if they had grievance, they should have gone before the magistrate and complained. Suppose they inflicted a small penalty, and that the parties could settle the rest of the matter themselves?
They would make an order for 10s compensation, and 11s expenses, with the suggestion that the owners remit 10s.
Mr Blackwell consented that the other five cases should be decided in the same manner, but urged that 10s be deducted from the wages due to the men.
Mr Harle, on behalf of the owners, refused; and the bench made the order accordingly.
The expenses were paid by Mr Burt, on behalf of the Union, and the parties left the court."
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Old 29-12-2015, 07:28 PM
janwhin janwhin is offline
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Afraid George Beverley was one of mine. He lived in Radcliffe then went to Widdrington mid 1860s to early 1870s and was back in Radcliffe by 1873. At least the Union was getting itself organised....the great Mr Burt.
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Old 29-12-2015, 07:54 PM
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I wonder if they blacklisted many in those days? So they couldn't work at any colliery? Would be a terrible but most effective weapon for the mine owners to threaten the men with?
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Old 29-12-2015, 08:46 PM
janwhin janwhin is offline
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I don't know about them days but the family reckon my granddad was blacklisted as he was a Federation organiser at Broomhill, where he worked from about 1910 to the early 1940s. They didn't get rid of him after the big strikes but apparently gave him the roughest jobs to make his life as difficult as possible.
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