Church service on Sunday 2nd April 2017 in memory of William Brown, local mining engineer (1717-1782).
Photos and captions of the Bay's Leap open cast mining kindly provided by Alan Douglas of Throckley.
Yes, all was peace until one day,
Above are the last three verses of The Death of Old Bay's Leap by Alan Duggan written in 1958. The rest of his poem, a nostalgic memory of the lost beauty, tranquility and productivity of Bay's Leap Farm at the onset of open cast coal mining, has already appeared on this blog.
Today we look at the other side of the coin. The photographic memories of one of those men who operated the machinery, dug out the coal and, at the end, restored the land back to farming.
The following poem was kindly sent to me by Mike Jones working with Averil Dawson, a resident of the care home, Grovewood House, which specialises in dementia care.
I work in conjunction with the two local Universities and several care homes seeking ways to assist those living with dementia. Part of my work entails using drama and the written word to address thoughts and feelings as expressed by those with whom I work.
The following post by Swakopmunder appeared on the Mining Checks, Tallies, Tokens & Medals forum of the National Mining Memorabilia Association in 2009.
Heddon Colliery Powder Fund Check/Badge
Has anyone ever come across any UK mining explosives issuing tokens or similar? I know such tokens and checks were used in the US coal industry and had been told by at least a couple of very old English colliers that they remembered using something similar in their pits (pre 1947).
Recently I picked-up a 32 mm dia. brass embossed check which had around the edge of its obverse the legend HEDDON COLLIERY POWDER FUND plus two small pierced holes at 3 and 9 o’clock (like those on miners’ association checks/badges). The check did not have a stamped number in its centre like on a lamp or time check etc. instead this space was empty. The revere of the check had the embossed name and address of its maker in a circle. This maker was once a prolific producer of brass pub and other tokens in County Durham and Northumberland and also possibly operated a brass foundry.
Heddon Colliery closed c.1930 and was located 7 miles West of Newcastle-on-Tyne near to the pit village of Wylam (George Stephenson’s birth place). As far as I know this is the only check of any sort known from this colliery as none are recorded in Jeff Gardiner’s book of Durham and Northumberland Tokens.
Presumably the reference to POWDER on this check is to black or gunpowder used for blasting. The word FUND implies to me that there was some sort of communal fund that the miner’s paid into to purchase their powder. Bulk buying of powered or any other sort of mining consumables, by a group of miners, probably brought with it cash discounts which would be the incentive to joining such a fund/club. Possibly the check with its two distinctive piercings was issued by the system’s organisers as a type of membership badge to paid-up fund members, much as miner’s association checks/badges were used. The wearing of the badge would also act as a good advertisement for the scheme that presumably paid more financial discounts to the members the more miners were part of it.
The makers details are embosed in small letters in a circle in the middle of the check's reverse and read: Vandervelde & Co Makers, Newcastle on Tyne. No one knows if this famous north east token manufacturer produced colliery checks for the Great North Coalfield but I suspect that he did. Many of his other pub tokens etc. are also signed. I also have an outdoor type ornate brass head office wall plaque for the Pontop Coal Company that is also signed by him as the maker. I think it's likely he was well connected with the north-east colliery owners and probably did make a lot of the areas lamp checks.
Mr William Stephenson had established a brick and tileworks near the Maria coal pit by 1849, making firebricks, common bricks, quarls, field drainage tiles and soles. Early handmade firebricks were marked “W.S.& Sons, Throckley”, or “Stephenson, Newcastle”. In the 1920s a new grinding plant was installed and two new brick machine presses. The brickyard eventually had 34 Newcastle-type kilns.
In 1951, these kilns were replaced by a 20-chamber Staffordshire transverse-arch kiln, and produced six million bricks per year. A tunnel kiln was built in 1965 and the works modernised by the Northern Brick Company.
The Throckley yard is the only survivor of a group of 26 brickworks that were owned by the National Coal Board in 1947. In 1973, Gibbons (Dudley) Ltd took over the remaining nine brickworks and by 1977 only Throckley and Cramlington were still working.
A brickworks at Newburn was in existence from the 1850s to 1965. The buildings were demolished in 1979 and is now occupied by a recycling plant on the Newburn to Walbottle Road.
The Throckley brickworks is now owned by Ibstock plc, registered in Ibstock Leicestershire.
Thursday 5th May 2016
Mining Institute, Neville Hall, Westgate Road, Newcastle upon Tyne, 6pm.
Short lecture on the importance of William Brown by the author, Les Turnbull, followed by sales of his new book, The World of William Brown - Railways, Steam Engines & Coal Mines, with book signing and a drink in the library.
Free event, all welcome.
Accidental death of William Weddell of Gallowgate, Newcastle, labourer following accident at Heddon Banks on the Wylam Waggonway in 1862.
Death in 1878 of a boy, Henry Harding at Heddon on the Wall after drinking whiskey with two friends.
Three workmen severely injured in gun-powder accident at New Quarry, Heddon on the Wall in 1879: Henry Garnett (Walbottle), Hutton Robson (Heddon), and a man named Andrew living at Blue Bell.
John Waddell (1828-1888), described as the operator of the New Quarry at Heddon, was a Scottish-born railway contractor based in Edinburgh.
He ran the enterprising and respected firm John Waddell and Sons and went on to complete many routes during the rise of the railways across England during the late 19th century, especially for the NER.
Notable examples of his work include the rebuilding of Putney Bridge in London (1882), the Scarborough and Whitby Railway, completion of the Whitby Redcar and Middlesbrough Union Railway and the Mersey Railway Tunnel.
Two reported fatal accidents at Heddon Colliery: Robert Simpson (25) conveying clay from colliery to brickworks by pony in 1885, and J Jameson (stoneshifter) in 1893.
Robert Lowery, Deputy Overman at Heddon Colliery, killed by stonefall in 1911.
A new book on the collieries, waggonways and railways of Wylam, Heddon, Throckley, Newburn, Walbottle, Hollywell, Lemington and Callerton by Alan Clothier.
The area covered by this book is mainly that of the five waggonways delivering coal to their staiths on the River Tyne at Lemington from collieries at Wylam, Heddon, Throckley, Walbottle, Hollywell and Black Callerton. The main objective has been to place the early wooden waggonways fully in the context of their purpose and usage within the mining industry and continues with their development and the coming of railways up to the demise of the coal industry in that district. There is a more detailed insight into the multifarious activities of Colliery Viewers whose work it is felt has not always received the attention which it deserves. For much of this feature, the author is indebted to the wonderfully detailed work diaries of William Oliver held by the North of England Institute of Mining and Mechanical Engineers. The opening date for the Wylam Waggonway has long escaped the notice of historians and many well-known writers have had it wrong; the author is pleased that his researches have at least narrowed it down to the year in which this event occurred. A Glossary of Terms used in the mining industry is also included as well as numerous plans and a Chronological Listing of Events.
Walbottle Moor Waggonway is known to have been in operation from 1769. This Waggonway ran from old pits north of Hexham Road past the location of Duke Pit in Walbottle down to coal staiths on the River Tyne at Lemington. The network is one of the last surviving examples of an 18th century waggonway to survive in Newcastle.
The system was still in use in 1860, using horses and employing 50 keelmen at the riverside staiths for transport down river.
This now disused network provides the village of Walbottle with picturesque paths allowing easy access to the surrounding countryside. These waggonways also have historic importance due to their connection with railway pioneer George Stephenson, who as a boy worked on them as a fireman and horse driver.
To focus my mind on the Wylam Waggonway for the Puffing Billy Festival I decided to create a map of the waggonway so that I could discuss some things that interest me along its route. As always I am particularly interested in finding clues to the past which can still be seen today.
This will be an ongoing blog and I will add to it as I feel inspired.
View Wylam Waggonway in a larger map
Key to map above:
Red: North Wylam, Newburn & Scotswood Railway where it diverges from the route of the former Waggonway.
Blue: approximate route of Wylam Waggonway (1859 Map)
Green: Mineral line (single track) closely parallel to railway line (double track) - possibly on the original waggonway line.
Purple: Early Throckley Waggonway (1859 map)
Pink: Later Throckley Waggonway (1897 map)
Yellow: Throckley Isabella Mineral Railway (1897 map)
Light Blue: North Walbottle Waggonway (1859 Map)
Yellow Pin: Named feature
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