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Coal Miners.

benny1982

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#1
Hi

Have any of you been researching coal mining ancestors? nearly all of my Durham lot worked in the collieries. There were several roles in mining including putter, shifter, hewer and overman. I bet every day the workers wondered if they'd come out alive whilst being hoisted down the huge mine shafts to the pits below?

I think coal mining was a horrendous and strenuous job with littlew or no sfaety equipment. Many people suffered arthiritis and lung disease due to it. Some miners were no doubt dismissed in their 60s and 70s due to the challenges of the job. Every miner had to wear an identity necklace so their names would be known in case of an accident.

Nottingham, Durham, Wales, Cumbria and Northumberland were famous for their mines. Inbetween 1875 and 1885, about 100'000 deaths occured in coal mines.

Ben
 

pejay

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#2
yes Ben I too have ancestor miners from Northumberland, Most changed from fishermen to miners - for many reasons among them more regular work that was safer ha... well that's a laugh for a start. :eek: My grandfather was a Hewer, he was going to be a butcher, but the lure of the mines proved to much for him. I think it must have been awful beyond words - stuck underground, hewing from the coal face, and like you say some of the appalling accidents that happened.My grandfather disliked it so much he refused to let my father go and work in the mines.
 

gwenythgreen

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#3
Hi All

As some of you know I live in North Wales. My Husbands Ancesters were mostly all coal miners, In one sad incidence John Williams dob 1851 in Rhos was killed whilst his wife was expecting my husbands grandmother Ann Williams dob 1876.

As many of you may have heard we also had The Gresford Disaster in the 30s, my husbands uncle worked in this pit but had swoped shifts on that day so thankfully escaped. The blame for this disaster is still being argued about.

For those interested I suggest a look at the BBC website given in one of my previous threads.

Gwen
 

benny1982

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#4
My ancestor retired from the mines in about 1885 aged 65ish. He lived until 1902. I think he was probably too worn out to carry on mining and his daughter took him in.

A lot of coal miners developed arthritis and rheaumatism so that could be why he retired. No old age pensions until 1908 but he may have had an annuity although it doesnt state that on the 1891 or 1901 censuses.
 

p.risboy

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#5
Yes Ben,
This is one of many resources that we and our rellies took for granted. They chucked a lump of coal on the fire, and many did not give a second thought how it got there.
The same thoughts can be applied to a fillet of fish, no thoughts of men in 'little' boats sailing 100's of miles in horrendous seas, not knowing if they would return.

Steve.:)
 

benny1982

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#6
Hi Steve

We have to praise coal miners for doing the hard jobs for decades. Before 1842, children as young as 3 were sent down the mines to hold doors open for the older miners. God, talk about childhood finishing early in those days for many children.

Ben
 

benny1982

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#8
Hi Steve

Very interesting.

My ancestor was an ex coal miner by the 1891 census when he was 70. I have looked at other people in the village of his age and most were retired coal miners, living on their own means indicating that coal miners in that area seemed to retire around 65 years of age. I think that many coal miners were retired off at a certain age. I think my ancestor retired when he was about 65 in about 1885. He was still working in 1881.

He was born in about 1820 so he may have started working in mines when he was 5 in about 1825, starting a 60 year career down the mines.

Ben
 

Littlemo

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#9
Hi, Ben, ,
Round here where I live there were loads of mines. My grandad worked Underground until 12 months before he died in 1952 aged 66. I loved my Grandad, every Friday he would take me with him to Woodend Colliery where he worked, to collect his wages, and I"d get 6d spending money and we would call at a little Pub nerby and sit outside while he had a Pint and I had some Pop. His whole body was covered inBlack Coal Grains which had got underneath his skin
In the 60"s I was at College with a girl whose Dad was Manager at a local Pit and one weekend he arranged for us to go down the Mine for a visit. I am only 5ft. tall, but in some parts of the Coal Face even I had to bend double to get along it, just imagine what it must have been like for 6ft men having to work on their hands and knees on 8 hr shifts.
In the 1891 Census my GGran was listed as being a Pit Brow Lass, what a horrible dirty job that must have been, sorting out the coal on the Pit Brow in all weathers.
Littlemo xx
 

benny1982

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#10
Hi Littlemo

Yes I was reading that miners were given just a slice of bread and jam and a cup of tea or milk before they began work. Most lived near their workplace. Imagine the strain of having to chip away at the mine walls to get coal? Coal was hauled up and used for many things including furnaces, heating for hospitals, for powering trains, for ships and for factories and government buildings, all sorts.

No wonder by they were aged around 65 some miners were tired.

Ben
 

JMR

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#11
Hi Steve

We have to praise coal miners for doing the hard jobs for decades. Before 1842, children as young as 3 were sent down the mines to hold doors open for the older miners. God, talk about childhood finishing early in those days for many children.

Ben
They were so oppressed, but how would they have fed families without the work? My Gt Gt Grandfather's family were all coal miners in Yorkshire and the children were Hurriers, one of the worst jobs in history. I have a photo of his brother aged 16 in 1862 and there was coal dust engrained in his hands, although he had obviously scrubbed up for the photo.

I found a photo of a hurrier cart, which I can't find at the moment, but will post when I do. The small children would have to drag the cart full of coal up to the surface, in the dark and bent almost in two, because the tunnels were very shallow. I believe that some children were chained to the cart if it was thought they might try to run away! What cruelty!

Add to that, no hot running water, no electricity, no central heating and a third of your children dead before they reached adulthood, thanks goodness it's not the "good old days" anymore! :(

Cheers,
Jill
 

benny1982

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#12
Hi Jill

I suppose after a while the older miners got used to their work and got used to bending down chiselling coal from the mine shafts and tunnels every day for many decades. They had to put food on the table for their wives and children.

I have seen photos of miners and their face is almost black with soot and coal dust.

Ben
 

marie44

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#13
Yes Ben,
This is one of many resources that we and our rellies took for granted. They chucked a lump of coal on the fire, and many did not give a second thought how it got there.
The same thoughts can be applied to a fillet of fish, no thoughts of men in 'little' boats sailing 100's of miles in horrendous seas, not knowing if they would return.

Steve.:)
and thats the way it was in those days. they didnt know any better yet. but that soon came along as the modern age got closer. this area i live in has a lot of coal mines and there are deaths there all the time even with the modern machinery. and that lung disease they had from all that coal dust. it also affects people with bad lungs from other things like smoking. thats one of the reasons i have to leave this area. power plants burn coal and the smoke damages lungs.
marie44:eek:
 

benny1982

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#14
Hi

Mining was a strenuous job but people had to do it to supply Britain with coal. At the end of a working career for miners, no wonder they suffered with arthritis after decades of back breaking work.

Ben
 

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