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Colliery Play

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Adventurous Play In The Colliery

Adventurous Play In The Colliery

3.02 minutes

[733 kb]

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I was involved with them in a lot of the childhood escapades especially around the colliery after it had closed, and it was nothing for us to go out day after day, roaming round as a small gang of children. Of course there was no danger those days of being got at by anybody. We used to go out in the fields and we used to go round the colliery, climbing up the screens, and the only danger of course was the mine shafts, which were not particularly protected because they were just left as they finished the work. The one thing that always sticks in my memory was the old colliery spoil bank which they used to take all the coal that was of no use, dump it on the top and let it slide down. And it was, I would say it was about 150 feet high and probably occupied two or three acres by the time it was completed. But as children we used to go on top of this bank, and there was an old shed there, I remember, this family of Kinsons and myself and one or two more of them, we dismantled part if this shed with corrugated iron sheets, turned up the front and decided that we’d do a skiing effort down the side of this spoil heap. Of course those days it was a matter of spontaneous combustion, and part of it was alight and smouldering, so four of us used to get on this sheet of zinc, push it over the edge and slide down this toboggan, do a bit of tobogganing down this thing, but one day we all came off and landed in this hot ash and quite a few of us got our legs burnt, and shoes.

Other occasions round the colliery there used to be what they called the powder house, and I often shudder nowadays to think of the tricks we used to get up to and why we were not blown to, weren’t blown sky high, because when the miners used to go down the pit they used to collect this powder from the powder house in little tins which they had with a screw top on, and there’d be a man in the powder house issuing this gunpowder which they used to blow the coal underground, and they’d fill these little tins and just knock it, put the cap on, hand it to the miner and he’d go away, but, under the door of this thing when they shut it there was powder floating about which had dropped from the tins. As children, we used to scrape this powder together on paper, take it a few yards away, and we used to have great fun in lighting it, and seeing it go fizzzz not realising that it could have tracked itself back to the powder magazine. However, fortune must have been on our side because it, nothing ever happened.

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Last updated: 16/07/02
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