I really would like to see a sky shot of Westthorpe colliery yard before it closed because I spent years as an apprentice fitter 1967 – 1971 at many locations on this site.
Worked with top fitter Keith Staples watching him make complicated conveyor chutes. Assisted Jack Watson to carry out maintenance on the steam boilers. Jack had Parkinson’s decease and one day he asked me to hold a chisel on a nut whilst he prepared to hit it. Jack always had terrible shakes. He swung a seven pound hammer I shut my eyes, prayed and to my surprise the old boy never missed once.
I shadowed pit top fitters Rolly Picking, Stewart Wheelhouse, John Cooper, Roger Brownlow and Wilf.
Chargehand big Jack Chaucher always kept the fitting shop running smoothly.
Whilst watching Eric Todd turn on the lath I became more confused than usual. Eric said, “I am watching you” but he had is back to me. He kept repeating the statement then I spotted an eye staring up at me from a conveyor roller below. How was I supposed to know he had a glass eye??
Eric then said as he rammed his eye back into his fleshy left empty socket. ” Remeber always wear safety goggles”. There he was turning a shaft, one eye down and only one good one left, no goggles on. My case rests ma lud!
Other names from the past Melvyn Williams, Des Watkins, Johnny Moore, Philip Wheelhouse, Jack Widdows, Dave Pittuck and spending hours with shadowing Stan the greaser.
That all for now but there is more Westtorpe related stories.
. nwith the glass eye, Stewart Mullins in the Blacksmiths shop, Charlie the fire officer and his team the fire fighting team of Pat Swift – Graham Salvage – Kevin ( An Electrician). Ted Fawbert training officer took me onto my first working face. Fitter Dave Pittuck and blew a trepanner drum off on a stopped face. Feller apprentice Norman Standlewho save assistant engineer Mr Nunn by pulling conveyor guards off him when they fell on him. A super human act by a young man.
Worked with Jack Porter trying to restore an old steam engine on the brick yard sidings.
Worked witrh another apprentice called Clive who related to seeing part of a skull in a hawthorne bush whilst walking to work after a bugled break in at the powder and detornator store on the spoil heap.r.
Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *