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Page 19
Miners and Their Families
What's It Like Being A Miner?
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Roberta Snape - Any information on Turton family of miners from Eckington?
Paul Bradford - Any info on John Charles Albert Makaula-White, Isle of Man TT Racer and miner at Tilmanstone Colliery?
Eileen Mason - Pit Ponies and Bentley Colliery
Jennifer Savage - Was the Nurse Alice, Agnes or Maud Who Went Down The Pit?
Mike Swift - My Grand Father, Henry Bailey, Was a Captain in the Mine Rescue Team
Anne Harriss - My grandfather (born 1900) was a miner and a member of the Miner's Rescue Service
Anne Harriss - Hapton Valley Colliery Explosion Friday 23rd March 1962
Anne Harriss - Hapton Valley Colliery Explosion Inquiry - 19th June 1962

  From: Roberta Snape
Sent: 24 November 2008
Any information on Turton family of miners from Eckington?

My father’s ancestors were the Turton family, his mother was Nellie Turton her brothers Stan, Bill and Ernie, their father was George Martin Turton.

Mum remembers going to see them and having to leave the room when they came home from work so they could bathe in the tin bath in front of the fire.

George was sacked from the colliery for hitting a deputy [foreman] because he was lashing a pit pony that was struggling to pull a pit cart.

George’s sister married a John Devlin and I think some of the family ran the pub in Eckington.

Ernie worked in mines, two shifts a day and kept pigs, died of overwork.

All three boys fought in the first world war along with Nellie’s husband, my grandfather, we know he was at Passchendaele, Third Battle of Ypres (July to November 1917) and injured, the 3 Turtons survived and maybe they would have been involved in laying the mines.

If anyone has any information on these mining families I would be very grateful to know more.

Roberta Snape

From: Paul Bradford
4 November 2008
Subject: Any info on John Charles Albert Makaula-White, Isle of Man TT Racer and miner at Tilmanstone Colliery?


I’m trying to find information on a John Charles Albert Makaula-White who was a miner at Tilmanstone (also known as the East Kent Colliery, Eythorne) when he lost his life in the Isle of Man whilst competing in the TT motorcycle races in May 1950 at Handley's Corner while practicing on his 500cc Triumph.

I’d really like to know what work he did and is there any chance of a photograph of him.

Best Regards
Paul Bradford
Tilmanstone Colliery about 1910

Sent: 11 July 2009 08:47
Subject: John Makaula White

I see that Paul Bradford was enquiring about the above person. His Grandmother was Eleanor Botting and I have done extensive research on the Bottings and can take them back to the 1600's as I am also descended from Botting. I don't know how I can get in touch with him can you advise

Pauline Vane

From: Marika Sherwood
Sent: 14 January 2009
Subject: John Charles Albert Makaula-White

A colleague forward a message from your website, from Paul Bradford on 4 November 2008, asking about this man. As I do not have Paul's address, may I ask you to forward mine to him, and tell him that John Makaula-White was the grandson of Albert Makaula-White, a Bhaka, ie from a sub-group of the Zulu nation, who lived in Kent from 1904 until his death in 1937.

Albert had married Eleanor Botting of Shore in the 1890s; they went to live in South Africa, but returned here in 1904.

Albert seems either to have owned or tenanted farms in various parts of Kent over the years.

I presume John was the son Albert’s son Charles.

Do you have any more information on John? I did not know that he had been a miner!

With thanks
Marika Sherwood

From: Eileen Mason
Sent: 25 September 2008
Pit Ponies and Bentley Colliery

Much interested in your account of Bentley Colliery. My grandfather worked there. He had lots of laughs & reminiscences about Bevin Boys.

My mother recalled a shipment of Polish/Russian ponies being off loaded into a field near the pit. It was not a pleasant memory as she described the dreadful condition of these horses, and how sick they all were. I think it must have been roundabout the end of the First World War.

Bentley Pit

Mike Swift
12 August 2008
My Grand father, Henry Bailey, Was a Captain in the Mine Rescue Team

My Grand father, Henry Bailey of Milton, S-O-T was a Captain in the Mine Rescue team, I have a full set of mine drawings used during the rescue attempts. I have contacted the Museum in Hanley, and they would be most pleased to received the Minnie pit drawings, so they are going to a good home. My Grandfather lived to a great old age.

An interesting fact about him was that he, and a number of miners from Milton, joined the Royal Engineering in WW1, they were responsible for digging tunnels to the Germany trenches and placing explosives.

This group from Milton were involved in one of the biggest explosions of WW1, when they dug tunnels to the Germany fortification on the hill above Ypres, and blew it up.

I have, amongst my Grandfathers artifacts, a map of the tunnels dug under Ypres during the battle of the Somme, some are in Germany.

The 'Pool of Peace' - Spanbroekmolen - was formed by a 91,000lb ammonal explosion set off at 03:10 on 7 June 1917

My Uncle was Reg Bailey, who was a Deputy Manager at Hem Heath and was responsible for the link tunnel between Florence and Hem Heath.

Following in the family tradition, I attended Camborne School of Mines in Cornwall, and work overseas most of the time on various projects.

Kind Regards
Mike Swift

See also John Lumsdon's Miners in World War 1

Jennifer Savage
10 September 2008
Was the Nurse Alice, Agnes or Maud Who Went Down The Pit?
I am hoping you will be able to help me with some oral history which has many and varied versions.

The story as you have it is exactly as it has been told over the years except for the name.

It is/was believed that an ancestor of mine was the woman who went down the mine, depending on who you were talking to was either Alice or Agnes but not Maud, so I was hoping you or Anne Harriss may be able to tell me Maud's maiden name so this can be resolved once and for all.

Thank you in anticipation.


Melbourne, Australia

Hapton Valley Colliery Explosion Friday 23rd March 1962 - Accident Report on Ian Winstanley's Site (PDF Format)

Anne Harriss
25 July 2008
My grandfather Arthur George McMunn (born 1900) was a miner and a member of the Miner's Rescue Service

I have just spent an interesting time exploring your web site. How did I get there? Well, grandfather, Arthur George McMunn,(born 1900) to whom I was devoted, was a miner and a member of the Miner's Rescue Service. He was a very intelligent and well read  man (much more intelligent than I and I am the equivalent of an Assistant Professor at the South Bank University, London). His education was cut short due to the death of his father and he went down the pit to keep the family out of the workhouse. He managed to teach other children  working in the mines to read and write! He educated himself through the Workers Educational Authority, he knew more about politics, social history, social injustice and classical music than I could  ever know.  A couple of years ago I was voted as being one of the most influential people in Occupational Health in the UK– that was a tribute to my grandfather rather than me as it is because of his influence that I became an OH Nurse.

He died in 1976 but his memory lives on for me! I wish I knew more about where he worked.
My grandfather may have worked at Bradford Colliery (Manchester, not Yorkshire).

He started working in the mines at the age of 10 as a "powder monkey", placing the charge in the coal face.
He worked his way up from that. Eventually he gained a managerial position of some kind and then moved out of the mines themselves and went to work as a Welfare Officer at a clinic in Wigan and alsoat Oakmere Hall which was a rehab facility for injured miners near Northwich, Cheshire. He retired in 1965. Oakmere Hall was sold and is now an expensive residential development.
Oakmere Hall
Mum was an occupational health nurse and worked for the NCB for many years firstly at Bradford Colliery and then at Astley Green (near Tyldesley, Lancashire). I too am an occupational health nurse by profession but have moved into academia. I no longer practice as an OHN but am the course director for an occupational health nursing degree and an MSc in Occupational Health and Safety at the South Bank University in London. I incorporate a little about what I know of my grandfather's experience down the mines in my introductory lectures.

The role of men such as these have been under-appreciated and under valued.

My mother has his "medallion" he was awarded for his part in the Miner's rescue service. It was awarded by the Lancashire and Cheshire Mine Owners Association. I would love to find out more about it. Any ideas?


Lancashire and Cheshire Coal Owners Rescue Medalion

Lancashire and Cheshire Coal Owners Rescue Medalion
What brave people, your website is a tribute to them and the part they played in this country's history. Please keep it going!

Kind regards
Anne Harriss

Pit Terminology - Glossary


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