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Caroline - Looking For Info., Albert Hutchison who died in a mining accident in Fife in 1957
Chris Waller - Looking For Information About Jack Davis - Rufford Colliery
Beryl Heeks - Looking For Information About George? HEEKS - Minnie Pit
Douglas V E Couse - Tom Lester - "Anderton" Shearer/Loader. Can Anyone Help Here Please?
Elizabeth Wardle - Linby Colliery - Gwyn Coates, Dr Wm Harrison Coates, Eric Coates the composer.

From:     Caroline
Sent:      2 June 2009
Subject:  Looking For Info., Albert Hutchison who died in a mining accident in Fife in 1957

I am trying to find or confirm details of Albert Hutchison who I am told died in a mining accident in Fife in 1957 but I can’t find any record of his death. He lived in Thornton Fife and was married to Robina (Munro) Hutchison. I am not going to be surprised if I find out he didn’t die in an accident but ran off with the local milk maid!! I was adopted and I am trying to make some sense of the family history as it has been given to me. I will be very grateful for any help you can give me. I have been told he was a delegate for Rothes and Earseat.

Many thanks again


Sent:    08 March 2010 19:14

Caroline on 2/6/09 was enquiring if Albert Hutchison was killed in a Fife Pit in 1957, If she is referring to the Linday Pit disaster 14/12/57 then he was not one of the miners who was killed in this disaster. Following the explosion my father was one of the miners who entered the explosion area along with his workmate, unfortunately his workmate died. My father along with a few other miners managed to make their way away from the area to safety. 8 men were killed in the initial explosion plus the miner who went in with my father after the initial explosion making a total of 9 men lost.
I hope this information is helpful.

Robert Muiread

From:      Robina Lori
Sent:       13 August 2011 22:31
Subject:  Caroline's inquiry about Albert Hutchison

ALBERT HUTCHISON did not run away with a milk maid. He worked and died in the Rothes colliery, owned by the Fife Coal Company Limited, Scotland.

In April 1957 he died when a machine malfunctioned while he was repairing it.

He left behind a wife (Robina), 4 beautiful daughters (Sheena, Kathleen, Frances and Gwen) and three grandchildren (Alan, Mark and Mary-lee).

Rothes Colliery

I hope this helps                       
Robina Lori

From:    Chris Waller
Sent:     27 May 2009
Subject: Looking For Information About Jack Davis - Rufford Colliery

My great-uncle, John 'Jack' Davis, lost an arm in a mining accident. I believe he worked at Rufford Colliery and that the accident happened sometime around 1920.

Would you have access to any records of the accident and its cause? Following the accident, the miners held a benefit to raise money for him.

Many thanks,

Chris Waller.

From: Beryl Heeks
Sent: 21 May 2009
Subject: Looking For Information About George? HEEKS - Minnie Pit

I have been trying for many years to find the story of my husbands grandfather (George?) HEEKS. My only information was gathered from my father in law, Horace Vincent Heeks, who had to be persuaded to talk about his family because he was so traumatised by his entry to a children’s home at the age of 11 along with his brother, Bert because their father died in November 1918 and his stepmother and other relatives would not take them in.

Horace told me that his father was a miner at the Minnie pit and was involved in the disaster, was injured and received compensation. He left and became a coal delivery man. I'm not sure which episode this was.

There is a suggestion that he was part of a rescue team.

Might there be a record of him in the archives anywhere?

Yours etc.

Beryl Heeks.

From: Douglas V E Couse
Sent: 19 May 2009
Subject: Tom Lester - "Anderton" Shearer/Loader. Can Anyone Help Here Please?

Tom was a driving force behind the shearer/loader attributed to Anderton and his effort was acknowledged by a payment from the NCB.

However, apart from my memories of conversations with Tom some 15-20 years ago I have no information on the extent of his contribution.

Tom worked as a pit manager in Lancashire and Staffordshire from approx. 1945 to late 1960's and was renowned for going down to the coal face dressed in his best suit and tie whilst he worked on achinery/problems.

He was a talented inventor/engineer who worked and travelled widely in Europe and the US at the behest of the NCB.

He was also something of a character and I hope someone will recall working with him who may be able to help please.

As Tom died in the early 1990's I am stuck for information and I would appreciate anything from anyone who knew him and his achievements.

Thanks! Douglas

From:          Lloyd Boardman
Sent:           22 April 2010 17:22
Subject:      Reply to email question from Douglas V E Couse re T Lester

Hi Fionn,

My copy of Guide to the Coalfields for 1950 has a T. Lester as Mechanisation Officer, NCB North Western Division, Area No.3 (St Helens).

Is that any help?


From:   Douglas V E Couse
Sent:    24 April 2010

Your email prompted me to do some further research and I eventually found the following link which gives a hint to Tom's contribution:-

The Anderton Shearer Mining Memorial

The Anderton Shearer Mining Memorial Stood outside the National Coal Board regional headquarters, Anderton House in Lowton (where Ridgeway and Tarnway now stands), it was erected in 1965 when Anderton House was opened. The old Golborne UDC were proud of it and featured it in the Official handbook. Today the monument stands on a road island in St.Helens

Tom's efforts were indeed substantial - and I understood from him his input was far greater than Andertons.The lack of earlier recognition distressed him immensely.

Even though credit for his extensive work on the Shearer/Loader  was not properly given at the time I think the (?) NCB partially recognised his efforts with a monetary award shortly before Tom died in the late 1990's - but it is Anderton who took the honours for the invention.

Tom felt that as the ideas and development work were his and to attribute credit (solely?) to Anderton was grossly unfair.  He used to comment somewhat wryly that the proper name for the equipment was the Lester Shearer/Loader - and to me there appeared to be serious merit in this!

I do appreciate Lloyds information about Toms early career and I am copying this email to Lloyd with my grateful thanks.

I know Tom was renowned for turning up at the coal face dressed in his "Sunday Best" suit, immaculate white shirt and tie and he took a lot of good natured ribbing from the lads underground because of this. He was a genial good humoured character and it would be great to hear from anyone who worked with him - and all the more so if they were on the shearer/loader work. However after so many years I suspect that most if not all of these are no longer with us.


Douglas V E Couse

From: Elizabeth Wardle
Sent: 13 April 2009
Subject: Linby Colliery - Gwyn Coates, Dr Wm Harrison Coates, Eric Coates the composer

Hello. I'm Liz. I'm trying to find out more about Dr William Harrison Coates, the father of Eric Coates the composer. I know he practised in Hucknall from at least 1881 until 1911 and probably longer. Apparently he was very interested in underground photography and, as I know his son Gwyn worked at Linby I am assuming he might have taken some photos there. I think Gwyn was pit manager at Linby when the Doctor died in 1935.

Would be so grateful if anyone has any information, or can suggest avenues of investigation I might pursue.

Eric Coates
Opposite Beardall Street Junior School Hucknall

Marsden Collier

Your site is really interesting. I grew up in South Shields. During the terrible winter of 1947 I can remember helping my mother push an old pram to and from Marsden Colliery laden with coal donated by one of her friends.

Thank you in advance for any help you can give.

Pit Terminology - Glossary



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