|The entrance to the stables where the ponies were kept and is now over grown.
Above is an arch where the ponies came through,traversed the main roadway and then on through the second arch to the stables (it now has a conveyer belt going across it). Rumour has it that a caravan, in the nearby park, fell into the stables when the roof supports collapsed.
You can see the stone arch in the pictures and the work that has gone into it is amazing. As far as I know it is like this most of the way in. Because of modern machinery however most of it was taken down when the roadway was widened.
Looking up from what remains of the archway. It is still fairly narrow here and you can get some parts scrapping the stone work as they travel in and out of the pit.
You might just be able to make out one of the entrances that led to the stables on the right. You can tell which parts of the pit that the ponies used.
In some roadways the men have left some of the top coal up (for added strength I think) where as in others, this layer of coal has been taken down to give the ponies that little bit of extra head room.
When I went to the shaft to take some photos you could see wooden sleepers in the water. They are fairly close together. I have been told this was to give the ponies extra grip whilst pulling the tubs.
It must of been a hard life for them but I've been told this area was well known for the good treatment of the animals.
When I was looking in some of the old workings I noticed that only the large lumps of coal were taken and the duff (small coal) was left. Today most of the coal gets crushed into small coal for the power station.
I remember a story that was told to me by a man that worked in some of the pits around Alston which have a seam of about 18". One day they broke through in to an old roadway, they told me that you could actually see the marks made by the sled that was transporting the coal and you could still see the clog marks made by the children pulling it ! He also noticed that only the big lumps were taken and small heaps of duff were left.