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A Comprehensive History Of Mining In The Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire And Leicestershire Coalfields - Page 33


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Sean Brady - Thomas Feast Farby Saved the Lives of Eight Men at Sutton Colliery, 1899
John Eagan  - Was there a scheme whereby ex-miners were "requested" to return to the mines before the 1943 Bevin Boy scheme started?
John Eagan  - My Late Father, John Eagan, worked at Firbeck, Maltby and Harworth Collieries. He Might Have Been a Bevin Boy
Theresa Merriman - My dad, William Merriman from Dublin, worked in Bilsthorpe Mine in the early 50's
Gail Higgs - How to find A. Darrell last known to be working at Kellingley
Colin Rowland - Harry Rowland Died Down Moorgreen Pit 1960
Coral Orchard - Looking for my grandad's records, Eliza Bradley born in 1889
David Redman - Accident, Gershom Marshall Accidently Killed at Bilsthorpe 1936
Stephen Berrill - Where can I find mine plans for Silverhill?
R Markham - Records - Do mining records exist (general employment)

Sean Brady
25 Sep 2016
Thomas Feast Farby Saved the Lives of Eight Men at Sutton Colliery, 1899

I have just discovered your site but can find no reference to the incident involving my great-grandfather, Thomas Feast Farby, who was the engine driver at Sutton/Brierley pit for many years up to his retirement in 1934.

He was given a framed address by Sutton Colliery for saving the lives of eight men in the cage when the winding mechanism broke and he slowed the fall of the cage by using a large spanner to try and stop the cables unwinding on Friday 31 March 1899. The event was reported in The Mansfield Free Press and the Sheffield Daily Telepraph.


Above are 2 images from inside the engine room taken when he was 74 after 46 years in the job.
It was possibly taken by his wife who was an early amateur photographer and I note that a longish exposure was needed during which his head moved.

The family have some artefacts but I would dearly like to trace the framed address which no one can remember seeing.

FBI have a Facebook page for Thomas Feast Farby and would very much like to establish contact with you in order to exchange information and images.

Thomas was born 1860 Mepal, Sutton, Cambridgeshire. Married Georgianna STOCKER in 1837 (?) in St Ives, Cambridgeshire.
Children -
  • Gertrude Anna
  • Susan Sarah
  • Coroline
  • Eliza Mabel
  • Florence Elizabeth
  • Thomas Feast
  • Ida Georgina
  • Maggie Veronica
  • Anthony
  • Montague

Thomas died 1942, buried in Huthwaite Cemetery.
Please forward as much as possible. Any recollections or stories welcome.

Best wishes

Possible Facts from Ancestry

Thomas Feast Farby was born in April 1860 in Mepal, Cambridgeshire, his father, John, was 36 and his mother, Susan, was 41. He was baptised 26 Aug 1860 in Mepal.

1871 Thomas (11) his family were living in Holywell cum Needingworth, Huntingdonshire, England. His father, John, was a shepherd and his brother John, age 22, was a farm labourer.

1881 Thomas (20) was a farm labourer.

1884 Thomas's mother, Susan Ellington, died January 1884 aged 65, St Ives, Huntingdonshire (Huntingdonshire is a non-metropolitan district of Cambridgeshire)

1901 Thomas (40) and Georgina (38) were living in Hucknall under Huthwaite with their family, he was a colliery engine driver on the surface.

  • Gertrude Farby 19
  • Sarah Farby 16
  • Carallina Farby 14
  • Mabel Farby 12
  • Florence Farby 10
  • Ida Farby 3
  • Maggie Farby 1
  • Thomas Farby 2 Weeks old and twin brother John Farby

1911 census says Thomas was 51, an Engine Driver at a colliery. They lived in Unwin Street, Huthwaite Notts.
His children:-
  • Mabel, hand embroiderer, working at home
  • Ida 13, hand embroiderer, working at home
  • Montague Farby 10
  • Anthony Farby 10
were also living with Thomas, but his wife was away from home on the census, she could have been visiting someone.

1928 Thomas married Georgianna Stocker in March 1928 in Mansfield, however in the 1891, 1901 and 1911 census they are down as man and wife.

Thomas died in September 1942 in Mansfield, Nottinghamshire, at the age of 82. His wife, Georgina died 2 years later in Mansfield.

Fionn - Webmaster

From Bob Bradley

I was unaware of the winding incident and am grateful for the information. If the document is anywhere it could have been portrayed in one of the other local newspapers...such as the Mansfield Chronicle & Advertiser or the Sutton Free Press. Maybe these can be accessed at the Mansfield or Sutton library.

I shall certainly insert the incident in my history of Sutton Colliery, closed 1989.

You say you have other artifacts so if it is possible to copy and send them, then again if they are relevant we could include them on the site.

By the way my Uncle Jack's father Bernal Osborne was also a winder at Sutton for many years.

Bob Bradley

John Eagan 
12 Oct 2016
My Late Father, John Eagan, worked at Firbeck, Maltby and Harworth Collieries

Dear Mr Fionn,

I hope you may be able to help me trace the records of my late father who was a coalminer. He is John Joseph Eagan and was born in 1921. He worked at Firbeck, Maltby and Harworth Collieries whilst living at Langold. I don't know which order these should be nor any information except he started down the mines upon leaving school. As this would be when he was 13 yrs the start date must be 1934. I remember he said his first job was looking after the ponies. Before 1939 he had left with his family to move to Corby, Northants where he worked at the steelworks. Again, I have no date for this except it must be sometime between 1934 and 1939.

BannerWhen WW2 started he was recalled to the mines. I don't know if he was technically a "Bevin Boy" or if he was just recalled. After WW2 ended he had returned to the steelworks - sometime between 1945 and 1949. Would I be able to claim his Bevin Boy medal if he was one?

There was no paperwork when I sorted out his paperwork after his death in 1986.

I assume there never was any pension as he never mentioned this.

I visited Firbeck a few years ago and Harworth about 30 years ago.

--<21 Nov 2016>--

Was there a scheme whereby ex-miners were "requested" to return to the mines before the 1943 Bevin Boy scheme started? I ask because my dad, as far as I know, returned to the mines (Firbeck/Haworth/Malty - not sure which one) when WW2 started. He would be 18ish at the time.

Unfortunately this badge is a survivors badge and applications can only be made by Bevin Boys or widows whose husbands died on or after the date of introduction (20 June 2007). No other posthumous applications are eligible.

Visit Bevin Boys Association

Bob Bradley
22 Nov 2016

Men and boys 17 and over when volunteering or enlisting for War Service were recruited by lottery, starting in late 1943, and after training were employed at mines throughout the country, particularly where there was a lack of manpower and a need to improve output. These men / youths called Bevin Boys after Ernest Bevin who devised the scheme were generally employed mainly on haulage and other incidental jobs allowing those men / youths over 18 to progress to the coalface. Many Bevin Boys came from areas where there were no coal mines and to be thrust into such a job that was alien to them it was a horrible experience and most soon left the job when allowed to after the war and were 'demobbed' like soldiers. However because there was still a great need for coal after the war ended many Bevin Boys were upgraded to the coalface and were not allowed to leave until 1947 as many demobbed Service men from the war did not want to return to mining. Some Bevin Boys stayed in the industry having got used to the underground work where the pay was generally better than most other jobs. I know of several Bevin Boys who decided to study for Mining qualifications and progressed to be managers of mines. At the start of the Second World War in 1939 from September on many miners left the mines and joined up in all the services. It was realised after a time that many key men had enlisted and left the working of some mines without experienced miners, such as machine men and coalface workers. The pits were being operated by old men and young boys between 14 and 18 and production of coal was falling dramatically and it was coal at any price, and general maintenance of the working of the mines began to suffer, hampering output through inefficiency. The Coal Mines (Release) Essential Works Order was passed by Parliament in 1941 (prior to the Bevin Boy scheme of 1943) and many of these experienced miners were located in the armed forces and honourably discharged from their war duties and sent back to the coal mines to try to boost output that was needed for the war effort to make steel for munitions etc. Like the Bevin Boys there was no option, although many did not want to, they were forced to return to their previous jobs at the pits. There were a few who volunteered to return and these men if of the right calibre and experience and needed, were honourably discharged from the forces as well. Trusting this information answers your question. Regards Bob Bradley

Theresa Merriman
8 Oct 2016
My dad, William Merriman from Dublin, worked in Bilsthorpe Mine in the early 50's
90Hi My dad William 'Billy' Merriman from Dublin worked in Bilsthorpe mine in the early 50's. He is 90 years old now, and said he enjoyed working there and has good memories.  I will come visit the Bilsthorpe Museum someday when I am inthe UK on holiday.

Teresa Merriman

Theresa Merriman  
31 Aug 2017
Visiting Museum

Hi Fionn, I was in contact with you last year by e-mail mentioning my dad (William 'Billy' Merriman) had worked at Bilsthorpe mine and you sent me some details about his work there. I had thought it was early 50's but you confirmed it to be around 1948 but unfortunately I cannot trace our e-mails from last year.   My dad passed away in December last year, and I am currently in Mansfield visiting the area and hope to visit the museum on Saturday. Meanwhile, would you have any details on the address of the boarding house he would have stayed in in Mansfield? I believe the colliery workers were accommodated there. Also you mentioned the pub he would have likely visited. 

Many thanks

Gail Higgs
27 Sep 2016
How to find A. Darrell last known to be working at Kellingley
Having had a look at your website I wanted to make contact with an individual mentioned on it, A. Darrell last known to be working at Kellingley I believe. Just thought I would ask if you have any details for him or any other ex-Kellingley people, would you be able to make contact or know how to find out?

Always worth asking.
Many thanks.

In Memory HRColin Rowland
25 Sep 2016
Harry Rowland Died Down Moorgreen Pit 1960

Though my father did not actually die in an accident @ Moorgreen Pit he was working down there when he died of a 'heart attack' on 29th January 1960.

The inquest was @ Nottingham coroner’s court. His name was Harry Rowland (Charra) leaving my mother a widow. My sister who was 14 and myself aged 9 years 9 months.

Coral Orchard
22 Sep 2016
Looking for my grandad's records, Eliza Bradley born in 1889

Hi how can I find my grandad records when he lost his legs, I have look for all over Nottingham pits I think he came this way as he was from Derby. I do know it was down the pits and had his leg in 1905 but I can not find any records of this, can you tell me where to look now.

Thank you very much sorry his name was Eliza Bradley born in 1889 and passed away in 1939

Sent from my iPad

In Memory GMIn Memory JKBDavid Redman
19 Sep 2016
Accident, Gershom Marshall Accidently Killed at Bilsthorpe 1975

Regarding Gershom Marshall, accident from fall of coal at Bilsthorpe colliery 18th June 1936.

As it is such an unusual name, I think it might be the same person who drove the van at Bilsthorpe colliery when I was there, however, he did not start at Bisthorpe untill about 1967, having spent the rest of his working life at Welbeck colliery.

I remember him telling me that in the hand got coal days he was working with a chap who was struggling to free a large lump of coal with a crowbar, and said to him "let me have a go" and as soon he started, the lump fell on to his feet, that could be the accident in question.

I have a copy of his obituary.

See also Mansfield General Hospital

(Chad Newspaper, 22nd May 1975)

The funeral took place yesterday week of Mr. Gershom Willoughby (Gush) Marshall (62), of 63 Mount Crescent, Warsop, who died the previous Friday in Mansfield Hospital.

The Rev. P. Dill conducted a service at Mansfield crematorium chapel before cremation.'

Born at Huthwaite, Mr. Marshall moved to Warsop as a young boy. Afterwards he lived at Welbeck Colliery Village for 35 years before returning to Warsop 20 years ago.

Mr. Marshall worked underground at Welbeck Colliery from the age of 14 until about eight years ago when he moved to Bilsthorpe Colliery and worked as a van driver and in the garage.

During World War II he served in the Home Guard.

In his younger days he was a member of Welbeck Carnival Band. He was interested in all sports, and one of his hobbies was breeding budgerigars and canaries. He was interested in gardening until his illness.

He leaves his wife, one daughter, two sons and eight grandchildren.

Mourners were Mr. and Mrs. R. Tipple, daughter and son-in-law: Mr. and Mrs. J. F. Marshall, Mr. and Mrs. D. W. Marshall, sons and daughters-in-law; Karen Tipple, Kim Tipple, grandchildren: Mr. and Mrs. H. Marshall, Mr. and Mrs. L. Marshall, Mr. and Mrs. M. Marshall, brothers and sisters-in-law: Mr. and Mrs. A. Antcliff, sister and brother-in-law: Mr. and Mrs. F. Mapletoft, Mr. and Mrs. R. Mapletoft, Mr. and Mrs. D. Mapletoft, brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law; Mr. and Mrs. G. Chambers, Mr. and Mrs. H. Priestley, sisters-in-law and brothers-in-law: Mrs. V. Turner. Mrs. D. Chadwick. Mrs. C. Monk. Mrs. K. Dobb, nieces; Mr. F. Yorston. Mr. and Mrs. J.H. Tipple, Mr. and Mrs. S. Dove.

Representing Bilsthorpe Colliery were Mr. W. Roberts. Mr. A. Knighton. Mr. D. Redman and Mr. H. Turner.

Representing the National Union of Mineworkers and Mr. C. Tuck were Mr. E. Butler and Mr. T. Butler. Mrs. Boame represented Bilsthorpe Colliery canteen staff. Sister Thorpe represented Bilsthorpe Colliery medical staff.
Mrs. A. Marshall, wife, was unable to attend because of illness.

Floral tributes were from the above and also from Karen Kim Kerry. John, Paul, Jonathan, Richard, Tracy, grandchildren; Elsie and John; Doll; Ada and Family; Pen Jack and Family; Edna Bas and Family: Mr. and Mrs. Weatherbed; Mr. R, Moakes; Ethel and Sid: Sylvia, Alan and Frances; Gerty and Tommy; Mr. and Mrs. H. Parrott. Mr. and Mrs. Clark: Mr. and Mrs. Nickless; Mr. and Mrs. Tomlinson; Mr and Mrs. Ward; Mr. and Mrs. Marter; Friends. Workmates and Management, Bilsthorpe Colliery.

Arrangements were by G. A. Townroe & Son.

Mr. Gershom Marshall
(Nottingham Evening Post, Tuesday 16 June 1936)

(Alan Beales)

A fall of coal at the coal face at Bilsthorpe Colliery, which trapped and fatally injured a Huthwaite miner, was the subject of an inquest held at the Nottingham General Hospital by the City Coroner, Mr W.S. Rothera, this afternoon, when a verdict of "Accidental death" was returned. The victim was Gershom Marshall, aged thirty one, a stall man, living at 19, George Street, Sutton road, Huthwaite, and he died in the General hospital seven or eight hours after the accident happened in the early hours of Thursday morning, just before Marshall was due to go up the shaft. Mrs, Muriel Marshall the widow, said her husband had worked in the pit ever since he had left school. He was on the night shift last Wednesday, and the next morning she heard of the accident in the mine. John Bullock, of 6, Cul de Sac, Bilsthorpe, a companion who was working in the same stall as Marshall, said the accident happened at 5. 50 a.m. Marshall told him he was going to set a prop, clear up a bit and then get ready for going home. Describing the conditions of the coal face, witness said it was a straight face, ready for the cutter. Everything was in perfect order, and there was plenty of timber. About three tons of coal fell and Marshall was trapped under a piece weighing about a ton. Replying to Mr. A.H. Steele, Inspector of Mines, the witness said that Marshall had his back to the coal face and was just dragging a prop into position when the fall occurred. John Bagguley, of Garage Yard, Farnsfield, who was in charge of the stall, said he had never known an accident in similar circumstances before. The face seemed all right. The usual precautions taken at the coal face to prevent a fall was to set sprags but in this case there was no need for such sprags for the face was straight. William Renshaw, of Bilsthorpe, also gave similar evidence, and when Mr. Steele asked him if he did not think it wise, even if the face was straight to use sprags, He replied that he did not think so, props had already been set. Replying to the Coroner, the witness said he should have set strays if he thought the wall was unsafe. Marshall was a conscientious man and he would have done the same. The examination showed the wall to be safe. Mr. Steele: But it wasn’t safe. There is often a few inches overhanging, and this is the second accident at the pit in a short time. I want you to make the wall even safer. The Coroner pointed out that the question in this case was whether three experienced miners were satisfied concerning their safety. Mr G.A. Spencer, of the Notts Miners Industrial Union, who represented Marshall’s workmates, said he agreed with the inspector that overhang sprags should be set, but it was a moot point how far they should sprag remembering a coal cutter had to pass along the face.

Mr Marshall is on the Bilsthorpe Memorial. Bilsthorpe Mining Museum may have more detail on him.

See David Redman Page

Stephen Berrill 
21 Sep 2016
Where can I find mine plans for Silverhill?
Dear Sir

I used to work at Silverhill Colliery until the mid 80's when an accident forced me to retire.

I have been trying to obtain a copy of the mine plans for Silverhill the type of plans that were posted in the
pit head baths for workers to know where all the main roads and coal faces etc. were

Could you please advise me to where I may be able to find any existing copies.

I tried the coal heritage centre at Mansfield and although they had over 100 copies to view none were of the whole mine layout.

I have been told that the mines rescue centre at Mansfield Woodhouse may have them and intend contacting them

Looking forward to hearing from you at your convenience

R Markham
7 Sep 2016
Records - Do mining records exist (general employment)

I was wondering if you'd know if mining records exist (general employment). I have 3 relations who worked 'down the pit' and fond memories of the coal train going over the bridge.

I am compiling a family tree and would love to find out when my relations started and left the job, also anything else of note.

Many thanks.
R Markham.