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John Jeffrey Street

Mansfield Mines Rescue - Incidents Attended By J.J. Street

It was 1947, I was 7 years old when my father John Jeffrey Street joined the Mines Rescue Station in Mansfield Woodhouse.

I recall that my father had always been dedicated to the Rescue Service and he spent many hours of study to

Mansfield Rescue Station

further his career in this area of work. It was no surprise that through his efforts, knowledge of the Industry and enormous respect from all who worked with him that he was appointed to the position of Superintendent at the new Mines Rescue Station on Leeming Lane South in Mansfield Woodhouse in 1958.

My brother and I were blessed by growing up within a small community, where all of the officers, brigadesmen and their families lived within a stones throw of the Rescue Station. I remember the alarm bell going off every morning at 6.45am to wake up the men to carry out their routine duties. Of course there were the times when the alarm bell meant something more sinister and there would be great concern for miners who were in great danger and for the brigadesmen going to their aid. It would be at times like this that wives would give comfort and strength to each other as their husbands went into dangerous situations.

I remember how anxious my mum would be when dad was out on a "Call" and how supportive she would be when he returned. We were privileged to frequently go into the station and watch with interest as the men displayed their skills. Every vehicle was lovingly cared for and tuned to perfection ready for action.

I remember particularly the "Liquid Air Plant." As a youngster I was fascinated by the metal steps that led to a huge bath where brass and copper pipes emerged and found their way to cylinders that were ice cold.

This area was always in mint condition and dad used to show me how cold the liquid oxygen was by pouring some over items like grapes or a rubber ball. I would hold these frozen items gingerly in my hands until they returned to their original state.

Liquid Air Plant

I also recall a room full of hides of leather where breathing apparatus packs were skilfully sewn together to house the cylinders of oxygen that would be strapped to men's backs when required.

Then there were the canaries! A large aviary full of them, where they were looked after with great care as they would be used for the very important task of detecting methane gas in a mine. When gas was detected in a mine by one of these birds it would fall from its perch and the Rescue Miners would know that they needed to wear the appropriate apparatus. The canaries would be immediately brought out of the mine and would regain consciousness in the fresh air. Dad used to be proud of the fact that they never lost a bird!

These are a few treasured memories of a wonderful man who lived to serve others and gained the respect of many.

Jeffrey Michael Street  

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