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Ready for Work He Doesn’t Want To Have To Do

Day by day Jeffrey Street makes ready for a job he hopes he will never have to do, for that job will come when disaster strikes a pit - any one of nearly 50 pits. The job for Mr. Street will be to fetch out the men - men choking in unseen gases, trapped by the blast of explosion, or cut off by flames underground.

Mr. Street is superintendent of the mines rescue station on Learning Lane South, Mansfield Woodhouse. He directs a rescue team who have learned to live ready to spring into unwanted action at the sound of the alarm, and ready, too, to risk their lives to save those of their mining colleagues.

A spry 52-year-old, he is responsible for providing a rescue service at instant call from the 47 collieries within a 13-mile radius of the station, and also on call to aid other teams stationed at Chesterfield, Ilkeston and Ashby.

To help the full time brigadesmen, each pit has its own rescue team trained to cope with emergencies. Two hundred such part-timers are attached to the Mansfield rescue head quarters, and Mr. Street sees that these miners are up to scratch with the latest techniques and equipment.

But no amount of training could compensate for first hand experience of working under ground, in being fully conversant with the ways and dangers of a miner’s work. A minimum of two years in mining is needed to qualify for a place in the rescue team.

Under Mr. Street at the rescue station are his assistant, a third officer, with ten brigades-men, two watchmen and three mechanics to man the massive mobile £330,000 emergency winder - a lorry mounted generator and a trailer winch capable of lifting five tons from 1,000 yards down. They work a day shift but by rota are on call at night.

Always waiting in the station are the three rescue vehicles packed to capacity with equipment which includes breathing apparatus, revivers, carbon monoxide detectors and first aid kits.

Chirping in the entrance to the station are two caged canaries - one of the oldest of miner's safety aids - which would be picked up at the sound of the alarm and taken with the team. Mr. Street hopes his canaries will live to die of old age.

Canary Oxygen Cage

Richard Street


Pit Terminology - Glossary

John Jeffrey Street
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