Both of my grandfathers worked at Tilmanstone Colliery as did my father and at least one of my uncles. My mother's father Edwin (Eddie) Drew I know worked in the baths following a bad accident on the face. I know he had a metal plate in his head and had to take medication to stop him fitting. He retired some time in the 1970's.
His son, my uncle, Brian Drew, also worked on the surface. He took early retirement during the strikes in about 1982.
I believe that at some point in the 1950's my mother Rosina Fagg (nee Drew) also worked in the canteen.
My father's father, George Fagg, also worked at Tilmanstone probably in the 1950's.
My father started working at Tilmanstone in 1943/44, I don't know how long he worked there, but I do know he was only 14. I remember him telling me about how they worked virtually naked because of the heat! I would love to know more about their working lives.
I remember as a young child we would stay with my grandparents and on a Friday night my granddad and uncle would come in the back door of the house leaving their work clothes in the kitchen with my nan, while they took it in turns to have a bath. In a tin bath by the fire in the living room, with my nan and mum boiling kettles on the gas stove, sometimes I would be allowed to help fill the bath ready for them, but my nan stayed to help my granddad and everyone would clear out while my uncle had his bath.
Usually in the summer we'd go out into the garden or the park. I just remember being very small at the time. My grandparents didn't have an indoor bathroom until about 1980-83, so I remember visits at Christmas involving freezing visits to the loo in the evening, when I was ready for bed the last visit of the day involved boots and coat over a nighty!
I also remember having baths in the tin bath in front of the coal fire in the living/dining room. The front room was only used by guests, whether it was important visitors or family staying on the sofa bed and all of the best ornaments were kept in there as well as a mirror with a picture of one of my great-grandmothers on. I remember my granddad growing loads of vegetables in the long garden and my grandmother washing clothes in an old boiler. I don't think anything had changed since WWII!
As I said I would love to know more about their working lives and those of any of my father's brothers who may have worked at Tilmanstone from the 30's to the closing of the Colliery at the beginning of the 80's.
Erica Boorman (nee Fagg)