Poignant memories of Houghton Colliery

A farewell wave for Houghton Colliery.
A farewell wave for Houghton Colliery.
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Great days and great mates. That was the feedback we got on Houghton Colliery.

Memories came flooding back for Echo readers after our social media post.

Jack Fee who retired after 37 years at the colliery.

Jack Fee who retired after 37 years at the colliery.

From 1981, we found a photograph of the last days of the pit which featured some of the men working there.

For some, the picture was a chance to leave messages and catch up with old friends.

For others, it was an opportunity to view photographs of loved ones who have since passed away, and was especially poignant for members of the Dick family.

And overall, it was an old photograph which attracted the attention of more than 24,000 of you.

Tommy Conn..Neil Coiles..Joe Allen...Tommy Dick...Stan Morson are in the photo..loved every minute of working at Houghton as a young lad

Bert Fletcher

Becca Dick was one of those who responded and said: “The bald chap holding his hat to his chest is my Grandad, it’s weird you’ve posted this today as it would’ve been his 90th birthday.”

A similar message came from Tom Dick who said: “Great to see a photo of my dad on what would have been his 90th birthday.”

Gerri Dick also responded and said Tommy Dick “was my granpops.”

It prompted a reply from Bert Fletcher who identified the men in the picture.

He said: “Tommy Conn..Neil Coiles..Joe Allen...Tommy Dick...Stan Morson are in the photo..loved every minute of working at Houghton as a young lad.”

Lynne Woodhouse commented: “I remember you when you worked at Herrington pit and we got the bus together on a morning. Happy times x.”

Trevor Clarke and Rona Docx both said their Uncle Tom was pictured while Bert submitted a further post and said: “My dad also worked at the pit and knew Tommy well and they lived about 200 yards from us just along the alley in Sunniside...lovely fella.”

There were plenty of you who liked the social media post including Abbie Osguthorpe, Les Collins, Charlotte Bennett, Cyril Collins, Derek Jarman, Stephen Allen and Tony Hebb.

Our thanks also go to Dave Adey who identified one of the men in the photo. He said: “Joe Allan middle with white hair ..what a cracking bloke and grafter loved working with him.”

Darren Willis commented: “That was my grandad your right his was a great man.”

Dave Taylor added his own contribution and said second left with long hair was Stevie Armstrong from Murton, and added: “Second right jack ......from hetton....both fitters.”

Kirsty Louise Johnson told us that her dad Collin Malcolm worked at the pit although he was not pictured.

And Lisa Wood commented: “Aw my grandad’s on here x.”

Kelly Hetherington posted:”my grandad joe” while Ray Briggs reminisced: “Did my underground training at Houghton Pit.”

Others to like the post included Steven Paxton, Anthony Watson, Richie Samuelson, Ian Barron, Alexandra Cox, Keith Scott, Agis Mavrokordatos, Evelyn Hudson and Alison Gott.

Thanks to Joe Wilson who said: “Stan Morson front right.”

And Peter Ganning Senior told us: “Did my training there many many moons ago.”

The history of the pit shows it closed in 1981 after nearly 160 years of operation. During its height, it was a major source of employment.

The colliery had been sunk in 1823 and worked from four years later.

By the early 1900s, the pit was thought to employ around 1,900 men and boys.

By 1981, the last underground shift was completed that September.

Staff who had not opted for voluntary redundancy were transferred to Seaham, Vane Tempest, Eppleton and Wearmouth pits, and the Philadelphia Workshops.

Did you work there and what are your memories of the pit? Can you remember the names of the people you worked with?

Which section did you work in and how long did you work there? Get in touch and tell us more.

Or perhaps there is another aspect of Wearside history that you would like us to focus on. We would be happy to oblige. Email chris.cordner@jpress.co.uk