Remembering the last days of Wearmouth Colliery

The last shift at Wearmouth Colliery, taken on Friday, December 10 1993.
The last shift at Wearmouth Colliery, taken on Friday, December 10 1993.
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The last days of Wearmouth Colliery brought back many memories for Echo readers.

We asked for your recollections after we published a photograph of the last shift.

Wearmouth Colliery, pictured on the day in October 1992 when it was announced it was scheduled for closure.

Wearmouth Colliery, pictured on the day in October 1992 when it was announced it was scheduled for closure.

It prompted interest from more than 20,000 people while hundreds of you left comments - many to say that you had relatives who worked at the pit.

High on that list was Ted Martin who said: “I did, my dad, 3 brothers and loads of cousins. The man in the parka on the right of the pic is the banksman Tommy Reay who I worked with.”

Andrea Buttling commented: “My dad worked 30 years down the pit, he was a deputy at Wearmouth when it closed.”

She said she was “proud of all the miners - that’s when graft was proper graft.”

My dad worked 30 years down the pit, he was a deputy at wearmouth when it closed. Proud of all the miners - that’s when graft was proper graft

Andrea Buttling

The pit opened in 1835 and was the last to keep going in the County Durham coalfield. The last shift left the pit on December 10, 1993, and our photograph showed men in their pit clothes leaving the cages for the last time that day.

Tony Smith’s grandad worked there from 1892 to 1946. He said: “I am certain of his retirement date of 1946 but base the 1892 on I was always told he started as a 12 year old.

“Tough times. Still got his retirement presentation clock.”

Bev Diamond said her brother and father both worked there and added: “They were grafters them days.”

James Robertson “worked on development with Morris Robinson and Bob Jeffreys” while Dave Cooper said: “Fitter for a short while, late 60’s when Washington Glebe closed.”

Rose Crone commented: “My father in law was winder at Wearmouth Fred Carter a great man rip Fred x.”

Ingrid Golden also responded to say her brother worked there.

So did her mam Audrey in the canteen and her sister in law’s family named Booth.

Lots more responded such as Joanne Guest whose dad Bobby Hamilton was a worker at Wearmouth, and Kim-Marie Hajsadr whose dad Jackie McCowliff “worked there until it closed.”

Diane Robinson’s dad was on the salvage team while Ann Storey’s husband and father-in-law both did.

Nichola Shields, Paul John Simpson, Florence Holt, Andrea Smales Hope, Ruth Dosh and Mary Scott all said their fathers worked there.

So did Billy Henderson, Wendy Gibson, Grace McGuire, George Kelley, and Lynda Williams.

Others to respond included Joan Boddy, Gary S Forsyth, John Stephenson, Andrea Liddle and Ian Barron who said: “I worked down there for years till it closed.”

By 1947, when the coal industry was nationalised, there were more than 130 collieries within the Durham coalfield.

But Wearmouth was the last to shut and The site was cleared soon after.

The Stadium of Light, which opened in 1997, stands in its place after it became Sunderland AFC’s new home following the closure of Roker Park.

The comments just kept on coming on our post and they included one from Elaine Bratt who said: “My brother and uncle worked there.”

Patricia Worthy said: “My father Harold Worthy and his brother Tom worked there.”

Thank you to the 100 people who liked the post on social media including Pauline Cowan, John G Patterson, Jason Burdis, Davy Gwyn, Stacey Gair, Mary Taylor, Susan Jones, Paul Bambrough and Marnie Burden.

So did Karen Mason Phillips, Jack Cunningham, Susan Yates Stephenson, Tom Dawson, Peter A Lusby, Alison Harper, Kirsty James Lewis, Graeme Swallow and Ted Butler.

We would love more of your memories. Did you work at the pit and which of your colleagues can you recall.

Or is there another aspect of Wearside’s history you would like us to remember.

Perhaps you would like to share your family tree research or help with your appeal to trace long lost relatives.

Or maybe there’s an event in Sunderland’s past you would like to reminisce upon.

Get in touch and tell us more.

Email chris.cordner@jpress.co.uk