Digging up lots of memories of Dawdon Colliery

Another view of Dawdon pit.
Another view of Dawdon pit.
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Dawdon pit reached a milestone in 1987.

Thrity years on, we asked if you remembered it - and the people who featured in a Sunderland Echo photograph to mark the occasion.

The milestone in 1987 when miners celebrated one million ton of coal produced.

The milestone in 1987 when miners celebrated one million ton of coal produced.

You did and you told us more.

Thousands of people saw the picture when it was posted on socia media and plenty of you commented.

Those to like it included Denise Barden, Dave Hayes, Margaret Hayes, Bryan Johnson, Julie Neasham, Peter A Lusby and Teresa Snaith.

They also included Bruce Johnson, Gordon Pybus, Colleen Leech, Pauline Yates, Ken Vardy, Elizabeth Oliver, Craig Hardy and Paul Whitehead.

Many of you also took time to share your memories including Helen Curry who helped us to identify some of the people in the picture.

“Chuck Hayes fourth from the left at the back and bottom right Cliffy Mason,” said Helen. We thank her for her contributions.

She added: “My husband Alan Curry worked there and has just been looking at these pics.”

Tracy Lee also commented and said: “My dad was a deputy here - George Comb. Saddest day of his life when he retired.”

Tracy later added: “He loved working there until the strike which broke his heart.”

We also received comments from Catherine Ayre who told us of her childhood growing up in a County Durham colliery community.

Catherine said: “When I was little, we lived right next to Vane Tempest pit. I can’t remember it as I was so little but I have heard it was horrible.”

Diane Robinson helped us to identify one of the people pictured and said: “My cousin Jimmy Robinson top row last one on the right.”

And thanks also go to Bryan Johnson who said: “They had to close the pit because it would have flooded if they had tried to get through the faulted ground in front of the sea drift.”

Bryan added: “I was a deputy at Dawdon.”

We are also indebted to Valerie Olley who told us: “My husband Joe was one of the last men out of the pit.”

She said Joe had his picture in the Sunderland Echo with some other people.

Others to like the social media post included Carol Hutchinson, James Robertson, Danny Liddy, Maureen Mcghin, Michelle Bruce, Darryl Murphy, Jane Wilcox, Marie Dobson and Shirley McDermott.

So did Ashleigh Chipp, Jo Rowe, Susan Tully, Tina Harding Eastick, Mick Dickinson, Nicola Briggs Bowdrey, Billy Potts, June Cole, Celestria Cello and Jan Foley.

John Anderson as another to comment and also told us more about the occasion behind the photograph.

It showed the miners of Dawdon celebrating a milestone. “One million tonnes hewed,” he reminded us and we thank him for that.

But on a sadder note, he added: “and Thatcher closed the pit.”

Dawdon Colliery employed more than 3,000 people at its height in the 1920s.

But its demise came 26 years ago this month in July 1991 when it closed.

Celia Murch told us there was going to be a reunion of former Dawdon pitmen and it would be held on October 7.

She added: “I am sure loads of ex Dawdon miners going.”

Can anyone tell us more?

Our post also got lots of interest with more than 21,000 people taking a look.

Who can tell us more about their time at Dawdon pit, or any other of the former collieries in the North East coalfield.

Or perhaps there is another aspect of North East history you would like us to examine.

That could be anything from an event which you would like us to spotlight to a favourite shop, pub or restaurant that you would like us to feature.

Perhaps you are looking into your family tree and have hit a stumbling block.

We may be able to help by putting out an appeal to Echo readers, who may be able to shed more light on your story.

Whatever your reason for getting in touch, we will be happy to hear from you.

Get in touch by emailing chris.cordner@jpress.co.uk.