Photos from the last days of the County Durham pits

Ralf Greenwood hands a token over on the last day in 1992.
Ralf Greenwood hands a token over on the last day in 1992.
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Memories of the last days of a North East pit triggered the attention of thousands of Echo readers.

We asked you to look back on Vane Tempest Colliery and we shared a photograph of the final shift on social media. It reached 23,000 people.

Last shift at Vane Tempest.

Last shift at Vane Tempest.

Thanks to everyone who told us about the jobs you did, the people you knew and your memories of hard graft but great cameraderie.

You also told us about The Knack (Seaham Colliery) and The Dilly (the pit heap which was, according to readers, named after a train which served the mine).

Some believed our photo may have been taken at The Knack rather than Vane Tempest - but all took the opportunity to share names they remembered.

Deborah Gill said: “My dad worked taking coal out of their for Lincoln Haulage.......loved going with dad for the day in his lorry.”

I worked there as did my dad. Great bunch of marras. Happy days

Will Rountree

Anya Williams’ dad Richard Williams worked at Vane Tempest while Andy Wilkie said: “My Grandad, Uncle my Mam’ cousin worked in the Knack. Joseph, Albert and Jackie Pratt....hard men all.”

Dawn Chapman said: “My dad worked there until it finally closed in 1993,” while Colin Branthwaite said: “My dad worked at The Knack and Dawdon but not the Tempest. My Uncle Reg did though.”

Edward Jubb was a collier electrician (underground) at The Knack and said he wrote a book about his time there.

Will Rountree said: “I worked there as did my dad. Great bunch of marras. Happy days.”



Dan Todner commented: “My dad was there till it shut. He was a fitter. George Todner.”

Jan Beaton said her father-in-law Thomas Beaton worked at Vane Tempest while Jean Brunning had lots of relatives there. “My husband, his dad and his brother worked at the Vane Tempest,” she said.

Stephen Harrysbar Dowding said: “My grandfather worked there , called him John dowding . Anyone remember him . I think he’d of been about 90 now if he’d been alive.”

Can anyone recalled John Dowding? Get in touch and share the memories by emailing chris.cordner@jpress.co.uk.

Bryan Johnson told us: “I worked at Dawdon but did my coal face training at the Tempest. A very good friend , Tommy Baron was Ventilation Officer there, and another, Bob Bunker was an Under Manager.”

Dave Raymond was there for the last 5 years after being transfered from the Knack.

Veronica Brown told us that her husband Kevin worked there as a fitter while Linda Charlton said: “My dad worked at the tempest all his working life George Sanderson.”

Linda Allport’s grandad Charlie Williams worked there and so did her great uncle Ken Williams.”

Vicky Adamson told us Ralph Greenwood was one of the people in our photograph while Simon Gray said: “My dad worked there, loco driver.”

The demise of the pit industry in the Seaham area happened in the first half of the 1990s.

Dawdon was first to go and the closure of Seaham and Vane Tempest pits followed after an announcement in 1992.

Mining in the town was over but the memories live on for so many readers.

Alan Patterson said: “I worked at Vane Tempest 1969- 2002. Great place to work.”

The grandfathers of Janice Sayers and Joanne Lomax worked there and so did George Liddle’s dad who spent all his working life at Vane Tempest.

Denise Austin, Stephen Cutter, Marie Ann Bestford, Karen Williams, Justine Williams, Allison Bolam and Louise Brennan all had dads who worked at the pit.

Margy Palmer told us: “My father in law worked there on the face. Hard work.”

Helen Anne Dobinson commented: “My husband’s dad worked at Vane Tempest until around 87.”

Joe Gibson worked at Vane Tempest “for 22+ years”

Denise Mustard commented: “My dad Bill Clarkson worked there many a moon ago” and Ian Frostwick told us: “I worked in the time and wages office in late 80’s into early 90’s.”

Peter Dixon transferred from Dawdon and “worked there from October 91 till October 92.”

Thank you to everyone who took the time to get involved and we would love to hear more of your memories.

To tell us more, email chris.cordner@jpress.co.uk