Who remembers the Philly Yard? Former worker shares his coal board memories

Paul Harris (plater), Geordie Allen (plumber), Russell (crane driver), Georgie Rowntree (inspector).
Paul Harris (plater), Geordie Allen (plumber), Russell (crane driver), Georgie Rowntree (inspector).
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A former National Coal Board worker has recalled his time in the workshops - and hopes brings back memories for others.

John McKenna’s trip down Memory Lane was triggered during long tailbacks on the A690. They led him to take a different route to work and he said: “It took me past the old NCB Philadelphia Workshops which was my first place of employment after leaving school in 1976.”

Pictured in the time office. Lloyd Atkinson, right, but who is the person on the left?

Pictured in the time office. Lloyd Atkinson, right, but who is the person on the left?

It was known as the Philly Yard and John took a closer look “as I was saddened at the sight of the demise of what was once a hive of activity, and is now in the process of being demolished to make way for yet more housing.

“I look back on my time at the Yard with great affection.

“I left school in 1976 and after a daunting interview with the management was taken on as an apprentice plater, and must admit that being introduced to, and having my leg pulled by most of my fellow workmates from the different departments was just as daunting.”

There were plenty of characters at the time and John said: “I soon learned who the leg pullers were, who, now that I think back, was just about everyone!”

I look back on my time at the Yard with great affection. I left school in 1976 and after a daunting interview with the management was taken on as an apprentice plater, and must admit that being introduced to, and having my leg pulled by most of my fellow workmates from the different departments was just as daunting

John McKenna

Refreshments played a part in another memory.

“They always got their priorities right at the yard,” said John. “One of my first duties as the new kid on the block was to make sure the lads got their “bait”, and can remember having to go down to the canteen each dinner time, rain hail and snow to collect fully plated dinners, pasties, pies, biscuits, teacakes.”

They all had to be “juggled back to the plate shop in a wooden box which was strung round my neck, and wo betide if I dropped any.”

Watch out next week for more memories from John, including the ‘Yard Cat’ and the men from the stores.

Who recalls "Little Eddie" the welder from the welding bay?

Who recalls "Little Eddie" the welder from the welding bay?

If you have any of your own memories of the workshops, email chris.cordner@jpress.co.uk.

Who remembers Kieth (back), Bob (front left),  and Pop Welch (front right) from the cable shop.

Who remembers Kieth (back), Bob (front left), and Pop Welch (front right) from the cable shop.