Minutiae - Bulwell Common and more


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8 hours ago, benjamin1945 said:

Bet you knew my Dad Brian......and Grandad........he was Secretary of the NUR during the 50s,..he caught the 'Dido' every working day.......he was a 'Wheeltapper' at Annesley and Dad was a 'Shunter'............

 

Sorry but I didn't work on the railway, I was just a spotter with a good memory.

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I've been delayed by trying to recall what I actually did for string...  The best I can come up with is that I gathered up all the various bits of string I could find, and tied them together.  Sometim

In this case I'm thinking of Bulwell Common and the finer details of how it has changed in my lifetime.   I drive past it pretty much everytime I'm home in Nottingham, but my how it has chan

Back behind my grandma's house in Netherfield were two large banks of cinders and gravel near a ditch which ultimately made it's way to the Trent.  I think it was a branch of the Ouse Dyke.  The kids

7 hours ago, DJ360 said:

Brian, do you know anything about the Lancaster Drift' at Bestwood Colliery?  I had thought that it was the first development of mining at Bestwood, but according to the very interesting site I have linked to here: 

 

http://www.healeyhero.co.uk/rescue/individual/Bob_Bradley/Bk-5/B5-1967-E.html

 

...it was only 'driven' around 1954. 

 

I'd love to know exactly where it was.

 

Col

 

Col, the original colliery was the two shafts that remained to the end, they were sunk to the Top Hard seam which was the thickest. When the Top Hard workings were a long way from the shafts a ventilation shaft was sunk before the war at Calverton. When output was concentrated on the High Main seam a second shaft was sunk post war at Calverton and it became an independent collery no longer conected to Bestwood. The Lancaster Drift was sunk in the early 1950's to the High Main and became the route of the output to the surface. The drift mouth was in the pit yard not far from the shafts and the coal prep plant, if I remember right it was just to the north of the shafts. In the early sixties I did stand at the top of the drift and look down.

 

Brian

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Brian. #52.  Many thanks for that.  Next time I'm over there I'll have a look around.  The site I linked to has Grid Ref's I think.  I'm wondering if I can get my phone to show them.

 

Col

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Also Brian, it has just come to mind.  My Dad was a 'Loco Driver' underground, I think at Bestwood, though he later worked at Linby.  A couple of incidents I recall overhearing about.

 

One was that my Dad refused to take a chap out of the pit on a materials train  (he had presumably missed the 'manriding' train.) because it was 'illegal' and could have lost him his job or cost him a fine.  So, the chap started about my Dad with a brass safety lamp.  Dad had a 'weak' skull as a result of a massive motorbike crash just after WW2 which nearly killed him, so he just put his hands up to protect his head.  His hands and his head/face were a mess when I saw him.  I believe the offender was sacked.  Certainly should have been.  Any sort of violence in the workplace, and especially a potentially dangerous workplace, is just not on.

 

Another one.  My Dad was I believe the first to use a new locomotive underground.  I'm not sure if they were allocated a specific loco each or what.  Either way my Dad brought it back to whatever they called the 'station' underground because the brakes weren't working properly.  Seems another chap ( whose name I recall.. but won't mention here) wanted to use this new loco and took it out.  Seems he was going way too fast down an incline before he realised it wasn't going to stop, and he jumped, resulting in serious injury.

 

My Dad spent his last years underground as a 'fitter', working on machines such as belts,  'trepanners', etc. In fact he often asked me to make him good 'hard' cold chisels because I was in mining college doing Engineering at the time and had access to the forges etc., to forge, harden and temper them.

He needed the chisels to literally chisel off nuts and bolts which were rusted in place on machinery because of the acidic mine water which was often present.

 

Anyway.. he was working on a conveyor chain or similar.  It seems that there was an 'official' and safe way of tensioning the chain when necessary, but it was hard work and slow. So everyone did it by another method which involved someone holding the ends of the chain together while somebody else gave a little 'kick' on the drive motor.  This apparently caused the chain to take off the soft, fleshy part of the back of my Dad's thumb.  Not nice and apart from the pain and lengthy recovery time, he always struggled to tie his shoelaces afterwards.  He always told me though, that a more usual result of getting this precedure wrong, was loss of the whole hand, except for the thumb, so I suppose he got off lightly.

 

All of the above carry a health warning because they are my memories of snatches of conversation from close on 60 years ago when I was just a kid.

 

Col

 

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12 hours ago, NewBasfordlad said:

Am I right that the drift formed a 'walk out' for both collieries at one time?

 

The drift was rather steep for a walk but it could be done. The usual way for the men was via the shaft.

 

I believe Bestwood, Linby and Calverton were all connected at the High Main level but the connections were a way out from the shafts. After Bestwood closed some of Linby output was transported underground and surfaced by the drift for washing at Bestwood coal prep plant.

 

Bestwood and Calverton did connect at the Top Hard level but that connction was lost when the Top Hard was abandoned This was before the drift was sunk.

 

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Col, I didn't work at the pit I worked at Cinderhill Laboratory from 1959 to 1969 then moved to the Marketing Department at Eastwood Hall and then in 1974 to the NCB HQ

Marketing Department at Hobart House London.

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Then we must have known each other Brian! Below is the way I remember things but since it was so long ago time may have distorted my perception.

I too worked at the Cinderhill lab from about 1966-8. (If you remember me, please keep my more memorable acts of youthful stupidity a secret.  ;) )

 

I started as an apprentice fitter, nominally attached to Linby. But my time was almost all split between the training centre in Hucknall and the mining courses at Arnold and Carlton College in Digby Rd.  I believe it's now called Digby College?  Anyway, although I loved the engineering side of things it began to sink in that I was heading for a lifetime of shift work and I just didn't fancy that.  I would also be the first to admit that various issues in my life, some of my own making but others not..contributed to my lack of 'focus' in my early working years.  To put it bluntly I was pretty scatty and useless back then. ( Cries of 'So what's changed?" are not required!  )

Anyway the training manager, a chap called Shaw, seemed to dislike me and the feeling was mutual.  But, to be fair to him he'd figured out that I wasn't happy and dragged me in for a 'chat'.  I told him that I'd been pretty much 'bounced' into my apprenticeship because I'd not been able to get a job in Lab work, which had always been my first choice.  This was mostly because despite good science and languages, I always struggled with Maths.  Anyway, Mr Shaw picked up the phone to the lab at Cinderhill and arranged an interview that day.  Within days I was at the Lab, doing the good old ritual of weighing out exact grams of coal dust for the various 'routine' tests. ( Water content, ash content.. etc, ) that were I suppose the simplest tasks for new starters.

 

I recall a Brian H who was Deputy Chief Scientist.  Was that you? I can't recall the Chief Scientists name but I think he was a decent sort. Also a chap who lived in one of the streets off Cantrell Rd with a 'cut through' to Highbury Rd.  Northholme Rd?  Can't remember his name. Others I recall from the time were Roger Street, a big affable old Pavior, John 'Chuck' Throw.. Nice chap. The wonderfully named Charles Hubert Vincent Bramley,  a chap called Neville something who was always pleasant.  Leon 'Joe' Sole who ended up in textiles I think.  Know that because his daughter ended up working with me in the Careers Service in St Helens. Also a lad whose parents had a pub in Nottm somewhere.  Came to work on a scooter.  One day he fell off it and was hurt.  Then he was very nearly electrocuted by the Transformer Oil Testing rig and IIRC it was modified afterwards.  Finally the pet spider from the dust lab (Hector?) ran up and down his arm.  Net result was his hair fell out. Girl from Bestwood Village called Sheila Wasilevski.  Her Dad worked in the pit and there is a Wasilevski named on a stone in St Marks Cemetary Bestwood.  Ian Sansom from Wollaton way and another lad from Wollaton.. his cousin I think.. A few others I can see in my mind but can't name.  Finally a dark haired lad who I later saw on the telly in a film about the lab which showed him looking all serious and efficient as he did a calorific value test on a coal sample using the also splendidly named Adiabatic Bomb Calorimeter.
 

Over time I did most of the routine stuff such as the work in the Coal, Gas and Water labs. As I recall we were sort of 'on the cusp', between older 'wet' methods of analysis using things like the almost 'steam punk' Haldane Machine alongside more sophisticated stuff such as the Infra Red Gas Analyser, and some pretty much experimental Gas Chromatography. All good stuff!

 

  But.. my college work was constantly being held back by my seemingly intractable problems with Maths and things were not looking good for the future.  Then one day when things were quiet in the labs I busied myself doing a lot of tidying and cleaning in one of the small labs.  A bit later, on a desk, I spotted a note written by one of the 'senior' scientists which named me and stated 'Work done today.. Nil', or similar. I can't recall his name but he also didn't like me. ( I don't think he was called Brian.. but if it was you.. I've forgiven you..  ;) )  Anyway.. I saw red and tore up the note.  Then I had second thoughts, stuck it back together and added to it my own.. detailing my work that day.  I was so angry hurt and confused at the time that I don't recall too clearly whether I just walked out there and then or what, but that was pretty much the end of my time as a scientist and not long afterwards I started my career as a DJ and unwitting pioneer of the Northern Soul Scene.   ..

Interesting times..

 

Col

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DJ360, the only chains I recall U/G were the 22mm haulage chains that the shearer's and trepanners hauled themselves through the face. They were anchored at each end of the face and attached to very heavy springs by a clevis pin that was dropped into the slot while the machine was "staked" to the roof and haulage was used top throw slack until it stalled, everyone crossed their fingers the machine didn't trip out on overload during this operation as fingers could be lost.

If the chain broke, which did happen occasionally, the clevis was pulled at either the tailgate tension springs or maingate tension springs, then the chain dragged and a joining link added, then the machine was staked to the roof with a heavy piece of timber and the procedure I mentioned carried out, joining a chain mid face under stalled machine was a no no, it could end up with a limb missing.

 

Bestwood's Lancaster Drift was installed with a Cable belt and a rope hauled manrider, the manrider was usually used for belt maintenance crews, but could be used to lower a shift.

 

I recall Mr Shaw, he was the Training Centre Manager when I did my 1st year as an apprentice electrician, he was a pretty fair man, we did week about at the training centre and Arnold and Carlton College annex just up from Hucknall "bottom pit". There was a feller there who took us for several subjects Mr Moxon. He ordered us to obtain some NCB training manuals or not bother coming to his class next session. I protested, as they were NOT on the list of books we were obliged to obtain. Come Monday it was our week at training centre and I approached My Shaw about Mr Moxon and his arrogant attitude regarding the manuals. "I'll see Mr Moxon, he cannot force anyone with threats over books that are not listed on the course"  Or words to that effect, now over 50 years gone by. 

Nothing was ever said by Mr Moxon after that..

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Thanks for that 'Meducks'.  All I knew was that it was something to do with a chain, joining or tensioning or somesuch.

And yes, despite our 'iffy' start, Mr Shaw turned out to be a fair chap.

 

Col

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I started with the NCB in early 1964, probably not long after the training centre was moved from Bestwood to No1 pit, there was still some work being carried out on the main building to convert it. One of the shafts had been filled and capped and the tandem headgear had already gone.

Summer of that year I did my U/G training at No1 pit, a classroom had been laid out U/G including a face hewed out by trainees.

It didn't last too much longer than 1968 as I took my practical tests at Bentinck training centre.

Not sure but I'm pretty sure Mr Shaw signed my completion certificate, I'll have to dig it out and check.

 

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Aye upmeducks.............lovely to hear from you again............22mm haulige chains,Trepanners,clevis pins,Tailgate and maingate tensions.........to say nowt about about Rope-hauled Manriders..........love it.................anyway how you doing mate ?

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You can't beat a nice Clevis Pin Paul....  :)

 

 

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Col,

Re #59, we must have worked together when you were at Cinderhill Lab, but I am sorry to say I don't remember you, it is a long time ago.

 

The people you name are familiar to me, The Area Chief Scientist was Charles Williams, The deputy Brian Hart, The Lab Manager Bill Heath. I remember Roger Street, a big lad, he went to BR at Derby, Charles H V Bramley was in charge of the Gas Lab, Neville Colman was in charge of special investigations, I don't remember Leon Sole but Sheila Wasilevski was I think the first female to work in the general labs rather than just as airborne dust counters, Ian Sansom I remember, and of course I fed Hector.

 

Other people I remember are Terry Hallam, Gilbert Gimson, John Hill, Mike Galley, Frank Clarke, Rob Briden, some may have left before you started, others may come to me there was about 36 in total including the samplers.

 

I do remember all the equipent you mention and used them all.

 

I am sorry that you found maths dificult, it was my best subject. I spent quite a time on the coal analysis results working with Bill Heath and also helping Neville Coleman with the stores.

 

When I move to Marketing Department I was involved with coal pricing and sales proceeds (all mathematical), finishing as head of pricing and proceeds at national HQ.

 

Brian (aka Noddy or the Nods).

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Hi Brian, thanks for that. Some of the names you mentioned came back to me.  Who was the lad who played in a rock group? Might have been a Mike.

It may be Terry Hallam who lived in Northolme Rd.  Neville Coleman.. that's him.  I always remember that it was he who came to a small group of us (I think we were in the Gas Lab) with a look of genuine shock on his face and informed us that Donald Campbell had died in the Bluebird accident.  Charles Bramley told me he had qualified as a Microbiologist.  Think I recall Bill Heath now you mention him.  There was also a quiet lad who lived in Hucknall and would walk there and back each day at a cracking pace.  I tried to keep up with him as far as Bulwell once and it wasn't easy.

 

Another bit of kit.. the FACIT mechanical calculators.  exotic beasts indeed.. which bring me to..

 

Maths.  A strange one. I'm fine with everyday arithmetic and a lot of stats, Nothing I was required to do at the lab, or anywhere else for that matter ever required more maths than I could handle.  It was just the stuff required for exams that defeated me and as you may recall grading and therefore pay and seniority was strictly based on attainment of formal qualifications, so my future looked bleak on £8.10s 6d per week.  I understand the purpose of a lot of more advanced stuff but somewhere along the way I missed out on what might be called the 'grammar' of mathematics and never got back on track.

Oddly, a quarter of a century later I was asked to finish a statistical analysis of a lot of data concerning Graduates from the Careers Service area I worked in.  It had been left half written by  someone else and he had actually signed off large parts of it presented as raw data  :Shock:   I re-wrote the whole thing, converted all data to percentages and threw in a few bits based on Spearmans Rank Correlation and other devices.

I got a lot of positive feedback for that one.

Don't ask me to solve a quadratic equation though... :)

Col

 

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Brian, I think I've maybe remembered you,. Were you slim to medium build with wavy hair and glasses? You lived somewhere between St Albans Rd and Highbury Vale? Chap I' m thinking of got married during the couple of years I was there.

 Col

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I would have said tallish and thin blond wavy hair and glasses, I did get married in 1966, Before then I lived on Henrietta Street, after the wedding we lived on Southey Street, Hyson Green then back to Bulwell on Banerman Road. after leaving the lab we moved to Newthorpe Common nr Eastwood, finally I became a commuter to Hobart House.

 

I do remember the Facit calculators, both hand wound and electric. I also used them at both Eastwood Hall and Hobart House before electronic calculators and computers.

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Yes Brian, I think I have you in my minds eye now. Thanks.

 

I've also remembered an older dark haired chap who seemed to be in and out a lot.   Dunno, what he did but he drove a Borgward car and they weren't exactly common.  Other cars in the car park included a Daimler Dart and a Riley Elf.

 

 

Col

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  • 4 months later...

Just another few memories from the little area that was my stomping ground more than 60 years ago...

As I've already explained, the two fields opposite Southglade Rd. were part of Jarve Goddard's 'Southglade Farm'.  Those fields were mostly just fallow and ended up being left out of farming use altogether by the late 1950s, But Jarve did have his cattle on there when we were kids.  They were black and white cows which I always thought ought to be called 'Freesians'.  I have a very specific memory of a young lad calling the cows in.. presumably for milking. I have no idea who the lad was.  I don't know if Jarve had any children.... In my memory the lad would be a young teenager.. maybe 16 at the most.  And he had this particular call.. which went 'Yee- oo-uw'.. with a sort of a yodel between the 'Yee' and the 'oo'.  In my minds eye I can still see that lad in the distance, and pretty much exactly where I stood. I was wondering then, as I am now.. who that young lad was.

 

I'm not really sure why.. but many of my memories of that area involve plants.  Maybe I should have become a Botanist.  We used to push Hawthorn berries into the ends of our bike pumps and then use the pump to shoot them at each other.. 'Pop Gun' style. We also used to get the buds of some plants and throw them at each other.  Also a sort of grass.. a bit like wild Barley, which we'd use like little darts.  Sitting out on the fields in Summer.. I was always fascinated by the way the leaves of some tiny meadow plants would turn bright red. I also spotted 'Heartsease' (Wild Pansy) 'Birdseye' (Speedwell) and 'Scarlet Pimpernel'.  I recall Scabious, Cornflower and Harebell over towards the banking of the Leen Valley railway.

 

A little way down the street from us.. opposite the Bramley's, there was a sort of gap in the hedge.  It became a den. and a spaceship.  Futher down the street was an Elder tree.  Elder tends to have soft wood, and quite thick, green , tender new shoots.  I was never very comfortable around that tree.  The soft shoots would often get covered in black Aphids and climbing in there you risked grabbing hold of a shoot covered in them. For some reason.. there were also yellow Ladybirds around that tree.

 

But it was always Summer..

 

 

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Really enjoyed reading your post, Col, even though I'm not familiar with that particular area.  I can remember most of those flowers from my childhood roaming, but also huge purple clover flowers which grew near the brickyard in Mapperley.  We used to pull the petals out and suck the nectar from the base or make thick clover chains instead of the fragile daisy chains.  Also remember 'egg and bacon'. Your mention of hawthorn berries reminded me that we used to cut open rose hips and try and put them down people's backs - they were itchy!  

I have 'hearts ease' in my garden - I love them still.

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Thanks Margie.  I like the Clover nectar idea.  I'd never have thought of that one.

There's another plant which grew quite profusely along the hedgerows around the area and which I've only discovered quite recently is called 'Mugwort'.  It's a type of Artemisia.  (A. Vulgaris)  I recall it being rather more greyish than the pictures I've found.  Maybe we had a local 'strain'.  I've never found it anywhere around here in the North West.  

 

Sometimes we don't think too deeply about names.. but they usually have some basis in reality.  Jarve's 'Southglade Farm'.. was very definitely in a glade.

Back then it was an almost hidden little glade.  A hollow surrounded on all sides by hills. Mostly gentle, but hills nonetheless.  I imagine it would all be woodland ar heathland before it was farmed.  Another feature. or maybe lack of.. was that there was no water supply.  No springs or stream.  I wonder if Southglade farm had piped water back in the early 1900s. before it was surrounded by new housing?  If not. did it have a well?  There was plenty of good water down in the Bunter Sandstone, but I don't know how deep you'd have to dig to find it.  It's a question which would apply to the whole area north of Nottingham. The Leen and the Day Brook are the only water sources I know.  There was the sandstone spring at the Bull Well, but that was very close to the Leen anyway..

So Southglade was definitely a glade.. but what was it south of?

 

And of course it wasn't really always Summer.  I have some good Winter and Autumn memories for another time.

 

Col

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9 hours ago, DJ360 said:

So Southglade was definitely a glade.. but what was it south of?

 

The only thing it was south of was Topvalley Farm (note the spelling).  Three farms in that area - the other being Forest Farm - and the names have survived into the present day.  The only access to Southglade Farm was a track from Hucknall Road - the main road up the middle.

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Indeed Cliff.  Topvalley Farm was the one we used to run past on our High Pavement cross country runs.  We were supposed to go along the path slightly to the north, but many of the lads ran straight through the farmyard.  I woulddn't risk that.  Too much chance of getting a dog on your heels!

The path from Hucknall Road to Topvalley ( Top Valley) Farm was known to us as Lover's Lane and I think I've mentioned before how there was a big Oak tree just where the path forked, to go either through the farm, or past and above it on the left. Sitting under that tree was a lovely spot for a picnic  The track from Hucknall Rd to Southglade Farm which you mention became Southglade Road.

i'd be interested to know the date of that map Kev.  I'm putting it before about 1895, as there is no sign of the Leen Valley Railway line to the right (east) of Hucknall Road, no Rigley's Wagon Works, no Great Central Line to the left /(west) of Bulwell 'Forest' and no Golf Course.

I have a map of the original Bestwood Estate. That is the hunting estate based around Bestwood Lodge.. not the current council estate. Southglade Farm was towards southern end of the estate and was one of a total of about a dozen farms stretching out to Redhill and Papplewick.

I'll try to scan and post it later.  In total it lists 12 or 13 farms on the estate, many of them with names referencing their postion. 

 

Col

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