INDEX 1745  GLOBAL MURALS  PRESTONPANS  ARTS FESTIVAL  GOTHENBURG FOWLERS..


Home

Origins & History

Heritage & Museum

Clan Court & Household

University Press

Regalia

Golfing Delights

Appointments

Court Records

Picture Gallery

Manor of Milton Malsor
Oceana
East Lodge Prestonpans
Laird of Glencairn

Barga
Shop Online

News & Email

Search
Site News

30

like an Anderson shelter, with a blazing fire in one corner to heat the tea flasks and low benches built round the wails raised off the earthen floor. It was there they took their piece, in relays so as not to stop the tables, and it was here his early adult education began. He would sit quietly while the older men talked of their days in the pit, using words like cleeks, and benches, snibbles and rope runners, dooks and slushers that brought strange visions into his head, waiting for the day he could be a part of this brotherhood, this closed shop of unique men. At other times, usually on Mondays, the talk would be of the weekend exploits of the younger men of how many pints were drunk, or how much had been won at the "Dugs", or the unrepeatable excesses that had been forced on the body of fat Mary, the town bike.
A few months later he was off to the training centre, over a hundred of them from all over the coalfield, the replacement for the wartime Bevan boys, eager to get through their underground training and become "real miners". The training centre was at Lingerwood Colliery alongside the famous Lady Victoria. It was there he went underground for the first time to the training gallery to learn what the old men called "pit sense" how to use your ears to listen for the movements of the strata and the creak of supports to respect the moving machinery used to cut and transport the coal out of the pit and men and supplies into it to never turn your back on the coal and remember you were fighting nature all the time. He soaked it all up like a dried-up sponge eager to progress from each stage of the training to the next. But it was at the College, Esk Valley it was called, that he really excelled. The course included one day a week at College in the nissen huts of the old Newtongrange Miners Hostel where they went back to school to cover some of the "theory" of the job. Most of his fellow trainees heartily disliked this one day at the College, comparing it to being back at school, but he had been different. The complexities of Ohm's Law or the power transmitted by a belt drive held no terrors for him, for the first time he found meaning in mathematics through its application's to mining problems. How to work out the breaking stress of a pit prop or the power required to hoist a load of coal hutches up a 1 in 4 incline were real problems, their solution Only possible through mathematics. His social development took further strides through his contacts with fellow trainees from the surrounding mining villages. He learned that "Kitten" men were different from those from Roslin where they worked the "stye" coals, that the Dean Tavern was owned by the Lady men and that it was whispered that "they still ate their young" in Arniston. All too soon the 3 months basic training was finished and he was sent back to the "Links" pit to work. Due to his keenness he was picked
Back to top