Waleswood Terrace

Memories of Waleswood Terrace by Maddy Leach.

There were 48 terraced colliery houses in The Row. The houses had outside toilets which had a bin under wooden seats, the toilet paper was old newpapers cut into squares and hung on the toilet door. There was also a wash house where the washing was done using a mangle with wooden rollers, dolly legs, rubbing board and posher. It was veery hard work and took nearly all day to complete the washing. There was a copper fed by a coal fire which was used to boil the white clothes in.

Everyone had poultry and gardens, so more or less the people were self suffiecient. The children had to walk to Wales School and to Wales Church. They had a mission room (further up the road) where Sunday Schools were held, and pantomimes produced. Across the road were the allotments where the miners grew their own produce, they also had sheds for pigs and poultry. Wives used to cut up old suits and coats to peg rugs on empty sugar bags to cover the lino floors. Gym slips for girls were made from their fathers trousers and the cuttings cut into strips were also used for making the rugs, using a wooden "peg" with a sharp point

After their shift the miners used to come home in their working clothes all covered with coal dust, their bodies all black. The wives prepared a tin bath in front of the fire, filled with water which was fetched from the winding house as there was no hot water other than two small boilers at the side of the fireplace. The children used to paddle in a small stream which ran from the colliery. there were two reservoirs where people used to swim. One boy, Vernon Bullivent was drowned there.

The colliery had two winding shafts and ponies were used to pull the tubs of coal. later one was dismantled.

The coke ovens were there too, with the large frame holding redhot cinders, which were released after the tar was burnt off. The children were taken down to inhale the vapours when they had coughs etc. It was a very hard life.

Every night at 7pm people listened for the blower (siren), if it was heard there was no work the next day, this would happen 2 or 3 times a week. During the the main holidays, men used to check the winding gear, ropes and cages (not sure how), they must have had to get outside the cage because several men fell and were badly injured or killed by falling down the shaft into the sump. The difference in the practice nowadays are safety harnesses and gates on top of the cages.

Mrs M Gibson