About: 1980s Silverwood Colliery Promotional Film
My Grandfather was a Pit Deputy at Silverwood.
I would sign up anyway I love coal (hence channel contends)
This film was made post the Miner's strike, probably late 80's . I (Eamonn O'Neill) was a Technical Assistant initially initially (ie a Uni Graduate trainee manager) , and was made acting Undermanager as Ron Turner, Undermanager was long term sick. You may not remember my name , but I had a distinctive red and yellow Ford Capri !!
My main task was to install a new Longwall with transfer of 'new generation chocks'. Then came the Miners strike.
Mr Law ( Derek?) was the Pit manager, A Deakin the Area manager, we as manager trainees were charged to keep the mine open until the end of the strike . So we were put on shifts in the 'Power House' 2 x 3 per day , we also went down the mine to start pumps and keep it from flooding. Would go down by winders 'amateurs' and walking in 2-3 miles , crawling through the Faces and getting out alone. It was scary but we did it for the sake of the mine and miners . Imagine going through a face to half way, hearing the creaks and groans, seeing it flooded , 18inches of clearance, your belt and battery taken off to escape, knowing noone within 3 miles to help you. Back up, pray, Back up and pray
On the surface the strike was like a bit of a holiday at first ,we had good relations with our colleagues on the picket line, they understood we were keeping the mine operational. On night shifts we would walk up, meet the pickers and help them to fill their bags. We would borrow packed meals for the Police and give them to pickets, indeed the SY police would help us .
Then months in it started to change , Maggie and Arthur got serious. We got flying pickets from Barnsley and Army troops disguised as Police ( No numbers and they marched too well) , after that was Orgrieve ..Everything changed , Mood, stakes.
I was on duty (12-8am ) when the SY Police came in with the first scab. He was a minor coal processing plant worker, told me he had been offered a package.
Well strike over, return to work . It was never the same. All knew impending doom and retaliation coming . I left for the Oilfield
Years later I met Maggie's right hand security manager, understood much and games played.
If ever there was a confrontation and each party cut off its own nose to spite its face, this Miners strike was one. I don't know all but I know much from the coalface and a prime example where politics was put ahead of national interest.
Tony Lawson (TL) was manager there from 1990 to 1994 his name was on the colliery sign featured in the film. Pete Dawson and Bill Cook were undermanagers and Terry Bow deputy manager can be seen on the film. I was appointed deputy manager there in late 1991 when Pete Dawson had already left to work at Bently colliery. This makes the film date either 1990 or early 1991.
Regards Andy Devey
used to live near silverwood pit, used to see big wheels on the way to to woods
Silverwood made money, trust me, I was in a position at the mine to know this fact. The only reason it closed was to give the Park Gate reserves, which had just been opened, to Maltby Colliery. Both mines without these didn't have a future beyond a few years. Silverwood was sacrificed for Maltby Colliery, which was subsequently included in the privatisation package sold to RJB Mining LTD. It was also a very last minute decision, hence why the mine was the last to close before privatisation. It closed officially on the 31st December 1994 on the last day British coal existed.
It makes me very sad and annoyed when i see anyone passing comments about the profitability of the mining industry because most of the mines were profitable, RJB mining made over 900 million in its first year after privatisation, testimony to what was really achievable. British Coal was a very large organisation that just needed rationalising, it owned land (lots of land), training centres, houses, office blocks even hotels, all of which had nothing to do with coal mining. The mines were the least of their problems and most could have been operated without any subsidy. What they needed was a small amount of investment and reorganisation. This would have been far cheaper option and better for the country than to put nearly 225,000 employees on the dole, which is what happend over the closure period during the late 80's early 90's. That figure is very conservative because it doesn't take account of all the support industries it effected. Yes closing mines just didn't effect miner's, countless people lost their jobs due to pit closures. Rotherham for instance during the closure period had over 10 million pounds per year taken out of its economy due to redundancies and job losses, leading to more local businesses closing and more hardship and pain, so Mr Salladsdressing before you pass comment on anything related to the mining industry just remember Mrs Thatcher didn't care about anything other than revenge because if she was as brilliant as you think, maybe she would have done things differently, especially when you know the real economic facts.
I don't know whether to laugh or cry
However I have just posted a vid dedicated to miners that died and got injured, in many ways it is the antithisis of the above promo film. I would be grateful for your feedback, thank youAlex Hodgson "Blantyre" A Scottish Mining Disaster
I worked at Silverwood for 15 years, my dad did 36 years and my grandad 51 years.
fantasic people and place to work, when the lights go out in the UK just think of the great resource the tory's (Maggie Thatcher ) shutdown.
That's my grandad! At 3:59 the deputy giving orders, ha! Wish he was alive to see it!
Not surprisingly, coal miners still have to fight daily for a safe & healthy workplace.To hear how miners who make safety complaints today are treated by non-union coal operators, check out Raymond Crooke's song "Big Coal Don't Like This Man At All" on YouTube. It tells the true story of KY coal miner Charles Scott Howard, who stood up for safety at a mine operated by Arch and was fired as a result. He filed a whistleblower case, won his job back, and is working in the mines again!
..'its not a Good Sign for a Company if you need Government Money to stay alive'..................NOT UNLESS YOU'RE A BANK, OF COURSE........
"The coal industry, nationalized in 1947, was losing money at a horrendous rate; the government subsidy had risen to $1.3 billion a year."
Quotation is from Commaning Heights PBS documentary about the British coal industry.
It is also mentioned in more detail in the book: The Thatcher Revolution.
They were so inefficient that other Brits payed taxes to keep these companies alive.
So she reorganized the British economy on a scale never seen before so it could be more efficient.
Because they needed 1,3 billion pounds a year to pay their bills.....That's not a good sign for a company if you need government money to stay alive :P
I just wished Thatcher had handled the banking crises as well so the banks would have been closed down that weren't efficient.
Despite valiant efforts this colliery closed,like all the others.The site,as with the majority of industrial sites be they mines,mills,factories etc,was completely erased.Done to remove all evidence of our murdered industries.Nothing advertises a fucked economy more than millions of derelict mines,mill,factories,foundries.Cities that had industrial centres now look like bomb sites,mountains of rubble where industry once was.The labour taxing of empty commercial properties sped this process up.
My Dad worked at Silverwood for years on the coal cutting machines until he retired when the pit shut down. Funny really that I live on the new Woodlaithes estate nearby. The area looks completely different now. Love these types of videos. Ta
The British governments subsidies of the coal industry had risen to an alarming $1.3 billion a year by 1982. It did this because if the plants and pits all over Britain was on the whole...let me repeat that because this doesn't usually sink in... ON THE WHOLE inefficient and outdated.
So, the plants that weren't inefficient made it just fine without the governments money and nowdays you are buying energy from other countries at a much cheaper price for your country.
Being a dirty job is never an excuse to close an entire industry. Nor is it being dangerous for that matter.
As for costing us millions in losses - Silverwood was the most profitable and productive colliery in Europe. It broke it's own production records two years on the trot before it was closed in 1994.
In fact the government had ploughed millions of pounds worth of expenditure into developing a new coalface which it then stopped with no warning before it announced the closure of the pit.
even if they open em up again, it'll take a generation to set up, just isnt practical any more. The pits cost us all millions in losses and people are still suffering from the effects back in the 80's. A dirty dangerous job. As we found out at Lofthouse many years ago.