You could be forgiven for thinking that I haven’t been merrily photographing away for my Blackhall Project, having not done any blogging for two months now. But I have been out and about, not as much as I would have liked, but I’ve been there in Blackhall taking photos, talking to the lovely folk that live there.
My last foray was a couple of weeks ago. Two of the lovely residents of Blackhall, father and son, took me on a walk around the site of the pit, showing me where everything used to be and telling me tales of life down the pit. I loved every minutes of it and saw parts of Blackhall that I didn’t know existed. This photo shows where one of the shafts once was that took the men down into the black. Going down there for the first time must have been very scary, especially to the young lads that had just left school at an early age.
Of course my father and his family were spoken of too. its nice to be able to talk to people that knew them as I know so little myself about their life in Blackhall. My Grandad apparently had some involvement with the NUM, although I’m not sure what yet, but I will find out. I also, through my dads war papers, that my Grandad was a stoneman, which I think was someone who prepared the area ie. blasted it to make a way through. I’ve still yet to find out exactly what my dad did although I have been told he was actually a developer which might mean that he too prepared the area ready for the miners to go and pick the coal. This is all new to me so I’m still learning about the life of a pitman. Oh and I found the exact address that my father lived at, 127 Middle Street. I’m not sure how many bedrooms the house had but there would be 2 adults and 8 children living there. Quite a squeeze I think.
I’ve had a few more forays walking around the streets. Its always lovely to see people out and about. I got to see the lovely Dot again who was happy to pose for a photo.
I also took some photos of the children playing in the streets. Go back 90 years and this could have been my dad and his siblings. Although I’m not sure they would have had bikes, that might have been a luxury or they might have had one that everyone shared. I might not have said it before but they were a poor family. That’s probably one of the reasons that my dad left school and went to work at the pit, rather then heading off to grammar school.
So more digging to do, more research on finding out about pit life and hopefully finding out what my dad actually did. I’m still going through all my mams old photos to find clues about life in the old days.