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Mining Memories – By Roy Lambeth

I got to know Stephen Dent when I moved from my Primary School to Whinney Hill Secondary Modern School in Durham in September 1959.
During our trainspotting adventures, we regularly saw the Brandon Pit House Colliery steam loco pushing empty wagons up to the colliery.  One day at Easter 1960 we decided we would go to Pit House and ask if we could photograph the engine.
We caught the bus that came down Whitehouse Lane going to New Brancepeth.  The big destination ‘via’ screen on the bus had us confused as it went to places we had never heard of (and which we could not find on the map).  These were Aldin Grange, Auton Stile & Alum Waters.
We caught the bus up to New Brancepeth and walked up to Brandon Pit House Colliery.  When we got there we found that the steam engine had been replaced by a big ugly diesel (see my (PHOTO) on the Ushaw Moor Gallery Site).  The safety Office decided that we should be given a conducted tour of the site.  This to our amazement (I was just 11 years old), included an underground visit!  Seeing what the miners had to do put me off mining as an occupation.
At the end of the visit, Stephen walked home to Ushaw Moor, but I was offered a ride on the diesel down to Brandon, where I could catch a bus to Durham.
A few days later we went to Ushaw Moor Colliery and asked to look round.  This was freely given and we had another underground tour.  Ushaw Moor Colliery was much older than Brandon Pit House, and going down the shaft we could see all the brickwork.  They lowered us slowly so that our guide could explain what everything was for.  It was then that they told us Ushaw Moor Colliery was due to close in August 1960.
On the day of the 1960 Durham Miners Gala, I caught an early bus out to Ushaw Moor, photographed the Ushaw Moor Banner being paraded down to the railway Station for the last time and traveled in to the Durham Miners Gala on the special train from Ushaw Moor Station (SEE PHOTO).
Happy Days
Posted on Behalf of Roy Lambeth

Memories of School Friends by Roy Lambeth

July 7, 2012 1 comment

I lived in Durham, but my best school pal Stephen Dent lived at 22 Whitehouse Lane in Ushaw Moor.

We were both railway enthusiasts and were accepted by the various railway men we came across in our travels. We used to spend hours at Ushaw Moor Station with the porter there Jack Railton or sometimes he would take us over the wooden viaduct and leave us with Jack Hammill the New Brancepeth Signalman.

On other occasions we would meet at Relly Bridge for a days trainspotting which would take us into Deerness Valley Junction Signal Box and Bridge House Signal Box(at the end of Langley Moor Viaduct.

We also knew the residents in the railway houses between the bishop Auckland line and the Ushaw Moor line, where we would often be asked if we would like drinks and sometimes food.

On other occasions we would cycle to Tow Law, Stanhope, Lanchester and Crook, watching and learning about railways and their operations. Stephen was a relation of The Tallentyre-Dent Bakery shop in Ushaw Moor.

Happy days.

Posted on Behalf of Roy Lambeth roylambeth@dmm.org.uk