Down the mine - first impressions
Nottinghamshire miners recall the very first time they went underground.
Although there are few pits left in Nottinghamshire just a couple of decades ago they were still one of the main sources of employment in the county.
For many it was a case of leave school one day, head down the pit the next.
Memories of a Nottinghamshire Coalfield is a book by David Bell that, among other things, asks miners what it was like going underground for the first time.
Author David Bell says the memories that stayed with miners weren't so much the darkness or the enclosed atmosphere of the mine but the journey down there.
Clipstone colliery by Jon Rouston
"If the engine winders knew they had somebody going down on their first trip they sent the cage down a little faster to acclimatise them."
It's an account backed by Walter Green from Kirkby-in-Ashfield. His first colliery experience came at the age of 14.
"My first day down the mine was February 1935. I went down with my dad the first day and they took you down a bit faster.
"But I stayed at Bentinck pit 46 years. I took voluntary early retirement in 1981. By then I was training officer at the colliery."
A scary experience
Mick from Clifton worked at Clifton colliery in Nottingham.
"I was terrified," he says.
"When they put you in that cage and it went dark, oh dear. I was 16. This was back in 57/58 and they still had ponies down there."
last updated: 14/10/2008 at 14:33
Have Your Say
Do you remember you first time down the pit?
Sue Rogers(nee Brown) ex coal queen