Tees

Ferryhill 'knocky-up boards' saved from ex-miners' homes

Ferryhill knocky up board Image copyright Bernicia
Image caption The slates have remained a feature of some houses

Chalkboards outside former miners' homes which showed what time they wanted waking for their shifts will be saved when the houses are bulldozed.

The "knocky-up boards" - or "wake-up slates" - still sit on homes in County Durham's Ferryhill area.

Housing association Bernicia will demolish 33 homes in Dean Park as part of £1m plans to revamp the area.

Three of the boards, set into brickwork at the front of houses, will go to the town council and Durham Mining Museum.

When miners still lived in the homes, a colliery-employed "knocky-up man" would walk the streets and knock on the doors at the time on the slates to ensure they got to work on time.

The last mine in the area closed in 1968, but the slates have remained a character of the houses.

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Media captionA knocker upper at work in Bradford

Gemma Alderson, housing manager at Bernicia, said: "While we're delighted to be pressing ahead with our long-held ambition to revamp this part of Ferryhill, we recognise that the streets of derelict, boarded up houses were once home to a vibrant mining community.

"As well as being part of revitalising the area, it's great to be able to contribute to preserving the town's heritage by giving the boards a new home."

Ferryhill Town Council mayor, Joe Makepeace added: "Knocky-up boards are very much a part of the character of the old miners' houses and sadly there's very few of them around now.

"We're very proud of Ferryhill's mining history and we are very grateful to have the opportunity to keep their story alive."

Site preparation for the demolition is due to start later this month and the works will continue until February next year.

Once completed, the land will be transformed into a park.

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