Because East Hetton Colliery, the pit, was one mile from Kelloe, we were not really in touch with it. We saw the miners, and there were many, go to work with picks and their cans and bait tins with water and food to be eaten down the pit or at bank. Many men took bread and jam sandwiches. We heard the buzzers blow four times a day because there were four shifts. One started at 3.00 a.m. for coal workers and we heard the 'knocker' at the right doors. There was a slate with a time on these doors. The blacksmiths, mechanics, etc., who worked above the mine went work at 6.00 a.m. They were knocked up at 5.30 a.m.The man who did the knocking up was a caller'.
I know three kinds of col, nuts and roundies. Every miner with a house got free coal. We bought ours and good coal it was. 'I'he roundies were for the sitting room fireplace. Miners often sold their coal to folk like us. Isaac Pratt lead the coal as long as I could remember. The coal went from the pit to Coxhoe Bridge Station, about 2 miles. Many of the officials lived in rather nice houses near the pit and if I went there with my parents to visit friends we walked 'up the line'. I learned my 3 and 9 times table by adding up the numbers on each coal truck us they went past. We always had a Canon at Kelloe Church and he had a good salary because the coal went past Church land and so the Church was well paid for the privilege.
Bricks were made at the pit and many were used on the houses belonging to Sir Walter Scott who owned East Hetton and Trimdon Grange collieries. Lime seemed to be used to put the bricks together. There was always lime about somewhere. It was the plaster for everything. I)urham Big Meeting was a great event then. They marched past our street, Green Street, about 7.00 a.m. because they all had to go to Quarrirrgton Hill too and then walk to Durham for the meetings.
Between the wars when coal became nationalised down came the whole of the village and up went a council house village at the other side of the hill. Those in their own houses had to go to council houses too and in these they got bathrooms and toilets that we never had. We used big dishes and a miner washed at home every day. Looking back, it was the supply of water and electricity that were great events in our lives. My father was also clerk to the parish council and was much involved in all this modernisation'. Both parents died in the old pit village so I never got to a new council house.
It was indeed a pit village for there were few families who did not have men working there.
1) Tunstalls, father, policeman - 3 girls and 1 son and all became teachers.
2) The Public house families - 6.
3) The business families-- 4.
Aunt Emily Kirkpatrick's husband was John and he was headmaster of the school and their only child Billy became doctor. Of our family ,two trained at the pit, Jim who went to Newcastle to work at Armstrong's during the Great War and Stanley went off to play football while Tom and I became teachers. Another Kirkpatrick family, related, had teachers too. So my childhood was in a pit village that had no class distinction.
February 1986. I have lived through years of much change. Cars and aeroplanes are the mode of travel. The Americans have sent men to the moon. Secondary education is for all. Operations for new hearts and kidneys are common. Penicillin made all kinds of drugs possible. There have been two wars and in the second war “the bomb" was used and is here to stay. Radio and television almost rule our lives, re-entertainment. There many satallites and astronauts in the heavens. A great period.
Isabella Alice Embleton (nee Seymour).