Taking up the slack

Last March I posted an article featuring an image of the demonstration event for the ill-fated Merrie England project which reader Steve Hames had scanned from the book ‘Images of England – Cannock Chase’ by Sherry Belcher and Mary Mills. Interested in any book that would feature such an obscure photo, I purchased the publication from Amazon soon afterward. The book has been hibernating for a while on my shelf, and looking for something different for this week’s pictures from the past feature, I  discovered that it’s actually a great book with some fantastic pictures. I’m dipping into the mining section this week, to bring you a selection from Cannock collieries. These really are unusual and I hope that they jog a few readers memories – I’d certainly invite comment from anyone remembering or identifying anyone depicted.

As always, please support the authors by buying a copy of their book – you’ve no excuse this time as the book is still in stock at Amazon (link above)…

This photograph is stunning. Study it, and the detail becomes clear, like the rail wagons and machine houses. Image taken from 'Images of England - Cannock Chase' by Sherry Belcher and Mary Mills.

Someone must know this lad, and what happened to the 'oss? Did he go to a sanctuary, or live out his days in comfort somewhere more modest? I hope so. Image taken from 'Images of England - Cannock Chase' by Sherry Belcher and Mary Mills.

I would guess, from the outfits, that this was 1920's, but I could be wrong. They look like hard blokes who wouldn't take any crap. Like the Davey lamps. Image taken from 'Images of England - Cannock Chase' by Sherry Belcher and Mary Mills.

This is a fascinating image, best viewed as large as possible. The mine may have gone, but many features remain.Image taken from 'Images of England - Cannock Chase' by Sherry Belcher and Mary Mills.

I'mi interested in this image because it looks very staged. Surely coal wasn't still sorted manually in 1973? If not, what's this all about? Image taken from 'Images of England - Cannock Chase' by Sherry Belcher and Mary Mills.

What did these immaculately turned out, serious looking chaps do? Image taken from 'Images of England - Cannock Chase' by Sherry Belcher and Mary Mills.

This image doesn't seem to be very old looking at the dress of some of the younger guys. Anyone know when it was taken and why? Image taken from 'Images of England - Cannock Chase' by Sherry Belcher and Mary Mills.

1981, A world record. Less than a decade and a half later, the pit was closed. Image taken from 'Images of England - Cannock Chase' by Sherry Belcher and Mary Mills.

I note that carriages of this type are preserved in the narrow guage section of Chaswater Railway. Image taken from 'Images of England - Cannock Chase' by Sherry Belcher and Mary Mills.

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4 Responses to Taking up the slack

  1. Gary Sheldon says:

    The young lad with Jet the retired pit pony is Ian Bamford he still lives in the village as does his mom and dad and auntie

  2. Steven Mayes says:

    In the last photo ‘miners travelling to the coal face’ the gentleman on the left of the carriage closest to shot is my grandfather George jones.really nice to see this photo online, as the same photo is still hanging up at my grandmothers house!!

  3. Laurence Morris says:

    Brings back the memories, Bob. I left West Cannock just before it closed, and I’ve eventually wound up in California. I could have been in that manhaul shown in the last photo. I was in my 20s at the time and the journey was at least 30 minutes to the face – enough time to get a bit of sleep after a night in pub. Cannock born and bred, so I’ll certainly keep in touch with your excellent website.

  4. Tony Johnson says:

    The picture you asked when it was take?. It was taken in 1981. The men are part of the team that broke the tunnelling record as in you picture below.
    The missing names are:
    3 from left back row Fred Jones??? I think.
    5 from left back row Norman “Tiger Frisby”
    I on the left front row Dave Greenaway
    3 from the left front row Ron Hadley

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