An interesting enquiry has been sent in by Philip Cooper, and this one has me puzzled – in mining culture and history, mounted (and often polished) pieces of coal as mementoes and memorials are quite common – but there’s a very curious aspect to this I’m hoping some of the more knowledgable contributors here can help with.
I was introduced to your blog by a relative who lives in Brownhills and as it seems to be a followed by knowledgeable crowd, I wondered whether someone may be able to throw some light on a mystery?
When my mother a life long resident of the Wood, died some ten years ago aged 89 she left behind (amongst other things) a small cardboard box about 4 inches x 4 inches x 2 inches in which was a piece of coal together with a note written in ink in copperplate writing saying as follows :-
‘Taken from Leigh’s Wood pit on the night of Tuesday the 9th September 1924’
Now my mother would be 6 at the time so I doubt that it had anything to do with her directly, but my limited research into Leigh’s Wood colliery failed to find any useful information. Was there anything significant happening on this date?
If anyone can throw any light on this I would be grateful to know.
Thanks to Paul for a lovely and interesting question.
Obviously, I welcome all views on this as ever, but one aspect of this is really bothering me. I thought Leighswood Colliery had closed by 1924?
It says at the History of Aldridge Site here:
Until the 1930s, coal mining was an important industry in the area, although it did have its ups and downs. By 1881 Leighswood Colliery had closed, putting a lot of people out of work, and resulting in about thirty cottages at Leighswood being left empty. There had been unrest at the colliery for some time, and many withheld their labour when they thought they would be working for a contractor rather than the colliery company, because a previous contractor had failed to pay their wages in full.
So, this begs the question did the mine reopen, or was there more than one? Is there any reason why the pit may have been re-asessed for coal, and this may have been a first piece of coal?
I know the Aldridge History text has proven controversial here before and look forward to Peter Cutler’s response particularly.
Please, if you can help, do. Comment here or mail me: BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com