Jim Wilson
a Coal Miner at the
Washington Glebe Pit

"He put his time in very canny"
The Glebe Colliery
Tyne Wear
When I was Young

I was born at Hostle Estate, affectionately known as “The Squatters”, which was the
old army camp just up from Usworth Station opposite the Kings picture house.     
I have two brothers, Alex and Bobby. Alex married Dorothy Guy who lived in The
Gables. My other brother, Bobby, married Delia Scorer who lived at Fatfield Road.  I
married Sonia Astley from up St Andrew’s Avenue, up by Wellbank Road.

I went to the Usworth Colliery Infants and Juniors, and after that I went to the
Senior School
where I thought the education I received was poor. For the first two
years I was in the G. C. E. class. I was a good scholar when I was in the Usworth
Juniors but when I went to the Glebe I couldn't settle in. It was a totally different
regime to me and the teachers were hostile and aloof. Basically I think they took their
frustrations out on us, me especially or so it seemed.
Glebe School Seniors: Form 1 1963
Jim Wilson is 4th from the right in the back row
I remember being in Surrey in the early sixties and they just couldn't understand me,
how I spoke. I think they were being a little snobbish and they definitely looked
down on me. I must have seemed as alien to them as any other foreigner. Their way
of life certainly seemed alien to me. I mean they had cars and phones, and the
women rode bikes. We had clippy mats upstairs by the side of the bed on top of the
canvas, and not a fitted carpet in sight … never mind a car!

All the education I ever had was due Usworth Colliery Infants and Juniors and the
pit. The four years I spent at the Glebe school I look back on with dread. I took
advantage of the chances given to me by the pit and got a T.E.C. and a H.N.C. in
coal mining. It’s not much good now but I’ve still got it.

I moan on about my education, or rather the lack of it, at the Glebe School. I must
sound like Marlon Brando's character in On the Waterfront: "I could have been
somebody if I could've been a contender". Perhaps my life could have taken a
different path, but I doubt if I could have been any happier.

When I was young I didn't have any expectations, nor did my parents have any for
me. I don’t blame them for that, they were like most parents from round here. I just
let life take me where it wanted to go, and I think it chose the right route. Here I am
retired and enjoying life. I've known too many men who have died not long after
retirement so they never enjoyed the good years.

Time for a tab and a cup of tea.

Memories of the Glebe Colliery

I started work at the Glebe Colliery in 1967 when I was 15. I am now 52.
My token number at the Glebe was 245.

When I first started at the Glebe my pay was £6 9s 6d and I had £ 5 10s to draw.
I used to answer to three names: the ones who knew my grandad would
call me Dick, the ones who knew my dad would call me Alec,
and my own age would obviously call me Jim.
The entrance to the Glebe Pit
I first worked on the Screens at Bank and when I was sixteen I was at the shaft
bottom. I was 18 when I went on the faces, in the 2ft 3ins high Hutton seam.
When you’re young you just accept things. It was a job I enjoyed and I wouldn’t
change things. I couldn’t do it now though.
Working on the Screens at Bank
Everything I’ve got is because of the pit. I finished work in 1994 when
Wearmouth closed. The only thing I miss is the people and I haven’t heard a
good joke for 10 years. There were no other people like the pitmen.

“Am gannin te bed noo an al write the morn.”

Memories of the Glebe Colliery 1967 to1972

Before I left school at the Glebe Seniors I hadn't really thought of what I would
do, then on my way home from school one day I knocked on the door of the
Training Officer and asked about a job.  That was three weeks before I left school
at Easter in1967 and on 10th April 1967 I started at the Glebe Pit.

I had to report to
Dame Margaret’s Hall for one weeks surface training, so off I
went with my towel rolled up under my arm with my pit clothes in. When I got
there I couldn't see anyone knocking about, but I finally found someone to ask
where I had to go. He ushered me through this door and there must have been at
least 200 young lads starting the pit just like myself. They'd come from all over
Durham and I thought that I'd be starting on my own!
Dame Margaret's Hall
Photo courtesy of Audrey Fletcher
The next week I started on the screens picking the stones out of the coal.
Normally this job was for youngsters like myself or for those who were on light
work, having been injured and had come to bank (the surface). I can also
remember working with men who were nearly retired and thinking they must have
started work during the First World War, and when I retire would some young kid
look at me the same way. Some of them could hardly breathe, but I didn't realise it
was coaldust that had done this to their lungs. I just accepted that if you were a
miner you had a bad chest. How stupid can you get. Although I think on the whole
our generation thought like that; we still had a bit of the First World War mentality.

Underground Training

The first time I went down the pit was at Usworth Colliery in September 1967,
when I was doing my 13 weeks underground training. Apprentices did 6 weeks at
Usworth and 7 weeks at Dame Margaret’s Home.
Audrey, I think I remember
your dad, Joe Hall, who was an Instructor at Dame Margaret’s.
Joe Hall, Apprentice Instructor
at Dame Margaret's Hall
Photos courtesy of Audrey Fletcher,
daughter of Joe Hall.
Looking back I can honestly say that the training didn't hold any surprises for me
because I hadn't any preconceived ideas of what it was going to be like. Perhaps I
was preconditioned to it subconsciously because I came from a mining family
stretching way back. I've always looked on myself as one of the lucky ones
because I actually enjoyed working at the pit.

In the Training Gallery the training was pretty basic and I learned more working
with the older men later on when I went back to my own pit.

What sticks in my mind was being shown how to work with the pit ponies. The
one we had at Usworth was called Charlie, he was 28 years old, and at that time
he knew more about pitwork than we did.
Working with a Pit Pony
We went on a visit to the “Washington F” pit to the Victoria seam which was
only 18 inches high. Now that was an eye-opener. It was a coal hewing face
down which all the politicians should have been put for a shift.
I wonder how they would have managed?
The Washington "F" Pit
At the end of the 13 weeks I had a certificate to say I could work underground
so the next stop was to be let loose at the Glebe.

At the Shaft Bottom

On the 28th December 1967 at 2:15pm “ah was abed” as Bobby Thompson would
have said, but instead it was my first shift down the Glebe pit. Getting into the cage
was an experience. It had 2 decks: the top deck held 10/12 men and the bottom
deck which was only tub height held 8/10 men. We had to sit on our hunkers. What
a difference in later years when I worked at Wearmouth Colliery where the cage
had three decks each of 50 men.

When all were in ready to go down, the cage lifted up off the keps, the banksman
pulled the keps in and we were away. A rush of air hit us as we passed the hole and
into the darkness. It was a smooth ride, just the sound of the cage knocking against
the wooden skeeting as it guided it down the shaft, accelerating away, passing the
other cage with men in on their way to bank. Sometimes we could hear them
talking, lucky so and so’s. As we neared the shaft bottom the cage would slow
down and we'd land inch perfect. Binns’ lift couldn't have done it better!

I was surprised how clean and well lit it was. My first job was when the
supposedly empty tubs came out of the cage, if they any had timber, girders etc. in,
I would send them into the dish to dreg them up. The set lads would make them up
into sets and take them inbye. The rest I'd send up the creeper to the loader to be
filled with coal, where they would be sent back to the cage to go to bank.
Loading coal into tubs
It was freezing cold especially in the winter, all that cold air coming down the shaft to
go inbye to ventilate the workings. At bait time I’d go into the hauler house and get
behind the water tank, which was red hot, to get warm. It was heaven but the cold
was ten times worse when you had to back outside especially in the 6.30 am shift.

Sometimes when we were waiting on for coal I’d explore the old workings round the
shaft. I'd go through the doors to the
upcast shaft and along the "Burma Road" where
the air was warm, dusty and foisty having travelled round the pit. I can smell it now.
The upcast shaft at the Glebe Pit
One day I was at the loader and was told, “Don’t fill this tub.” I was curious so I
looked in the tub. Inside was a pit pony that had been killed inbye. It had been put into
the tub to bring it out. What a pitiful sight it was, all bent up to get it into the tub. I
remember that as much as anything else. What a waste, it didn't deserve an end like
that. It should have been galloping round the fields enjoying life.

The stables were at the shaft bottom and the ponies were treated really well. In the first
stall was Clip, whose party piece was to suck a black bullet. He would slurp away on it.
Another one was called Alfie. We’d ask him to count and he would paw the ground.
The stables were at the shaft bottom
Brian Ferry's dad was the horse-keeper. I can still see him yet cutting the men’s hair with
the same shears he used to cut the horses hair with. As it was the sixties and I had long
hair he used to say, “Come in. I'll give you a short back and sides!” His Uncle Fred was
also a horse keeper in the other shift.

The men looked after the ponies well, often taking them titbits in. When they were brought
to the surface in the summer holidays they must have thought they'd been let out of jail.

The stables’ cat was there for the mice. We had no rats. In the drift mines in the west of
Durham they would have rats rabbits because it was an easy access for them.
Bryan Ferry's dad was the horse keeper
Photo courtesy of Audrey Fletcher
Working Inbye

After spending about a year at the shaft bottom I went inbye to work. Thank god to
get away from that freezing shaft bottom. The jobs varied from cleaning up spillage, to
manning a transfer point, which was where the coal was loaded from one belt to
another. Now that was a boring job. The job I liked best was timber leading;
taking the timber up the "gates" to the face. Some gates had a rope haulage system
installed but in others we used a pony and tram. We’d load the tram up and the pony
would pull it in. Sometimes we’d fly in, but more often than not
the pony would do
it at his own pace, I think to show who was really the master! The ponies always
knew when it was time to go outbye, then they would shift.
A pit pony would often go at its own pace
It was one of the times we were going outbye that I’ll always remember. The pony
we had was called Hawk and we used to ride them out bare back. We’d get
wrong if we were caught.

As I was travelling out one of the lads asked me to take his pony as well because it
was too small to ride. So off I galloped holding onto his pony by a rope, but halfway
out the rope slipped from my fingers. I stopped, got off my pony and went back for
the little one. I was just about to get back on Hawk when he galloped off. I was in a
panic. He could go anywhere and get hurt, he was completely in the dark, he
couldn't see where he was going and could have run into anything. I flew outbye
looking for him, dragging the poor little pony behind me. I was in such a state.
When I got out I went into the stables to tell the horse-keeper what had happened
and there was Hawk standing in his stall none the worse for his adventure. I was
lathered, but at that moment over the moon to see him. He just looked at me to as if
to say, “What kept you?” I know between the two of us had the most sense.

Next stop: On the face, get your kneepads on.

On the Face

Its first shift, time to get up. No you can’t have another five minutes. We’re ganna
be late. If you miss the cage at the Glebe you can’t get down till they’re waiting on
for coal. After the men go down at 6 .30am the same shaft is used for drawing the
coals, they'll be straight on coal work.

After my face training at Westoe Colliery I started on the faces at the Glebe.
I was 18 and Number 4 in the Hutton seam.
It was 2ft 3ins high, dowty props and
heads. What a difference it was from Westoe, where the faces were fully
mechanised with powered roof supports, a roof of steel. We were as far back as
the hills at the Glebe Pit.
Coal miners working in a low seam
Any job underground is very repetitive, complete one cycle and then do it all over
again. The only time it differed was if we had a change in conditions. For example:
a fall of stone on the face or a break down when we had to repair machinery.

The sequence of events on the face was firstly that the shearer would cut a strip
of coal off, then shove the panzer over with hydraulic rams. Following this he
would draw the back props off and move them forward and reset them. Next he
would grade the panzer so that when the shearer came back again on another cut,
it was cutting all coal and not top or bottom stone. Finally he would advance the
Desford chocks that the rams were anchored to.

The panzers’ proper name was the “armoured flexible conveyor” or A.F.C. The
first one came to “Washington F” from Germany after the Second World War. I
think it was brought over as a spoil of war.

When I first started I tended to be spare, filling in for men who were off. As a
result I ended up doing most jobs. It was good experience. I liked working in the
stall hand filling the coal out, and at the tailgate where it was very dusty and
warm. The tailgate caunch was the same, there was a thin veil of dust
everywhere, I had no choice but to breathe it in.

A lot of the men chewed baccy to suppress the dust. Also it was a substitute for a
cigarette. Strangely when I was down the pit I never gave a tab a second thought,
I suppose in my mind I knew I couldn't have one and that was that.

Being warm we only wore shorts, vest, boots and stockings, and at the end of the
shift we were black from head to toe.

We had our own pit Vicar, Ian Ogilvie. He did underground training and I can
remember him helping me to timber up. Where are you now Ian?
Sam Scorer (left) Kathy Fenn (centre) and Ian Ogilvie (right)
Photo courtesy of Allan Scorer, son of Sam Scorer above.
The conditions at the Glebe.

The Glebe Pit was sunk between “Usworth” and “Washington F” Collieries because
of two big "Hitches" (faults). That’s why it is the youngest of the three collieries.

In the Hutton seam the coal was of poor quality, all the good coal had been mined
earlier under private enterprise. It was cannel coal grey in colour and the goodness
had been taken out of it by the heat when it was formed millions of years ago .

After the Second World War and up until the early sixties,
pits like the Glebe were
budgeted to loss, but because of the need for coal, pits like Wearmouth subsidised
them. All that changed with the introduction of North Sea gas and cheap oil
imports. King Coal had had his day, and along with it, people like myself. It’s not
just the demise of the pits but the demise of a way of life. The vocabulary used
down the pit and introduced into every day language in Washington will be lost in
one generation, and once its gone it’s gone forever.

Anyway two birds sitting on a telephone line one says to the other doesn't the big
words tickle your feet.

Conditions varied from place to place, and in some places, from day to day.
Although the shaftbottom was freezing cold there was plenty of seam height and it
was relatively dust free. It was well lit due to artificial lighting.
Dust was a great hazard. In the sixties dust suppression left a lot to be desired. The worst
place to work was in the tailgate stall or caunch: with the direction of the ventilation we
weren't just exposed to the dust we were making, but to everyone else’s.

The coal cutting machines were the worst offenders, the dust just billowed from them.
When we were working in low seams, and at the Glebe the Hutton seam was only 2ft
3ins, it could not be dispersed easily. We were literally eating dust.

Working in water was very uncomfortable, being soaking wet all shift wasn't much fun.
Apart from bottom water, water dripping on you all shift was awful. Of course the
danger of inrushes was ever present, especially in collieries in Washington where there
have been 68 recorded pits, and quite a few others in the days before plans had to be kept
by law. Also in the days of private enterprise in the nineteenth century they would go
beyond a barrier to pinch coal and for obvious reasons it wouldn't be shown on any plans.
The Glebe Pit
Working in water down the pit
Consequently we could be nearer danger than we thought. I remember two such occasions.

The first was round about the time I started work. One of the faces hit an old shaft where the
shearer was cutting the coal and it started to throw bricks out (the lining of the shaft). It was
lucky it wasn't full of water or it could have been another Lofthouse.

The second was on No.3 face in the Hutton seam. The miners were drilling holes in the
tailgate stall and water was pouring out of the holes. That was the end of that face, it didn't go
any further .Who knows how much water was on the other side.

Gas was never a problem while I was there.

Roof conditions were usually good, although on H1 face in the Maudlin seam the post stone
broke up above, and that face went from 4ft high to 1ft high in an hour or two. It had to be
won out again.

The Importance of Ventilation

Most people would think the miners were affected by the weather in that they missed the
glorious sunshine
, but on the other hand they were sheltered from the
awful weather down the pit.

The change in the weather affects the barometer: a high barometer indicates good weather and
with it high air pressure, a low barometer is a sign of bad weather and low air pressure.

When the coal is cut methane is given off, this can accumulate where the ventilation is poor
such as in old workings or especially in the “waste”, which is the area that has been worked
behind the advancing face. When the barometer is high it is kept back by the air pressure
and doesn't enter the normal ventilation where men are working, but when the barometer
is low it has the opposite affect.

The dangers are obvious. If there is sufficient quantities of approximately 5% to 15% of
methane, then explosions can occur. Apart from that there is the danger of oxygen levels
falling with dire consequences.

From a production point of view, electricity has to be turned off at 1.25% and the men
withdrawn at 2%.
Sunny scenes of Washington Village, just a few minutes walk along the road from the Glebe Pit.
Many miners missed the glorious sunshine.
Photos courtesy of Audrey Fletcher
The Glebe Disaster

I’ve got copies of the Glebe Disaster and also the Glebe Banner hanging on the wall.
The Glebe Disaster was a coal dust and firedamp explosion caused by shot firing.
The shot hole had been over charged. During shotfiring there is always a flame given
off but there is what is called the lag time. Any substance before it ignites, needs to
be heated up, and it is the period between being cold and igniting which is the lag time.
Boring the hole for blasting
Firedamp (a mixture of methane and air) will explode if there are sufficient quantities
of methane present, anywhere between 5% and 15%. The initial fire damp explosion
at the Glebe Pit caused a coal dust explosion that is much more violent; it can travel
at 1000mph. The preceding wind goes ahead of the explosion, kicking the dust up,
and feeding it till its source of fuel is exhausted. After this the great danger is carbon
monoxide. That’s why canaries are taken underground, they are about six times more
susceptible to carbon monoxide than a human being is, so if a canary falls off the
perch its time to withdraw to fresher air.
The Baths and Canteen

The Glebe Baths were undoubtably the cleanest of anywhere I’ve been. If a pitman went
in the clean end of the baths with his pit clothes on there was hell on. Also you couldn't
smoke in there.

The other neet ah woz standing on the step an ah shouts to wor lass, “Help uz in with this
barrel of beer.” So she says, “Where’s it at?”  An ah say, “Av supped it!”

Anyway back to gettin weshed, the watters gettin cauld.

I'd never been in a shower till I started the pit, even at the swimming baths. I mean when
you’re a kid what’s the point of going in a shower when you've just got out of the biggest
bath you've ever been in!

The first time I got a shower at the pit my vocabulary improved by one word, tepid. “Now
what in the world does that mean?” I wondered. I soon found out, it was a bit like the
three bears; not too hot, not too cold, just nice.

Some men used to fly through the baths, they'd be washed, dried and away before I even
had my pit clothes off. Nearly everybody had a favourite shower and you had to be quick
to get the one you liked. So I just used to take my time and I had my pick when most of
the other pitmen had left.

It was lovely just to stand under the shower after a hard shift, until you were washing
your hair that is, because some joker would turn the water onto cold when you had soap
in your eyes and you'd just got the temperature right as well. (I have to admit though that I
was as guilty as anybody else.) And then you'd feel somebody washing your back, which
you would do in turn for them. Even in the 1930s some, if not all, miners in Washington
wouldn't wash their backs because they thought it weakened it. Instead they would rub
their backs with a piece of sacking.

After we were washed, dried and dressed the one last job was to get the pulleys out,
which meant spitting on the corner of the towel and getting the muck out round the eyes.

Then it was outside for a tab. Champion.
The Glebe Pit canteen (right) and baths (centre)
The Durham Mine Disaster 1908
Photograph courtesy of Jim Wilson
Pit Humour

I could tell you a thousand jokes and stories I’ve heard down the pit but they’re not for
ladies’ ears and certainly not for printing. I look on myself as one of
the old school in that respect.

Pit humour was nearly always black humour a lot of the time, laughing at other peoples
misfortune, the same people always seeming to be the butt of the joke.

Two lads were sitting getting their bait in the tub loading and one said to the other,
"Ah ye turnin oot the day?"
"Naah. Am gannin up te Butts te get some paint te paint the back garden fence."
"Save ye money. Av got some green paint in the shed ye can have."
“Champion. Ah’ll pop roond this afternoon for it."
So at 2pm he knocks on the door and the lad’s wife answers it. " Is your Tommy in?"
“Eee ye musna heard. He got up te get ‘is dinner at 12, and he had a heart attack and
"Na, ah niver heard owt." And after a pause he said, "Afore he went did he say owt
aboot any green paint?"

I look on my time at the Glebe as my informative years as I learnt a lot about life, but
didn’t realise I was being taught at the time. It’s where I grew up.

When you work with people you observe their natures. There are the comics, the
greedy, the stubborn and the leaders. Then there are the ones that if something’s going
to happen it will happen to them. In a set of men you’ll find a cross section of these.

The Middle Club

On the 2.15pm shift we used to ride at 9.30pm, at which time we'd dash along to the
old Middle Club in the village, half dried, and get in the last forty minutes. We’d hoy as
much down as we could, the first pint never touched the sides. Closing time was 10.30
pm. During the shift it was some thing to look forward to.
Monday afternoon was a good day out for those that were in the 10pm shift.
They got up early to go out on the drink and perhaps have a bet on the horses.
They went away home and to bed at closing time which was 3pm in those days,
and then back at work at 10pm. Sometimes if they'd had a win on the horses or
were still flush they'd make a day of it and have a shift off. One lad used to do it
regular and when the gaffer asked him why he only worked four shifts a week
he replied, "Cos a cannit manage on three."
Durham Big Meeting

Now that’s a subject every miner or indeed non-miners have a tale to tell about. It’
s as much a part of our heritage as anything .

The pit for the majority of wives and children was somewhere where your dad,
husband or brother worked. But Durham Big Meeting was their day as much as
anybody else’s. It was a day out for all the family, even if the menfolk went
missing for a while.

My first recollection is coming back from Durham with “Washington F’s” banner,
getting off the train at Usworth Station and dancing behind the band all the way up
to the New Inn corner and along Spout Lane to the Welfare. I must have been
about five or six at the time.
The Durham Mine Disaster 1908
The Scene of the Explosion
Photograph courtesy of Jim Wilson
The Glebe Canteen was one of the focal points of the Glebe Pit. Some men would
call in for a cup of tea and a bit crack, or to buy their baccy and snuff before they
went down the pit. The canteen meals were the best in the North-East. On a Friday
we couldn't get in for people, especially retired miners having their dinners.
This photo, taken outside the Westwood Club, shows the Glebe Banner
surrounded by Glebe Miners and their families in readiness for the Durham
Big Meeting. The Glebe Banner is still held at the Westwood Club.
Thanks Allan Scorer for this information. Photographer unknown.
I remember the year it "chucked" it down, it must have been about 1964. I can still
see Harold Wilson on the balcony of the County Hotel. The shop next door sold
out of notebooks as we all went in to buy them so we could chuck them up for
him to autograph. Pac-a-macs did a roaring trade that day as well.

The first time I went with the Glebe was in 1967. I'd got my Durham money off
the Union in my pocket. I think it was about £2.10s but that was more than
enough in those days. Being only fifteen I spent it all on the shows.

I was lucky enough to carry the Glebe banner out of Durham in the Centenary
Gala. By this time most of the pits in Durham had closed along with the Glebe,
there was only a handful left. What a sight it was to see the old banners with the
cobwebs dusted off and the mass of people having one last dance along the street.
The beauty of it; none of them in step, just being free once more.

I always think marching with the banner is akin to a guardsman trooping the
colour, no guardsman could feel more pride, you feel ten feet tall.
Pit Closures

The pit closure programme of 1993 didn't affect Washington as a place at all. Our
pit closure programme was as follows: in 1968 Washington “F” closed, in 1972
the Glebe closed and in 1974 Usworth closed. This coincided with the birth of the
Washington New Town. Some men transferred to the coastal pits Wearmouth and
Westoe or found jobs in the new industries moving into Washington.

In 1993 a lot of the men who transferred had already retired or taken early
retirement. The younger ones were betwixt and between, too young to retire but in
their minds too old to do anything else, they still had twenty years before they
retired. Having been a miner all their working lives that’s all they knew and any job
they took would be at a lower wage, if they were lucky to get a job at all.
Fortunately most of them found jobs in Washington, the industry was already in
place to absorb them.

I took it badly. I was losing a well-paid job, and it was the only job I wanted to do.
The greatest fear was the uncertainty, was I going to lose what I'd worked all my
life to achieve? I still had a mortgage to pay and had a good lifestyle. Could I still
maintain them?

After ten years I’m still here and in the same house, so the answer is yes, but with
no thanks to the people who put me in that position then. For them it was just a
question of balancing the books. Even though it wasn't life or death, it was the
death of a way of life.

Having said all that it was the best thing that happened! It gave a lot of us a chance
to see what was on the other side of the fence and I can assure you the grass is
greener and it smells sweet.

I think the great fear was change itself. It was forced on us, we were pushed, and
its just as well because we would never have jumped. I’ve spoken to a lot of
people and asked them if they wish they were back at the pit, only two said they
would go back tomorrow. As for myself I'm frightened that this has all been a
dream and I'll wake up to find that I'm in first shift in the morning.
Looking Back

For the first two years at the Glebe Seniors I was in the G. C. E. class. I was a good
scholar when I was in the juniors but when I went to the Glebe I couldn't settle in. It
was a totally different regime to me and the teachers were hostile and aloof. Basically I
think they took their frustrations out on us, me especially or so it seemed.

All the education I ever had was due Usworth Colliery Infants and Juniors and the pit.
The four years I spent at the Glebe school I look back on with dread. I took advantage
of the chances given to me by the pit and got a T.E.C. and a H.N.C. in coal mining. It’
s not much good now but I’ve still got it.

When I’ve travelled I've found people are the same the world over, they just want to
live their lives in peace and provide for their families. Some thing happened to me
when I was in Phuket, Thailand, around 1996. We were in a bar having a drink and I
just happened to say, “I see they've captured Pol Pot.” Well, this waitress flew at me
and said, “Don’t mention that ******** to me. He killed half my family!” I was
amazed. I didn't hear it on the ten o'clock news, I heard it from someone who was
actually affected by it. I felt as though she was saying, “Welcome to the big wide
world.” I felt as though that young lad who had led a relatively sheltered life had come
of age.

I’ve always been lucky in my life. I was born into a good family, always worked,
never gone hungry and never known the fear of war. I think most of our generation
can say that its thanks to our parents and their generation for providing that. I’ve got a
good wife and son, what more could a person ask for? I’ve always believed in quality
of life not quantity.

When I was sitting on the steps of Sydney Opera House a couple of years ago I kept
pinching myself. I often think that young lad with the towel under his arm never
dreamt that anything like this could happen. Whatever happened to him?
A couple of coal miners. On the left is Geordie Morton,
and on the right is Jas Carr Walmsley.
Photo courtesy of Edwin Fletcher, grandson of Jas Carr Walmsley,
of The Terraces, Washington.
Photo Gallery
Jim Wilson aged 20.
Camping at the New Forrest
Jim Wilson aged 20, Santa and Davey Turnbull
at Chester-le-Street
Jim Wilson and his wife Sonia
in the South of France 1982
Jim Wilson aged 12. Top left, back row.
The Glebe Senior School
Jim Wilson and his wife Sonia
in Sydney, Australia 2003
Sam Scorer
George Watson
The Glebe Pit Home Page
Family Photo Album
Mary Jane Wilson, Jim Wilson's Grandma, is the sixth from the left
in the cart. This photo was taken in 1910.
Jim Wilson's grandparents on his
Grandma's 50th birthday, 29 July 1939.
Jim Wilson's son Jimmy on a visit to
Wearmouth Colliery in 1991.
Web page designed by
Audrey Fletcher
Adelaide, South Australia 2004

Updated 201
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Audrey Fletcher