Washington Glebe Pit
|Saturday, 14 Feb 2004
I really enjoyed your site because I too am a Washington lad.
I was born in 1941 and like you had the good fortune to go to the Glebe Infants
and Junior School (fond memories of
Miss Bell and Miss Swaddle) and the Grammar School.
On my first day at the Glebe I sat with Ann Ferry!
My dad also worked at the Glebe pit.
|* * *
|Monday, 16 February 2004
I am now 62 and live in Bracknell, Berkshire but was at my
aunt’s in Washington for New Year. We had snow on
New Years Eve! You probably remember me, I was a prefect
at the Grammar School when you were starting.
You may know my Cousin Christine Todd.
My dad Sam Scorer became Ventilation Officer at the Glebe Pit
so everyone who worked there would remember him.
His brother Bob Scorer worked in the lamp cabin.
My grandfather Jonas Todd was a Deputy at the Glebe Pit
and went on to become an instructor working at Usworth.
|Sam Scorer became Ventilation Officer
at the Glebe Pit
|Bracknell in Berkshire was one of the post-war new towns,
with IT (Information Technology) as its main industry.
I worked for Icl and came here in 1967. Other IT companies
came later. We are about 3 miles from Ascot, and dread the Royal
Meeting because of increased traffic and drunks after the races.
I was a town councillor and mayor for a year.
|Sam Scorer (left)
Kathy Fenn (centre)
Ian Ogililvie (right)
The Glebe Pit is in the background.
|Wednesday, 18 February 2004
The photo attached is of my dad Sam Scorer (left), Kathy Fenn (centre)
an American helping run a summer play group,
and Ian Ogilvie (right) who was curate at Holy Trinity
and later became Industrial Chaplain for the Bishop of Durham.
He often visited the Glebe Colliery (background).
|The Washington Glebe Pit
|A Trip down the Glebe Pit
In 1954 when I was 13 my dad took me down the Glebe pit. My mother had been taken down by her
father, Jonas Todd, when she was young. In the lamp cabin, my Uncle Bob gave me a heavy battery to go
on my belt and a lamp for my helmet then we set off for bank. Going down in the cage my dad told me
that the winding engineman must have seen me because we were going down slowly. I thought we were
going fast. We emerged into a well lit area and went to visit the stables.
The ponies looked well but one was a little plump. Dad told me it could detect the rustle of a sweet paper
at 100 yards, and ate so many sweets it had to go on a diet! There was a basket where men could leave it
sweets but it was strictly rationed. The ponies got a longer holiday than the men and went off to a farm
where they could run around in the fresh air.
We set off for the face and after a while I mentioned that I thought it would be darker. Dad told me to
switch off my lamp and he did the same also turning down his safety lamp. I then knew what the
expression “couldn’t see your hand in front of your face” really meant. I thought of my coal miner
ancestors working with only safety lamps or in earlier days, candles to light them. After walking what
seemed a very long way, occasionally ducking into the side as sets of tubs came past; we turned into the
mother gate and reached the face, to be greeted by the men working there, who were busy moving the
equipment forward ready for the next cut. Dad used his safety lamp to check for firedamp but it was OK. I
felt for those tall men since I am only 4 feet 6 inches tall, and could not stand upright. (My helmet kept
falling off because it was a little too big.) Leaving the face we went to the upcast shaft. Dad held on to my
belt before he opened the door to stop me being sucked up. He told me that birds were often sucked down
the main shaft by the air current. Of course as Ventilation Officer he was pleased with the strong flow of
air through the mine. He would groan if he heard a weather forecast predicting low pressure especially if
the Glebe faces were getting near some old unmapped 19th century workings.
All my life Dad told me I had to work hard at school because “You are not going to work down the pit”.
My visit to the Glebe taught me why, but I would not have missed it for the world. The miners and their
families made Washington a great place to grow up because it was a real community where people cared
about each other.