Abandoned - a story from the colliery yard

by Joy Worthington

As I recall, going back some many years, I must have only been about 1-2 years old and my dad worked at Thornley Colliery. In those days the pay was collected from the pay office in the colliery yard.

There was a turnstile that you had to enter but unfortunately my mam couldn’t get the pram that I was sitting in, to go through.

I was parked at the entrance to the colliery yard and the next minute I found myself all alone, sitting in this pram outside the colliery yard whilst my mam had gone to collect the pay.

The whole time she was gone seemed like a lifetime to me, but it must have only been about 10 minutes or so.

I can remember sitting crying and shouting for her, not being able to break free from the safety harness which held me there! (ha ha)

Thoughts of abandonment sped through my head, until there she was, smiling and asking, ‘what is the matter?’

I can remember seeing black faces, these were of the pitmen who had just finished their shift down the pit and were on their way to get a shower in the pit baths.

Only the whites of their eyes were visible through all the coal dust. This to me seemed horrific!

I suppose in those days parents were not as worried about child abduction as we are now.

Life then was harder but friendlier towards each other.

A friendly eye was kept to who ever needed it.

I would just like to add, this story is a happy one, from the Colliery yard pay station we went shopping and I received a nice packet of sweets!