Closing Of Baggeridge Colliery
"We Were There" Blackcountryman Volume 1, Issue 3
March 2nd, 1968, a cold, grey, murky day. How very apt, the depressive
nature of the weather appeared to be symbolically mourning the
passing of an era, for it was then that the great traditional
coal industry of the Black Country died.
was the official closure of Baggeridge Colliery.
courtesy of Bob Gilbody
with the exception of a few opencast workings, coal mining in
the area ceased.
had a commemorative medal (follow the link
for pictures of the medal) struck to mark the closure, it was
felt that the Black Country Society should be represented at the
very end. So, in the early hours of March the 2nd, DR JM Fletcher,
J Brimble, M Watson and G Bowater, foresook the comfort of their
beds and raveled to the colliery to receive and photograph the
men of the last shift. At 5.30am, the tall winding gear, ghostly
silhouetted against the dark morning background, presented a melancholy
scene. 800 feet below, a group of men were about to be hauled
to the surface for the last time.
ceremony, the cage carried the men up the shaft at its usual tremendous
speed, and when it came to rest at the top those miners - many
it seemed with heavy hearts - secured their moment of history
as photographer George Bowater recorded the moment for posterity.
Underground at Baggeridge
in 1964 - courtesy of Bob Gilbody (shown aged 13 in photograph
leaving for his bath, the longest serving member of the shift,
Mr. B Fellows of Lower Gornal, was presented by John Fletcher
with a medallion marked number 2. The Society members then drank
a toast to the memory of the colliery and the many miners and
men who had been employed there during its history.
minutes the crowd dispersed, silence descending as the miners'
voice faded away, leaving the pit to its fate. It was indeed a
sad occasion, for Baggeridge Colliery had been a noted industrial
landmark in the Black Country.
it will not be forgotten. The widespread interest created by the
circulation of the commemorative medallion, struck in 1967, resulted
in a large number of historic photographs associated with the
colliery being received by the society, along with other items
is gratifying to reflect that much of the knowledge thus gathered
concerning the life and times of the colliery, may have been lost
but for the efforts of the Black Country Society.
Tub Tippler at Baggeridge
- photo courtesy of Bob Gilbody
I would like to thank Bob Gilbody for sending me the photographs
used in this and other Baggerdige articles. Bob's father Clifford
Gilbody was manager at Baggeridge in the 1960s. Anyone who would
like to contact Bob about Baggeridge please email me.
My thanks to Paul (surname not known) for the above pictures
of a medal he recently purchased.
email the web master Mick Pearson: