I live in an ex-mining village in North East Derbyshire just five miles away from the ex-mining town where I was born. My paternal grandfather was a coal miner, so was my father for a while & my maternal grandad worked above ground at a colliery. Sadly, coal mining has all but ended in the UK, certainly in this area & most of my favourite walks are now on the country parks created from former pit tips.
I can remember the collieries prior to their closure. The major career choices for us leaving school were working ‘down the pit’ for the boys or in the ‘knicker factory’ for the girls as textiles was another big former industry in this region. The ‘clever’ school leavers had the option of a job in the Coal Board head office rather than at the coal face. I worked for a bank & 99% of our customers were miners or retired miners & I remember standing at the pit head trying to encourage the men coming off shift to sign up for savings accounts. They had a good wage with loans taken out on the basis of regular overtime & bonuses until the hardship of the 1984-85 miners strike when wages stopped & they were unable to pay their bills.
With mining, steel production & textiles, the East Midlands is steeped in history & I don’t have to travel far to enjoy a glimpse of the past, both working & upper class. There are many former industrial sites, some now museums with working water wheels or steam engines; old railway lines now enjoyed by walkers & cyclists together with country houses & castles. The beauty of the peak district is a short drive away with the east coast an easy day trip out. I do love where I live & if we still had the long hot summers that I remember as a child, there would be no reason to holiday elsewhere.
I keep a board of photos of my local area on my Pinterest site here & always keep adding to it so if you’re interested do please check it out. All the photos on the headers of this blog which I’ve set to randomly change are from all the favourite places that I’ve visited.