Andrews House Station on a sleepy Sunday morning, Twizell No.3 simmers impatiently, as the crew chat on the platform. Tanfield has a lineage right back to the birth of the Industrial Revolution, horse drawn wagons, rope worked inclines and the famous Causey Arch but, and this is probably the bit that matters, all the property of some of the richest men in the country, at that time, the so called ‘Grand Allies’.
The Grand Allies were; the Russell family, one of whom was, in the 18th century, reputedly, the richest ‘commoner’ in the country, the Liddells of Ravensworth, the Bowes family, (Earls of Strathmore), the Brandlings, who owned a colliery in Leeds, which became, in time, the Middleton Railway and the first to use steam locomotives on a commercial basis, in 1811 / 12. The huge fortunes these men amassed was at the expense of those they employed to mine, move, and ship the coals. Children, some as young as six, worked in the mines, often employed to work the ‘flaps’ which helped to circulate air around the mine – they sat in the pitch back to do this.
The mine owners were an unscrupulous and greedy lot; workers were frequently paid in ‘company’ money which could only be spent in ‘company’ shops and at ‘inflated’ company prices. Homes too were owned by the coal owners and if you were out of work, you were ‘out of home too’. Should a miner die, at work, or otherwise, his wife and kids would be ‘out on the street’ and with only ‘company’ money they were headed for the dreaded ‘workhouse’. All of which is a long way from the sylvan setting in the photograph.
If you have enjoyed my blogs – I have written a book about my 60 years involvement with railways, from trainspotter, via steam age footplateman, to railway author and photographer, this is a link to it:
These are some totally unsolicited comments from people who have already read Gricing: Amazon Customer on 6 Jan. 2016 Format: Paperback Verified Purchase: “Brilliant and interesting book”
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
“Not a murder mystery, but one that I found hard to put down. One of the best additions to my collection of books about railways.”
‘treated myself to a copy of “Gricing” for Christmas, excellent reading.’
‘I’m enjoying your book. It’s a real page-turner, thought provoking and great photos, to boot’
‘I bought and enjoyed “Gricing” etc and would heartily recommend it to readers’.
‘I was given what I believe to be your book called “Gricing” the other night. Very much enjoyed the book if it is yours!