Celebrating coal face achievement

Shireoaks Colliery 1974.
Shireoaks Colliery 1974.

This week’s Archive Corner picture shows a group of miners at Shireoaks Colliery.

It was sent to us by Guardian reader Alvey Houghton, 47, of Royds Crescent, Rhodesia.

He thinks it was taken in 1974, but doesn’t have the exact date.

His dad Dai Houghton is on the left of the middle row.

Alvey said: “He worked there for 30 years until 1989 when he retired through ill health.”

Now 72, Dai and his wife Christine live on the same street as Alvey, who is also a miner.

He said: “I went straight into the pit from school, on the fitting side. I left mining in 1992 and did different jobs, but six months ago I went back to it and work at Hatfield Colliery now.”

Alvey, who went to Haggonfields School, said that both he and Dai had fond memories of their time at Shireoaks, which closed in 1990.

“My dad would go back down tomorrow if he could,” said Alvey.

He named the miners on the photo as: back row: Ron Kazegkey, Stan Ordridge, Jimmy Stewart, Charlie Sullivan, and Alan Dexter; middle row: Dai Houghton, John Goulding, Sid Fisher, Keith Chapman, Stewart Radford, Lol Yates, Frank Bacon, Ray Fores, Terry Harrison, Jim White and Peter Highland; front row: Reg Battram, Gordon Thomas, Ian Hurst and Bill Simpson.

Alvey thinks the picture was taken to celebrate the first face ever to break 1,000 yards in a shift. A face was where they cut the coal from and was only about three feet high.

He said: “I would like to find out more information about it, such as which face it was and if that was why the photo was taken.”

If anyone can help, Alvey can be contacted on 07766 833200.