Middleton Broom Colliery Used with kind permission of Leodis photographic archive of Leeds

Middleton Broom Colliery
Used with kind permission of Leodis photographic archive of Leeds

The content here has been copied from the autobiography of Jack Gale with his kind permission. Jack was employed at Middleton Broom Colliery, Leeds, from 1951 to 1959. He provides a valuable insight into how coal mines were worked and the life of a miner, in an industry which no longer exists.

It was felt that parts of his autobiography were not relevant to the subject and have been left out. However links have been placed in the text to take you to the page on his website where the full story can be found. In order to assist in this, we have kept the chapter structure the same as the original; this has meant that some chapters are just a few paragraphs long, while others run to many pages.

Some readers may find some of the the contents here distasteful, or even offensive. We apologise for this, but it is not our story to tell; for those of you who have worked in the collieries, you will know that many of these antics were quite normal.

Middleton Broom Colliery closed on the 17th May 1968 after being worked for 89 years, due to the exhaustion of economically workable reserves. The site of the colliery has been landscaped and now forms a part of Middleton park; the location of it can be found here, and a brief history at the colliery page here.

Chapter 1 – Just the Job
Chapter 2 – Surface Work
Chapter 3 – Settling In
Chapter 4 – First Blood
Chapter 5 – Firey Fred
Chapter 6 – Change of Job
Chapter 7 – Tech Training
Chapter 8 – Lofthouse Training
Chapter 9 – Training Continues
Chapter 10 – Teddy Boy’s Picnic
Chapter 11 – The Black Bed Seam
Chapter 12 – Fight to a Standstill
Chapter 13 – End of Training
Chapter 14 – Underground Proper
Chapter 15 – Loader End
Chapter 16 – Like a Custard Pie
Chapter 17 – Panic!
Chapter 18 – Safety Office’s Assistant
Chapter 19 – Haunted Spirits
Chapter 20 – John the Strong
Chapter 21 – Ebor 27s
Chapter 22 – Pony Driving
Chapter 23 – Thorpe Hotel
Chapter 24 – Another Fight
Chapter 25 – Atomic Shelter?
Chapter 26 – A Soho Experience
Chapter 27 – Spies?
Chapter 28 – First Aid
Chapter 29 – Playing with Fire
Chapter 30 – Sucker Punch
Chapter 31 – Coal Face Training
Chapter 32 – A Piece of Coal
Chapter 33 – Mines Rescue
Chapter 34 – A Fall of Roof
Chapter 35 – Shot Firing
Chapter 36 – Low Roof
Chapter 37 – Unions
Chapter 38 – Home Coal
Chapter 39 – Freddie
Chapter 40 – Photography
Chapter 41 – A Tall Story
Chapter 42 – Staff at Last
Chapter 43 – Norman’s Ghost
Chapter 44 – A Death