The last shift at Mainsforth Colliery

The Northern Echo: KNOCKING OFF: The last shift at Mainsforth Colliery KNOCKING OFF: The last shift at Mainsforth Colliery

THE picture on the front cover of Memories 58 showed men starting the last shift at Mainsforth Colliery, Ferryhill Station, on December 6, 1968. But who were the men?

Noreen Cooper, of Ferryhill, recognised her father, Charles Johnson, in the centre of the picture in the white shirt. He worked for 42 years for the National Coal Board in Durham mines.

Billy Whithorn, of Ferryhill, recognised himself – the bairn of the picture, he is fourth from the left.

Although only 20 at the time, this was his second pit closure: he’d started work at the Dean and Chapter, which closed in 1966.

After Mainsforth, he worked at the NCB’s Tursdale workshops on the heavy vehicles used underground at the large coastal collieries, and then went to Eton’s Axles in Newton Aycliffe.

“I remember that last day because I was interviewed by The Northern Echo,” he says.

“I said that healthwise it was a good thing that it was closing because of all the dust you inhaled as a miner.”

The only other face we can put a name to is Brian Atkinson, on the far left, who is believed to have been killed in a factory accident.

Any other names?

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