Crump Meadow Pit - apprenticeship ? (General)

by Jefff @, West London, Middlesex, Wednesday, October 04, 2017, 20:41 (353 days ago) @ dent

Hi Christoper,
sorry for slow reply, but I've been hoping someone more expert than me might help you.
I did an engineering apprenticeship from 1978 to 1983, and was at Polytechnic in South Wales with NCB lads in those latter years, but now have no direct experience or contacts with anyone on the mining industry, so can only guess re your question.

For what it's worth, my guess is that a lad of such young age during wartime, when high output was presuumably expected from the mines with minimal interference and a possible manpower shortage, wouldn't have had a formal or special-ised apprenticeship as we'd know it nowadays, but would have been almost in a general work-experience situation. A traditional apprenticeship in other walks of life (eg tailor, blacksmith etc) would place him for several (7?) years with a senior person, quite probably his father, do you know if that was the case with Arthur ?. I'll be honest it's never occurred to me that boys at that time could be apprentices at a mine, so ??.. I guess he spent most of his time above ground, perhaps in the winding house, or in a maintenance situation, but all guesses I'm afraid, hopefully in a few weeks you'll be able to tell us ?.
I've tried hard using search engines to find some relevant information on mines apprenticeships, but with very little success. This article MAY be of limited interest in this respect, I think this is clearly an area that needs a good man to research then publish online (please Chris..)

Hopefully the Forest's own museum might be able to help you ?

Sadly I don't live in the Forest, so like you I cannot visit Cinderford library which has some books by ex-miners and the like. Even worse, all my reference books are in storage for the next few months while our house-move plods along..
One book I'd definitely look-up is "The last deep mine of Dean", about Northern Colliery near Cinderford hence Crump Meadow. It was written by Maurice V Bent, who worked there in the 1960s. Long retired now, Maurice is a keen local historian and is the Forest's Verderer, so I suggest contacting him could be a worthwhile starting point. He still lives in his home area of Ruardean Hill, Drybrook Glos, if you contact me offline I'll give you what I think is his home phone, altho personally I suggest a letter would be best.,%2074,%20is%20...

Another chap who might be able to help you, or point you to someone who can, is the Deputy Gaveller (the administrator of the freeminers), who is Dan Howell, contact his office at Bank House, Coleford.

I would also recommend joining speciallist mining forums, such as the excellent Durham Mining Museum site and the active Welsh Coal Mines forum; I'm sure they'll be able to give some help.

In years past I'd have recommended asking Robin Morgan, very knowledgable freeminer and owner of Hopewell freemine at Cannop, but sadly he passed away last year. His younger partner at Hopewell may still be worth contacting, Rich Daniels, see

Similarly maybe email Ian Pope, owner of the Lightmoor website and associated Black Dward publishing concern, Ian's a Cinderford man if that helps altho nowadays he's in Witney Oxfordshire. Ian's father Alec took many of the old photos of local mines, railways and industry that can be seen on our local history websites and books. No doubt you've already seen this;

And also the FoD Local History Society, I think Dave Tuffley is their mines expert.

Perhaps one of the websites on this list can help, eg the Big Pit in Blaenavon.

I do hope this is of some help. I do hope you'll be able to return to update us with your findings, I'm sure there's plenty of forum users who would love to know how young miners and mining engineers were trained when on-site.
There were also mining schools and colleges they could attend away from the mine. Indeed, the Polytechnic that I attended in the 1980s, now a University of course, started life in 1913 as the South Wales and Monmouthshire School of Mines, at Treforest near Pontypridd in the Rhondda-Taff Valley.

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