Crump Meadow Pit (General)

by dent @, Monday, September 11, 2017, 17:38 (376 days ago)

My father, Arthur Dent from Cinderford, left school on his thirteenth birthday in October 1917 and was apprenticed at Crump Meadow pit, I believe in engineering, perhaps electrical. He subsequently left the mining industry and trained as a Methodist Minister. Can anyone point me towards information of what this apprenticeship may have involved. I now live in East Kent where coal mining operated between 1925 and 1989 and visiting local sites have wondered what my father's work may have been. Christopher Dent

Crump Meadow Pit - apprenticeship ?

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.

Crump Meadow Pit, Cinderford - Dean Mining Schools

by Jefff @, West London, Middlesex, Wednesday, October 04, 2017, 22:35 (353 days ago) @ Jefff

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.

Before that I attended what everyone knew as Cinderford "Tec", short for technical College, formally known as the West Glos College of Further Education, which had itself been a mining school in earlier years.


Advanced technical instruction in the Forest developed principally from mining classes started by the county council in the early 1890s. Classes, including some at a less advanced level, were held in school buildings in many places, including Bream's Eaves, Cinderford, Coleford, Lydbrook, and Yorkley. Under the supervision of Francis Brain and later J. J. Joynes they attracted c.100 students and from 1900 operated a scholarship scheme. Later the classes were run from the Forest of Dean Mining School, which the county education committee opened in Cinderford in 1925. Occupying a new building next to the secondary school in Station Street, the mining school was built and equipped using grants from the Miners' Welfare Fund. More buildings were provided later, and by 1935, when the school had 126 students, the curriculum had been broadened to embrace engineering, commerce, languages, and construction. That year the education authority entrusted the school to governors representing all sides of the mining industry. As the industry declined locally the school, which in 1937 became known as the Forest of Dean Mining and Technical school (college from 1953), introduced new subjects, including forestry and domestic science, and dropped mining from its curriculum. In 1966 it amalgamated with an art college in Lydney to form the West Gloucestershire College of Further Education, which was based on the Station Street campus where it took over buildings vacated by East Dean Grammar school in 1968. The college, which took students from the age of 16, kept its art department at Lydney until 1970 and used buildings in Woodville Road, Cinderford, given up by Double View school. Following the reorganization of secondary education in the Forest area in 1985 the college was replaced by the Royal Forest of Dean College, which offered full-time and part-time courses to students from 16 to 18 years and to adults. It was provided with new buildings on the campus at Five Acres, where all the fulltime courses were held from 1989. In that year it admitted students from the Lydney area and in 1992, when it used some of the Station Street buildings for technical and employment training schemes and ran courses in schools and community centres throughout west Gloucestershire, it had c.5,000 enrolled students."

Several photos of the "Tech" c1975 starting here, use the green arrows to browse thro' them

Also see some pages of photos under "Cinderford Mining & Technical College" here
and this page


I've just seen your last line "have wondered what my father's work may have been."
As you probably know from past threads on this forum, not many personal records have survived, as per this previous post on the subject.

Good luck with your research, Jeff.

Crump Meadow Pit, Cinderford - Dean Mining Schools

by dent @, Thursday, October 05, 2017, 17:50 (352 days ago) @ Jefff

Thank you so much, as ever, Jeff. You helped me some years ago with my researches into my great uncle Frank Dent, a WW1 casualty. I got my father's date of starting work wrong - it was 9 October 1918, but still during WW1. I have the certificate which permitted him to leave school (Double View) and is said to be in gainful employment. His father, Richard, worked at Crump Meadow at some time. The only photograph I have of Richard Dent is with some other colliers beside a row of railway trucks, so I think he may also have worked above ground. He became a jobbing builder, so I don't think my father would have been apprenticed to him. I agreed that it's difficult to conceive of a 13 years old boy beginning a 7 year formal apprenticeship. I have no knowledge of this. I do know that my father was a competent electrician, though of course an amateur by today's health and safety standards. I had always believed that he worked at Crump Meadow until 1928, when he went off to college to begin his ministerial training. The pit closed shortly after that, didn't it? I'll certainly follow out the suggestions you make and for which I am most grateful. Christopher

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