Coronavirus: Thank you for the amazing support we have received from our customers during the last few months. Our office and factory are based in a rural area which has made it practical for us to remain open for business.
We are still able to despatch most of our products, however, coasters and placemats are still not available but we hope to offer these again soon.

Our despatch times are normal, but Royal Mail & Parcelforce delivery times are varying depending on location - some parcels arrive next day and others are taking up to 10 days, which we have no control over.

We will update this message as anything changes.

Colliery Blacksmith - a Memory of South Kirkby.

My granddad, Arthur Walker, was a miner at South Kirkby colliery until his retirement around 1960; and my dad, Richard Edwin Walker, known as Ted to his mates, was a blacksmith.
Dad started at the colliery when he left school aged 14, in 1936, as a blacksmith's striker, eventually becoming a blacksmith himself. I visited the colliery many times with my dad, and I remember the noises of the colliery: the shunting engines and their whistles; the sounds from the smiths' sheds; watching the huge pit-head winding wheels as the cages took the miners far below, or up again after their shift; and also the huge spoil buckets moving along in line to tip their contents on the 'muck stacks', which eventually were grassed over after the demise of the pit.
What I really liked to see, though, were the forges and their glowing coals; hearing the roar of the bellows blowing air into the forges, and the hammers striking red-hot metal on the anvils - and no-one wore goggles or ear defenders, the only protection, as I remember, was perhaps a leather apron - health and safety seemed non-existant then.
Once I was asked by one of the other blacksmiths: "Would tha like a sandwich, young-un, wi' us?", which I accepted. It turned out to be an egg and bacon sandwich cooked on a shovel on the coals of the forge. But did it taste good!
I left school in 1966 and joined the Royal Air Force - I didn't follow Dad or Granddad into the colliery - and it was many years later that I eventually returned to the colliery only to find it gone: the hive of activity was no more, no more shunting engines, whistles or forges and striking hammers, the industry that had fed the village was gone, and Kirkby had begun to decline.
My parents have gone now, but I still have family in Kirkby, and the village itself has recovered. After leaving the RAF I didn't return but retrained and found work in Somerset, where I still live today. I visit Kirkby every so often to see family and friends; and even though I may live in Somerset I am still a Yorkshireman at heart, and proudly tell everyone that my dad was a colliery blacksmith - a dying profession in modern Britain.

A memory shared by Roy Walker on Jun 14th, 2009. Send Roy Walker a message

 Comments & Feedback

Thu Aug 6th 2015, at 11:34 am
johninich commented:
I remember not only the colliery but You and your grandparents Roy. I lived only a few doors away from them in Burns Avenue. They were lovely people.

Best wishes, John Nicholson

Add your comment

You must be signed-in to your Frith account to post a comment.

or Register to post a Comment.

Sparked a Memory for you?

If this has sparked a memory, why not share it here?

Tips & Ideas

Not sure what to write? It's easy - just think of an important place in your life and ask yourself:

  • How does it feature in your personal history?
  • What are your best memories of this place?
  • How has it changed over the years?
  • How does it feel, seeing these places again?
  • Do you remember stories about the community, its history and people?

This week's Places

Here are some of the places people are talking about in our Share Your Memories community this week:

...and hundreds more! Enjoy browsing more recent contributions now.