Working at the Colliery

Source Pack 2: Working at the Colliery

200 Years ago, Seaton Sluice, or Hartley as it was then known, was at the centre of Northumberland's glass and coal trade.  Coal had been extracted from the area around Seaton Sluice since 1291 and, from 1595, Sir Ralph Delaval began to open out the Hartley coalfield in earnest.

During the period we were looking at, mining was even more difficult and dangerous than in the 19th century.  After 1760, attemots at mechanisation began, for example, using engines and steam winders.

This souce describes an accident that happened at Hartley Colliery in 1765.
Click on the image link below to see an extract from the source
Click here to read a transcript of the entire letter.

Letter describing the Hartley Colliery accident of 1765 (2DE 43/6/2)


1. How many people died in the accident at the pit?
2. How did the workers at the pit react to the accident?
3. Find two things that the writer of the letter is worried about.  Do you think he is most concerned about the miners or business?

Pitman's Bond from 1770 (2DE 7/6/10)
Click here for transcript


A bond was a contract between a pitman (or miner) and his employer.

1. What job is this contract for? Can you find out more about these jobs?
2. How long does this miners' contract last for?
3. How will the hewers be paid?

Letter from a former pitman, Matthew Hall (2DE 7/6/23).


1. How long has Matthew Hall worked in the mine?
2. Why has he written this letter?
3. What do you think the response will be?

Source Pack 3: In the Glass Works

This source is a list of the workmen depending upon the Glassworks (2DE 11/9/18).

click here for transcript


1. How many glassworks were employed by the Glassworks in 1772?
2. How many were men and how many were women?
3. What different jobs did they do? How many people did each job?
4. Where could you find out more about what these jobs were?
5. Which jobs pay the highest and lowest weekly wage?
6. What seems to be the usual length of time for a glassman's bond?

Letter regarding William Stark (2DE 11/4/9)
Click here for transcript


1. Considering the other sources, what do you think William Stark may have done?
2. Why do you think an employee may want to leave one glass house to work at another?

Section C

One person from each group should be nominated to try and recruit the rest of the class.  it is this person's job to think of positive elements of the job.

One person should take on the role of a person who has worked in this job, and didn't like it.  They should present the negative elements of the job.

They should each present their case in front of the rest of the class, who will then decide which job they want to take.

Click here to download answers for each section.
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Printed from Woodhorn web site.
URL: http://www.experiencewoodhorn.com/working-at-the-colliery/
Printed: 20/07/2018
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