Monday, 11 April 2011

Article - Princess wields a pick down a coalmine (Calverton Colliery)

Princess Margaret, who went down a coalmine yesterday for the first time at Calverton Colliery, near Nottingham, hacked out a piece of coal with a miner's pick and carried it away to be mounted as a memento.

During her visit, made at her request, the princess descended the 1,680ft. shaft and returned about an hour later with only the faintest smudge of coal-dust on one cheek and one mark on her white overalls. At the pit face the Princess was bent almost double as she clambered among the pit props. She watched a coal-cutting machine at work, operated by Mr Fred Croome, of Bullwell, and Mr Joe Redhill, of Calverton, and was then asked if she would like to try her own hand at mining. She grasped the clean white shaft of a miner's pick and, after four short swings with the pick, had hewn her piece of Nottinghamshire coal. For the rest of the tour the Princess carried her piece of coal in her gloved hand.

Before re-entering the cage for the ascent, the Princess called for the locomotive driver, Mr Frank Sutton Gee, of Arnold, and thanked him for the way he had driven her round the pit. She told the colliery manager, Mr J. Sheldon, that it had been a "wonderful experience." Earlier, the Princess inaugurated a new colliery at Cotgrave, Nottinghamshire, by cutting the first turf on the site. Arriving from London by air, she was greeted by Sir Hubert Houldsworth, chairman of the National Coal Board. In the new colliery two shafts are to be sunk nearly 700 yards to develop reserves estimated to yield 200,000,000 tons from eight seams. The daily output will eventually be 5,000 tons, the colliery will employ 2,300 men.

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