My father - miners' leader

   James Hanna

My father, as check-weighman and union official, was much respected by miners and management alike. He was a man of integrity. He had dedicated his life to improve the lot of coal miners. One of his colleagues described him as being 'one of nature's gentlemen'. His calm but forthright negotiating for over twenty years had won for the miners - Pit Head Baths, Convalescent Homes, improved wages and working conditions. As check-weighman he was paid by the miners themselves; his job was to check the weight of the coal mined, with the recordings made by the mine owner's weighman as the coal-tubs were pushed onto the scales. Before the days of check-weighmen, there were times the miners considered that they were not being given the full credit for their labours. Men like James Hanna made sure the miners were given their fair whack. 

James Hanna, known as Jimmy to his friends, had come to live in Burnley when his bid to make a living in the gold mines of New Zealand and South Africa had failed. It was not so much his dislike for the work, but his dislike of the treatment of the black workers - this had disillusioned him of the good times and fortunes to be made in either New Zealand or South Africa. He was also homesick, so with only enough money to travel steerage, he returned to 'dear old England' without so much as two pennies to rub together. He was befriended by Tom Holland a Burnley man. 

I do not recall if I was ever told of how dad met mother, but she was the sister of Tom Holland and they were all good friends. Mother was a weaver.

Mother, dad, brother Bill, and Sam

There were four of us in the family; dad, mother (Esther Alice), my brother William and me.