father - miners' leader
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
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.