THE ROYAL VISIT

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In January 1975 all the management staff was called to a meeting, this was not a meeting that was normally scheduled, so staff was a little apprehensive.

 The Colliery manager was the late Peter Lawrence and he chaired the meeting. He then explained that the purpose of the meeting was to announce that in July of that year there was to be a Royal visit to the Colliery of Her majesty the Queen & His Royal Highness Prince Phillip. This of course took everyone by surprise. 

No final date had been fixed at that time, but this would be announced in due coarse.

A programme was then tabled by the manger of what he proposed. The visit was to underground and was to be the Swallowood S10s face which at that time only been in production a short time and was an advancing unit.Colliery Manager Mr P. Lawrence

 The manager said that there would be a meeting about the visit every week and that detailed plans for each department would be drawn up and areas of responsibility would be allocated to each member of staff.

 I was designated with the underground arrangements as regards the mechanical aspects of the visit. This would include:

 Colliery Manager Mr. P. Lawrence

  1. The Coal Face machinery
  2. Transport of the Royal visitors to and from the Coal Face
  3. The Engine house of the man riding facility and its engine
  4. Ropes etc that were part of the man riding arrangement
  5. Testing of mechanical equipment
  6. Ensuring that the statuary books were up to date

 As can be seen from the list above it was quite a daunting task although it was a normal part of my responsibilities. This was an exceptional visit and everything had to be in excellent condition.

The surface arrangements were as far as the mechanical arrangements were concerned were the responsibility of the Mechanical engineer Mr. M.J. Cawkwell, he was also responsible   for the overall mechanical aspects of the visit.

Coal face - Ranging Drum Sheare

     Now that each area of responsibility had been set out a weekly report had to be carried out. Certain Area staff were also designated to oversee various tasks in conjunction with Colliery staff.

 

Typical coal face set up at Silverwood

At the time of the Royal visit

 

 Now that each area of responsibility had been set out a weekly report had to be carried out. Certain Area staff were also designated to oversee various tasks in conjunction with Colliery staff. 

As each meeting progressed all aspects were plotted on a chart, just as though it was a normal mining project and certain jobs were soon shown to be critical to the visit.

 After a few meeting a date emerged which was the 15th of July, so now we new the target date.  

The Royal visitors were to spend the previous night in the Royal train in the nearby sidings at the Colliery. This meant transporting them to the main Colliery offices and installing steps from the sidings to the main road. This involved the Colliery Joiners and painters.

As the date got nearer all the testing of Mechanical apparatus had to be carried out including the Winding gear, Ropes etc. This was carried out by Area testing team, which is normally carried out every 3 months by statute. Area winding staff would be on duty at the Colliery at the time of the visit as back up to Colliery staff.

Staff had been designated there positions for the visit and my position was to be underground at the main engine house, which meant in effect I would not be meeting the visitors, as you can imagine I was a little disappointed. The day of the visit finally arrived and the party arrived on time at about 101 am in the Colliery yard (see visit of King George V in 1912 on photo below.

                                          

 

he Queen & Colliery Manager

At the coal face

                                                                        

 

 

King George V visit to Silverwood

Colliery 1912

 

 

 

 

 

hey were then escorted underground by the Manager and his senior staff including undermanager and Deputy Manager. The Rope hauled Paddy mail transported the visitors to the Return gate to the S10s Coal face and another short ride to the coal was arranged by Diesel Locomotive.. After a short while about 30 minutes the   Royal visitors were safely escorted back to the paddy mail engine house to meet the engine driver and Deputy. The visitors were then escorted out of the mine

  They were then escorted underground by the Manager and his senior staff including undermanager and Deputy Manager. The Rope hauled Paddy mail transported the visitors to the Return gate to the S10s Coal face and another short ride to the coal was arranged by Diesel Locomotive.. After a short while about 30 minutes the   Royal visitors were safely escorted back to the paddy mail engine house to meet the engine driver and Deputy. The visitors were then escorted out of the mine

Members of staff who were not underground were lined up In the Colliery yard and introduced to the Royal party.

 The visitors then left the Colliery premises and returned to the Royal train were they could have a bath and return to there normal duties.

 After the Royal party had left a small buffet meal had been arranged for Staff, the National Coal Board Chairman at that time Mr. D, Ezra also attended the Buffet.

The manager then thanked every one concerned that the visit had been successful

And that the Colliery and indeed the whole industry would benefit from such a visit.

 From my point of view it was one of the highlights of my time at Silverwood and one that I will not forget

 John Lindley BSc

Deputy Mechanical Engineer Silverwood Colliery

 

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