Turning back the clock to the 1860s

Clifton Church Choir - 1953 - 54
Clifton Church Choir - 1953 - 54

I am sure there are still a few residents in Clifton who can remember what the village was like back in the 1950s when this photograph was taken of the church choir.

I don’t know what kind of occupations these young lads went on to do in their adult lives but if we turned the clock back almost a hundred years to the 1860s they could have found themselves working at Clifton Colliery which was known locally as Green Lane Pit.

Or possibly Hartshead Colliery which was opened in 1882 some 17 years after the one at Green Lane and then there was Coates Pit which was opened a couple of years later in 1884.

These are just three of the 11 coal mines that operated in the Clifton and Hartshead areas from the 1850s.

By 1893 there is evidence to show that of these 11 mines several of them were unused.

Working shifts of 14 hours in the dark by eight-year-olds was common place and, as with the children of parents in the textile trades, these children had to also work to help bolster the meagure wages earned by their parents.

But how deep were the mines these children would find themselves working in?

The Green Lane Pit was 340ft deep and the Hartshead Pit was even deeper at 500ft with Coates Pit at 525ft which was by far the deepest in the area.

Looking across the open fields from Highmoor Lane there are undulations on the land which indicates that it has been tipped on.

It was over these fields where the trolley trucks carried the coal as part of the journey to the coal’s eventual destination.

Where did the coal go to? Across the fields carried down to the Brighouse Gas Company which was at the back of the canal basin.

Thankfully these choir members would never have had to work up to 14 hours underground but I am sure they will remember the day they walked out of the school gates for the last time to begin their first day in the world of work.

The choir members are back row left to right: ? Boothroyd, Richard Ramsden, David Shaw and ? Boothroyd. Front row left to right: Jimmy Avison, Michael Anderton, Robert Wilkinson, Roy Peaker and Alan Ramsden, but who is the man conducting the choir?