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This is a picture of John Buddle, the gentleman who managed Wallsend Colliery for much of his life and most of the pit's life.
He came to Wallsend when he was 19 years old, in 1792. His father, also John Buddle, was the viewer and young John became his assistant. They had to make sure that lots of coal was mined as cheaply as possible. When his father died in 1806 John took his place as manager.
Coal had been mined in the North East of England for hundreds of years but this was the 'Industrial Revolution' and more and more machines were being used and many of them needed coal for fuel.
As more and more coal was needed the miners had to follow the coal seams deeper and further underground. Wallsend Colliery was really seven pits working to mine coal.
This caused two extra problems for the workers and manager.
Miners reached the coal by going down a pit shaft and worked by the light of candles and needed fresh air to breathe. More than 300m from the shaft bottom, the air became still and stale. There was a danger that explosive gases would collect.
If you dig a hole at the beach it begins to fill with water. This is what happens deep down in the mine. Water trickles through the rock and begins to flood the workings. Luckily, there were engineers and inventors who could solve some of the problems.
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20-Dec-2007 © North Tyneside Libraries 2007-8