Bill commenced employment as a “junior” in the time office at Chatterley Whitfield Colliery on 18th October 1928 following in the footsteps of his father, uncles and grandfather (his grandfather joined the Whitfield Colliery Company in 1870).
The family interest in the colliery led Bill to study the history of Chatterley Whitfield Colliery Company which in turn led to further studies of both the coal mining industry in general and the railway industries in North Staffordshire.
Bill’s interest in the coal mining industry in North Staffordshire was stimulated by a visit to Great Chell Cricket Club where, after work one Saturday afternoon in the late 1920’s, he was intrigued by a large smoking chimney to the west of the cricket club. Realising that it was on the western boundary of the North Staffordshire coal field he was determined to discover where it was. He eventually made his way there on bicycle one Saturday afternoon soon after to discover that it was Jamage Colliery which was situated close to the present Normid supermarket in Talke.
From around 1928 to 1935 Bill cycled all over North Staffordshire photographing every colliery structure whether working or derelict and it represents a unique view of the industry during this period. He also took photographs throughout the district as well of railway installations and structures.
After 1935, Bill continued to take photographs and also acquired the collections of other photographers. However, he severed the 87 year family connection with Chatterley Whitfield Colliery when he left on 30th September 1957.
In August 1998 Bill donated his photographic collection to the University of Keele. The William Jack collection of photographs, and books, relating principally to the Chatterley Whitfield colliery, but also to other collieries and railways in North Staffordshire, is housed in the Special Collections department.
Bill passed away in 2004, and is sadly missed.
People of Chatterley Whitfield – Bill Jack