People of Chatterley Whitfield – John Cope

You never stop finding out things and today 18.10.2014 on the tour of the site I was joined by my young assistant John Cope, only 91 years of age. He has a wealth of knowledge which I hope I will be able to expand more on when I interview him. In the meantime I found a hand written piece done by John and here is an extract from it;
I arrived at Whitfield Villas, Ball Green, Norton with family in 1935, Dad having been appointed Manager.
In a previous post as Under Manager of a drift mine near Denby Pottery he allowed my brother and I to explore underground mining at an early age.
I was not aware in those days what the immediate past of Chatterley Whitfield comprised, but looking back to the start of the 20th Century it appeared to be expanding… Putting a new shaft at the Middle in 1913. The war slowed things down but sinking a much bigger shaft at the Hesketh in 1920 and much deeper showed the intent to grow.
The economic situation and post war circumstances slowed things down until early 1930’s, when new screens, washing plant, Lancashire Boilers, Fitting and Electrical shops were constructed. Pit Head Baths were also built.
One day as I was going to school, late 1930’s I noticed that the winding ropes at the Middle Pit were hanging loose. I went back home and reported to Dad. I had never seen him move so quick, but before he could leave, the phone rang to tell that the cage had crashed, but no men were involved. A little relaxed he drove up to work…
I went to Wolstanton Grammar School (all boys) until 1938 when i was fifteen. I was then sent to join the Underground Surveying team of five, of which Ralph Jack was in charge…
I was put with the underground staff to get me to learn about surveying, but also to learn about the extent of the mine working which in 1940 was 41 miles of roadways……
TO BE CONTINUED………