“A Collier’s Laddie” by J Cornfield

When the late Jimmy Cornfield wrote this poem in 2005, he had this particular photo in mind. I’ve zoomed in to put it more in context.


“A Collier Laddie” by James Cornfield 2005

Amongst this bunch of colliers brothers,
Sits one who is different from the others,
He’s the boy at the front in the tackety bits.
Amid these colliers from nos 2 and 3 pits.

With hands on knees, “glenny lamp” in between,
Along with the neebor’s he’s proud to be seen,
Just a boy of 12 like the rest of his mates,
Doing a man’s job for very poor rates.

Those boys worked hard just like the men,
Pushing full hutches, again and again,
From the coal face towards the pit bottom,
Making sure that the ‘cleek’ wasn’t stopping.

Down the pit in the morning afore daylight,.
They never came back till it was night,
In the summertime it just seemed like fun
In wintertime they never ever saw the sun.

Why is this boy any different from the rest?
Well to me, it’s a story of great interest.
When I look at this photo, I feel very proud,
‘Tis my father John, who’s amidst this crowd.

Down the mine at the age of seven
These wee boys went to earn a living,
The boys worked hard just like the men,
Shovelling coal, pushing hutches again and again.

On social media:

Jim McDougall Miner’s were , and still are salt of the earth
Hugh Rodgers Just try to imagine a boy of seven down the pit for ten hours a day.

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