Looking at the beauty of the fields as sunset approached, I was reminded that in my younger days High Spen was a place of contrasts. On one hand the noise, dirt and ugliness of the colliery, and on the other the fantastic beauty of the woods and fields all around. How dreadful it must have been for granddad Pears, who started his working life as a farm hind, to end up down the pit.
Both were hard, back-breaking jobs, but a farm-worker had the beauty and healthy conditions of the countryside. A miner had none of that, and he had the constant danger of explosion and collapse plus a myriad of less obvious threats to health. And grand-dad was a victim of his work. The pit damaged his eyes, forcing him to work on the surface; and leg injuries suffered in an accident undoubtedly led to the fall which killed him four months later – though, of course, the NCB claimed otherwise. The “good old days” indeed!