Colliery history book plea

WITH the intention of publishing a local history book, I am researching the village of Bilton Banks and Longdyke Colliery, which were situated between Shilbottle and Lesbury.

Until 1925, the colliery at Longdyke employed over 240 men.

Bilton Banks was a village with 25 houses and a thriving community.

The houses were condemned in 1937 and demolished in the mid-1950s.

Now, at that location, there is nothing left but the former colliery manager’s house.

I have already amassed an amount of useful information, especially from the County Archives at Woodhorn.

I have census records, maps, accounts from former miners and technical information extracted from mining manuals and historical records.

I have obtained about 30 photographs from former residents of Bilton Banks – which include the Long Row, the colliery from a distance, several of the colliery yard with workmen, one or two groups of young people and one of men enjoying a rest at the top of the village.

I have listened to stories and recorded details of life in the village.

I have drawn from other people’s research, their published short-stories and poems, and have extracted details from records held by Bailiffgate Museum.

I will be visiting the Northumberland Estates archives at Alnwick castle this month and once I have marshalled all of my information, I will publish my material, which I am sure people whose family once lived at Bilton Banks or worked at the colliery and historians will find valuable.

I am conscious that in matters like this, I am bound to be missing absolutely crucial information.

I suspect there will be people among your readers who have photographs of their family at Bilton Banks, anecdotes, and verbal and written history which is worthy of being included in my book.

I can be contacted by email at barrystewart@talktalk.net or by telephone on 01670 716543.

I would dearly love to hear from anyone who has information or photographs which they are prepared to let me see and perhaps include in my book.

Barry Stewart,

Cramlington