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THESE images throw light on an industry and accompanying way of life that were an integral part of the North East in the 20th century.

They recall the life and times of Ellington Colliery, which stood near Ashington in Northumberland.

The photos come from a new picture DVD, released by the prolific Six Townships History Group, called Ellington Colliery: Remembering The Past.

The group's secretary John Dawson, 60, hails from Choppington, Northumberland, and is himself a former miner.

He said: "This year the group will be concentrating on our new colliery series."

John went on: "Who would have believed the demise of the mines? I remember my dad saying 'If you get a job at the pit, you've got a job for life'. How far from the truth can that be?" The DVD joins another Six Townships production, Lynemouth Colliery: Remembering the Past, which was released earlier this year.

John added: "These DVDs will bring memories back, not just for anyone who worked at Ellington Colliery, but for anyone who has an interest in coal-mining.

Meanwhile, John also runs two popular Facebook sites, Six Townships History Group and Coal Mining Memories UK.

Ellington was the last operating deep mine of the Great North Coalfield. Its end came in February 2005 when water catastrophically burst out from the coal face of a new development in the mine that should have assured at least another five years of life for the pit. The face and all of its equipment was lost. Although pumps were employed for a short time to stop the inundation from flooding the rest of the mine, UK Coal deemed the situation economically irretrievable and the colliery was finally closed with the loss of 340 jobs.

Opened in 1909 as part of the Ashington Coal Company, Ellington's workforce soared from less than 800 at the outbreak of the First World War to 1,200 in 1921, and to an all-time high of 2,179 at the time of the 1984 strike.

In 1983 the pit set a record, producing 1m tonnes of coal in 29 weeks.

My dad you get pit, you've for life. from the that John From employing more than 2,100 men in the 1980s, the announcement in 2005 left the region's 340 remaining miners out of work and the surrounding community stunned.

Once there had been 200 pits across the Northumberland and Durham Coalfields, and at the end of the Second World War there were 148,000 men employed in the mines.

It was North East coal which fuelled the industrial revolution and the heavy industries that sprang up across the region.

told me: If job at the got a job How far truth can be? Tommy Foster had lived in Ellington all his life. He worked in the mine from the age of 14 until he retired in 1983.

Dawson The 81-year-old told the Chronicle in 2005: "They should have done everything to keep that pit open. There's miles of sea coal as well, just off the coast.

"Oil will run out and some day they're going to have to come back for all this. It's terrible - there used to be over 2,000 workers at that pit.

"It was a community as well as a place to work. We were like a family - everybody helped each other."

| |Ellington Colliery: Remembering The Past by the Six Townships History Group is available from Sixtownships & Six-T Media at It is also on sale at Al's superstore on Station Road, Ashington. Phone: 01670 852504. The DVD is priced at PS5.99, and runs for 60 minutes.

all-time high of of the in It was North which fuelled revolution heavy that across in his mine age of retired My dad told me: If you get a job at the pit, you've got a job for life. How far from the truth can that be? John Dawson


Ellington Colliery and its pithead baths, c1940

Ellington Colliery and the quickest million tonnes produced, 1983. All pictures from the DVD, Remembering The Past: Ellington Colliery (Six Townships History Group)

Ellington Colliery, c1912

Underground at Ellington Colliery, c1945

Underground at Ellington Colliery, 1980s
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Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:May 26, 2016
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