Lady Chatterley's Lover HTML version
Tevershall pits were running thin. There were only two collieries: Tevershall itself,
and New London. Tevershall had once been a famous mine, and had made
famous money. But its best days were over. New London was never very rich,
and in ordinary times just got along decently. But now times were bad, and it was
pits like New London that got left.
"There's a lot of Tevershall men left and gone to Stacks Gate and Whiteover,'"
said Mrs. Bolton. "You've not seen the new works at Stacks Gate, opened after
the war, have you, Sir Clifford? Oh, you must go one day, they're something quite
new: great big chemical works at the pit-head, doesn't look a bit like a colliery.
They say they get more money out of the chemical by-products than out of the
coal--I forget what it is. And the grand new houses for the men, fair mansions! of
course it's brought a lot of riff-raff from all over the country. But a lot of Tevershall
men got on there, and doin' well, a lot better than our own men. They say
Tevershall's done, finished: only a question of a few more years, and it'll have to
shut down. And New London'll go first. My word, won't it be funny when there's
no Tevershall pit working. It's bad enough during a strike, but my word, if it closes
for good, it'll be like the end of the world. Even when I was a girl it was the best
pit in the country, and a man counted himself lucky if he could on here. Oh,
there's been some money made in Tevershall. And now the men say it's a
sinking ship, and it's time they all got out. Doesn't it sound awful! But of course
there's a lot as'll never go till they have to. They don't like these new fangled
mines, such a depth, and all machinery to work them. Some of them simply
dreads those iron men, as they call them, those machines for hewing the coal,
where men always did it before. And they say it's wasteful as well. But what goes
in waste is saved in wages, and a lot more. It seems soon there'll be no use for
men on the face of the earth, it'll be all machines. But they say that's what folks
said when they had to give up the old stocking frames. I can remember one or
two. But my word, the more machines, the more people, that's what it looks like!
They say you can't get the same chemicals out of Tevershall coal as you can out
of Stacks Gate, and that's funny, they're not three miles apart. But they say so.
But everybody says it's a shame something can't be started, to keep the men
going a bit better, and employ the girls. All the girls traipsing off to Sheffield every
day! My word, it would be something to talk about if Tevershall Collieries took a
new lease of life, after everybody saying they're finished, and a sinking ship, and
the men ought to leave them like rats leave a sinking ship. But folks talk so much,
of course there was a boom during the war. When Sir Geoffrey made a trust of
himself and got the money safe for ever, somehow. So they say! But they say
even the masters and the owners don't get much out of it now. You can hardly
believe it, can you! Why I always thought the pits would go on for ever and ever.
Who'd have thought, when I was a girl! But New England's shut down, so is
Colwick Wood: yes, it's fair haunting to go through that coppy and see Colwick
Wood standing there deserted among the trees, and bushes growing up all over
the pit-head, and the lines red rusty. It's like death itself, a dead colliery. Why,
whatever should we do if Tevershall shut down--? It doesn't bear thinking of.
Always that throng it's been, except at strikes, and even then the fan-wheels