Dicing with Death
Posted by Lln Green on October 25, 2018, 11:12 am
The Council have just been cutting the hedges across the road from where I live and have cut back to expose an old gatepost and some railway sleeper fencing.
This gatepost was at the entrance to an old N.C.B. coal depot that was used to load the lorries that delivered the minerís concessionary coal.
The depot was closed around 1965 when the distribution plant moved to Follonsby, but the site remained until it was covered over by the by-pass that ran from the White Mare Pool to Heworth.
Back then, as kids of 8 or 9 years old in the early 1950ís, never thinking of the risks, we used to play in the distribution plant when it was closed down over the weekends.
It was a great big adventure playground for us kids, with all manner of girders, chutes and staircases to climb over and hide behind.
But thinking back, one game we used to play now scares the life out of me.
The plant had a main hopper that was filled from railway wagons and three small coal hoppers to supply the coal lorries. These small hoppers were fed by means of a conveyor belt that ran across the plant from the main hopper. Above each hopper was a knife- board which could be dropped down across the conveyor belt to divert the coal and make it fall into the individual hoppers. When the hopper was full, it was raised and the next board dropped.
We used to lower all three boards and start the conveyor belt, then stand on the belt and ride along the belt like surfers, jumping over each board as we came to it, then stepping off as we came to the end.
Another variation was to raise the boards then lie on the belt, skimming under the boards like limbo dancers.
As 8 year old kids, we never realised the life-threatening risks we were taking.