Henry Rowland Gray had been a driller and shotfirer in the Weardale limestone quarries. He brought his skills to the slag heap and used explosives there, to release the slag for crushing and use on road building in the north east. There was much arduous hand work too, using hammers and steel spikes. Often the slag was undermined without support. Miraculously nobody was killed.
My father was injured by an excavator bucket there and he eventually had to seek lighter work.
I understand that the slag heap was then owned by a Mr Clarkson of Cleadon Village.
Later in the 1960s, he sold it to Tarmac Ltd. Working methods changed as heavy machinery was brought in.
My late father recalls that many men from Boldon, Jarrow and Hebburn worked on the slag heap.
Some years ago, 1980s I would say, the Shields Gazette published an article on the "Herculean Slag Fallers" based on an interview with Henry Rowland Gray and his own photographs, showing day to day work there.
I must have those photographs somewhere. If I find them, would you be interested in putting them on your site ?
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