Re: Board Topic – Slag Heap…
Posted by Norman Dunn on November 12, 2020, 9:00 am, in reply to "Re: Board Topic – Slag Heap…"
My family moved to a new Council House , 9 Grasmere Rd in 1953 when I was about 9 years old, which was great for me because some of my mates lived round the corner in Windermere Cres, along side the Slag Heap. Outside their back gardens was a rough grassy piece of land about 25 yds wide, then the massive Slag Heap looming two or three times higher than the houses. It probably stretched 200 yds as it went from Bede’s Well area near Cambridge Ave nearly to The Grange Farmhouse in Monkton Village. It was about 100 ft high at Windermere Cres end, but a bit higher at the Jarrow end. On top near Windermere was a cylindrical shaped steel box with a door. I didn’t know what it was unless it was a pill box left over from the War or maybe for protection when blasting? The Heap was our playground and and above Bede’s well was what we called ‘The Canyon’ . When you walked into it, it was circular with 10ft walls of slag so the only way out without climbing was the way you came in. That is the. |
entrance to the canyon on the photo below. A Hebburn man sometimes came and played his Bagpipes in the Canyon, as it must have been like an Amphitheatre with good acoustics.
Above the Canyon on the level part of the Slag heap stood 2 massive concrete structures that we called ‘The Pyramids’. When Bonfire night was getting close we sometimes dug up wooden sleepers left over from the time the old rail track was there for the trucks of white hot molten slag from Palmers Iron Works blast furnaces. The Pyramids had something to do with those rail lines.
Quite a bit wildlife lived on the Slagheap eg Jackdaw’s, Kestrel Hawks, a type of owl called a ‘Little Owl’ that nested in holes, Barn Owls that probably nested in the building at ‘The Crusher’ which was alongside the Pontop Coal Lines.. There was a lot of rabbits on the heap and small birds called ‘Wheatears’
We often heard explosions on the Slag Heap as they dynamited it by drilling deep holes in the face and stemming with dynamite, then remotely trigger massive explosions. We sometimes talked to workers on the heap and they said it will take 70 years to clear it completely. I can picture the man who told me that, as he had an allotment at the rear of Reyrolles close to South Drive. Maybe someone will know his name? The gravel produced from the slag was sold as hardcore for road building so when I got my first motorbike early 1960s, my dad decided he’d like a Garage for his car and my bike. We dug out between the house and next door for a drive and garage base and bought a lorry load of gravel direct from the Slag Heap company. That means there is a little bit of the Slag Heap still there between 7 & 9 Grasmere Rd.