Golden Wedding of Mr & Mrs Walter Barrett [1939]

The Halifax Courier [Saturday 10th June 1939] published an article celebrating the Golden Wedding of Mr & Mrs Walter Barrett

After a whole working lifetime – and by that is meant 62 years but for a few months – down the pit, Mr Walter Barrett of 28, Bank Top, Southowram, today feels no ill-effects from his sunless life underground. At the age of 71, he and Mrs Barrett are celebrating their Golden Wedding.

How would you like your son to be working at the age of 8, and at the age of 10 working down a mine? Mr Barrett was 8 years old when he started working as a band maker in Charlestown, Halifax, and at the age of 10 first entered a mine. Up to the age of 12 he was working as a short timer. His first mine was the coal mine at Sunnybank, Southowram, now, of course, closed down. He stayed in the coal mine from boyhood until the age of 35 when it closed down. He then obtained employment in a clay mine at Shibden Hall where he became under-manager, and remained there until his retirement 2 years ago. Mr Barrett spoke about the matter of ponies working in pits. It appears that, at the time, some people did not believe ponies worked in pits. Mr Barrett cleared this up saying

there were ponies down pits; there were ponies down sunnybank; I was in charge of two ponies up to the time I finished at Sunnybank

Were they well looked after?

He replied

Yes, they were well looked after

He also said he had never known any ponies going blind when brought out into daylight.

He had never been involved in any serious pit accident.

His father was the late Thomas Henry Barrett who worked at Darfield Main and Southowram.

During his time at Sunnybank, Mr & Mrs Barrett lived at Pit Hill, Southowram.

Mrs Barrett was Clara Marsden daughter of the late Edwin Marsden of Bailey Hall Bank and was a joiner at Dean Clough. Mr & Mrs Barrett had two children, Clifford who is now married and living in Derby and who served in India all four years of the Great War. The daughter Amy, who is married, lives with them


© Malcolm Bull 2021
Revised 17:03 / 7th April 2021 / 4160

Page Ref: X521

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