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Shaft-sinking Crews at Boulby Potash

This is an image from an archive we were given access to.  It shows the shaft-sinking crews from Boulby Potash Mine who broke the European Shaft-sinking record with 400 feet in 30 days on the 4th February 1971 on the Rock Shaft. (This record was beaten again during the sinking of the Main Shaft). The names of the men (where known) are on a separate post. Phillip Smith tells us: ”My granddad James Stanley Smith worked as a steel fixer whilst the shaft was being sunk.” Steve Peirson also tells us: ”Hi! Yes you are correct I was at Boulby also at Whitemoor from 3rd March 1980 to 23rd August 1985; from start to finish. I was on no. 1 shaft and finished off no 2 shaft, they were tough days; my works number was 10. I worked with Mick Lanigan, Dennis Shepard, Eddie Catron, Mick Libby, Barry Johnson, Les and Neville Wheatley, George Cox, Jacker Porriit and the late Terry Lofthouse; Liam and Charlie Johnson and worked with many, many more good lads!” M. Cundy tells us: ”I also can remember all names listed at Whitemoor, especially Dennis Shepard the winder driver. I too started in February 1980 till the end of sinking. There were many problems least of all when water chased the working platform back up the shaft quicker than winder could winch it on No 2 Shaft. Working in Foraky frozen shaft early on was a trauma for the sinkers too I recall.” We also have a request from Gary Hayes: ”Hi all, I am looking for some information on my father (Wilf Hayes), I can remember going with him on numerous occasion (I think in the late sixties) to the Cleveland Potash Mine; he worked for a German firm called Deutag. He was from Mansfield in Nottinghamshire and so was several other crew members. If any one could give dates when this was and any other information on him and crew members would appreciate it? Many thanks.” Steve Peirson further tells us: ” Deutag did the drilling around the rock shaft in 1970 for Foraky, to freeze the ground while the shaft was being sunk. I remember it I was only twenty at the time and work for the mine construction consortium.”

Image courtesy of Alan Franks and thanks to Phillip Smith, Steve Peirson, M. Cundy, Joan Webster, Gary Hayes and Alan for the updates and memories.

2 comments to Shaft-sinking Crews at Boulby Potash

  • Daniel Murphy

    Me? Danny Murphy, former shaft fitter at #2 shaft Whitemoor mine Dec 1979 to the miners strike I stumbled on this site by accident while looking for a photograph of the team at #2 shaft Guinness book of Records team. I thought it was in the Yorkshire Evening Post late 1983 but the names mentioned took me back .John Leighton fitter Roger Brewins fitter Jack the fitter foreman Les and Neville Wheately Charlie Johnson, Gimpee on #1 shaft(shaft captains as I recall) The unrelated Williams brothers across from the power generating shaft at Dinorwig Wales. 40 years from such a barbaric job dims my memory
    Mick Cundy was an electrician I think

  • Just being looking at the old photographs that Alan has in collection and has posted them on this forum it brings back many memories when I was just 21 and the young shaft sinkers walking from the changing room to the rock shaft for the start of shift smoking cigars which they could well afford and well earned.
    Well done Alan you have done a great job of preserving the memories thank you.
    Steve peirson.

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