Dennis Hawes

Westoe colliery was opened in 1909, and closed 84yrs later in 1993.
It was a super pit mining one million tons of coal per year.
At its peak in the 1980’s over two thousand men were employed there. It stretched for 7 miles under the north sea and still held 500yrs of coal still to be mined. However Mrs Thatcher had other ideas and westoe was closed with the rest.

Men were paid off by degrees, The work taking months to complete closing a section at a time. Finally there was only a skeleton staff left.

When the final day came the few remaining men walked out and shift engineer Dennis Hawes clicked the lock shut on the gates. He had worked there for over twenty years and had made many friends there.

A sad end to a once thriving industry,and an even sadder day for all the men thrown out of work, and their familys future’s

Denis went on to work at the pit in Ellington.