April Miner of the Month: Graham Stringfellow AKA Kebab
Posted on by Anita O'Donovan
Each month we’ll be introducing you to our very own Miner Guides. We’ll delve in to their life in mining and discover just how they ended up at our Museum.
Pictured L-R: Kebab and underground working conditions ©From the BJD collection held at the National Mining Museum for England.
Graham Stringfellow AKA Kebab
Graham Stringfellow AKA Kebab began his coal mining journey on 1st December 1974 as an apprentice electrician, working alongside his dad and brother at Highgate Colliery. Highgate was situated at Goldthorpe near Doncaster, it had merged with Goldthorpe colliery in 1967/8 and later closed in 1994.
“When I qualified I was given 60s coal face as my regular job.” Graham, like many other miners, refers to the name of the district he was assigned to by its panel number 60.
“My dad was a tailgate shearer driver on 60s and my brother was on tail gate haulage.”
Tailgate haulage was where supplies were transported to the coal face where tailgate shearers were cutting in to the coal face (approx. 50m deep).
“I’ve definitely gained friends for life from mining because you watched each other’s back ‘darn pit and then washed each other back in t’showers.”
Graham came to be at the Museum through an available Electrical Engineer role.
“I spoke to old gaffer who said Caphouse were looking for a sparky, and the rest is history. There’s never a dull moment here at Caphouse, we have a laugh together but always treat the public with respect."
“I took a Bevin Boy ‘darn pit not so long ago.”
During World War II, there was a shortage of manpower in coal mining, an essential industry in war time. Ernest Bevin, then Minister for Labour, introduced a scheme whereby young boys were trained as miners instead of being sent to fight - hence the term Bevin Boys.
“He was showing his family what he used to do. He was in his 90s and couldn’t praise Caphouse enough for bringing back all his old memories.”
Want to learn more about Bevin boys, the coal face and the life of mining? Visit the Museum and our miners daily from 10am – 5pm and experience the mine itself.
Next month we'll be talking to Eric Richardson AKA (wait for it...) Eric.
Have you met Kebab? Leave your comments below!