Haswell Cages

Celebrates of the installation of steam-powered cages at Haswell Mine and mentions the railway used to carry coals to Hartlepool and steam ships used for pleasure trips.


Come all you good people and listen a while.
I'll sing you a song that will cause you to smile.
It is about Haswell I mean for to sing,
Concerning the new plan we started last spring.
     And the very first thing I will mention,
     Without any evil intention,
     Its concerning this new invention
     Of winding up coals in a cage. [Note 151.1]

It was eighteen hundred and thirty eight, [Note 151.2]
We began to prepare to make the shaft right.
We put in the conductors from bottom to top,
The materials were ready prepared at the shop
     From the top of the pit to the bottom:
     One hundred and fifty-six fathom
     And the distance you do think it nothing,
     You rise so quickly in the cage.

Now, considering the depth, it's surpising to say
The quantitiy of work we can draw in a day.
Five hundred and thirty tons of the best coal
In the space of twelve hours we can lift up this hole [Note 151.3]
     About forty-five tons in an hour.
     And viewers, overmen and hewers'
     Our engines must have a great power
     To run at such speed with a cage.

Then as soon as the tubs(1) do come to the day(1),
To the weighing machine they are taken away,
Where two men are appointed there to attend
To see justice done between master and men.
     And when they leave the weighing machine sir,
     Straightway they do go to the screen sir
     And the keeler does see that they're clean sir
     All the coals that come up in the cage.

I've wrought with the corves(1) and I've wrought with the tubs
I have wrought where the baskets come up by the lugs(1),
I've wrought by the dozen, I've wrought by the score,
But this curious contrivance I ne'er saw before.
     When we get in then they pull the rapper(1).
     At the top it does make a great clatter,
     And the brakesmen they know what's the matter,
     And bring us away in a cage.

And when the bell rings and the top we approach,
It oft puts me in mind of a new railway coach.  [Note 151.4]
The number of passengers I cannot tell,
But she brings a great many, I know very well.
     But I wish they may not overload her
     And do some mischief on the road sir
     Too much charge makes a cannon explode sir
     And so will too much in a cage.

Now the young men and maids sometimes take a trip
Out to sea in fine weather aboard a steam ship, [Note 151.5]
But if any be curious enough to engage
For a trip down below and a ride in our cage,
     It would be a fine recreation
     For to go down and view the low station.
     I wish they may meet no temptation
     When they take a trip in our cage.