Recording and conserving our industrial heritage doesn’t just mean the bricks and mortar of the mining sites, many local communities only exist due to the ironstone mines, families migrated from all over the country to work in the ironstone mines and in the booming iron and steel industry.
Peter Appleton of the Skelton Local History Group has been kind enough to share the following photograph and biography of his grandfather.
Here’s an ironstone miner who didn’t die in a mine, or on the Western Front in WW1. His name was Fred Appleton, my grandfather, and he worked at several local mines, including Skelton Park. He started work in 1906, at the age of 15. In 1913, he joined the 4th Battalion Yorkshire Regiment as a Bandsman. With them, he attended the annual camp in 1913, when it was held on the fields of Wheatlands and Ings farms at Redcar. When war became imminent, in July 1914, the battalion was… recalled from annual camp at Deganwy in North Wales. They shipped over to France in April 1915 and were thrust straight into action, plugging gaps in the allied lines caused by the Germans first use of gas. In April 1918 he married his childhood sweetheart. After the war they settled down to domestic life in Harker Street, Skelton Green. During the depression years of the late-1920s, Fred took the family down to Bircotes and was employed at Harworth Colliery. My father was born whilst the family were living in Bircotes. They came back to Skelton Green just before WW2, living in Manless Terrace. Fred died in 1966.