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The Pit Hooter from Northern United Colliery

A photo of the pit hooter from Northern

This December will see 50 years since the closure of the last deep mine in the Forest of Dean - Northern United. Above is the pit hooter that served the colliery. It was the custom in the Forest for all of the collieries to sound their pit hooters on the stroke of the new year. For several years after closure of Northern United this hooter was blown at midnight on December 31st - the blast being supplied by an Air Compressor.

On December 24th 2015, 50 years after the last shift, the Northern pit hooter was sounded on the site of the colliery. It was sounded by Mr Maurice Bent and powered from a compressed air generator.

Audio file of hooter:

Ian Gibson added (April 2017): "... lol aaah yes the sound of that hooter. When I was a young lad we lived at Highfield Road, Ruardean. My Grancher Mr Eric Morris lived on The Pludds. When he would have geusts around - or on special days, he would get his hooter out which also was from Northern Collery there were two) and give it a good old blast on his compressor. Mum, dad and friends... would be able to hear it at Ruardean, Highfield Road which is about 2-3 miles away as the crow flies. We all used to cheer when we heard it. Eric loved that thing, it meant a great deal to him".

"After working at Northern from a small boy until it closed, a lot of his mates lost their lives down there. His father worked down there to. He used to tell me and my brother that it was the proudest day of his life when he was allowed to start down that pit. He went on to be president of the Free Miners. I was so proud of that man. He'd sit and talk to you for hours about stuff to do with pits and that. He will be sadly missed. R.I.P Gramps, luv you".

"Lol John Craven came to interview Eric, and he said,'so Eric, to be a freeminer you've got to be born in the Forest of Dean?" No Eric said, The Hundreds of St. Briavels" and Craven said 'the Forest of Dean will do. With that Eric said 'if your going to tell facts to people they've got to be right, only a half wit would do otherwise". Mr Craven did not like that I can asure you lol".

"Anyhow drifted slightly there. Yes we have the othe hooter and its like it just left there, spotless. Hope you enjoyed my talk, only wish I could say more. One last thing ,it should have been Eric Morris in the middle of Cinderford not Dave Harvey. (no offence Dave) But Eric knew more about mining than anyone in the Forest, an that's a fact, ask anyone ... "

A photo of the Northern Hooter and Maurice Bent
Maurice Bent preparing to sound the Northern Hooter on Christmas Eve 2015.

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