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"I absolutely love the job, I love doing it, and talking to folk. "They get in through the vents up there," Pam shows me, pointing up to the roof, "And sometimes when I come in in the morning I find them waiting by the door to be let out!
" The remains of the Colliery are at Kells, on the cliffs above Whitehaven.
That day, David explained that this sandstone, which had been oxidised to a dark red colour by exposure to the air, would have looked much paler to the miners burrowing beneath the sea – and suddenly, the flat seascape took on an entirely new dimension.
It is startling to discover that coal has been mined in the Whitehaven area since the 1700s, and Haig Pit, the last to close, was shut down in 1986, so there are still people around who worked in the colliery or remember the pit and the locomotives and coal-ships.
Ted Wilson's hand-drawn map reveals even more: dotted across the mainland are tiny circles that indicate small, sealed-off workings, with names like Knockmorton pit, Burnt pit, Wood-a-green and Thicket.