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Photos of Wigan
Photos of Wigan

Photo-a-Day Archive
Photo-a-Day Archive

Photo-a-Day  (Thursday, 22nd January, 2015)

Part of some slag heaps

Part of some slag heaps
Close to Park Road, Hindley.

Photo: Mick Byrne  (Sony HDR)
Views: 4,084

Comment by: Alan (on Vancouver Island) on 22nd January 2015 at 00:32

What on Earth is a slag heap?

Comment by: Dan Baker on 22nd January 2015 at 07:59

That,s one of your old photos were you "Mick" was spying and taking pictures of the young couple by the side of one of those rocks.?

Comment by: Helen on 22nd January 2015 at 08:12

Alan, I expect there are people more able to tell you what a slag heap was than me but it was literally a large hill made from waste from the coal industry. Most pits would have a slag heap. No one ever thought they might be dangerous, kids played on them etc. Then one day in Wales in the village of Aberfan it happened. Much rain shifted the a slag heap above the village and like an avalanche it move downward & engulfed the village school & part of the village. Many people died, a generation of children were wiped out.

Comment by: maggie on 22nd January 2015 at 09:54

I also remember as a child, a miner was climbing one in order to check something when he was engulfed by it & they couldn't recover his body (I am not sure about that). it was the slag heap that was near to the railway bridge over the canal below Victoria Road Platt Bridge.

Comment by: Alan on 22nd January 2015 at 10:03

Dan your a fool useing that sort of statment.
You get about Mick, well done.

Comment by: Giovanni on 22nd January 2015 at 11:56

You're right maggie!
Those slag heaps were like shifting sand; very dangerous. But as kids playing cowboys, you could get shot and roll right down!

Comment by: Ow on 22nd January 2015 at 13:38

Mick,I know this place well.Old pit rucks used to catch fire underground and the grey pit dirt turned red under the heat.It was dug out and used for building purposes.These rocks are what was left behind.I remember several in this area burning and giving off a strong smell of sulphur and leaving yellow sulphur on the ground,you could see them glowing.They were very dangerous places and we were told about a man sinking in the ground and being burned.

Comment by: Garry on 22nd January 2015 at 13:39

When was this taken Mick, plenty leaves on the trees?
Good photo.

Comment by: David - Wigan ex pat. on 22nd January 2015 at 14:01

Alan, Helen is more or less on the button when describing a slag heap.
It was all the shale , Coal dust and fragments piled up to make a hill. Many of them were hundreds of metres high and the compacted weight of them caused them to move, this movement caused a great amount of friction and the "heap" caught fire in the middle.
You could very often see smoke rising all around the heap. As a child I used to climb up the ones at Pony Dick(an area between Pemberton ,Winstanley and Worsley Mesnes) and slide down in a corrugated roof section of a wartime Nissan hut.
Almost all have them have been removed now and the wasteland has become housing estates.

Comment by: Alan (on Vancouver Island) on 22nd January 2015 at 14:19

Thank you Helen and David for your explanations. They have revived a long dormant section of my aging brain !

Comment by: phred on 22nd January 2015 at 15:59

Aberfan was a tragedy,not exactly a slag heap,more of a slurry heap.The rain did not help.I had college friends who worked on the rescue..sorry...recovery,extremely traumatic!

Comment by: Mags on 22nd January 2015 at 15:59

We used to slide down one not far from Whitley Crossing on a tin tea tray. No health and safety then and I'm still hear seventy years later.

Comment by: Neil Rigby on 22nd January 2015 at 19:05

David - Wigan ex pat, the photo link below should bring back some memories. The photo was taken on a slag heap (otherwise known as a spoil heap) next to Pemberton Station (Highfield Church in the background)


Comment by: Helen on 22nd January 2015 at 19:40

Mags, was Whitley Crossing anywhere near the end of St Clements Road, past Cherry Gardens ? If it was, my my sister Anne & I used to go down to the crossing to see what we thought was the Flying Scotsman go by.

Comment by: Steve on 22nd January 2015 at 20:58

I remember during WW2 attempts were made to extinguish the smouldering slag heaps in the Wigan area as they were a dead giveaway to enemy aircraft.

Comment by: Mags on 22nd January 2015 at 21:44

Looking at the comments, it must have been a Beechillers playground. I lived in Kaburnum a grove and school holidays were alway spent in the fields round and about near Whitley. Armed with a bottle of pop and "make sure you home my teatime" ringing in our ears we went to see the tains and no doubt get up to some mischief or other.

Comment by: Ernest Pyke on 22nd January 2015 at 22:29

Helen and Mags; That slag heap near Whitley crossing was Scouts Hill. A tennis club was near there.

Comment by: Mags on 23rd January 2015 at 15:38

I'd forgotten it was called Scouts Hill, another memory for storage :-))

Comment by: David - Wigan ex pat. on 23rd January 2015 at 22:05

Neil , Thanks for the link ,it reminded me of bygone times.

Comment by: Ernest Pyke on 23rd January 2015 at 22:15

Mags; The smaller slag heap nearby was Cubs Hill.

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