In John’s first piece he has written about the mines in the area he grew up in. There were disasters, but when the death only involved one person the town moved on and the family had the job of grieving on their own. It is a real lesson for us to remember those who are grieving over personal tragedies in their lives.
The story of boys 7-8-9 years of age down a mine working made salutary reading. It is important that these types of memories are recorded. Thanks for this John. he’s what he wrote:
I think I told you that I have my great granddad’s diary. It’s a wonderful history book of the UK north east. He was a mining engineer and a great collector of facts and figures of his time.
As you go through there are a lot of pages with the names of the pitmen who lost their lives down the pits. He really cared about the men one by one. I say this because everybody remembers the big disasters but they don’t remember when only one person lost his/her life.
When I was a lad at school Harry, one of my mates was sent for by the head master who told him his dad had been killed down Emma pit. Not long after 83 men were killed in an explosion at Easington colliery which made big national headlines and the families received all kinds of help and rightly so, it was a big disaster. Harry’s family didn’t get much help at all because his dad was the only one killed that day at Emma pit but it was as much a disaster to Harry’s family as was to each family at Easington. During the war we were all part of it, there were more civilians killed than servicemen but there are no remembrance services for them. It’s been like this all through my life time but it seems to be more so now. The diary does talk about pit “disasters”.it has two pages telling the stories of explosions at 6 different pits around the 1840s. Collectively there were 578 men and boys killed. When he says boys, he means boys, young lads of 7-8-9 years of age and one of the pits there were more boys killed than men. There are no memorials or anything like that for them but now, through my great granddad’s diary you and me can remember them.
John then wrote about housing:
I watched “A Living Hell” on the TV on Thursday night. It could have been called “Leaky department blocks” and it certainly showed the depth to which the building industry has plunged. Leaking department blocks that were built only 5 years ago and the construction work and some of the engineering designs were –– “unbelievable”. This is the only word I can think of. Fletchers seemed to be the main culprit, but there were others. Where were the building inspectors in local councils, and MBIE.? Where are they? The people who bought these apartments in good faith are now suffering financially and ill health, both physically and mentally. All this and they are still building them as well as leaky homes………. Fortunately, we do have some good builders but they seem to be few and far between.
On Morning Report last week, they talked about all the food producing land around Auckland being bought up for housing estates. We need land for food and we need land for houses. However, why are we building single storey un-detached houses, with every house having a different plan that has to go through all the planning paraphernalia and taking years to complete. If Council’s can spend time on paperwork, why can’t they spend time on inspecting the actual building?
There is another as-is-where-is house around here being repaired. The builder is doing a good job as far as he can. The concrete floor is broken – not cracked – broken, no reinforcing, wall studs are 100×35 and when you see the roof you wonder how it has stood this long. They have had to build new brick walls on the outside, and they are built on broken concrete. When it’s all finished it will be a lovely house and no one will know about this because it’s all hidden and no one is inspecting because it hasn’t needed a building consent. Someone will buy it in good faith like the people who featured in “Living in Hell”, and life goes on.
My house was demolished and a new house built. The foundations are designed to spread the load for the ground it’s standing on. We couldn’t have brick walls because we had to have a light weight veneer. These repaired as is where is houses can have brick walls on broken foundations and everything is OK. This is fundamentally wrong.
These houses are all over this city, I don’t know about insurance but I’m told people are getting their houses insured. I suppose even the insurance people wouldn’t know that these houses were written off after the earthquakes by another insurance company. Then EQC will pay more money now, and so happiness all round.
So, I would just like to know, does anyone care? Is this being discussed at the council? Is EMIE looking into this? Do they want people like me to keep our mouths shut?