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Kaga simpson
Peacehaven, East Sussex
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1 of 11  Fri 1st Dec 2017 4:23pm  
Member: Joined Sep 2014  Total posts:1862

A few evenings ago I was watching a programme about sinkholes. A woman had a large crater in her garden - alarmed, she called in the experts. They told her that her house was sitting over the top of old coal-mine workings, that a part tunnel had collapsed, dragging the earth into the shaft. They said there were thousands appearing in the UK - made it sound as something new. But we know around Coventry they had been appearing throughout the twentieth century. Binley, Craven, Exhall, Newdigate and Keresley Collieries, to name a few, shafts and tunnels spread out like giant spiders' legs underground, and part tunnels collapsed, dragging the earth down to form craters - but we called them pits, in the fields. The farmers left them to fill with water, for cattle to drink. Scores of them around the north of Coventry. But nature hated bare ground and gradually willow, hawthorn bushes, grew around the edge of the pits, followed by reeds, rushes, irises, king cup marigolds, and a profusion of bog plants, and so we now called them ponds, no longer pits. Never sinkholes. With the bushes and plants came the colourful birds, the thrush and the blackbird, with their wonderful songs, the chaffinch with its call of pink-pink, and its nest of woven sheep's wool. Where the willow spread its branches across the water, moorhens would make their nest of old reeds, the eggs being a buff colour with dark spots resting on the branch on the surface of the water, the snow white blossom of the hawthorn, the drumsticks swaying in the breeze, the golden king cup marsh marigolds, along with the golden irises, the blue-white-purple lady's smock, the reed warbler darting in and out the reeds, the occasional kingfisher with its flash of blue, the dragonflies with gossamer wings, and the skylark on high to add his song. All this in the meadow were a blaze of colour, and a heady scent of wild flowers danced merrily for me. No money but richness that money could not buy.
Sinkholes
coventry49
Devon
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2 of 11  Fri 1st Dec 2017 4:37pm  
Member: Joined Jan 2015  Total posts:141

Thank you Kaga. You are such a wonderfully descriptive writer, that you are up there with Gilbert White, Flora Thompson, Henry Massingham and the like. I hope you have written all your thoughts and memories down for your family and future generations to read, when everywhere is completely covered with concrete and nature destroyed. Copied to the thread "Our Kaga" with responses, to keep this thread on-topic Thumbs up
Sinkholes
Greg
Coventry
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3 of 11  Fri 1st Dec 2017 9:04pm  
Member: Joined Apr 2011  Total posts:236

You are right about sinkholes in the north of the city, Kaga, and I remember one appearing in a garden at Lentons Lane. Apparently, the oldest shaft in the country was just off Parrotts Grove but it was filled in about 40 years ago. The other thing I`ve noticed, over the years, is that from Jackers Road to the city boundary Aldermans Green Road dips quite a lot in some places and I imagine this is due to subsidence. The Warwickshire coalfield finished at the city boundary and it is clearly `marked` by a short steep rise by Hawkesbury Hall.
Sinkholes
Kaga simpson
Peacehaven, East Sussex
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4 of 11  Sat 2nd Dec 2017 8:29am  
Member: Joined Sep 2014  Total posts:1862

Greg, yes they kept appearing all the time, there were two in that small field at the bottom of the slope behind the "Crown" and the farm, both very deep, but we kids still played in the field. But there was one large one near the clod banks, I saw it the morning after it had appeared. You could have driven a lorry into it and it would have disappeared from sight, but then it was less than 200 yards from Craven pit. The land was undulating as well, they left soil in mounds too. The 'Slough' was reputed to be through sinking ground, it was not a natural valley - there was also a lot of water about. We were amazed when they said they were to build Wood End on all that marshland. The shaft you say they filled in, my uncle lived in an old cottage less than a dozen yards from it. He now has a number of offspring in Lentons Lane and I doubt they know anything about the area.
Sinkholes
Slim
Another Coventry kid
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5 of 11  Sat 2nd Dec 2017 10:59am  
Member: Joined Mar 2013  Total posts:383

It's frightening to think how many disused mine shafts there are. I suspect many were not documented. Some years ago, a whole back garden on a new estate disappeared several hundred feet down an old Cornish tin/lead/copper mine. I daresay the builders didn't even know it was there. A few yards to one side and the whole house and its occupants would have gone the same way!
Sinkholes
Dreamtime
Perth Western Australia
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6 of 11  Sat 2nd Dec 2017 11:00am  
Member: Joined Jan 2010  Total posts:2898

Kaga. I have some friends who lived on the Ernesford Grange estate in the 60/70's and I remember they had cracks appearing in their house. They moved eventually and are still on the Allesley Park estate. I remember they were very, very worried at the time. Roll eyes
Sinkholes
Old Lincolnian
Coventry
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7 of 11  Sun 3rd Dec 2017 6:07pm  
Member: Joined Sep 2012  Total posts:460

Very true Dreamtime, but the problem carried on for a long time after that and probably still exists even now. In the late 80s, early 90s I know there was quite a serious problem in Ernsford Grange due to subsidence believed to be caused by Binley Colliery tunnels collapsing. A friend of mine lived in Garth Crescent and his was one of several houses there that began to develop cracks in the walls due to subsidence. The families had to be moved out for several weeks while the foundations were underpinned and the walls repaired followed by redecoration and restoring the gardens which cost many thousands of pounds per house, all paid for by the insurance companies. It was suggested at the time that in future it would not be possible to get insurance against subsidence for many of the properties (insurance companies don't like paying out) but I don’t know if that is the case today. Most of the families affected promptly sold their houses after they were repaired and moved away from the area.
Sinkholes
Dreamtime
Perth Western Australia
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8 of 11  Mon 4th Dec 2017 4:46am  
Member: Joined Jan 2010  Total posts:2898

Yes, Old Lincolnian and it still happens today. An awful lot depends on how genuine your Insurance Co is. ALWAYS READ THE SMALL PRINT. I heard a saying once about an incident regarding losing all to a fire when claiming an insurance payout, the claimant quoting "Well the devil takes care of his own". How true that is. Roll eyes You have to be very careful these days as to the institute you are coughing up escalating premiums to, but I am sure most of us know that, it's the young couples who have many of the problems.
Sinkholes
Kaga simpson
Peacehaven, East Sussex
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9 of 11  Mon 4th Dec 2017 1:25pm  
Member: Joined Sep 2014  Total posts:1862

OL, Dreamtime. I doubt the insurance or even the estate people know of the mines, estates keep going up over them and nothing is mentioned to the prospective buyer. I had many an argument over property in the Holbrooks area with estate agents in my younger days over this very thing.
Sinkholes
Greg
Coventry
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10 of 11  Mon 4th Dec 2017 7:56pm  
Member: Joined Apr 2011  Total posts:236

When we moved into a house, in Courthouse Green in the mid 50`s, my father had the mining activity checked and the maps were very detailed as I recall.
Sinkholes
Kaga simpson
Peacehaven, East Sussex
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11 of 11  Tue 5th Dec 2017 5:31pm  
Member: Joined Sep 2014  Total posts:1862

People who did not live in the suburbs of Coventry and its rural ways have no idea of the excitements. No, the hole this time that appeared in the street - people stood about looking at it nervously, while horse and carts edged by them with annoyed expressions. Quite soon two local roadmen's well-known faces appeared on the scene, carrying large spades and rammers and pickaxes, they circled the hole a couple of times, then one of them pushed a ramrod down the hole. "What done that, Joe?" called out one of the villagers, from his battered bicycle. "Mouse working, overtime" answered Joe. Then he pulled up the rod, then he began shoveling out loose stuff until he was waist deep. Humorous remarks were exchanged - "Send us a cable when you reaches Orstralia". The second roadman had disappeared, returned with an handcart and rocks and shale and filled the hole, rammed it down well, smooth and even, stood back with pleased faces, then they placed those red-painted and red-eyed lamps around, although there was no hole, lit them, job completed and went off for tea. Yes, a few days later the gas people came round and ripped the whole road up.
Sinkholes

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