COALVILLE ESTATE


WESTON COYNEY

Coalville was one of a number of estates built by the National Coal Board in the early 1950s, to house incoming miners.
For rapid build, the houses were prefabricated and brought to the site on lorries.
By this method the whole estate of over 400 houses was built within 12 months.

Semi detached

Terraced (4)

Cornish

Cornish Modernised

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To prevent complaints by the local populous, none of the estates were inside the then boundary of Stoke-on-Trent. Coalville was in the urban district of Cheadle.

The North Staffordshire coalfield was expanding, and urgently required manpower.
Advertisements were placed in newspapers in coal mining areas all over the country.
Miners were offered not only employment in some of the most modern collieries, but cheap reasonable housing, with indoor plumbing, gardens, and local amenities.

Hundreds of mostly young married couples with children answered the call.
They saw it as a great opportunity to live in a house of their own, instead of lodging with their in-laws while waiting for non-existent council housing, back in the old mining areas.
They brought with them not only their skills, but also their cultures.
Pretty soon the estate became a village.
They organised carnivals with the inevitable queen.
There gala's, and fairs, the local pub.
"The Blythe Spirit", became the centre of the community, and had all the trappings of a workingmen's club.


The Bythe Spirit
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There was a committee that organised singing competitions, bingo, old folks outings, etc.
Then there were the "Jolly Boys".
These were a group of men who would set embarrassing tasks for each other, like carrying a lady's handbag at all times whilst in the pub.
If caught without the said item there was an on the spot fine.
If you were caught swearing, or talking when someone was singing, you could be fined.
The money raised was given back to the members at Christmas by way of cheques.
Each cheque could be used in exchanged for drinks. There were crib, darts, and dominoes teams.
There was a football team that played in the now defunct Longton League.
And somewhat unusual for a pub, people would often be seen playing chess.

The local schools also benefited from this influx.
The names of young people off Coalville would regularly appear as winners in the school sports days.
An example of the mixture of people on the estate can be seen from the following list given to me by a colleague who lived there in the fifties.
In his street there lived the following families: five from the north east, two from Lancashire, two all Welsh, two Welsh/Polish, one Welsh/ Irish, two Scots, and one each from Yorkshire, Kent, and the Forest of Dean.
It must have been a real melting pot.

The local trade unions were also stung into action.
Florence colliery where Coalville resident Bob Murray was elected to the top job. Other collieries followed with Jim Colgan at Hem Heath, and Joe Wills at Wolstanton. Although the last two were not off Coalville, they were incoming miners and they both went on to be president of the North Staffs N.U.M.
Another little known fact is that perhaps the greatest leader of the N.U.M. at least in modern times, Joe Gormley, once lived on the estate.
National politics were also affected by the building of the miner's estates.
When in the late fifties Harold Davies stood as a Labour Party candidate for the Leek constituency, his victory could be attributed in no small measure to the inclusion of the miner,s estates at Weston Coyney, Brown Edge, Biddulph, and Kidsgrove.

The village community of Coalville probably reached its peak in the mid seventies.
By now it had been consumed into the urban sprawl of Stoke-on-Trent.
In 1978 the N.C.B. tried to sell the houses to the tenants at knock-down prices.
Although some bought their houses, the majority thought that they of such poor quality as to be too much of a gamble.
One of the reasons for the poor quality was the reinforcing in side the concrete panels the houses had been built of beginning to rust and rot away.
The remainder of the houses were sold at auction.
The new landlords quickly resold them for a substantial profit till in the end the remaining tenants hardly knew who the landlords were.
Because strikes in the early seventies were fully supported by everyone, they had the effect of bringing the people of the estate together.
Information on the whereabouts of cheap food was passed around.
Money was loaned and borrowed. It was share and share alike

Sadly by the time of the 1984/5 strike, the old culture, now somewhat tenuous would not survive the onslaught of the protracted strike.
There was very little support for the new national leadership, and after only a few weeks most men began to drift back to work.
Although it has to be said a few stuck it out to the end.
There was much bitterness between the strikers and those who returned to work.

There followed a rapid closure of all the local collieries. To remain in employment some men transferred to mines in Yorkshire and the south midlands, but these jobs did not last.
The estate became run down through lack of maintenance by the non-existent landlords.
Then in the latter years of the last century following pressure from the local authority, and residents, money was received from the European Union.
This money has been used to refurbish the houses, and garden's.
Unsightly blocks of housing have been demolished.
A resource centre as been established in the infant's school,

Front View

Side View

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from which residents can take a multitude of courses.
The dark days following the strike are just a memory.
The estate once again is a good mix of young and old with real hope for the future.

Semi Modernised

Terraced Modernised

Half and half

Street half done

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