Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Mining Veteran Who Is Still in Harness

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Mining Veteran Who Is Still in Harness

Article excerpt

Byline: ByBeth Neil

There was plenty of horsing around this week at one of the region's best-loved museums as its star attraction celebrated his 30th birthday.

Pip, the pit pony, had spent the last 18 years entertaining visitors around the Colliery Village, at Beamish Open Air Museum.

One of the last pit ponies to work in the Great Northern coalfield, Pip started working life at Blackburn Drift, Marley Hill Colliery.

When Marley Hill closed in 1979, Pip moved on to Sacriston Colliery where he grafted until it ceased production in 1985.

The closure forced Pip to bid a sad farewell to pony colleagues Sandy, Smokie, Darkie, Bobby, Topper and Matt.

Sandy, Smokie and Darkie trotted off to Ellington Colliery, Bobby and Topper went to the Carlisle Animal Rest Home, while Matt found a home as a family pet.

But in 1986 Pip got the plum job. He loves being the centre of attention at Beamish where he proudly models the type of harness he would have worn underground in the mine. …

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