New children’s book tells the story of a four-year-old boy who worked down the pit at Boldon Colliery
A new children’s book, titled Pit-Lad Paddy, tells the story of the author’s great-grandfather who worked in various mines across the North East.
The book from 73-year-old author Peter Ford Mason tells the story of his great-grandfather, James Shannon, who was forced to work down the coal mine at the age of four as a trapper.
The role of a trapper consisted of opening and closing the trap-doors essential at that time for ventilation of the mines.
‘Pit-Lad Paddy’ details the daily life of four-year-old James Shannon working in various mines, including Boldon Colliery, during the cholera pandemic as he eventually rose through the ranks to master pit sinker.
It is the third book on James Shannon’s life from Peter and he was explained why he opted for a younger audience with ‘Pit-Lad Paddy’.
The author, who lives on the Wirral, said: “Children in modern times will be familiar with a horrible disease which impacts the lives of ordinary people so I believe that this will resonate with them.
“It gives the daily life of my great-grandfather when he began working down the coal mine at four-years-old after his father died during the cholera pandemic which entered the UK through the Port of Sunderland.
"He basically went to work early in the morning when it was dark outside, he’d spend the majority of the day underground in the pitch black before coming back up to the surface when it was dark again – he rarely would have seen daylight.
"It is important that children of today learn about the real life struggles which affected our communities a few generations ago.”