Our Rufford Interviewees
Jim Oakton, Tony Hursthouse, Nev Buckle
By Ann Donlan
My name is Jim Oakton and my birthdate is the 21st April 1964.
I was born in Shirebrook, Derbyshire a small town on the outskirts of Mansfield. I was born on Central Drive just down from the undertakers next to the Welfare. My mum and dad left when I was 6 months old. I live in Derbyshire now. My dad worked at Shirebrook pit and he was an engineer and then he became the area Mechanical Engineer for Nottinghamshire and did very, very well for himself and so it was inevitable that I was going to end up in mining in some form or other, and so that’s what I did.
The first pit I worked at in 1980 was Sherwood Colliery in Mansfield Woodhouse. I left school on the Friday when I was 16 and I thought, right, I had no plans whatsoever what to do with my life, no idea. I was not very academic at school, I didn’t do brilliantly well, so I thought something like a gap year might be nice to find out some things about life and I did, because the following Monday me dad had got me a job as a fitter at Sherwood pit and my gap year was a gap weekend!
My name is Anthony Hursthouse, known as Tony, and I was born on the 5th June 1964 in Kingsmill hospital and lived in Mansfield on Bould Street. I lived there for 21 years and then moved to my present house in Redgate Street. I started school at Broomhill and then passed my 11 plus and went to Queen Elizabeth Grammar School, which is still there; it is an academy now.
I was a working class lad at grammar school. It was tough, a lot of the lads who were there, their dads were doctors – got posh jobs and my dad was a bus driver. But I managed, and I made it, and I did 5 years there. There were problems, class problems, class divisions. When it went comprehensive in 1987 then you had working class lads coming in and it got a bit better, but for the first 3 years – the headmaster wore a mortorboard and carried a cane – it was like a public school, very strict. The teachers were doctors and professors – you had to call them Dr or Professor or Sir. There were a lot of ex army personnel that ‘ad it in for yer’ for just looking at them. It was very strict, very harsh. The school was in the middle of a working class area that didn’t cater for the working class. It catered for the middle and upper class, but it was where it was positioned, right in the heart of Mansfield which was an industrial town. So I think it was in the wrong place. I was there for 5 years and then it was made comprehensive in 1978 and that’s when we started to rebel because there was some more lads who were working class.
I took my ‘O’ levels and never went back for the results. I had a chance to go into the grammar school 6th form but I didn’t want to, I had had enough. I wanted to work down the pit. From my classroom, when you looked out of the window, you could see Sherwood Colliery headstocks and that’s where I wanted to work. I always wanted to work down the pit.
My name is Neville Buckle I was born on the 25th March 1945. I was born in Nuncargate in Kirkby in Ashfield. My grandfather was a miner. The reason I was born in Nuncargate is that during the war my father who was a farmer in Malton in Yorkshire was hoping to join the marines, but when he went down to join and then got back home he had got a telegram to say he was to report to Creswell for training as a ‘Bevin boy’. After his initial training he wanted somewhere to live, some lodgings and I don’t know how they allocated lodgings in those days, but he knocked on this door in Nuncargate and who should answer the door but my mother. She wasn’t my mother then, of course, but she became my mother and that is the reason I was born in Nuncargate.
This page was added on 28/11/2012.
Comments about this page
I remember Nev Buckle. He was an electrician foreman and I was an underground electrician at Rufford before I left and stared my worldly travels. He was ( and probably still is ) a good bloke !!
By Colin Dunleavy