Pit Holidays St Leger Week

During the 1950’s and 1960’s unless any major maintenance work dictated – the NUM Branch at Savile were invited to contribute to the decision on which 2 holiday weeks the pit would take.   I was always amazed when the older generation would promote the first week in August along with the second week in September as opposed to taking the first two weeks in August.

I knew that generations of colliers enjoyed their horseracing and a few bets (some more than others) but I was always surprised when along with other branch members, NUM Secretary Bram Russell would pursue the broken holidays.

Bram’s interest in the sport of Kings was never more than lukewarm and I now realise that he and many of that generation were referring back to old customs even before their time when the railways were newly installed.

The rail companies annually from 1849 put on special trains, the attraction being the St Leger and Cup week at Doncaster Races for the citizens of Leeds and men from the coal mining towns and villages en route.  The picture attached is a sketch of the Leger crowds disembarking on Doncaster station

Information source – The Railway Magazine article by K Field and JP Wilson

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