Jim Hardwick was one of the dozen or so joiners at Water Haigh. One of their many tasks was to repair the fleet of wooden high sided wagons which were used to store coal internally in the colliery yard and to carry it to the canal side staith. In the photo above, taken in the 1960s, a group of joiners are standing in front of a wagon which had been sent to the joinery shops for bad brakes and oiling. Jim’s initials are chalked on the side.
To give him his full name, James Stanley Hardwick was born in 1916. His father, Alfred, was a coal miner who had married his second wife, widow Edith Lucy Blakeley in 1914. Jim had four much older brothers who had been born to Alf’s first wife, Elizabeth Westmoreland, who had died in 1903. The Hardwicks had lived in Ouzlewell Green for several generations stretching back into the 18th century. In 1939, whilst he was employed at the nearby Oleine Works which made oil and grease products, Jim married Ethel Medlock. They had two children.
In his spare time Jim was a keen local historian and made regular contributions to newspapers including the Rothwell Advertiser. He also took photographs of local landmarks and drew sketches and maps of the area’s industrial landscape. Below is an extract from a tape he recorded about his memories of growing up and working life in the Rothwell Urban District.