Mexborough and Swinton Times, March 11, 1927
Eight Hours a Day
An Active Octogenerian
Goldthorpe Worthy’s Varied Career
At the age of 82, Mr George Wilson, 4 Manor Ave, Goldthorpe rises daily at 4:30 a.m., walks to Barnburgh colliery, and does his eight hours work.
In his 82 years he has not had a day’s illness, and he is active yet – is proud of the fact that he breaks seven barrel loads of coke a day for the blacksmiths fires. He had been employed at the colliery for some time, most of his working life has been spent on the construction of railways.
Mr Wilson was born at Enfield, and at 12 years of age he was apprenticed to a watchmaker. After four and half years of a teacher from watchmaking and went to the Enfield gun works.
At 19 a fondness for horses led him to take up the summer occupation of driving a four in hand, and in the winter he filled in which such jobs as drawing off bricks during bridge construction.
After a very life in London he went up to Durham and was employed on the settle and Carlisle branch railway line, then under construction. About those days Mr Wilson says, “Those were hard but happy times. You started at six, and had half an hour for breakfast and an hour for dinner, and worked till five, and you received the handsome wages of three shillings and sixpence a day.”
One drawback of that employment to Mr Wilson was that there were no barbers available, and one of his reminiscences concerns a 7 mile walk to a friend who could shave him, and a 7 mile walk back – after he paid the man a penny for the shave. The occasion was a “pal’s” wedding!
Mr Wilson was also employed in the construction of the Great Eastern’s track through Kirkbymoorside and Pickering, and at Kirkbymoorside Mr Wilson was married – in the Kirkbymoorside police station! The church was undergoing repairs.
Mr Wilson remembers the opening of the old Keadby Bridge, as in the first train go over it. He was employed in the construction of the Swinton and Knottingley railway line, about the time the Hickleton Main shaft was sunk.