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Monday, 01 September 2014

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Nobody can replace Norma

SIR – Norma Smith was lovely, she was the life and soul of the party (article, The Whitehaven News, February 9). There is no one else like Norma, nobody could ever replace her.

cenormasmith
tribute: Norma Smith

She never had a bad word to say about anyone. Norma would always tell rubbish jokes, but she would always make us laugh.

We were completely shocked by her death. We would meet up regularly and not one did she show any symptoms of throat problems. She never mentioned it at all.

Norma will be greatly missed by us all.

On behalf of Gladys McKinney, William, Elizabeth and Carla.

Gladys McKINNEY

Whitehaven

SIR – In his somewhat unpleasant letter, “True picture of mining history” (The Whitehaven News, February 9), John Charters states that the Distington-Rowrah branch of the Cleator and Workington Junction railway was never known as “Baird’s line”.

I think we can say it was. I refer him to William McGowan Gradon’s book History of the Furness Railway, published in 1947. Chapter 14 refers to the Cleator and Workington Junction Railway, in which he explains that the Rowrah branch was built mainly to link up with the Rowrah and Kelton Fell Mineral Railway, which had been built by the Scottish firm of Baird’s Ltd and served a number of iron mines. He specifically states: “On this account the line was always known as Baird’s line”. It is also shown as such on the map on page 97.

McGowan Gradon was a highly respected railway historian who had known the West Cumberland lines since the First World War, and he knew people who had known the area in the 19th century, so was in a position to know.

It seems that while the official company name was undoubtedly the Rowrah branch, the name “Baird’s line” originated amongst the men who worked on it because of the substantial traffic they picked up off the Rowrah and Kelton Fell line at Rowrah coming from the Kelton and Knockmurton mines, all owned by Baird’s, and the name stuck.

Mr Charters also makes the misleading statement that ore from the Wyndham mines travelled along the Bigrigg mineral branch: he should have said that he refers to the earlier Langhorn mine, which was sometimes referred to as Wyndham mine, but the Wyndham mines proper were at Egremont, the book The Red Hills by Dave Kelly makes this clear.

Matthew SHIELD

Kirkland

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