"One question that is always asked when describing life down the pit is "Were there any toilets?" In a word, yes, they were called conveyor belts! There were chemical buckets but were few and far between and non near the coal face. However, at Usworth Colliery where most of us new recruits did our underground 16 weeks training course toilet facilities were marginally better. At the end of the week each group of trainee miners were introduced to the Rose Bowl, a metal coal tub designd to carry shit. The last task of the week was to empty the chemical buckets that were strategically placed around the training gallery. The toilets were refuge holes in the side of the roadway with a sheet of fireproof sacking (brattice cloth) covering the entrance. The selected team would begin to empty the brimming buckets staying down wind of the reeking repository. The Rose Bowl had been modified in the colliery fitting shop and had two hinged metal lids to prevent the liquid shit from slopping over the sides. The token hole and seams of the tub were welded up to prevent seepage. Amid the clouds of tiny flies that took to the air in the beams of our cap lamps we took turns in tipping the buckets into the Rose Bowl. We then pushed our stinking cargo outbye to the shaft bottom gingerly nursing the vehicle over every rail joint hoping to avoid a Tsunami of liquid excrement engulfing the pushers.
We never discovered its final destination but there were lots of allotments around Usworth Village with healthy looking rhubarb patches!"