1:475 McLAUCHLAN, Thomas, The Life of an Ordinary Man (privately printed, 1979), pp.109. BruneI University Library.
Born 1888 in mining village of Ryhope, Durham. Son of a miner. One of 5 children. Educated at infants’ school (1893-5); boys’ school (1895-1901). Married, 1920, with 2 children. Lived in Ryhope; South Hetton (for 22 years); Seaham.
First employment was on the coal screens, separating stones from coal (1901), but soon went underground to perform a variety of jobs as a child (ventilator operator; landing-minder; putter), and then worked as a miner for 42 years (25 years as a deputy overman); lecturer at a Mine Training School (1942-53).
Member of Boys’ Brigade; Primitive Methodist; socialist; member of Labour Party and active trade unionist; miners’ lodge representative for Workers’ Educational Association; member of Easington Board of Guardians; executive member of Durham County Rechabites; local preacher; Sunday School teacher and superintendent; held variety of church offices; secretary of Seaham Labour Party (1929-45); member of county council (1934), serving on various committees.
An account of a full and active life, with detailed descriptions of his efforts as an active trade unionist and socialist, and of his 50 years as a Primitive Methodist lay preacher. His early life is of particular interest, with valuable observations on his two-roomed home; childhood games; experiences as a child mine-worker; and on industrial unrest in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.