Conisbrough Miner-Poet – Golden Wedding Celebrant Can Trace Line 500 Years

February 1951

South Yorkshire Times February 3, 1951

Conisbrough Miner-Poet

Golden Wedding Celebrant Can Trace Line 500 Years

First miner of a family with a 500 years’ history of farming is Mr. George Thomas Birdsall (75), of “Kendall,” Minneymoor Lane, Conisbrough, who to-morrow (Saturday)—with his wife, Mrs. H. A. Birdsall—celebrates his golden wedding. A native of Church Fenton, near York, Mr. Birdsall can trace the family history back 500 years without a break—they were all small farmers—and he was the first to seek a living as a miner.

Lifelong Methodist

A poet, a keen gardener and a lifelong Methodist is Mr. Birdsall. He has been associated with New Hill Methodist Church, Conisbrough for over 40 years, and his garden is filled with many plants of many different varieties. .

He started work as a miner, but after a slight accident ‘was apprenticed to a blacksmith, with whom he remained for a time. But the zest for mining was in his spirit an before long he was back in the mines. Mr. and Mrs. Birdsall went to Conisbrough in 1908, and Mr. Birdsall worked at Cadeby Colliery for over 40 years.

He first started writing poetry about the end of the 1914-18 war. Working on nights he had quite a bit of spare time and began to compose verses of poetry. He wrote a poem for the dedication of the 1914-18 war memorial service at s Conisbrough. Since that time he has written over 250 poems, including dialect poetry, and his latest work is “Thoughts in Verse.”

Though simple, the introduction is very impressive, and reads:—

Think you these frail lines of mine,
By humble brain begotten,
Shall live when by men and time,
The writer is forgotten.

Set To Music

Some of his works have been set to music and were used some time ago for the anniversary at New Hill Methodist Church. He has also written several poems for the children of the church to say at special occasions.

Mrs. Birdsall was born at Warren, near Sheffield, and before her marriage at Outwood, near Wakefield, worked in service. She was employed by the Rose family—Mr. Rose was at one time engine-wrIght at Denahy Colliery. Mrs. Birdsall has for many years been connected with the same church as her husband, and has taken a great interest in the social welfare of the church.

Mr. and Mrs. Birdsall have an amusing story to tell of their wedding day. The wedding was originally arranged for Saturday, February 2nd, 1901, but unfortunately, owing to the death of Queen Victoria—her funeral was on that day—the wedding had to be cancelled until the following day—Sunday.

What a day! There was a snowstorm and the weather was very rough but, happily enough, everything turned out all right and on Saturday at the big celebration party in the Welfare Hall the best man and bridesmaid will be present respectively, Mr. Arthur Birdsall of Mixenden, near Halifax, and Miss Martha Birdsall, of Birstall, near Leeds. Total age of the bride, bridegroom, best man and bridesmaid is 292 years. Mr. and Mrs. Birdsall have three sons and two daughters and 11 grandchildren.

Among the many guests invited to the party on Saturday will be a bus-load of relatives from Halifax. The bus will tour the Halifax area, picking up the various families, and then come to Conisbrough for the party, which will include games, dancing and a film show.

Footnote.—Various members of the family are busy this week preparing pastries, cakes and other delicacies for the “Big Day.”