37 – Park Hill

At this point it is possible to shorten the walk and avoid the uphill sections by taking a “bus assist”. The No 23 bus stops right here at the bus shelter. Hold out your hand to request that the bus stops. The schedule is on-ine, click here for the buses from Whitecroft.
There is also another stop just after Princess Royal Colliery site.

We are now making our way to the site of the Princess Royal (or Park Gutter) colliery. As you walk up the hill, look out for a flatter area in the slope of the road. Then look left and right. This is where a railway line that served the colliery crossed the road. There were no gates on the crossing. A nearby building released steam occasionally and sometimes this could coincide with a loco and trucks crossing the road. Motorists had to be very cautious on this road. Uphill from the crossing was a bridge spanning the road. This took waste material from the pit across the road. The remains of the abutments can still be seen.

A photo showing Princess Royal Colliery - rail crosing
Princess Royal Colliery – rail crossing – photo from Facebook. The men are standing in the road that you are walking up. You are walking uphill from right to left in the photo. None of these buildings remain.

At the top of the hill, in Bream, was a barber’s shop run on a part time basis by Mr Page, a local man. When asked if he ever worked full time in Bream he said “Two things put paid to that, one the closure of the Princess Royal and the other was the Beatles”. When the Beatles arrived on the music scene young people grew long hair like their musical heros. This barber was a short back and sides man. He did however find more work cutting hair of students at the Army Apprentice College at Beachley. No long hair was allowed in H. M. Armed Forces.

As you ascend the hill, you may be interested to hear about two brothers from Bream who worked at Park Gutter. It is based on a true story.

The Pocket watch by G Davis