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messages for: English Roadster Discussions

AGE / VALUE:   House of Bondage by Charles Cole posted by: Chris on 2/9/2010 at 4:31:16 PM
I trashpicked a book about South Africa entitled: House of Bondage by Charles Cole. The book knocked me on my ass. The horrors of life in South Africa.

Eye opening to say the least! There were pictures of English bicycles in the book. So at first I was looking at the bikes but as I sat and read it at night you get into it and the author went without food and faced jail, beatings and he really sacrificed to bring the revealing pictures the book has, into existence. Ohh, to get that English bicycle? You would have to work in unspeakably bad conditions deep in the mine and work for like 66.00 a month and when the work contract was over you would leave for a brief vacation back home and you only would have a bit of cheap, soon the be rags, clothes,
the Hercules or Raleigh or Phillips bicycle, a few other knickkacks you over paid for, as well.

One fellow who had a wooden leg who was there signing up for another stint in the mines he lost the leg in a mine accident.

It is an eye opening book it made me angry and I sat and wept bitter tears as I flipped thru the pages.

We don't have to work in mines and go thru hell to obtain our bicycles and we are lucky.

          RE:AGE / VALUE:   House of Bondage by Charles Cole posted by Larry "Boneman" Bone on 2/10/2010 at 8:59:41 AM
Chris, one need not venture as far as South Africa to hear of the terrors and desperation that is mining. In a book I had read, "The Kingdom Of Coal", about anthracite mining in the Scranton, PA area... not far from me, there were similar stories of horro. In fact, I've been in one of those mines at the Lackawanna County Coal Mining Museum.

A typical story... firstly... EVERYTHING was owned by "The Company". Hence... workers and their families lived in COMPANY OWNED housing. Procured everything, supplies, groceries, clothing... EVERYTHING... through the "Company Store".

IF... you were in the mine and just so happened to get yourself killed (not uncommon!), they would put your body off to the side... and at the END OF YOUR SHIFT then remove you from the mine. You would then be carted to your COMPANY OWNED house... unceremoniously deposited on the kitchen floor... and if... there was not an eldest son old enough and physically capable of replacing you in the mine... your family WOULD BE EVICTED.

Most mine workers back then were Polish immigrants. Hence the concentration of Polish folk in the Scranton and Hazleton areas to this day.

Mining was one insanely hard life..... And never... EVER... have I experienced such darkness. Part of the tour when you were in the mine... a mere 300 feet down... was they would shut off the lights.

Black... complete and utter... black.

Hey! I still have those bars man!


Larry "Boneman" Bone - Yes... I HAVE been in the dark. ONCE.

          RE:RE:AGE / VALUE:   House of Bondage by Charles Cole posted by Chris on 2/10/2010 at 2:54:07 PM
Interesting it really is. I let my pursuit of Raleigh rod brake bicycles take me into South Africa in search of the bikes produced there. I've shared my mad quest (s) here already and really, when was the last time anybody besides me has written us here and inquired about their rod brake Raleigh, Phillips, B.S.A. or similar bike from this part of the globe? We don't have any body here who is from South Africa and really it's still closed off and secretive. There is no e- bay covering this part of the globe. One cannot buy goods from this part of the world, it still is not done.

My Canadian friends were eager to see the Raleigh I was conjouring up from South Africa. I had the payment draft drawn up and ready to be delivered but the gal said "Forget it, T.I. has just closed us down!"
The book gives rare insight on life in the country. I never see the badges from the bikes, never do we see any bikes or hear from their owners or collectors. The only one I did get ahold of was a tricycle brought over by a couple who had moved here and they threw it away at the kerb when the daughter outgrew it. It had the slightly smaller, silver backed, Raleigh heron badge with Springs, South Africa on it. I have since lost it, in a batch of things I sold by mistake. It was found on a street not far from my home it was weird.

I remember Don the bike distributor pal of mine muttering to me: "Watch it, buster" I drove him crazy. He's get to see every trophy, every new find.

My family has roots in the Michigan copper mines where great grandfather was the Welsh orphan boy who carried the dynamite in the copper mines. Orphans got the task of carrying the dynamite or so I was told.


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