life of an engineer - marriage and children

In the year 1923, Jack married a Sheffield lass called Phyllis Laws. Born in Brightside, Sheffield on the 18th October 1903, Phyllis was the second eldest in a massive family of fourteen children, however some of the children died at a very young age. 

​Jack was a big family man and embraced his new family as his own and in return they loved him dearly.


​On the 2nd of October 1924, Jack and Phyllis had there first and, what was to be their only child, Jean Doris Mawson, my mother. Jean grew up in the family home in Sheffield to be fiercely proud of her Yorkshire roots.


​After undertaking various jobs in the colliery workshops, Jack moved to Beighton Colliery which was under the ownership of the old Sheffield Coal Company and was employed as a mechanic. This employment came at a time where the colliery started a substantial underground mechanisation programme. It was here that Jack cut his teeth at colliery mechanisation and his skills as an engineer was enjoyed by the company.


​Sometime in 1937, when Jean was only thirteen, Jack moved the family to a house in Mansfield Road, Temple Normanton, Chesterfield. It was an area of North Derbyshire which was practically 'littered' with collieries. Jack had taken a job with the Hardwick Colliery Company, at Hardwick Colliery, Holmewood, this time as Underground Enginewright. 


​Just half a mile up the road towards Holmewood, down a small lane to the old Lings Colliery there were two cottages. In one of these cottages lived a young man called Roy Mather, who was one of the welders employed by the Hardwick Colliery Company under Jack's management and who would go on to be Flight Lieutenant Roy Mather DFC AFC, and my father. I don't know if this is where Roy and Jean met but they were certainly in the same vicinity at the same time. Roy and his family would go on to move to Elyn Avenue, North Wingfield after the demolition of the Lings Cottages, however still in the same basic area.​

Jack and Phyllis

Soon Jack was promoted to Surface Enginewright and it was in this capacity that he oversaw the mechanisation of Williamthorpe Colliery between 1938 and 1941. After this was complete, Jack was appointed Mechanisation Engineer to the Hardwick Company and with this promotion, Jack as allowed a Hardwick company house as a perk, Hopcroft House on Chesterfield Road, North Wingfield, a house the family would keep until his retirement in 1962

The family story goes that on the outbreak of the second world war, the young welder, Roy Mather, ran away from home and the colliery to join the navy and do his bit, only to be brought back by his father, Robert Hylton Mather (the Hardwick Colliery's boilerman) and his supervisor, Jack. Roy ran away a number of times only to be brought back, but on the final occasion, Roy's dad, realising his wayward son was serious decided to let him go to serve his country, only this time it wasn't to the navy that Roy had gone to....it was the Royal Air Force, a story I have told in my other website, vickersvaliant.com.





Jack and pals chilling in a haystack

Jack Mawson - Enginewright