As the Cannock Chase Coalfield expanded so did Hazel Slade, and gradually a close knit community of terraced houses was built in the 1870’s by the bosses of the Cannock & Rugeley Colliery Company.
The village community began to form (see attached map). All of the two bedroomed barrack type terraced houses and associated shops, schools and churches opened straight on to the streets. They had no private gardens; instead some miners started allotments, some alongside the Bentley Brook, others in Cannock Wood Street and behind Albert Street.
Few residents were allowed to live in the village unless they worked for the company. That’s why they were called “COMPANY HOUSES”
Son followed Father and in some cases Grandfather, into the pits in order to scratch out a living. During those early years, sickness and starvation was often rife in the village and in 1893, 1912 and 1926 suffering was at its worst, for the men went on strike for more pay. During these difficult periods children were kept away from school to pick coal from the pit mound in order to keep their families warm in the winter and soup kitchens were set up.
The miners took great pride in their allotments, many with the odd racing pigeon pen. These allotments, together with the Pub, Brotherhood, and churches were a form of escape, from the pit dust and their cramped and dingy shift work.