Batey, John (1852-1925)
Northumberland Colliery Mechanics Association
Born at Backworth, a village in the Northumberland parish of Earsdon (now in Tyne and Wear), John was the son of William and Elizabeth Batey. His father was a carpenter, and John began work at the age of 11, at the pit head of the local coal mine. He became an apprentice to an engine-wright, working as a joiner at the colliery. He went on to become an engine fitter.
There was a Primitive Methodist chapel in the village where John soon began to exercise his talents. First as a Sunday School teacher, and then as a Local Preacher for 50 years.
His first wife, Elizabeth, died at the age of 26 in 1881. In 1884 he married Dorothy Ann Johnson, also a Primitive Methodist. She was the sister of Matthew Johnson, a Primitive Methodist Minister. Another brother, John Johnson, was a Local Preacher, and became MP for Gateshead (1904-10). John and Dorothy had three sons, Edwin Johnson (1886), Frederick Charles (1888) and Herbert Dawson (1891).
Interested in Trade Unionism, he became treasurer of the Northumberland Colliery Mechanics Association, and in 1897 was appointed its part-time secretary. At this time he was still living at 33 Church Street, Backworth, a terraced house with only three rooms.
Over the next 10 years the work of the Union increased, and he was appointed to the full time post of general secretary of the Northumberland Colliery Mechanics Association. The family moved to a larger house in Newcastle upon Tyne, and he also became treasurer of the National Federation of Colliery Mechanics.
John was buried, at Jesmond on 5 February 1925, age 72, followed a week later by Dorothy, age 68.
R F Wearmouth, Methodism and the Trade Unions, Epworth, 1959, pp39-40