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Mike Bowden - What was the cost of the proto equipment used in rescues around 1908?
Gary from Chesterfield - Why Does The miners Holiday Camp Still Stand Today?
Martin Lee - Looking For Old Photo's Of The Queens Head Watnall
Ruth Daglish - Looking For More Information on the Daglish Engine
Michelle Marriott - We Need Your Memories of Shipley
Joanne Brooker - I have a Pye Hill Colliery 1874 -1985 bone china memorial plate
Leo F. Knox - Proto Breathing Apparatus - Looking for info on the "one hour breathing set
John Brackenridge - Is "The Brave Don’t Cry" on DVD? Knockshinnoch Mining Disaster.

From: Mike Bowden
28 Dec 2009
What was the cost of the proto equipment used in rescues around 1908?

I’m a writer and starting my first historical novel, do you have information about the cost of the proto equipment used in rescues, say 1908 or thereabouts. Previously I have had work on mining published but always nonfiction. I would appreciate it if you would let me know if you don’t have the answer.

Kind regards

Mike Bowden

Brian Robinson
Mines Rescue Consultant

Good afternoon Fionn, and to Michael as well.

Well you certainly know how to pose a difficult question, the price of a Proto in 1908! Asking Siebe Gorman is
out, they went broke about 10 years ago.
I know around 1986 it was only £400 then. *coughs mildly*, if you want to buy a Mk5 Proto then just let me know ;-)
I'm going to do some research through documents I have here to try and find out, but, what may complicate things for you is;

    * The Proto in its early form was known as the Fluess, then Fluess Davis apparatus, which even around 1908 was not that popular, it did not work as well as below;
    * Political Correctness in 1914 changed that, as most rescue stations used either the MECO (UK made), WEG (UK), or Draeger (German made) sets, obviously it was not the done thing to "support the hun", another thing was of course obtaining spare parts
    * After 1914, rescue stations started changing to Proto, even though some had only bought Drager 2 years before (most rescue stations were formed in 1912/1913)
    * Even in 1913 at the Senghenydd colliery disaster where 439 miners perished here in South Wales, all the apparatus used at the Dinas rescue station was Draeger (as seen in photos of the disaster).

Leave it with me for a short while to see what I can come up with.
Brian Robinson
mines rescue consultant
(44) 07850 964503

OK Mike, some deliberations, dates can be a bit sketchy to find, prices even more so. These are from multiple early publications;
Although the Fluess apparatus (predecessor to Proto) did see some work in 1880 at Killingholme and Seaham collieries in the North East, it was not a very satisfactory rescue apparatus and was phased out by 1895, but the idea being revived by RH Davis around 1902, Proto not coming out till around 1910.
In 1851 the Mines and Quarries Inspectorate was formed.
Legislation requiring rescue stations to be provided was not implemented until 1911, most stations being built in 1912 / 1913.
The first rescue station was built at Tankersley in 1902, but managed without breathing apparatus for "several years", the second station being built at Wath on Dearn in 1908. Others stations were certainly in being at Howe Bridge by 1908, Aberaman 1909, but also many collieries had equipment at their mines, such as the Altoffs Colliery, Pontefract, Wharncliff / Silkstone etc. The Altoffs was headed by William E Garforth of WEG apparatus.
I have a book from 1909 titled "Recovery on collieries after fires and explosions" written by WEG that would give you an idea of things if you would like to borrow it, but also a Drager catalogue from 1909 that gives many examples, sketches etc. (but still no prices,,,,)
The apparatus of the time (1905) would have been a choice of Drager 1904 model (hard steel helmet), WEG, or Meco Briggs., the most popular I have seen described and in pictures from those times are the Drager and Meco.
I can say that at the following disasters, the Draeger equipment was used;

    * Wharncliff Silkstone fire, 1907
    * Hamstead fire 1908
    * Maypole explosion 1908 (WEG was used here also)
    * And the big one at Courrieres in France in 1906 where 1100 were killed, the Drager and Shamrock (German believe it or not)  were used

A "guestimate" would probably be £20 - £25 per set, as Dinas station here in South Wales was built and equipped in 1912,  for £7500. Most stations had 24 sets of apparatus.
So, you can forget mentioning Proto, it was too early for that, sorry. The Drager (or Draeger) is the best bet, plenty of info and period pictures of it exist.
The rescue station HQ at Mansfield has a Drager model 1907 there, Dinas has an 08-09 model I think.
Drager introduced their first "Helmet apparatus" in 1901, but the 1904 model proved very popular.
Aerolith liquid air sets were not introduced till 1906.
As mentioned earlier, the main reason for going from Drager to Siebe Gorman was WW1.
I'm not finished, I'll delve as far as I can, but hope the above is useful, plus don't be afraid to shout.
Brian Robinson
mines rescue consultant
(44) 07850 964503


From: Gary from Chesterfield
14 Oct 2009
Why Does The miners Holiday Camp Still Stand Today?

Hi I’m Gary from Chesterfield. We are due to go on the Miners Holiday Camp soon and just wondered if you knew much about it.

My wife remembers when she used to go in the big building and sleep in dormitories.

Why does it still stand today as we saw seagulls flying through the windows? Surely a building like that could be used for something.

Any ideas as to why it still stands?



From: Martin Lee
14 August 2009
Looking For Old Photo's Of The Queens Head Watnall

Just wondering if you have any old photos of the Queen’s Head at Watnall dating back to when there was a blacksmiths on what is now seen as the car park?

Thank you

All the best
Martin Lee


From: Ruth Daglish
9 August 2009
Looking For More Information on the Daglish Engine

I am doing the family history and I was hoping you may have more information on the Daglish engine as the maker seems to be one of my husbands blood relatives.
Kind regards
Ruth Daglish

Some information from Shane Philips


From: Michelle Marriott (Countryside Ranger)
Sent: 2 June 2009
Subject: We Need Your Memories of Shipley

Hi Fionn
Myself and some colleagues are in the process of creating an exhibition for the visitor centre called ‘Memories of Shipley’. It will focus on the Miller Mundy family, Shipley Hall and the Mining Heritage. As a part of this we would like to ask anyone who has past connections with the site for their memories, stories, anecdotes, old photographs, newspaper cuttings etc. For example, this can be people who actually worked at the Hall, as a miner, gamekeeper or anything else! Or it can be the children whose parents worked here and they have memories of that.

We are happy to receive the memories/anecdotes etc as written documents or we can arrange for them to be ‘interviewed’ and their memories etc taped so we have an oral record.

Memories/stories/anecdotes etc whether short or long are most welcome!

I was wondering if you could place a link to The Shipley Park website for interested people to follow?

I look forward to hearing from you and wish you well with your continued work on your excellent website.

Thank you,


Michelle Marriott
Countryside Ranger
Shipley Country Park
Derbyshire County Council

Tel: 01773 719961
Fax: 01773 715023

From: Joanne Brooker
Sent: 17 May 2009
Subject: I have a Pye Hill Colliery 1874 -1985 bone china memorial plate

I wonder if you can help me? I have a Pye Hill Colliery 1874 -1985 bone china memorial plate. I’m not looking for a great deal of money.
Are there people looking for them? Or are they widely available?
I’m sure some one would like to give it a good home?
Do you know where I could advertise it?

Many Thanks
J. Brooker


From: Leo F. Knox
Sent: 10 May 2009
Subject: Proto Breathing Apparatus - Looking for info on the "one hour breathing set

I am a retired Fire Fighter we used the Proto Self contained breathing apparatus on our rescue truck in the St. John's Fire Department.

I was fortunate on one occasion with the use of the "PROTO" to rescue two small children.

Do you have any information on the "one hour breathing set with the face mask no nose clip. Reply please.


Brian Robinson. I.Min.E, ISRP.Mining Consultant,
Breathing Apparatus and Rescue Consultant

The 1 hour Proto
It was designed purely for Fire Brigade use, as they didn't really need the long duration required for Mines Rescue, but it did then gain some use in industry, foundries etc.

Only differences were a smaller cylinder, and a 3.5 lb (as opposed to 4.5lb) protosorb charge in the breathing bag.

I have loads of information about the place, I'll dig it out and scan some items for Leo, I should have an official Eibe Gorman brochure somewhere.



From: John Brackenridge
Sent: 7 April 2009
Subject: Is "The Brave Don’t Cry" on DVD? Knockshinnoch Mining Disaster.

I am a ex-miner and my wife’s father was raised in Newcumnock and had family members involved in the Knockshinnoch mining disaster and I have tried in vain to buy a copy of the documentary film of the above called The Brave Don’t Cry and I would be most grateful if you could assist me with any information regarding where I could obtain a copy of the above.


Unfortunately, so far as I know," The Brave Don't Cry" is not out on DVD or video.

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