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Robert Bradley - Retired Surveyor

- My History Of Mining -


Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire And Leicestershire

A Comprehensive History of Mining in the
Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire and Leicestershire Coalfields
in Chronological Order


This History was originally only for my own personal use because of my deep interest in the subject
however I later felt that other people may want to know about the subject of mining in general and its associated subjects

Robert Bradley

  • Apprentice Teversal Sub Area / Group 1953-1959
  • Assistant Surveyor Teversal Colliery 1960-1963
  • Senior Assistant Teversal Colliery 1963-1971
  • Senior Assistant Ollerton Colliery Feb-Oct 1971
  • Surveyor Ollerton Colliery 1971-1986
  • Senior Surveyor Nottinghamshire Area HQ 1986-1990
  • Consultant British Mining Consultants 1990 - 1991

More Information - A Surveyor's Job

Author's Introduction

I first became interested in mining history in the early 1950s, shortly after starting work as an Apprentice Surveyor in the Teversal group of pits, Silverhill, Sutton, Pleasley and Teversal Collieries, when one day the Sub-Area Surveyor, Clarence Skeavington, was called to examine a hole that had appeared in a field opposite to Silverhill colliery and this was the catalyst that began my researching Mining History in depth in 1956.

I was taken along to assist in the measuring of the hole, which upon closer inspection turned out to be an old shaft. Duly armed with the survey information we returned to the office and the position of the shaft was plotted on the Working plan of the mine. Searching through old records and plans kept at the office failed to reveal any such position for a shaft in that particular field. Consultation with the Mines Records Office at Sherwood Lodge at that time, revealed several old shafts on various other plans of the area, but it became apparent that not one complete plan contained all the shafts or areas of previous coal working. Each plan showed different information.

So unsure of the extent of the old workings and shafts in the area, after thoroughly examining all the plans, the Area Chief Surveyor, Leslie H Watson, now involved, decided that the wording 'Suspected Ancient Workings' be annotated across the plan. This to me did not seem to be a satisfactory answer, but at the time had to suffice.

Over the years various other bits of information came to light and gradually more areas of coal working, particularly in the Top Hard and Dunsil seams could be plotted on the plan. Opencast workings in the area again revealed the extent, when the old workings were exposed. Surveys were undertaken to all known shafts within the Meden valley and all old plans of workings were copied and orientated to the plotted shaft positions. This entailed reducing or enlarging the old plans as many plans were plotted on strange scales, such as 1 chain, 2 chains (or 1/1584), 3 chains, 4 chains, 6 chains and 9 chains to an inch etc as well as 6 inches to the mile (1/10560), and 1/2500.

Fascinated by the fact that over the years, knowledge of the position of mine workings and shafts had been lost, I began collecting and collating information about mining from any source possible, in order to try to understand why the 'old men' had worked coal in one area and not in another. Where possible the information was documented on the plan of the area to be preserved. However much other information could not be, and needed to be shown in a different format. Therefore where possible a history of each mine is documented.

As I progressed through my career on qualifying as a Mining Surveyor from Apprentice to Assistant, Senior Assistant at Teversal Colliery, Surveyor for the Mine at Ollerton Colliery and finally Senior Surveyor at Nottinghamshire Headquarters, my fascination did not diminish and I continued to collate bits of information about mining throughout the country but mainly about the local mines. The information found by research is documented throughout.

Of course many remarks are from my own personal experiences of work in many of the coal seams in the region, and although the book is dedicated mainly to the mining of coal in Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire and Leicestershire through my work or underground visits to about 30 odd coal mines, and experience in other parts of the country such as underground visits to the Boulby Potash mine being the deepest in the UK at 1,315 yards (1,200m), and one of the shallowest, the Gotham Gypsum mine, as well as 2 local drift mines, opencast sites, pits in the North East and South Wales, Yorkshire, private footrills, lead mines, fluorspar, gold mine, silver mine, Winsford salt mine, Welsh slate mines, copper mine etc, plus many other visits to mines and associated establishments in Britain and worldwide in Europe, Africa, Asia, Australia and USA, enabling me to compare and pass comment.

It is with this in mind that this book will hopefully enlighten many people to the underground world left by the coal miners of the past and the great industry that is now reduced to a just a 'handful' of mines in the country, which I believe will surely disappear.

It will also show that danger still lurks in the form of a small weed covered hillock in a field corner.

Robert Bradley ©

See 2015 Book 8

Click Here For Bibliography
Information has been used from a wide range of sources

For my wife Mary, daughters Jane and Karen and grandson Gabriel.

Also in memory of my Great, Great Grandfather Eli White, Great Grandfather Robert White, and Grandfather Eli White MBE, Great, Great Grandfather John Bradley miners of the past and my father John Edward Bradley, a surface worker.

Four of my brothers-in-law worked in the industry ... Barry Sadler (haulage and coalface at Teversal Colliery), Bernard Dobb (haulage and coalface at Bentinck Colliery), Barry Bladon (Apprentice Surveyor at Teversal Aug 1967 - Aug 1969, left the industry), John R Arnold (Wages department New Hucknall and Head of Time and Wages, Kirkby Colliery).

My sincere thanks go to David Clarke MBE, at the Mining Records Office, (2000 - 2016) and Helen Simpson (from 2016 on) and staff for supplying much valuable information and photographs that has enabled this compilation of books to be written, and to many others for their comments and in particular Alan Beales for his kind addition of a large majority of the fatal accidents.

My sincere thanks go to Fionn Taylor H.Dip FA (Slade), PGCE, ATD for his adaptation of all this information allowing it to be accessesd on the internet and assisting in the production of the information in the printed 9 volumes of the work.

I have included many personal experiences in my career, to try to illustrate certain parts of mining that many are unaware of, even some working in the coal industry and including the many associated Rules and Regulations etc imposed over the years.

On occasions references are made to other counties where I think the information is relevant.




The following pages come from
Robert Bradley's History of Mining in 9 Volumes
Copies of which are in the British Library, 2016




Coal, as a domestic fuel, was not popular, but the invention of the fireplace and chimney changed it all




Uni Notts
Dr Robert Bradley, Honoris Causa, Doctor of Letters
University of Nottingham - 22nd July 2019

Doctor Robert Bradley, Doctor of Letters Honoris Causa





Snibston in Leicestershire (Head Gear Only)

Bilsthorpe Museum, Website

Lady Victoria in Scotland, Website

Big Pit in South Wales, Website

Apedale Valley, Website

Durham Mining Museum, Website

National Mining Museum Wakefield, Website

South Derbyshire Mining Preservation Group, Website - The group meets at Gresley Old Hall, Church Gresley, every Tuesday morning (10am - 12pm) and on the first Thursday of each month. Church Gresley, Swadlincote DE11 9PA, UK


New Section - A Unique History From My Work Diaries

Under Construction



In 2013, there were only three working collieries left in the UK. In this documentary, retired mining surveyor and mining historian Robert Bradley charts the development of the iconic colliery headstocks which once dominated the skyline of the North Nottinghamshire coalfields.


As an introduction, below is the geological sequence of rocks laid down and it is in the Upper Carboniferous age that coal was formed between 300 and 250 million years ago.


Karen, Simon, Jane, George III, Bob, Gabriel, Jade and Mary
Click Photo for Names - Double Click to Go Back to Photo