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The Continued Rise Of The Industry
To 1913



First Agent Of Nottinghamshire Miners' Union

Joseph Hopkin became the first Agent of the Nottinghamshire MinersFederation from January 1884. His salary was 35s a week, plus 6s worth of coal a month. Charles West succeeded Hopkin as President.

The union had 2,167 members in 26 Lodges. However by December the membership had dropped to 1,000. Henry Jarvis was elected President of the Derbyshire Miners Association 1884-1887.

Allotment Land For Langwith Miners

Sheepbridge Co provided 45 acres of allotment land leased from the Duke of Portland for their miners at Langwith in 1884.

Short Time And Strikes

During February 1884 the Erewash Valley miners were on 2 to 2½ days work a week. There were strikes lasting 6 weeks at Oakwell, Manners, Cossall and Stapleford (referred to as Trowell Moor) pits in the Ilkeston district. The men at Trowell Moor were locked out when they refused to load more than 20 cwts to the ton. Nothing was gained. At Wollaton colliery (New and Oldknow) the company began claiming ‘gathered coals’, i.e. the coal that had dropped from trams onto the haulage roads, for which the men did not get paid. In April the company gave notice of reduction in wages. In the Dronfield and Unstone districts several pits were closed as they were running at a loss.

Changed Hands

Birley South and Birley West changed from Jeffcock and Dunn to Sheffield Coal Co. Deep Main 1 and 2 at Riddings (Jas Oakes and Co) now called Old Deeps. A new Hucknall Colliery Co purchased Hucknall (Torkard) No1 and No2 pits from Ellis and Co. Nesfield (Major Fox), Blackshale, bought by Sheepbridge Coal and Iron Co. Pilsley changed hands from Holdsworth and Co to the Pilsley Colliery Co.

New and Oldknow sold Wollaton colliery to the Wollaton Colliery Co.

Langton Still Using Flat Ropes

At Langton the Top Hard seam was still worked from No1 shaft using both flat ropes and double headgear pulleys. The 9 feet (2.74m) diameter shaft was deepened to the Deep Hard seam 1882-1884.

The old wooden headgear at Langton was replaced in November.

Fined For Using A Shovel

At the Blackwell Colliery Co pits, anyone caught using a shovel instead of a fork (or screen) to load coal was fined 5s (25p), and anyone informing was rewarded with 2s 6d (12½p)! The company had resorted to this action due to the ever-increasing amount of small coal reaching the surface. As at many pits in the future, the hated ‘slack bobbies’ would be employed to tour stalls to catch men loading coal with shovels.

Charge Imposed For Coal Allowance

The Stanton Iron Co began to charge 3s (15p) a ton for coal to the workmen from 10th May 1884. Previously this allowance of coal was free. They also announced an increase in the rent of 3d (1¼p) a week. There had been a reduction in wages earlier. The 1,500 men and boys at Silver Hill, Teversall and Pleasley went on strike. A month later the company announced their intention to close all 3 collieries, pending an improvement in trade. They did close the pits for a short time, because production was unprofitable and had been for about two years. However throughout the rest of the coalfield it was a good year for coal generally.

Miners' Demonstration

A great Miners demonstration was held on Hucknall Recreation ground on 7th June 1884 and was attended by a large crowd. The wages at the time were around 10s (50p) a week but short time working in the Erewash Valley and one colliery company opened up soup kitchens to relieve the distress the families were suffering.

Union Secretary

On 5th July 1884 the Secretary of the Nottinghamshire Federation, William Kay was asked to retire and Aaron Stewart was elected to succeed him.

Newstead Winding Engines

At Newstead colliery the original steam-winding engines were replaced by vertical cylinder design steam engines in 1884.

Mexbro' Pits

Gate ways were referred to at the Mexborough (Mexbro’) pit, Selston. The Top pit was 153 yards (140m) deep and there was a furnace in the pit bottom at the North shaft, the third shaft was a pumping pit. Boring was being carried out underground as old hollows were being met and water was coming in.


The Grassmoor Co sought limited liability with a nominal capital of £200,000.


Further efforts were made at Rawdon during 1883/1884 to improve drainage and by Nov 1884 the colliery was back in production however water was still seeping into the workings from Newfield old hollows.

Collieries Sunk or Opened in 1884

  • Apperknowle (The Unstone Coal and Coke Co Ltd) sunk to Blackshale
  • Blackshale (Awsworth Iron and Coal Co), Eastwood, Silkstone
  • Boiley Lane (John Hall), Killamarsh, Dunsil
  • Coal Aston (Rhodes Bros), Dronfield, Silkstone
  • Dolly (John Drinkwater), Bugsworth, Mountain seam
  • Highmoor (Bagley) (John Greensmith), Eckington, Hazle
  • Hill Top (William Lenthall), Dronfield, Silkstone
  • Hundall (Hundall Colliery Co) Blackshale, pit closed in 1874, headings re-started but closed again,
    Joseph Archer ME 1884
  • Kilburne (G and T Small) W Wilde, Kilburn
  • New Granby (Butterley Iron and Coal Co) Ilkeston, Deep Soft, Deep Hard
  • Old Swadlincote (Newhall Field Colliery Co), Burton, Woodfield
  • Renishaw No5 (J and G Wells Ltd), Eckington, Silkstone
  • Wash House (WT Badger and Manager), Brampton, Silkstone
  • Westfield (Michael Straw and Co), Chesterfield, Piper.
  • Snareston (Appleby Magna Colliery Co) Snareston, sinking suspended.

Glapwell Colliery

At Glapwell the shafts at 14 ft (4.27m) dia were 300 yards (274.3m) deep to the Top Hard seam. 2 tubs of 10cwts on each of 2 decks. The steam was raised from 12 Lancashire boilers. The winder at No1 DC shaft had a parallel drum 16 ft (5m) dia x 9 ft (2.74m )wide, whilst the UC shaft winder had a conical drum 12 to 14 ft (3.65 to 4.26m). A Waddle fan 40 ft (12.2m) dia at 50 revs per minute effected the ventilation underground. There was an endless rope engine on the surface to drive the haulage ropes underground by taking it down the shaft by a series of pulleys.

The rope lay above the tubs (lashed on with chains) on the main dip roads and below the tubs on level haulage roads. On the surface 30 men and boys were employed on the screens picking and cleaning cannel coal from the best coal. Gas was manufactured at the pit to light the surface at night and was also forced underground through pipes to light the pit bottom, shaft sidings and stables. The longwall advancing system of coal getting was used. A model village was built later opposite the pit gates and called Bramley Vale.

Colliery Closures in 1884

  • Alma No1 (Thos Holdsworth) Clay Cross, Tupton
  • Ambergate or Lower Hartshay (Cursham and Co), Heage, Silkstone
  • Boothorpe Eureka 9/1884
  • Brampton Blackshale or Silkstone finished 25 Sep 1884
  • Brickyard (Butterley Iron and Coal Co), Ell and ironstone
  • Brockwell (W and H Bridden), Deep Hard
  • Burnd Edge 1, 2 pits (Levi and Elijah Hall) Yard Mine
  • Burnd Edge No4 pit (Levi and Elijah Hall) Yard Mine
  • Burnd Edge Little (Levi and Elijah Hall), 30 yards (27m), old works in between, Little 16” (0.40m), Feb
  • Calley pit (Butterley Co), Marehay, Deep Hard 4’ 0” (1.22m) finished 31st Dec 1884, Agent Francis Channer Corfield (426), signed 1st Jan 1885
  • Derby Lane (Industrial Coal Co, Dr Cornelius Black) Chesterfield, Dunsil
  • Dronfield Silkstone (Dronfield Silkstone Coal Co) Silkstone
  • Fallswood and No2 (A and WT Badger), Dronfield, Silkstone, Oct
  • Fernilee (W and J Proctor), Hope, N of Fernilee Hall, Mountain or Yard seam, sunk 1875, met barren ground, Tunnel entrance and Ladder pit, Grimshaws Level, met old workings
  • Fir Vale Cutthorpe (John Crooks) Ashgate/Mickley
  • Gents Hill (Tyler and Woodward), Tupton
  • Glapwell (Sheepbridge Coal and Iron Co) began coal working in the Top Hard seam
  • Glasshouse (Sheepbridge Coal and Iron Co) Whittington, Silkstone
  • Gosforth (Dronfield Silkstone Coal Co) Silkstone
  • Grassmoor No2 (Messrs Barnes) Dunston seam
  • Gun Lane, Heage (Isaac Shore), Belper, Belper Laund coal
  • Heage Kilburn No1 - No4 or Bondland (WG Cursham, WR Cursham and R Barnes in liquidation), trustees Messrs Hudson and Pearce for late C Moreland, Heage, start Kilburn 1872, finished Lady Day, Manager EP Knight (certificated)
  • Heanor Lane (Henry Fletcher), Heanor, Top Hard and Comb
  • Hill Top (Job Silverwood), Silkstone
  • Kilburne (G and T Small), Kilburn
  • Marehay Main (Thomas Ford and Charles Ford), Ripley, 270 yards (246.75m) to Silkstone, several fires underground, 2 in 1882, 1 in 1882 / 83, fire all round edges of working and old shaft, fire between Nov 1883 and Apr 1884 shut up the pit, abandoned 23 Sep 1884
  • New Brampton (Mr Matthew Henry Knowles and Co), Brampton, Silkstone, abandoned Jan 1884, Surveyor WP Howard AMICE, signed Thomas Evans HMI 25 Jul 1884
  • New Heanor (HH West), Comb
  • Old Park (Cadman and Co), Ilkeston, Piper
  • Railway (Butterley Iron and Coal Co), Ripley, E440170 N348970, Deep Soft, Agent Francis Channer Corfield (426)
  • Renishaw (Cornelius Black and Co), Silkstone
  • Riddings Cloddy Blackshale 3/1884 and Riddings Tunnel pit (Jas Oakes and Co) Deep Hard
  • Simmondley (Jowett and Clayton) Simmondley or Mountain seam
  • Spaw Croft (Edmund Chambers, Diminsdale Colliery), Tibshelf, Top Hard 30 yards, shafts 36 yards (33m),
    Air pit 35 yards (32m), old hollows met, all plant cleared away by 11th Feb 1884
  • Storforth Lane (Industrial Coal Co, Dr Cornelius Black), Hasland, Dunsil or Dunston 4/1884, Surveyor WP Howard
  • Summerley (James Rhodes and Son), Dronfield, Silkstone (worked by Unstone Coal and Coke Co, one of best examples of blocking out and coal extraction afterwards shown on a plan, worked up to old workings taken by James Addy and Rangeley’s colliery to West and a Level driven by Henry Rangeley to South West
  • Swadlincote Old (Hall and Boardman), Church Gresley, S Derbyshire, sunk 1859, Main coal 8 feet (2.44m), John Hall, 23 Dec 1884 Cadley Hill Colliery Office
  • Unstone Drift (Henry Rangeley and Son), Unstone, Silkstone or Blackshale, 2 drift mouths, 1 intended drawing pit. Section branch 10” (0.25m), top beds 1’ 11” (0.84m), dirt 9” (0.31m), low beds 1’ 10” (0.56m), dirt floor, old works encountered, Surveyor Richard George Coke (547) ME, signed Sep 1871
  • Unstone Silkstone (Unstone Silkstone Coal Co, Jacob Fletcher, Rochdale), Dronfield, Silkstone 31 May 1884
  • Whaley Bridge and Horwich House Level (Buxton Lime Co), Whaley, 18” (0.45m) mine
  • Wheeldon Mill (W Lancaster), Chesterfield, Tupton and fireclay
  • White Lane (Mr Andrew Vardy), Eckington, adit and shaft from Sunny Bank worked under / through old workings to finish at road from Gleadless to Hackenthorpe, met old workings, coal top bed 3’ 0” (0.91m), dirt 6” (0.15m), bottom bed 2’ 3” (0.69m), Surveyor J Archer, Sheffield, 1884
  • Woodhouse (EH Phillips), Silkstone.
  • Clay Cross No8 pit (Clay Cross Co) the Tupton at 5’ 5” (1.65m) thick was abandoned as it was too costly to work.
  • Berristow and Hill Top collieries, South Normanton, Top Hard abandoned (John Boot, Mineral Surveyor).

Pits Auctioned Off

Brampton colliery and plant was auctioned off on 27 Mar 1884 at The Angel Hotel, Chesterfield.

In October 1884 Foxley Oaks was offered for sale by the Whittington Silkstone Colliery Co. The effects include 18 cottages and outbuildings, colliery offices etc. There was 13 acres of freehold land.

Serious Fire At Alma

Early on Friday morning 24th September 1884 there was a serious fire in the lamp office at Alma colliery
(Thomas Houldsworth). App 500 men were employed at the time and the underground men and boys were laid off until sufficient lamps were available, no doubt some would have been borrowed from neighbouring mines until new ones had been ordered and delivered.

All mines below Deep Soft and Dunston with 70 acres of Blackshale.

Age Of Boys Employed

Photo given by Roger Hibbert showing his grandad, front row left

During 1884 in Derbyshire there were

  • 115 boys aged 12 to 13 underground,
  • 2,213 aged 13 to 16 and
  • 20,518 above 16.

Above ground there were

  • 20 aged 10 to 13 years
  • 731 aged 13 to 16
  • 5,460 above 16.


Output: 8,581,001 tons of coal, 17,866 tons of fireclay and 19,296 tons of ironstone.

By comparison in Nottinghamshire there were

  • 56 boys aged 12 to 13 underground,
  • 834 aged 13 to 16
  • 11,073 above 16.

Above ground there were

  • 12 aged 10 to 13
  • 274 between 13 and 16
  • 3,370 over 16.

Fatal Accidents 1884

There were between 50 and 55 fatal accidents in the 2 counties of Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire. It will be noticed that the age of many of the fatalities and even first name or initials are missing. This is because most of these accidents would have been young boys and as such were not really classified as ‘workers’. It is without doubt that the age of many young boys setting on for work at some collieries was not documented properly at this period, and that system would continue for the next 50 years or so!

  • Albert, Alfred Vickers (20), fall of coal 27 Feb 1884
  • Alma, Thomas Oldham (35), crushed by wagon on surface 18 Feb 1884
  • Alma, Alfred Ford (35), fall of roof 27 Sep 1884
  • Alma, Thomas Reece (22), fall of roof 20 Nov 1884
  • Aspenshaw, John Bramhall (50), fall of roof 20 May 1884
  • Birchwood, George Bacon (27), fall of roof 6 Jul 1883, died 19 Jan 1884
  • Blackwell A Winning, Thomas Emminson (13), fall of roof 17 Mar 1884
  • Boythorpe, John Sharratt (25), fall of coal 22 Jan 1884
  • Clay Cross No9, William Lloyd (16), caught in machinery on surface 19 May 1884
  • Clay Cross No7, John Pepperday (32), fall in a roadway 20 May 1884
  • Cottam, Stephen Bamford (15), fall in a roadway 12 Aug 1884
  • Donisthorpe, Thomas Shuttleworth (43), overwind accident 11 Dec 1884
  • Dunston, Sam Atkins (26), fall of roof 1 Mar 1884
  • Glapwell, Arthur Ison (16), Fell down shaft 11 Nov 1884
  • Grassmoor No4, John Dymond (14), run over by tubs 14 Feb 1884
  • Grassmoor, George Mellor (33), fall of roof 5 Jul 1884
  • Grassmoor, George Mellor (33), fall of roof 5 Aug 1884
  • Hartington, Joseph Andrews (65), crushed by tubs 17 Jun 1884
  • Holbrook, George Tickill (31), fall of roof 30 Mar 1884
  • Hornethorpe, William Needham (19), hit by the beam on a whim gin 16 Mar 1884
  • Kilburn, Thomas Wheatley (66), fall in a roadway 20 Oct 1884
  • Manners, Job Barker (41), fall of roof 5 Mar 1884
  • Manners, Isaac Clifford (15), explosion of firedamp 29 Nov 1884
  • Norwood, William Turton (43), fall of side in a roadway 3 May 1884
  • Oakwell, Elijah Wilson (22), run over by tubs 23 Jul 1884
  • Pleasley, Thomas Adkin (28), fall of roof 30 Jun 1884
  • Renishaw Park, George Ramsden (32), fall in a roadway 2 Aug 1884
  • Springwell, William Bennett (15), crushed by tubs 18 Feb 1884
  • Tibshelf, Thomas Ealing (33), run over by wagon on surface 3 Jan 1884
  • Unstone, Sam Pugh (31), fall of coal 7 Jan 1884
  • West Hallam, John Henry Simmonds (47), suffocated in an old roadway 4 Dec 1884
  • Whitwick, Joseph Henson (15), crushed by tubs 31 Oct 1884.

Newspaper Reports

From the Nottingham Guardian Newspaper another accident was reported. In January 1884 James Parker of Leabrooks died as the result of an accident almost a year ago. A piece of coal fell on his thigh and he never rallied. According to the law it is necessary that an inquest should be held if death occurs within a year and a day of the accident. If the injured person lives a longer period it is presumed he has recovered from the injury received. In this case the Registrar refused to give an order for the burial and it is expected that an inquest be held.

From the same paper it was reported that the South Normanton Colliery Co were working a dip towards the Turnpike Road at their old mine and unfortunately tapped an old heading which was flooded 25 years before. The lower workings were now inundated and many miners thrown out of work. A ram pump was obtained from Stanley Common but after 2 or 3 days pumping the water was still increasing in volume.


Derbyshire Output: 8,581,001 tons of coal, 17,866 tons of fireclay and 19,296 tons of ironstone.

Nottinghamshire Output: 5,091,603 tons of coal, 40 tons of fireclay, but no ironstone.

Leicestershire Output 1,152,930 tons of coal, 41,895 tons of fireclay and no ironstone.

1884 Was A Good Year For The Coal Industry Overall

However the sharp cold spell in October 1884 when prices for house coal rose dramatically to above 10s (50p) a ton at the pithead did not last as the weather throughout the winter was mild and short time working resumed once more. The men had not been earning more than 10s (50p) due to the drop off in trade earlier in the year.

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