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The Continued Rise Of The Industry
To 1913




There were 2 collieries closed at Heanor and the proprietors of Stanley colliery filed for liquidation. From 15th July Oakwell, Manners, Cossall and Stapleford pits went on strike for 6 weeks. Officials of the union, William Harvey of Derbyshire and Joseph Hopkin of Nottinghamshire were sent to advise them.


A further short Conservative Government was in power from 1885 until January 1886 when another Liberal Government lasted but a few months, to be replaced by a further Conservative Government until 1892.

Prime Minister: Marquis of Salisbury (Conservative) 1885-1886.

President of Board of Trade, …? (Con). Principal Secretary of State HCE Childers MP 1885-1890.

In June 1885 the first elected MP for Mansfield area of the North Nottinghamshire Division, was Carver Williams, for the Liberal party.

New Manager

Butterley Iron and Coal Co appointed Henry Stevenson (1575) Manager for Portland No1, 2 and 4, also Mexboro South and Old Birchwood pits.

For Sale

In May 1855 at Renishaw all the colliery plant was up for sale and included 8 engines and one winding engine manufactured by Davy of Sheffield.

The Mapperley Colliery Co purchased Mapperley colliery from Glendon Iron and Coal Co.


On 13th June 1885 at Rawdon colliery a boy was fatally injured in the return airway on the east side of the north main road. It appeared that the boy had been run over by full tubs of coal. This was typical of an accident report.

There were only 7 General Rules on safety at this period.


Due to problems within the company, the South Normanton Colliery Co filed for liquidation in 1885.

Reduction In Rates

On 8th June 1885 Stanton Iron Co gave notice of 10% reduction in rates at Teversall Butcherwood and Silver Hill collieries. This reduction was accepted peacefully.

Told To Bring Out Their Tools

On 14th July 1885 the colliers at Oakwell, Manners, Cossall and Stapleford pits were told to bring out their tools in response to a reduction in rates of 10% but at 3d (1½p) a ton was more like 12½%. Rioting broke out on 5th August and extra police were drafted in to the district to protect ‘black legs’ who were being threatened by the miners and their wives. By September the owners had agreed to a reduction of 1½d (3/4 p) and men returned to work but the troublemakers in the riot were refused work and out they came again but only for a short time in September.

New Sinking

A new colliery sinking was proposed at Alfreton, by the Blackwell Colliery Co with a projected output of 800 tons a day. It was to be called Blackwell C Winning but was changed to Alfreton Colliery. A Guibal ventilating fan 24’ x 7’ 6” (7.31m x 2.29m) was installed.


A new Pilsley Colliery Co purchased Pilsley Nos 1, 2 and 3 from Holdsworth and Co. Bathurst Main Colliery Co purchased Bathurst Main colliery at Bolsover from Minnikin and Co. Newhall Field Colliery Co took over Old Swadlincote from Swadlincote Colliery Co.

Terrible Shaft Accident

On 18th September 1885 there was a terrible accident at Oakwell colliery (Ilkeston Colliery Co), when the engine winding men were changing places whilst the cage was in motion. It appears that the engine man taking over could not stop the cage coming up, and it crashed through the headgear and demolished the engine house. 300 men and boys were imprisoned in the pit as the other shaft was used for return air ventilation and had a furnace at the base. Fortunately after some time this was able to be cleared and the men were wound out of this shaft.

Union Conference

The National MinersConference was held in the Mechanics Institute at Nottingham on 24th, 25th and 26th September 1885. The main topic was a general increase in pay for all.

On 3rd December 1885 the name of the Nottinghamshire Miners Federation was changed to the Nottinghamshire Miners Association and the name Lodge was dropped in favour of Branch.

Told To Hand In Their Notices

The Derbyshire miners were advised by the union to hand in their notices and over 1,000 did so at Clay Cross, however only about 200 did so in Nottinghamshire. The union then advised the men to withdraw their notices. Within weeks the protest against pay rates had collapsed and the strike was a failure.

Midland Railway

The MR (Midland Railway) extended a branch line into the Pinxton colliery on 28th December 1885.

New Engines At Portland

Butterley Iron and Coal Co installed 2 new vertical-type marine engines at Portland No1 and 2 pits. Introduced by Sir John Alleyne they were installed in December 1885 and would continue to work until 1916, when they would be taken to Kirkby Summit No2 deepening and the new Low Moor shaft.

Tramway To Tip

There was a tramway to the tip at Cinderhill / Babbington in 1885. The colliery pit yard was 215 feet (65.5m) above Ordnance datum.


Moira Co sold Oakthorpe to JM Green and Co.

Collieries Sunk or Opened in 1885

  • Alfreton (Blackwell Colliery Co) sinking as their third Winning
  • Alton (Alton Coal and Coke Co), Alton, near Clay Cross sinking and standing
  • Apperknowle under estate of RS Ward’s Trustees, Blackshale 4’ 5” (1.35m) at 385’ 3” (117.5m) start, Joseph Archer
  • Bagley (John Greensmith) sunk to Barlborough coal
  • Bagworth (new sinking) 961’ 4” (293m)
  • Blackshale (Awsworth Iron and Coal Co) Eastwood
  • Broom House (J Shardlow and Co) Silkstone
  • Coal Aston (Rhodes Brothers) Dronfield, Silkstone
  • Gun Lane, Heage (Isaac Shore) Belper Laund
  • Hill Top (William Lenthall), Dronfield, Silkstone
  • Markham No2 sinking (Staveley Coal and Iron Co Ltd)
  • Newbold Glory (Leicestershire)
  • Old Swadlincote (Swadlincote Colliery Co) Stanhope seam
  • Renishaw No5 (J and G Wells Ltd) Eckington
  • Silkstone (Awsworth Iron and Coal Co)
  • Staunton Harold (or Worthington) (J Lakin) 2 shafts 9ft (2.74m) dia, 101 yards (92m) deep, 2 single deck cages, DC pitch pine 33 ft (10m) high and UC 15 ft (4.57m) with portable engine, Stinker coal 4ft (1.2m) at 17 yards (15m), Main 6ft (1.8m) at 45 yards (41m), Smoile 4ft 6in (1.37m) + 3ft (0.90m) clay at 52 yards (47m), Upper Lount 2ft 6in (0.76m) at 67 yards (61m), Middle Lount 5ft 6in (1.68m) 3ft (0.90m) good house coal + 3ft (0.90m) clay at 85 yards (78m), Nether 6ft (1.8m) hard steam coal at 97 yards (89m), Roaster seam 2ft 10in (0.86m) good house coal + 4ft 6in (1.37m) clay at 105 yards (96m), Fireclay 4ft (1.2m) at 117 yards (107m), Stanhope 3ft 3in (0.99m) good house coal + 3ft 6in (1.07m) clay at 125 yards (114m)
  • West Field (M Straw and Co) Chesterfield.
    (15 Pits)

Colliery Closures in 1885

  • Ambergate Silkstone or Hartshay Lower, Blackshale (Messrs Cursham and Barnes), 2 areas, dip of coal 1in4,
    18 yards (16.5m), Basset pit 27 yards (24.5m), Deep pit 68 yards (62m), 21 Mar 1885, Coke and Mills Surveyors
  • Avenue, Wingerworth (Wingerworth Coal Co), Hasland, Deep Soft
  • Barlboro (Miles Barber) High Hazle
  • Boothorpe (Boothorpe Sanitary Pipe Works) Horse gin and other shafts 14 yards (12.75m), 10 yards (9m) and 4 yards (3.5m) deep to Eureka and Potters clay, May 1884, openwork to Feb 1885
  • Boythorpe (Boythorpe Colliery Co), Walton, Deep Hard, Piper, Tupton
  • Brickyard (Butterley Iron and Coal Co), Ripley, Ell and ironstone finished
  • Brockwell (W and H Briddon), Newbold, Deep Hard or Potters seam 5’ 3½” (1.61m) coal and dirt, Drawing pit
    40 yards (36.5m), old Pumping pit 17 yards (15.5m), Nov 1885, coal worked by John Oldfield to West at old Cutholme colliery, 17 yards (15.5m) deep, met old workings, JW Pearson, WF Howard AICE, Old Cutthorpe (John Oldfield) adjacent, 2 shafts 17 yards (15.5m) deep
  • Bugsworth, Dolly or Barn Pit (Levi and Elijah Hall), Glossop, Yard or Mountain, 105 yards (96m) to seating of Yard Mine, coal 2’ 6” (0.76m), warrant floor 1’ 0” (0.30m), Cross and Eagle Mining Engineers Jan 1886
  • Bull Close (Messrs Hewitt and Son) Thin coal worked 1 acre 2 roods 4 poles to Oct 1885
  • Butterley Nos 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 pits (Butterley Iron and Coal Co), Butterley, Ell and ironstone
  • Cave Abdulam (or Brooms pit or Chimney pit) (North West Derbyshire)
  • Coton and Lenton (Coton Park and Lenton Colliery Co) Moira Main, Stockings and Woodfield
  • Old Coleorton Yard seam abandoned 1885 position uncertain
  • Dronfield Silkstone (Dronfield Silkstone Co), Dronfield, Silkstone seam
  • Dronfield Silkstone colliery (John Sheard plus Dr Rooth and Others) – Dronfield Board Schools, headings and room and pillar work, Surveyor J Archer, Staffs
  • Dunstead Top Hard, finished Nov (Langley Mill)
  • Fir Vale, Cutthorpe (John Crooks), Newbold, Tupton, Ashgate, Mickley coal 4” (0.10m), batt 4” (0.10m), soft coal 1’ 6” (0.46m), batt 5” (0.13m), soft coal 8” (0.20m), total 4’ 0” (1.22m), 2 shafts 15 yards (13.75m) deep, dip 1in7, finished June 1885, worked up to Cutthorpe Plantation, Nesfield colliery to East
  • Forty Horse (Butterley Iron and Coal Co), Ripley, Ell and ironstone (see 1886)
  • Glasshouse Whittington (Appleby and Co), Whittington, Silkstone
  • Heanor Lane (Henry Fletcher), Heanor, Top Hard and Comb, (and Top Hard stopped previously and re-opened in 1874 sunk by GB Gregory), parts of Top Hard worked between old hollows, finished 7th Aug 1885, incline from surface and used an old shaft for return air and another shaft sunk only 2 yards (2m) deep
  • Heanor Lane (Henry Fletcher) Comb, used old UC shaft and an adit, 7 Aug 1885, met old Men’s hollows, abandoned Oct 1885
  • Heanor New (HH West), Heanor, Comb, sunk 1870-1873, JW Fearn Surveyor, Aug 1885, old hollows met 1884, roadway through to West Hill colliery
  • Highfield (Unstone Silkstone) Blackshale, met old hollows 1880, worked by William Swann from start to 23rd May 1884, William Gill 2 Feb 1885
  • Horwich House Level or Tunnel or Whaleybridge nr Whaley Bridge (Buxton Lime Co lessees), 18” mine (0.46m) abandoned 2 Feb 1885, HC Hibbert
  • Hucknall Huthwaite (Hucknall Huthwaite Colliery Co), Top Hard stood
  • Hundall (Unstone Coal Co) Owner Messrs Higson Hayes and Johnson, sunk 1873, Blackshale 5’ 0” (1.52m) coal and dirt, 86 yards (78.5m), worked 1872-73 to 23 Dec 1885, point of seam N48ºW, inclination 1in2.5. The object of the water level was for the purpose of carrying away the water from the pit bottom which had been pumped out of the deep workings of the mine – Rangeley exchange, C Pearson, Joseph Archer Surveyor 1884, AS Dyson ?
    Surveyor AE Fearn, 23 Dec 1885, but abandonment plan received by Thomas Evans Inspector 27 May 1886, some worked by Hundall Colliery Co and some by Unstone Coal Co
  • Mexboro Bottom pit (or Mexbro’) (Butterley Iron and Coal Co), Selston, Top Hard 4’ 5” (1.35m) at 90 yards (82m) finished at Old Men’s hollows May 1885, signed Francis Channer Corfield (426) Agent July and signed by Thomas Evans Inspector of Mines 12th Oct 1885. There was the Butterley Co railway from Codnor Park to the pit head
  • Millbrow (Ludworth Brick Co) Mountain and fireclay, standing
  • (Moira) Oakthorpe pit (Right Honourable Baron Donington) sunk 1861, was in S Derbyshire then transferred to Leicestershire, Main seam, 123 yards (112.5m) Roof coal 1’ 0” (0.30m), Main 3’ 6” (1.07m), Grounds 10” (0.25m), holing 1’ 2” (0.35m), Nether coal 3’ 6” (1.07m), inferior coal 1’8” (0.50m), old hollows first found 1861, finished Oct 1885, WS Gresley
  • New Heanor (HH West) Coomb 4 feet (1.22m), Duns 1’ 3“ (0.31m) pre 1873, to Top Hard at 60 yards (55m) worked anciently at 7’ 10” (2.39m), West Hill one shaft 60 yards (55m) deep, pit abandoned by consent of Rev’d GH Ray 24th June 1885, coal left by Mr West not worth working, met hollows Messrs Gillott Bros, Mix 1879, pillar left to support Heanor Hall, plan made 5th May 1873 by John Thomas Boot, 6th Aug JW Fearn Aug 1885, coal sold to Mr Mundy?
  • Oakerthorpe (Geo Pearson), South Wingfield, Silkstone, stood
  • Oakerthorpe (Lord Donington) Ashby-de-la-Zouch, Main coal, finished Oct, abandoned18th Dec 1885
  • Railway (Butterley) Deep Soft
  • Renishaw (Cornelius Black and Co in Chancery), Silkstone
  • Riddings New Deeps pit (James Oakes and Co), Riddings, Deep Main or Kilburne, coal 2’ 3” (0.69m), black bat 1’ 6” (0.45m)
  • Riddings Tunnel Deep Hard, 20 Jun 1885
  • Shipley Woodside (Ed Miller Mundy), Shipley, Deep Hard
  • Snibston No3 (George Robert Stephenson, Joseph Sanders and Charles Binns) Leicestershire, 3 feet (0.91m) Swannington, 9 Mar 1885
  • Old Swadlincote (Hall and Boardman), Main, South Derbyshire, 9 Jan 1885, Surveyor John Hall
    (Swadlincote and Cadley Hill Colliery Office)
  • Thornsett Hey (Thos Bennett), Glossop, Little and Yard seams start 1876 finished 25 Jun 1885, connected to Cave Abdullum or Brooms pit, several areas worked with barren ground or thin coal or old works between, Thomas Bennett Manager, Cross and Eagle ME Surveyors
  • Unstone Silkstone (Jacob Fletcher Esq), Dronfield, Blackshale, Hezekiah G Soar Manager, DC shaft 62 yards (56m), UC 58 yards (53m), met old works, opened 1870, there had been trespass in 1872 when Mr Swann took over for a short time, abandoned 26 Feb 1885
  • Whaley Bridge (Buxton Lime Co) abandoned 21 Feb 1885 (see 1879)
  • Western (Butterley Iron and Coal Co), Butterley, Ell
  • West Field (Michael Straw and Co), Boythorpe Lane Hasland, drift and air pit, Piper, coal 8” (0.2m), clunch 5” (0.12m), coal 2’ 1¾” (0.64m), dirt 4” (0.10m), coal 10” (0.25m), total 3’ 7¾” (0.97m), Dec, sunk 1854, William Deakin Wadsworth Surveyor
  • Winterbank temp closure, but re-opened by a different company later. (39 pits)
  • Swannington No3 (Clink) 3 shafts, Old Coleorton abandoned 1885 position uncertain.
  • Dronfield Silkstone (John Sheard) abandoned around this date. 4 shafts, including pumping, drawing and UC. Coal seam ? 6’ 6”– branch 1’ 0”, top softs 1’ 11½”, dirt 1’ 6½”, bottom bed 2’ 0” (2m – 0.30m, 0.60m, 0.47m, 0.61m). Underground roads named West Jinkey, Briddon’s level, Swamp level. Remainder worked from Gomersall colliery.

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Pit Terminology - Glossary