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The Continued Rise Of The Industry
To 1913


1897 - Page 1

Further Strikes

The strike at Pinxton No3 over wage cuts among other things continued into the new year when the threat of the strike spreading to the other Pinxton pits caused the management to arrange a temporary settlement. A new price list was obtained at Bentinck and Blidworth but not at Warsop Main. Due to the lack of approach by the Nottinghamshire union officials the men at Warsop voted to join the Derbyshire association.

At Warsop Main the minimum wage for daywage men was 6s 6d (32½p) a shift as negotiated with Mr Humble the Manager. The rate for contractors however remained at 2s per ton of 21 cwts. In Derbyshire the rate was under 2s (10p) but in Nottinghamshire it was 2s 2d (app 10¾p).

Warsop Main (Staveley Coal and Iron Co) 340 Top Hard u/g and 112 surface workers were out on strike for 5 months over the price list rates.  There were several other local strikes in Derbyshire in 1897.  At Staveley (Staveley Coal and Iron Co) there was a strike over the introduction of an electrically operated coal cutter.

There was a strike ballot not to drop out of the Nottinghamshire Miners’ Assoc. The men came out on strike on 2nd Aug. They were supported by the union and each man received 10s (50p) per week plus 1s (5p) for each dependent child plus 3s (15p) per week from the levy fund. In December a satisfactory settlement was reached. However trouble was always brewing at Warsop Main.

Bentinck and New Hucknall men asked for permission from the union to hold a strike ballot over amendments to the price-lists. The New Hucknall Colliery Co who owned both pits offered satisfactory terms and the threatened strike did not go ahead.

There had also been trouble throughout the year at Broxtowe and Cinderhill over some surface men refusing to pay union contributions on account that at other pits in the Leen Valley the pay rates were higher.

The average price of a ton of coal at the pithead in the Midlands area was 5s 9¼d (28¾p).

Riders in Cumberland

cage 1

Two Banks women, very crowded, cramped conditions on 3 deck, low height cage. (Note two missing gates, hinges still there, only chains to prevent anyone falling out)

The reason for the low decks was to achieve maximum number of tubs per wind.

Collieries in Leicestershire

  • Bagworth (Bagworth Coal Co) 203 Lower Main, 75 s/f, Manager: AB Emmerson (2278), Undermanager: William Reed (2696 service cert)
  • Blackfordby (Execs of Lord Donington) 9 Nether coal and fireclay, 4 s/f, Undermanager: Daniel Bacon (1465 service)
  • Coleorton (Coleorton Colliery Co) 174 Roaster, Middle Lount, Manager: Jesse Armson (287), Undermanager: Richard Booth (3057 cert)
  • Donisthorpe (Checkland, Son and Williams) Manager : Henry Taylor (1072) No1: 290 Little. 4 Feet, Moira Main, fireclay, 49 s/f Undermanager: William Bestwick (4244 / 2nd), No2: 53 Stockings, Eureka, 11 s/f, Undermanager: William Gascoyne
  • Ellistown (Execs of Joseph Joel Ellis) Manager: George Hall (2443 service cert), No1: 269 Lower Main, 99 s/f, Undermanager: William Bettison (4344 / 2nd), No2: 174 Upper Main, 28 s/f, Undermanager: Matthew Catron (1832 cert)
  • Ibstock (Ibstock Colliery Co) Manager: John Hay (156), No1: 266 Lower Main, Undermanager: Thomas Petcher (2641 – 2nd), No2: 363 Upper Main, 133 s/f, Undermanager W Price (1740 – 2nd)
  • Marquis (Moira Colliery Co) Manager: SA Warburton (2395), U/m: Henry Bradford (295 service) Moira Main, stood
  • Measham Main (Execs of W Tate) Manager: William Tate (974), U/m: T Jones (no cert), 17 Main coal, 5 s/f
  • Nailstone No1 (Nailstone Colliery Co) Manager: Samuel Wheatley (422), U/m: Edward Smith (1478 service) 168 Upper Main, 30 s/f, No2 U/m: Henry Ball (2713) 153 Lower Main, 52 s/f:
  • Netherseal (Netherseal Colliery Co) Manager: GJ Binns (1054), U/m: Joseph Percival (359) 521 Main, Stockings, Eureka, 129 s/f
  • Oakthorpe (Henry P Skidmore and Co) Manager: HS Smith (725) U/m: John Kirk (262) 35 Main, 15 s/f
  • Rawdon (Moira Colliery Co) Manager: SA Warburton (2395), U/m: Henry Bradford (295 s) 275 Moira Main, Eureka, 86 s/f
  • Reservoir (Moira Colliery Co) Manager: Peter Beaumont (838) U/m: WF Clamp (770), 323 Moira Main, Little, 67 s/f
  • Snibston No2 (The South Leicestershire Colliery Co) Manager: W Melling (2125), U/m: William Glover (319), 365 Roaster, 110 s/f
  • South Leicestershire No1 (The South Leicestershire Colliery Co) Manager: W Melling (2125), U/m: George Glover (2287), 254 Lower Main, No2 U/m: John Underwood (1476) 174 Upper Main, 145 s/f
  • Staunton Harold (Staunton Colliery Co) Undermanager: James Richards (1864 service) 25 Middle Lount, 8 s/f
  • Swannington (Swannington Colliery Co) Manager: Myles Hardwick (79) 137 Middle Lount, 16 Roaster, 45 s/f
  • Whitwick No2 and No6 Manager: Thomas Y Hay (2020) Undermanager: Samuel Smith (2862) 521 Roaster 90 s/f,
  • No5 (Whitwick Colliery Co) U/m: James Clamp (3029) 165 main, 110 s/f.

Collieries Sunk or Opened in 1897

  • Briton (Hosea, Tugby and Co), Moira, sinking, 3/2
  • Church (John Sheard) Heanor, Coombe
  • Cotes Park No3 (Jas Oakes and Co) Alfreton, Tupton and Silkstone
    sinking commenced at Radford (Wollaton Colliery Co).
  • Bonds Main at Temple Normanton (Staveley Coal and Iron Co) sunk during the period 1897-1898
    (Geo Bond was a Director of Staveley Co)
  • Rutland (Booker and Smith) Barlow, Tupton Threequarter
  • Shirebrook (Shirebrook Colliery Co)
  • Two Oaks (Luke Lee) Unstone, Deep Hard
  • West Wells (J and G Wells) Eckington, Silkstone.

Sinking Accident at Shirebrook

On 17th March 1897 there was a sinking accident at Shirebrook, (Derbyshire). One man was killed and 5 injured when the winding rope broke and the sinking hoppit fell 480 yards (439m) to the bottom of the shaft where 23 men were working. The sinking was completed in April 1897. The surface level is 320 feet (97m) above sea level. 60 houses were being built for the workforce by the Shirebrook Colliery Co.

Lord Savile

Lord Savile (b.1818 - donor 1886), a descendant of the Saviles of Rufford Abbey left for London in May 1897.

Deep Unrest

There was deep unrest at Cres(s)well who were on strike over rates from May 1897. The colliers wanted 1s 5½d (7⅓p app) against 1s 4d (6⅔p) per ton getting. The Derbyshire Relief Fund was at their disposal. Support was by raising subscriptions. Emerson Bainbridge MP was Chairman of Bolsover Co. The dispute still continued in July.

Strike Notices

notices were handed in at Kirkby Summit (Nottinghamshire) where there was another grievance over a price-list There was also the problem that the enginemen were not working the same hours as other pits in the Leen Valley. They wanted the 8 hour shift. Most of the enginemen and firemen were members of the Enginemen and Firemen’s Union. The Butterley Co did attempt to appease the men. Underground the contractors had to do the ripping themselves and they wanted 6s 6d (32½p) a yard advance.

The company also agreed that where dirt had to be gobbed in gob gates they would provide the necessary horses and lads whereas previously the contractors had to do it themselves. The company also agreed that the men should receive an allowance of home coal at the rate of one ton per 24 shifts worked during the winter months and one ton per 30 shifts worked in the summer months. The enginemen decided to come out on strike after the expiration of their notices and the miners felt obliged to come out in sympathy and support them. Mr Corfield for the Butterley Co would meet the enginemen to sort out their problem. The men returned to work on 29th November 1897.

Collieries Closed in 1897

  • Albert (Derbyshire Silkstone Coal Co), Staveley, Silkstone (in 1894: 548 S, 202 s/f, total 750, Manager: Thomas Fisher (service cert 1542), Undermanager: William Dooley (service cert 736)
    1895: 427 u/g, 176 s/f
    1896: 330 u/g, 170 s/f
    1897: 86 u/g, 90 s/f, closed)
  • Avenue pit near Chesterfield (Wingerworth Coal Co) Deep Soft 75 yards (69m) stood, 24/5 was closed temporarily, (Manpower 1894: 23 DS, 5 s/f, Manager: Henry Gregory (799)
    1895: 24 DS, 5 s/f
    1896: 19 DS, 4 s/f, bought by Clay Cross Co)
  • Bagshawe (Stephen Sayer) Chesterfield, Blackshale
  • Blackfordby (Trustees late Lord Donington) Bottom coal and pot clay, worked up to Red formation and old hollows, Grouse, bind 4” (0.10m), bottom coal 3’ 0” (0.91m), pot clay 2’ 6” (0.76m), Surveyor, Moira Collieries George J German
  • Boothorpe (Boothorpe Sanitary Pipe Co) abandoned because all coal and clay got, coal 2’ 3” (0.69m), pot clay 3’ 9” (1.14m) George J Ward 21 Apr 1898
  • Bridge House mine (Edward Wright and Co Ltd) Wheatbridge Pottery, wrought 2’ 4” (0.70m) Tupton saleable and 3’ 0” (0.91m) fireclay, some open cut, 2 shafts 13 and 17 yards (12m and 15m), abandoned 17th July, Mine Surveyor William Deakin Wadsworth, 27th May 1898
  • Brierley Hill colliery Stanton Hill The Top Hard seam, 154 men, was abandoned (Sutton Colliery Co) 45 s/f, Manager: Enoch Prime (2332), Undermanager: William Harvey (1831 service cert), work carried on in Dunsil seam
  • Clinton (Peter Newton) from His Grace the Duke of Newcastle, the Freehold now belongs to Barber Walker and Co, purchased Jan 1897, Coombe 2’ 11½” (0.91m), bind roof, 8” (0.20m) inferior coal, 3’ 0” (0.91m) fireclay, worked by 2 Day holes and Air shaft, operations discontinued on 14th April, unprofitable, old workings by Beardsley and others up to 1892, Hewitt and Bobart, 15th Apr, original plan by Surveyor Robert Harrison 1894, old workings by Beardsley and Others 1875-1881
  • Cowley New (Messrs Liddell and Chetwynd) Mickley Thin 2’ 0” (0.61m), fireclay floor, Drawing shaft 35 yards (32m), Air shaft 52 yards (47.5m), finished 10 Sep 1897, Thomas Henry May Surveyor prior to Nov 1896, H Hollingworth Surveyor at 15 Dec 1897
  • Daisy (Leicestershire) sunk 1892
  • Granville No1 Wide shaft (Granville Colliery Co Ltd), Swadlincote, Main coal, Ryder coal 3’ 1” (0.94m), black shale 6½” (0.16m), Little Ryder, Over Main coal 4’ 4” (1.32m) exhausted to boundary of lease, abandoned Feb 1897, was abandoned earlier in 1844 also, Manager George L Bragge
  • Hill Top Dronfield (Stephen or Edward French), 10 yards (9m) deep, less than 30 men, particulars taken from Owner’s notebook, skirted round old works, Surveyor WJ Siddall
  • Inkerman (Inkerman Brick Co) Chesterfield closed down, Tupton Three Quarter 2/2
  • Kilburne (Kilburne Colliery Co) Kilburn seam, thin coal 133 yards (121.5m) Feb, supposed to be Mickley Thin coal, but at this pit 100 to 110 yards (90 to 100m) above Kilburn coal, Surveyors: Mills, Coke and Turner
  • Kimberley (Babbington Coal Co), which was sunk in 1852/55, was closed after 42 years, Deep Soft 273 yards (250m) deep, 245/65, Manager: George Fowler (365), Undermanager: William Clements (304), position E450140 N344160. John Draper, Great Great Grandfather of Anthony Kirby (in 2007) was killed at the coal face when coal fell on him
  • Lodge (Billy Halls) Eastwood stopped, see 1899
  • Markham No2 (Staveley Coal and Iron Co Ltd) few heads in Ell coal at 471 yards (430.5m) deep, top 1’ 3” (0.38m) dirt 3½” (0.09m), coal 1’ 7” (0.48m) and Deep Hard seam top coal 1’ 3” (0.38m), 2’ 0” (0.61m) coal streaked with hard bands, 7” (0.18m) inferior coal with dirt partings, 1’ 4” (0.40m) good coal, 4” (0.10m), total 4’ 10” (1.47m), Surveyor JA Verner
  • Oakthorpe (Henry P Skidmore and Co) Derbyshire, Main seam, HS Smith 27 Apr 1897
  • Oakerthorpe, Wood pit (Lockwood and Hawsesley) Swingfield, Furnace seam 4’ 0” (1.22m) Air shaft 27 yards (24.5m) and Furlongs pit met old works, CR Hewitt 1897
  • Owl Cotes at Heath (Hardwick Colliery Co) (Estate belonging Earl Manvers) 23 in Top Hard, metal roof, 7” (0.18m) top softs, 2’ 6” (0.76m) hards, 1’ 9” (0.53m) bottom softs and 3” (0.07m) holing dirt, 5 s/f, exhausted 10th Aug, 64 yards (58.5m) deep, 60 yards (55m) to mouthing, Manager Henry Leeson (2173), Charles Rennie Morgan (817), Fred C Chambers, Surveyor William D Wadsworth, pillar left for High House
  • Pentrich Speedwell (WC Haslam) with 36 in 1894 and 15 men in Deep Soft and Deep Hard and 7 men on the surface in 1897, was closed also, Manager: William Walker (2311), Undermanager: George Hall (740 service cert)
  • Pingot (New pit) (Ollersett Collieries Co Ltd) Yard seam, start about Mar 1888, abandoned 6 Dec 1897, Surveyor William Eagles and Son
  • Pinxton No3 pit 145 Tupton 53 s/f was closed permanently in January 1897. Manager: Samuel Alsop (432), Undermanager: Edward Johnson (336 service cert). This led to a total of 1,000 men being out of work at the four Pinxton pits (Coke and Co). Sinking deeper to the Low Main seam at 200 yards (183m), the pit would be re-opened later
  • Slatepit Dale (A Holmes) Ashgate
  • Snowden Lane (Swift and Mellor) Eckington, Silkstone 6/2
  • Star (Mrs AM Waterhouse) Old Brampton, Ashgate 3/2
  • Willottss (Mr B Willott) Heage, Kilbourne seam, tops 1’ 0” (0.30m), best coal 3’ 6” (1.07m), floor coal 6” (0.15m), DC shaft 26 ft (8m, dip 1in5 SE, met old hollows, WH Simkiss Civil Engineer and Surveyor, Denby, abandoned 27 Feb 1897
  • Wood (Furlongs) (Aaron Hawkesley and Partner), 16 Tupton, 5 s/f, Undermanager: Aaron Hawkesley (329).
    (24 pits)


In 1897 Pleasley (Stanton Ironworks Co) had its own DC (Direct Current) generating plant. There were two Crompton open-type dynamos, each driven by a pair of horizontal steam engines by belts and countershafts. 

Underground there were several miles of haulage ropes driven by 5 Crompton motors, all on the open-type pattern with copper brushes giving plenty of sparking. Some were quite a distance from the pit bottom and situated on the main haulage roads.

500 volt supply and lighting carried out with 5 lamps in series on the surface near to the generator, however only 4 in series when some distance inbye at the motor sites. 

At that time there were no flame-proof switches.

For Sale

Belper Kilburn(e) Colliery Co for sale 12 Oct 1897, Mickley seam 20 yards (18.3m) deep, coal + 2ft (0.60m) thick, Kilburn 133 yards (121.5m) 5 ft (1.52m) thick, Naughton 280 yards (256m) 3 ft 2 in (0.97m) thick and Alton 300 yards (274m) 3 ft (0.91m) thick. All seams good quality. Messrs Sheard, Hurst and Fell were joint owners having purchased it from Kilburne Colliery Co in 1893 when the firm had gone into liquidation. There was no interest in purchasing the colliery so it was closed.

James Oakes and Co

Riddings Tunnel (James Oakes and Co) Selston, Low Main worked on south side of 95 yards (87m) fault, stopped Lady Day 1897, James HW Laverick signed the plan, I certify this is an accurate plan, Certificated Manager, and would be accepted by Arthur H Stokes Mines Inspector 4 Dec 1890

Tunnel pit at Pye Bridge was working Deep Soft and Tupton, with 84 underground and 14 on the surface.  Pye Hill, (James Oakes and Co) Tupton and Silkstone seams, 312 men u/g, and 98 on the surface, Manager: James HW Laverick (2354) and U/m Elijah Cresswell (2nd). 

New Selston (Nottinghamshire)  (Jas Oakes and Co) had 372 men underground and 62 surface men.


At Boythorpe (Boythorpe Colliery Co), a stallman Joshua Handford from Brimington was prosecuted and fined £2 under the Truck Act, and a second summons was taken out against him in his capacity as Agent for his employers.

Précis of extract from the Derby Mercury 1 Sep 1897: Belper Magistrates fined the defendant James Allsopp, Manager of Alderwasley drift mine owned by Alsop and Eley Co Ltd heavily. Arthur H Stokes Mines Inspector prosecuted on behalf of the Home Office.

There were 7 charges under the Coal Mines Regulations Act 1887...

  1. the manager failed to keep in the office a ground plan showing workings up to a date more than 3 months previously to 23 Jun 1897.
  2. he failed to see that the intake airway of the mine was kept properly open as required by the special rules.
  3. he failed to cause an abstract of the Act to be kept with the name of the mine with the address of the inspector along with the name of the owner or manager, posted in a conspicuous place so as to be conveniently read by any person employed at the mine. 
  4. for permitting persons to be employed without providing proper apparatus for raising and lowering persons at a second outlet. 
  5. he failed to cause the hours of employment of boys to be properly exhibited. 
  6. failing to keep in the office a register containing the name, age, residence, and date of first employment. 
  7. failing to make a report specifying the particulars required by section 49, rule 4, to be recorded of an inspection of the mine.

There had been a large fall some 10 days before the visit. It had happened on a Sunday when no men were at work otherwise it could have been serious as there was no through airway and no means of escape at the shaft as there was no winding apparatus. No report of the occurrence had been made either. Although this was a small mine and only 7 men and a boy were working clay and coal it was imperative that the rules were strictly adhered to as there was no practical person in charge as there would be at a large mine.

The magistrate fined the defendant 1s (5p) for each offence and the total amount paid for fine and costs was £10 6s 8d (£10.33p), which was paid immediately. A mining engineer was employed to inspect the workings and draw the plans on periodic visits. The Assistant Inspector Mr Hewitt had visited the mine some 9 months previously and had complained about the ventilation and the notices. A new shaft was to be sunk.

Barber Walker and Co

Thomas Philip Barber succeeded his father’s interest and became a partner in the firm of Barber Walker and Co in February 1897 and became Chairman in November.

Company Was Re-Formed

Jos J Ellis who sank Ellistown died and the Company was re-formed and the colliery and brickworks was under the management of Matthew Catron and Joseph Brownlow by 1899.

Coalminers Co-operative Brotherhood Ltd

The Cartwright Co was wound up but a group of miners and others formed their own company known as the Coalminers Co-operative Brotherhood Ltd and leased from JD Wragg for 15 years. However it would seem that the project was doomed from the outset mainly due to the depressed trade in the industry.

First Electric Safety Lamp

The first electric safety lamp was invented giving about twice the light of a flame lamp, but again it was quite some time before it was introduced into the region.  I suppose the main reason being cost as the Colliery Company would have to supply them, remembering that not too far back in time the colliers were responsible for supplying their own light.


In December a deputation of 6 men met with the Manager of Kiveton Park colliery to try to get an agreement as 104 men and boys had since 18th February 1897.

Fatal Accidents 1897

  • Coleorton No3 (Bug & Wink)¬†Joseph Springthorpe (27) stallman, fall of roof 14 June 1897


Output for Nottinghamshire pits in 1897 was 6,970,424 tons produced by 23,024 men and boys.

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Pit Terminology - Glossary