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The Continued Rise Of The Industry
To 1913



New Rates Of Pay

From 1st January 1904 the Conciliation Board was renewed for a further 3 years. The minimum rates were altered from 30% to 35% above the 1888 standard.

Strikes Lasting 6 Months

In January there were strikes in Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire, lasting 6 months at some pits over various grievances.

Coal Cutters Introduced

Coal cutters with undercutting jibs were introduced later at Clay Cross No2, Morton, Avenue and Park House pits (Clay Cross Iron and Coal Co) (Derbyshire).

Union Appointment

Enoch Edwards MP was elected President of the MFGB (Miners’ Federation of Great Britain) succeeding Ben Pickard MP, who had died.

Short Time Working

At Broxtowe in May the Deep Hard seam was abandoned throwing quite a few men out of work. Short time working at other pits continued throughout the year. At the Portland pits similarly there was under-employment but a new price-list was obtained for banksmen in April and one for boys in June. There was a new contract price-list obtained for men at Bestwood same as the one at Linby colliery nearby. In November a price-list for Gedling came into operation.

Men Dismissed For Not Living In Company Housing

In July the Pinxton Coal Co was dismissing men who refused to live in company housing.
In November the men voted for strike action to compel the Pinxton Coal Co to remove the
‘Billy Fairplay’ screening machine, which allowed quite a proportion of small coal to pass through, which was confiscated by the company and not paid for.

Strike at Langton

A strike lasting 6 months occurred at Langton. There were 832 men and boys underground and 209 surface men. Around 350 men were out of work. The machine was removed after a period.

There were 6 Pinxton pits working at the time, the deepest being 413 yards (378m). Manager No3 pit 1904 Bernard Madew (2404), R Woods (688), Undermanager W Smith (2nd).

Shaft Accident At Swanwick

There was a shaft accident at Swanwick (CRP Morewood) when 3 men were killed and 2 others injured.

Pleasley Winding Engine Changed

At Pleasley the North shaft steam winding engine was changed to one manufactured by Lilleshall.

Kilburn Tramway

The Kilburn tramway was now in operation.

Tests On Explosives

Many tests were carried out on explosives during 1904 and in particular Nitro-glycerine type which had a total of 20.
A further 14 were of Ammonium nitrate type, not less than 80%.

Name Changed

Digby Coal Co name was changed to Digby Colliery Co.

New Selston

Maximum manpower at New Selston (James Oakes and Co) reached 590 men and boys, 500 working the Deep Soft seam.

Peaceful Picketing Allowed

From 22nd April 1904 the law allowed ‘peaceful picketing’ by trade unionists.

Strikes By Pit Boys

There were strikes by pit boys against the reduction of pay rates at Cotes Park (James Oakes and Co) and at Blackwell A and B Winning collieries (Blackwell Colliery Co).

Derbyshire Miners’ Home

The Derbyshire Miners Home at Skegness, built by voluntary contributions was opened.

Seam Abandoned

At Riddings colliery Cotes Park pit (James Oakes and Co) the Deep Soft at 3’ 8” (1. 11m) thick and 127 yards (116m) deep was abandoned 25th March 1904, Manager James HW Laverick (2354), Undermanager J Searston (1757).

Collieries Sunk or Opened in 1904

  • Alliance (William Hilton) (South Derbyshire), Little Woodfield
  • Ashgate (Ashgate Colliery Co), Chesterfield, 15/12
  • Hill Top (Mineral Estates Ltd) Eastwood, sinking
  • Hardhurst (Johnson and Lee) Kilburn
  • Lindridge resumed production having been stood since1887 when the Desford Colliery Co was formed and a new colliery was sunk 1 mile to South East of Bagworth
  • New Loscoe (Butterley Co), Codnor, sinking, nil/18
  • Manton, at Worksop, Nottinghamshire Shaft sinking was completed by the Wigan Coal and Iron Co. 3 shafts were sunk, No1 pump shaft, No2 upcast, No3 downcast. Production from the Top Hard or Barnsley Bed commenced. Coal preparation plant constructed, and was operational in 1905. Manager AE Webster (1399), Undermanager Mark Ramsdale (939).
  • Mansfield colliery (Bolsover Co), 11/123 sinking began
  • Upper Hartshay (Butterley Co) Ripley, 49/29 sinking was continued.
    Sheepbridge Co leased the Maltby area of South Yorks and
  • Bentley (photo) in the Doncaster area, Barber Walker and Co began to sink a mine.
  • Williamthorpe (Hardwick Colliery Co) sinking was completed at 550 yards (503m) deep, and electric lights were introduced at the onset. It was the deepest sinking in the Midlands so far. The colliery was opened on 3rd Jan 1905.
    A brick making plant producing around 5 million bricks per year was built, to satisfy the needs of the company.

Bentley Pit

Colliery Closures in 1904

  • Alma 1 (Alma Colliery Co) closed after 27 years, Manager W Tate (58), Undermanager J Hancock (2nd)
  • Bole Hill (JH Fletcher) Silkstone stood, Manager EDC Everson (1294)
  • Brushes (H Waller) Silkstone
  • Bull Bridge (Jos Cockayne), Ambergate, Norton or Ashgate, 5 men 2’ 6” (0. 76m) thick, met old works and faults, 1 s/f, 26th Nov 1904, William Deakin Wadsworth Land and Mineral Surveyor, Undermanager F Berrisford (unqualified)
  • Cartwright (Cartwright Colliery Co) Little Woodfield, Stockings 28/49/21
  • Clay Cross No2 colliery (Clay Cross Iron and Coal Co) was closed down temporarily, 268 Deep Hard, Tupton, 146 s/f, Manager FA Blackburne (579), Undermanager W Bloor (2nd)
  • Cowley (Cowley Silkstone Colliery Co), Silkstone 19/6
  • Hartington 2 (Staveley Coal and Iron Co), Yard ? Silkstone 182/38
  • Heage (Robert Hunt), Belper, Kilburn
  • Hucknall No 1 and 2 collieries (Hucknall Colliery Co) the Waterloo was closed
  • Pinxton No2 (Pinxton Coal Co) the Kilburn seam was stopped
  • Grassmoor pits, all except one were closed by August (Grassmoor Colliery Co)
  • North Wingfield in July the Alma Colliery Co closed their Hard coal pit and Tupton pit, but a new Alma Colliery Co later bought out both, and 300 men and boys were out of work, and the Alma 1,2,3 colliery was re-opened later
  • Mapperley Stanley pit, Dale Parish, position Longitude 1º-22’-00” and Latitude 32º-57’-49”, altitude 165 feet (50m) a. o. d. unmarketable quantities of coal. Blackshale trial heads abandoned 31st Dec 1903, Manager George Spencer 12th Mar 1904
  • Moorhole (Birley Collieries) in Eckington and Beighton, Derbyshire, Parkgate, bind 3’ 3” (1. 00m), roof coal 9” (0. 23m), dirt 4” (0. 10m), brights 6” (0. 15m), dirt 2” (0. 05m), brights 1’ 4” (0. 40m), hards 3” (0. 08m), brights 5” (0. 13m), hards 8” (0. 20m), dirt 2” (0. 05m), total 5’ 3½” (1. 61m), stripped old workings by George Wells, abandoned 22 Jul 1904, unprofitable, 60 yards (54. 8m) deep, G Bradford Agent Manager 5 Sep 1904, received plan Arthur H Stokes 8 Sep 1904
  • Pinxton pits, (Pinxton Coal Co) two were closed in June 1904 due to the depression, making 350 men and boys out of work
  • Riddings Cotes Park pit (James Oakes and Co) Deep Soft, worked out, abandoned 25th Mar 1904, Manager James HW Laverick (2354)
  • South Wingfield (South Wingfield Colliery Co) the Tupton was finished
  • Southwood (Marson and Biggin) Unstone, Silkstone 8/4
  • Springfield, Hill Top closed
  • West Hallam 4 (West Hallam Colliery Co), Deep Soft
  • Whaley Bridge (Waterloo?), the Honourable Mrs Griffiths, lease dated Sep 1878, Smithy coal or White Ash seam, finished Sep 1904
  • Wheeldon Mill (Aaron Madin and Co Ltd) 15th Mar
  • Old Swadlincote (Hall’s Collieries Ltd) Little Woodfield abandoned 15 Nov 1904, Manager George J German (1573).

Reduction In Wages

There was a 5% reduction in wages in August 1904, back down to the 40% level. In October some pits reduced the checkweighman's money. This was paid by the men but because of their wage reduction they passed this on.

Explosion At Riber Pit

An explosion occurred at Riber mine on Boythorpe Lane (Derbyshire) on the Thursday night shift at 6 o’clock 22/10/1904. The colliery employed 50 men. Owned by Wm Spooner and opened out in 1894. It was an inclined footrill for fresh air and at the airshaft a furnace created the ventilation flow  through the mine. Coal production at the colliery had been suspended for 4 months during the summer for there was a depression in the soft coal trade. The furnace had been allowed to burn out. 6 weeks before the incident a fire was found in the strata. Attempts were made to seal the adit and airshaft but the fire was still progressing after a month. A gang of men was employed to approach the fire from the footrill but due to the increased heat half a dozen of them suffered severely from heat stroke. Only 3 men resumed on the next day namely the Manager William Milner, John Tomlin and James Mellor both of Brampton but even they had to stop at 3.30pm. They then proceeded to stop up the tunnel mouth but two hours later there was an explosion and the footrill was blown up along with the whole of the surface works and the timber work was smashed to matchwood. HMI Thomas Evans and the police attended the scene. None of the 3 horses were hurt because fortunately they were not stabled nearby. Tupton Threequarter coal was mined for house coal. No machinery was used at the pit.

Furnace Extinguished At Kiveton Park

On 24th December 1904 the furnace at Kiveton Park colliery (South Yorkshire) was extinguished and a Guiball fan was commissioned.

Permanent Relief Fund

The Midland Counties Miners Permanent Relief Fund (founded 1879) for the year ending 31st December 1904 was £9,141 accumulated and had 10,105 members. The Secretary was Benjamin Owen of Chesterfield. The members only Fund (1883) with 31,758 members had raised £57,026.

Annesley Leased

Hardwick Colliery Co (Derbyshire) leased Annesley colliery (Nottinghamshire) from William Worswick during the same year.

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Pit Terminology - Glossary