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The Continued Rise Of The Industry
To 1913



Old Age Pension

The Old Age Pension brought in by the Liberal Government was paid from the 1st January 1909.

Persons over 70 years of age were means tested and drew 5s (25p) a week from the Post Office, provided of course they did not receive more than £21 on a sliding scale up to £31 10s 0d (£31. 50) per year, when they received nothing! A couple received 7s 6d (37½p) a week, provided of course they qualified!

Further Reduction In Wages

In March 1909 there was a further reduction in wages for miners of 5%. From 1st July the 8 hours Act came in with 20 minutes snap time. Previously the men had worked 10 – 10½ hours a day on piecework therefore it was again another reduction in wages. The owners proposed a third 5% reduction in wage rates but the unions resisted. No further advance was to be made until the selling price exceeded 7s 10¼d (39¼p). This decision was to keep the miners’ wages pegged until the end of 1912, despite rising profits and output.

HM Inspectorate

In May 1909 Arthur H Stokes retired as District Mines Inspector and was succeeded by William Walker to 1910.
Assistant Inspectors
WH Hepplewhite and HR Hewitt continued.

Drill Hall Opened

The Drill Hall at Forest Town (Nottinghamshire) opened 15th May 1909 (for Mansfield Colliery, Bolsover Colliery Co).

Union Appointment

William Carter was elected President of Nottinghamshire Miners Association from June.

Mansfield Woodhouse Mines Rescue Station

Mansfield Woodhouse Mines Rescue Station 1909-1929
Other stations opened in Chesterfield, Ilkeston and Ashby de la Zouch in South Derbyshire
( now North West Leicestershire)

John George Huskisson (pictured in uniform) was appointed Superintendent and first chief instructor at Mansfield Woodhouse Mines Rescue Station 1909-1929, for the Permanent Corps Rescue Brigade as it was originally called. Huskisson was on every photograph taken of the Midlands mines Rescue teams.

Due to many accidents it was decided around 1906 to set up a small team at some collieries consisting of experienced men with knowledge of first aid being gained by being members of the St Johns Ambulance Brigade.

By 1912 it was to become compulsory for every pit to have several of these trained men on each shift. Regular training sessions were set up. Mr Huskisson was allocated a house next door to the station. He died in 1951 aged 86.

Later the men set on were allocated tied houses within a short distance of the station and bell communication inside the houses informed them to attend the station quickly should an emergency arise.


There was as strike in Nottinghamshire lasting from 1st - 15th July 1909 affecting 15,000 men.

Regulation Act

The Coal Mines Regulation Act 1908 came into force from 1st July. Among other things... a workman shall not be below ground for more than 8 hours out of any consecutive 24 hours.

Palterton Lease

Staveley Coal and Iron Co took out a lease for Palterton during the year.

Collieries Sunk or Opened in 1909

  • Brookhill, a single shaft at 16 feet (4.87m) diameter was the last to be sunk by Pinxton Coal Co, during Mar 1908-09 and opened in November 1910, and it was part of the Pinxton colliery in Derbyshire.
    It was sunk to 417 yards (381m) to below the Blackshale. The surface was 305 feet (93m) above sea level. The shaft passed through the Pinxton Top Hard goaf at 76 yards (70m) down.
    The Waterloo seam, yet untapped, lay at 139 yards (127m), Deep Soft at 273 yards (250m), Deep Hard at 294 yards (269m) and Low Main or Tupton at 345 yards (315m) and the Blackshale at 404 yards (369m). A connection was made to the Pinxton workings.
    The total cost was £5,862 1s 0d (£5,862. 05) paid to E Ward and Son the contractors for the sinking. The cost of the explosive was £95 per ton and each detonator cap was priced at 3d (1¼p).
    Sep 1909, heads into Low Main at 4s per yard (20p per 0. 9m) and Blackshale at 4s 6d per yard (22½p per 0.9m).
  • Cutthorpe (Richard Powell) Ashgate
  • Morley Park (Ford’s Ltd) Pumping shaft
  • Shallcross Hall colliery (Buxton Limes Co) was opened at Whaley Bridge, and was also known as Brickbarn, Smithy and Mountain seams
  • Wheeldon Mill (Britt and Carrington) Brimington, Tupton.
    (5 Pits)

Trams Run Into River Trent

Some boys from Clifton colliery (Nottinghamshire) ran a set of empty trams into the River Trent on 9th July to show their unrest at wage rates. On 23rd September there was a strike at Clifton (Clifton Colliery Co) lasting over a year, due to machine rates, which was 1s 9½d (9p) plus 40%. Basic rates for 13 year old boys was 1s 8d (8⅓p) a day. A man working 6 days a week had £1 12s 0d (£1. 60) to keep a wife and 4 children! Of course some Butties could have been earning up to £15 a week as they always took out their cut before sharing out the money from the tin among the rest of the men in the team! These were the men who owned or built their own houses.

Limited Company

The Butterley Co became Butterley Co Ltd from 1909 to 1946.

Cotes Park Fire


In 1909 Cotes Park (Derbyshire) winding engine house roof caught fire caused by a spark from a passing railway steam engine, got out of control and burnt down. The pit was stood for some weeks whilst repairs were carried out.

Army Intervention With Strikers

On 22nd October 1909 the Army had to intervene with 8,000 strikers in Mansfield. The Nottinghamshire pits had been out on strike for two weeks in July 1909 previously. Some mines had closed due to the depression and there was a surplus of miners.

Union Appointment

The President of the Nottinghamshire Miners Association was John E Whyatt 1909-1912.

HM Inspectorate

The Mines Inspectorate split up the previous Derbyshire coalfield into two separate areas for examination: –
North Derbyshire
and South Derbyshire. William Walker was Inspector for North Derbyshire.


At Pollington (Nottinghamshire) (Jas Oakes and Co), Tom Barker was appointed Undermanager.

Colliery Closures in 1909

  • Alderwasley (B Wharton and Co (1905) Ltd) First (Mountain) coal and fireclay stood and temporarily closed
    23 Feb 1908, abandoned 2 Oct 1909 Jno J Tickle ME (old shafts nearby, also one shaft near Coddington,
    36 shafts at Crich (some lead), bell pit at Hog or Hag Wood, shaft at Wigwell).
  • Alma No5 (Alma Colliery Co Ltd), North Wingfield, (1st Piper abandoned 1907), unremunerative, Matthew E Wilde Manager and Surveyor (No1 163 yards (149m) to Ell – not connected, No2 163 yards (149m) to Ell, 4’ 5½” (1.36m), No3 402 yards (367.5m) to Blackshale).
  • Avenue (Wingerworth Coal Co) Bottom Soft 80 yards deep finished, Woodhouse and Jeffcock Surveyors of Derby made original plan in 1864. A portion of the surface along with the minerals to a depth of 50 yards (45.75m) had been sold to the Midland Railway Co in 1907.
  • Broadfields (John and Fred Sheard) Horseley Woodhouse, Silkstone stood and Ashgate abandoned1 Feb 1909, unprofitable thinned to 1’ 6” (0.46m), drift and 12 yards (11m) deep shaft, Leonard Kelsall Surveyor for Coke Turner and Co.
  • Butterley Park No5 (High Holborn) (Butterley Co), Ell, Deep Soft, Deep Hard and Black Rake ironstone, 74/17, sunk in 1830s, closed after 59 years, Black Rake 139 yards (127m) Soft coal 153 yards (140m), Hard coal 172 yards (157m), John Holbrook, Chief Surveyor.
  • Calow (H and T Shardlow), Silkstone.
  • Clinton (Stoney Lane Brick Co), Brinsley, 2 pits, one 2 day holes and the other day hole and shaft 21ft (6m) deep, Coombe 3’ 2” (0.96m) and Top Hard 7’ 0” (2.13m) with 18 feet (5.48m) of bind between, 6’ 6” (1.98m) wide heads, 13th Mar 1909, Surveyor William G Campbell Civil Engineer (note: doubtful whether proper allowances have been made from time to time for the changes in the magnetic needle – original Surveyor left district and cannot be traced) – see 25 Jan 1990.
  • Forty Horse pit, (Butterley Co) Soft coal at 154 yards (140m) and Hard coal finished 27th July 1909, John Holbrook, Chief Surveyor.
  • Grasscroft (Grasscroft Colliery Ltd) Blackshale stopped 1909, worked from 1904/05.
  • Grassmoor No9 (Grassmoor Colliery Co Ltd), 2 Foot (0.61m) seam, 2’ 3” (0.68m) coal, 184 yards (168m) deep, abandoned 5th May, SL Murgatroyd Esq, Agent ATH Barnes, Surveyor William John Higgins ME.
  • Grassmoor (Grassmoor Co Ltd) 1st Ell or Two Foot 2’ 3” (0.69m) 5 May 1909, unprofitable, 2nd Ell, 20 Aug 1909, the system was very well organised long benk work, ATH Barnes Agent, HW Needham Surveyor.
  • Highfields (Theophilus Pearson and Co) Deep Hard or Potters over a large front, haft 28 yards (25. 5m),
    Johnson Pearson Manager, William Deakin Wadsworth Surveyor, 30 Nov 1909, sunk 1853, changed owner 1 Nov 1856.
  • Holbrook No1 (J and G Wells Ltd) Silkstone stood, Deep Soft finished 1908.
  • Lawn (Henry Gamble) Alton.
  • Oakwell Ilkeston, Kilburn at 696 feet (212m), 31 Dec 1909, Matthew Robert Cox.
  • Ormonde (Butterley Co) cont sinking.
    Wheeldon Mill (Shardlow Bros) Chesterfield, Piper or Pancake coal, 2 adits, met old hollows, 23 Mar 1909,
    Joseph H Harrison Manager and Surveyor.
  • Whiteley (Butterley Co) Silkstone stood. (17)
  • At Renishaw No5 or Station (J&G Wells Ltd) Parkgate and Silkstone or Blackshale finished 25 Mar 1909.
  • Avenue worked Deep Soft 1901-1909, surface and minerals to a depth of 50 yards (45.7m) sold to Midland Railway Co in 1907.
  • Grassmoor (Grassmoor Colliery Co Ltd) Two Foot or Top Ell 2’ 1” (0. 69m) abandoned 5 May 1909.
  • Wingerworth (Wingerworth Iron Co) plan made 1864, Blackshale ironstone, copied plan 29 Aug 1890 Clay Cross Collieries 25 Feb 1909, at Hungerhill shaft the pumps delivered 170gpm.

Price Of Coal

The average price of coal at the pithead had recovered to 8s 1d (40½p) a ton. A delivery charge of around 2s 6d (12½p) to have the load tipped outside the house on the pavement would have been added.

Strike Because Of Sacking

At Park House colliery (Derbyshire) (Clay Cross Iron and Coal Co) in 1910, John Renshaw led the men against the pittance paid for abnormal work and was sacked immediately. The men came out on strike for 14 weeks. Renshaw persuaded the men to go back to work. In return they bought him a Hawker’s cart, so that he could make a living.

Pony Cap

A Bolsover colliery (Derbyshire) saddler named Kettleborough invented a pit pony cap.  These would become widely used in the future and would protect the ponies’ heads, to some degree, in the low gate roads, as no illumination other than the ganger’s oil lamp was available.  The ponies were virtually blind to the pitfalls, which were in front of them.  Some were very adept at finding their way back to the pit bottom in the dark and most were able to find their way back to their ‘snap bags’ at the gate end.

Horse Drawn Ambulance

The Blackwell Colliery Co purchased a horse drawn ambulance from H Reeves of Pilsley for their Sutton colliery.  The cry of ‘send for t’oss’ usually meant that a serious accident had occurred and the casualty needed to be transported to hospital or otherwise.  The Deep Hard colliers at Sutton had been granted an increase of 1½d (⅔p) a ton plus a percentage in April 1908, but they had to wait until August before it was paid.

Fatal Accidents

Included Leonard Green (.. ?) Ripley 16 May 1909 Thomas Gillever (60) Greasley 19 Aug 1909.

1909 Was Another Dismal Year For Coal.

The average price of coal at the pithead was 8s 2d (40¾p) a ton and would remain so for the following year.  

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Pit Terminology - Glossary