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The Decline Of The Industry
And Nationalisation 1947




Herbert Henry Asquith

A Coalition Government was in Parliament from 1915 to late 1922
Herbert Asquith was Prime Minister from 1915-1916.
He was succeeded by another Liberal Prime Minister David Lloyd-George to 1922.

Herbert Samuel MP (Lib), Principal Secretary of State 1915.

Kirkby Summit

Collieries Sunk or Opened in 1915

  • Bull Bridge at Ambergate re-started by TB Hallsworth
  • adits for Dore mine (JW and EJ Thorpe)
  • Hornthorpe (J and G Wells), sinking to Deep Soft
  • Lodge (Manners Colliery Co Ltd), Newthorpe 16/32
  • Ramcroft (Ramcroft Colliery Co Ltd), Heath
  • New Turnoak (New Turnoak Colliery Co), Chesterfield, sinking
  • (Turnoak No1) (Turnoak Colliery Co) was still working Deep Hard, 30/5, Manager JH Harrison (2353), Undermanager: W Soar (374/2nd)
  • New Whittington Silkstone (New Whittington Silkstone Colliery Co Ltd), sinking
  • Butterley Co deepened the North shaft at Kirkby Summit (photo) to the Deep Soft seam at 3 feet 7 inches (1.09m) thick lying at 511 yards (467m), from 1912-1915 and also sank a new 20 feet (6m) diameter shaft to the Blackshale level at 632 yards (578m).  The new colliery was called Low Moor and although connected underground to Kirkby was administered under separate management until 1939.  There was an engine, a Shonkey cage and balance weight in that shaft as an emergency measure to get from Deep Soft to Top Hard.

Mines Abandoned in 1915

  • Ashgate (Ashgate Colliery Co) Blackshale finish Apr 1915
  • Bowmers (Joseph Bowmer) Nether Heage, Norton
  • California (T Pope then H Pope) 14 yards (13m) to 4’ 6” (1.37m) High Hazels, water caused abandonment in
    Feb 1915.  There was a Water wheel shaft 8 yards (7m) deep at the mine, Surveyor: John Denton
  • Furnace pit (J Oakes?) was closed at Riddings
  • Hazel (JP Houfton), Barlborough, Hazel 13/9
  • Granville No1 (Granville Colliery Co) Swadlincote, Little seam abandoned Mar
  • Holly Bush (Hill H Walker), Belper
  • Norbriggs (Lowton Bros) Staveley, see 1913
  • (Old) Swadlincote (Halls Collieries Ltd) (South Derbyshire), Kilburn 4’ 8” (1.42m), Jacks under, 343 yards (313.5m), abandoned 12 May 1915, Surveyor Arthur A Hook (63)
  • Unstone Silkstone (Hawkins and Jackson).

Seams Abandoned

Stanley Kilburn (The Derby Kilburn Colliery Co Ltd) Kilburn seam 5’ 2½” (1.59m) workings up to Dec 1915, inaccessible due to water, abandoned later.

At Mapperley Hard coal – Jays 2” (0.05m), scuds 10” (0.25m), wall coal 2’ 11” (0.89m), bottoms 12” (0.305m), fireclay holing 7” (0.18m), total 5’ 0” (1.52m) and Piper – coal 2’ 4” (0.71m), parting 1” (0.025m), coal 2’ 4” (0.71m), holing 6” (0.15m) total 5’ 3” (1.59m), abandoned Mar 1915, JW Calder.

Union Recruited Miners

The Nottinghamshire Miners Association helped to recruit miners for the Army; however this was in opposition to the anti-war militancy of the MFGB.

Many miners who had enlisted in the Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire Sherwood Foresters were put on tunnelling duties, undermining enemy lines and around Nieuwport Belgium in 1915, two platoons of these men were wiped out in a counterattack by the Germans.  Around 60,000 British soldiers were killed or wounded during the Battle of Loos near Auchy-les-Mines, northern France in 1915. Hundreds of men killed in the Sherwood Foresters Regiment came from the Midlands pits of Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire in both campaigns. 

The future Manager at Ollerton (Nottinghamshire) Montagu Francis Melville Wright was one who survived the campaigns, although severely injured in the head, being allotted to the Tunnelling Corps when serving in the forces – see 1925.

Fatal Accidents 1915
Dreadful Shaft Accident at Bentinck

On 30th June 1915 there was a serious shaft accident at Bentinck Colliery (Nottinghamshire), (New Hucknall Colliery Co) when the two cages collided in the No2 shaft at a combined speed of 80 mph.  One cage fell 600 feet (183m) and eight men and a boy almost 15 years old were killed outright, another died later and six/seven men survived, albeit very badly injured. 

The 9 who were killed were:-

  • Amos Allen aged 32 years who left a widow and a child
  • William Bacon aged 40 years who left a widow and seven children
  • John C. Fletcher aged 39 years
  • Willis King aged 25 year
  • George Simpson (54)
  • Percyy Staton aged 32 years who left a widow and four children
  • Willlie Sysan aged 18 years
  • Ferdinand Wright aged 45 years who left six children
  • Harold Brown aged 14 years

The injured were:-

  • W. Bacon aged 60 years who had a broken leg and head injuries
  • C. Baron who was seriously injured and taken to hospital
Five others were sent home:-
  • James Smith
  • E. Ainger aged 32 years
  • Robert Walker aged 24 years
  • Harold Shelton aged 28 years
  • Charles Simpson aged 37 years.

The 7 survivors, were left suspended in the shaft for 2 hours. Six Doctors were escorted to the bottom of No2 shaft to attend to the dead and injured. The parties returned to the surface at No3 shaft. Many women gathered at the pit gates waiting for news and also to wait and identify a body!

One survivor Robert Walker of Beighton Street, Sutton-in-Ashfield was knocked dazed by the collision and found he was hanging onto a piece of iron by the bottom of his trousers and was suspended hanging head down for a period of 20 minutes before being rescued!

Other Fatal Accidents 1915

  • Blackwell A Winning, Edward Lyons (30) explosion of firedamp 6 Sep 1915, died of toxaemia 23/09/1915
  • Bolsover, John William Houlden (36) fall of roof 1 Mar 1915
  • Britain, Francis Beighton (52) crushed by timber on surface 23 Jul 1915
  • Britain, Joseph Arthur Stanley (16) fall of roof 16 Sep 1915
  • Britain, Joseph Richardson (67) fall in a roadway 9 Oct 1915
  • Cotes Park, Abraham Gascoigne (29) fall of roof 30 Jan 1915
  • Cotes Park, John Thomas Haslam (57) fall of roof 8 Jun 1915
  • Denby, Arthur Taylor (18) caught in a cutting machine 9 Apr 1915, 16 Apr 1915
  • Denby, Frederick Riggott (15) fall of roof 25 Jun 1915
  • Glapwell, William Dennall (47) shot firing accident 9 Jan 1915
  • Grassmoor, GR Hardy (53) fall of coal 30 Sep 1915
  • Grassmoor, John Litchfield (57) crushed by tubs on 3 Dec 1915, died 24 Dec 1915
  • Holbrook, William Watford (16) fall in a roadway 23 Jun 1915, died 22 Oct 1915
  • Ireland, Wilfred Millthorpe (16) fall of roof 14 Jun 1915
  • Langwith, William Milligan (35) fall of roof 12 Jan 1915
  • Langwith, Edward Dorrill (36) caught in machinery 3 Feb 1915
  • Langwith, Herbert Wragg (18) run over by tubs 20 Mar 1915
  • Langwith, Eli Jones (14) injured by tub  on 12 Apr 1915, died 25 Apr 1915
  • Langwith, Frederick J Plater (44) fall of roof 7 Jun 1915
  • Langwith, Richard Straw (34) fall of roof 9 Aug 1915
  • Langwith, Richard Ashall (51) fall in a roadway 14 Aug 1915
  • Loscoe, Charles Wynall (31) fall of roof 1 Jan 1915, died 2 Jan 1915
  • Manners, Harry Shaw (14) fall in roadway 28 Jun 1915
  • Manners, Benjamin Briggs (48) fall of roof 30 Jun 1915
  • North Wingfield, George Hopkinson White (49) fall of roof 15 Oct 1915
  • Park House, Henry Bradshaw (17) object fell down shaft and struck him 11 Jan 1915
  • Pentrich, Charles Whitworth (15) strained himself lifting 29 Sep 1914, died 8 Feb 1915
  • Pilsley, Thomas Allsopp (34) run over by tubs 3 Aug 1915
  • Pleasley, Harold Smith (22) fall of roof 15 Jul 1915
  • Shipley, John Hargreaves (49) crushed by tubs on 26 Jul 1915, died 3 Aug 1915
  • Southgate, James Rawson (34) fall of roof 4 Jun 1915
  • Swanwick, William Greasley (39) hit by a piece of wood on surface on 5 Jan 1915, died 10 Jan 1915
  • Tibshelf, Charles Riley (69) injured hand 10 Apr 1915, died from toxaemia 22 Apr 1915
  • Williamthorpe, John Hurley (50) run over by tubs 30 Aug 1915
  • Woodside, John Lacey (30) and Benjamin Kirk (26) fall of roof 6 Feb 1915.

Barber Walker Company Deaths

High Park Colliery
High Park Colliery

On 19th August 1915 John William Fryar, General Manager of Barber Walker Co died. This was closely followed by the death in action of George Dixon, Manager of High Park and Watnall collieries.

Coningsby Wilde Philips was appointed new General Manager of the company from 1st November 1915.

Benk Faces

Benk faces at Sherwood colliery (Nottinghamshire) (Sherwood Colliery Co), like other pits in the district were 40 yards (36.5m) long, worked by 4 men loading into 18 cwt trams.  Lads or young men ganged the trams by pony to one of the 5 main 200 hp endless rope haulages leading from the working districts to the pit bottom.

Nuthall Wood And Broxtowe Merged

Nuthall Wood shaft (where pumping was continued with 2 men underground and 3 surface), was amalgamated with Broxtowe (88 men in Deep Hard and Top Hard and 43 surface) (Babbington Coal Co).

Miners' Conference

A Miners Conference was held in Nottingham in October 1915 and representatives from the whole country attended.

In December 1915 a 5% increase in wages was granted.

Output Falls

Derbyshire output had now fallen to just under 15 million tons for the year.

Surveyor's Certificate No1

A point of interest: William Henry Parker, Surveyor for High Moor Lane 3 Nuns colliery near Bradford obtained
s certificate No1 by examination dated 22nd April 1915 from University of Leeds. A Surveyor for a mine or company was required to pass an examination under the Coal Mines Act 1911. Existing Surveyors in post with years of practical experience were granted service certificates without sitting an examination. This was same as Managers in post being granted a service certificate in 1873 and similarly Undermanagers in 1887.


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