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The Decline Of The Industry
And Nationalisation 1947




From 25th February 1918 meat, butter and margarine were rationed followed by coal, gas and electricity on 20 March.  By 19th June general rationing was introduced.

Charged With Intimidation

A youth called William Warsop (18 yrs) at Pleasley Colliery, who was the ring leader of Pony Drivers, was charged with intimidating Sam Rawson, it caused the pit to be idle for 6 or 7 days.  William Warsop was sent to jail for 3 months for causing the loss of 2700 tons.


William Sewell was elected President of the Derbyshire Miners Association 1918-1924 with John Spencer as Vice President.


Proving headings into the Dunsil seam were carried out again at Teversall (Stanton Iron Works Co Ltd), but were abandoned after a few yards advance. A proving heading into the First Waterloo seam was not pursued and similarly abandoned after a few yards.

Survey of Top Hard stalls at Teversall at March 1918 carried out on several night shifts by J Oldknow on dial with W Pitchford and C Moreland as assistants on chain:-

Hardwick Dips: 13s, 32s, 24s, 40s, 78s, 83s, 76s, 41s, 46s, 12s, 71s, 29s, 25s, 47s, 44s, 33s (water), 70s (old work), 62s (old work), 80s, 63s, 67s, 18s, 44s, 47s, 25s, 29s and 71s. (27 working places)
South Dips: No3 stall and New Waterloo head. (2 working places)
Skegby Dips: 53s, 97s, 20s, 77s, 69s, 72s, 14s, 21s, 26s, 89s, 84s, 5s, 34s, 87s, 9s, 11s and 60s. (17 working places) making 46 in total compared with 114 in 1916.

Note the difference in the number of stalls to December 1916, obviously due to the reduction in the number of miners who had left due to the War.

Checks on seam section extractions throughout each stall were made by Mr Watson of Coke Turner and Co along with the Surveyor for royalty payments. A typical section on the new 66s district was: bind roof, bats 3” (0.08m) top soft 1’ 6” (0.46m), spires 5½” (0.14m), hard 1’ 10” (0.56m), bottom soft 10½” (0.27m), bats 2” (0.05m), dirt 2” (0.05m), batty coal 6” (0.15m)– total extraction 5 feet 6 inches (1.68m).  All the sections would be meaned after a satisfactory agreement and then the section of ‘coal only’ worked would be accepted as the figure to be used when working out the payment for the royalty owner. Allowances were always made for faulty ground.

 Nottingham Guardian Saturday 7 May 1918

 Teversal (note I refer this to Silver Hill Pit)

On 1 May 1918 at 5.30am John Colston was about to feed the horses underground but on the cage being drawn up were human remains in a terribly mutilated state. Mr Smith the Underground Viewer, Mr Josiah Ball Underviewer, Mr Barnett the Engineer and Pc Frear from Stanton Hill attended. Other portions of the body were found at the bottom of the pit.

Edwin James Gregory (30), an engine fitter (at Butcherwood pit) committed suicide at the Silver Hill pit 430 yards deep. The body fell on top of the cage. Gregory had been out of work for several weeks but received 6d a day pension as an army reserve man.   

 Nottingham Guardian Saturday Friday 18 May 1918

Alarming Fire At Annesley Colliery (My shortened précis of the incident)

The DC shaft is 480 yards deep and the main level 700 yards South and continues under Annesley Hall (property of John Chaworth Musters).

The UC shaft is a furnace and wet shaft.  The proposed fan has been long under consideration.  80 stalls with nearly 500  colliers were in danger and 250 others such as Deputies, Corporals (overlookers) and others making 750 underground. There were also 80 horses underground.  The fire originated within 200 yards of the bottom of the DC shaft.  Some say by foul play, others talk of a naked light.  The main level at the lower system of working is lit by gas. One is fixed near the site of the fire.  Alarm was given and men wound out of the pit as quick as possible by 3 pm, most passing by the site of the flames raging in the lower roads, and passed with extreme difficulty and danger. Some men suffering largely from smoke inhalation and the fatal chokedamp and other poisonous fumes. Some unable to walk - William Licus, James Bradford, Reuben Cook and Eli Cook (his son), Donald Roberts, Joseph Noon, Joseph Mason (worst), Edward Harper plus two boys (one named Gulliver).

At noon the UC shaft was rendered impassible - volumes of smoke rising into the sky - there was a strong smell of burning wood. The news spread quickly and hundreds of women and children searching for missing friends and relatives eagerly scanned each cage as it came up. The Reverend Mr Sketchley attended. About 9 pm a man named Mason was brought up he had been underground since 6am. At least one other man was missing (later found). 4 horses were lying dead and another died when overtaken by the chokedamp whilst being led to the cage. Mr Soars the bailiff and his son in law reached 3 other animals and were building a barricade to contain the fire. Henry Lewis the Manager descended No1 DC shaft on being told of the incident. A hose was attached to the boilers supplying steam to No1 engine and a stream of water poured onto the burning woodwork some 30 yards long. (from one description they may have used the gas pipes). Mr Lewis was slightly injured on his hand by a fall of roof whilst working with other men. Dr Abbott descended the pit to assist.

Sutton Exploration

2 small areas of Deep Soft Seam were worked at Sutton (Nottinghamshire) during 1917-1918, the seam being accessed through a fault; however the development of the coal at 1’ 8½” (0.52m), dirt 1’ 0” (0.30m), coal 1’ 5” (0.43m) thick was not pursued.

Abolition Of The Butty System

Many pits had to change their method of working with the abolition of the Butty system.  However the system did linger on in certain parts of the coalfield.


Ed Shortt MP was Principal Secretary of State 1918-1919.

Acting As Recruiting Segeant

On 10th April 1918 the Nottinghamshire Miners Association issued instructions regarding a scheme for recruiting 50,000 Grade I colliers from the mines for the War effort, the union acting as recruiting sergeant. The Government released men from the mines. 

The Council of the Derbyshire Miners Association suspended the absentee committees – however they were re-established in June 1918.

Fire at Sherwood Colliery

There was a fire in a Motor House, on Monday 21st June 1918, underground at Sherwood Colliery, causing all the men to be withdrawn safely. However a lot of valuable timber was destroyed.

Shaftsmen On 6 Hour Shifts

Shaftsmen on top of the cage about to descend the shaft - Note the difference

The Stoker Award of 5th September 1918 gave basis rates for skilled and unskilled surface workmen.  It also fixed shaft or sump mens ordinary working hours to be 6 hours per shift.  The 6 hours shift would continue into the 21st Century. The men still worked 8 hour shift thereby giving them 2 hours extra pay. At most pits the shaftsmen would be blacksmiths and joiners as these men would the ones who could repair or install equipment. Bricklayers could also be included in the team. A modern photo shows shaftsmen on top of the cage about to descend the shaft on an examination that included making sure there were no loose bricks or any water garlands were spilling over, the cables and pipes were still securely fastened to the shaft side and also that the sump and landings were in order and that the guide ropes and winding ropes were in good condition and well oiled or greased, etc.

The Great War Ended in November 1918

The Great War ended after 4 years of fighting on 11th November 1918, and the army, navy and airmen returned to ‘a land fit for heroes’. Many ex-miners had been killed and many others would not return to the mines due to their injuries, and others with lesser war wounds would be offered only the poorest paid surface jobs, whilst many others would turn their hand to other jobs such as labouring or building work.  However manpower at the pits would continue to rise for several years, because job security was there. It was a way of life for many families, as son followed father and grandfather into the pits.

Absenteeism had continued to be a major problem though, particularly during the War.

Strike Over Electric Lamps

There was a strike at New Hucknall (Nottinghamshire) (New Hucknall Colliery Co) over the use of electric lamps.  The men argued that because there were many cases of nystagmus (a condition of voluntary or involuntary eye movement that may result in reduced or limited vision) at the mine there was a need for a better illuminated lamp.  The week-long strike immediately after Armistice Day, led eventually to the provision of Fuller electric lamps from March 1919. Possibly my Grandfather Eli White could have been one of the instigators (see 1926).


Cross-measures drivages were driven at Brinsley and Selston (Nottinghamshire) with a connection in Low Main and Selston Blackshale. 

Coal getters wages at Selston 13s 8¼d (68p) a shift.  Daywage men rate 14s (70p), Winders 14s 3d (71¼p), Deputies 15s 1d (75½p).

At High Park two drifts were driven to the Dunsil and Waterloo seams and a drift 980 yards (896m) long between High Park 2nd Waterloo and Moor Green Deep Hard pit bottom (all Barber, Walker and Co mines). 

Shaft Deepening

At Bailey Brook, sunk in 1847, shaft deepening to the Piper, Low Main and Kilburn seams (Butterley Co).


Oxcroft Colliery Co acquired Oxcroft No1 pit (North Derbyshire) in 1918.  Around 500 men and boys were employed at the time.

Collieries Sunk or Opened in 1918

  • Ambergate Drift and Bullbridge (Midland Refractories Co Ltd) Bull Bridge, Alton coal and ganister
  • Hutcliffe Wood (Pickford, Holland and Co Ltd) Millhouses, coal, ganister and fireclay
  • Moorwood Moor (GH Key Esq) 2 square shafts sinking to Alton and gannister
  • Nab Wood (Gregory Reddish and Co Ltd) Holymoorside, Halifax Hard seam and Nesfield (T Pearson and Co) Barlow, Tupton.

Further Collieries Were Closed in 1918

  • Heage Norton (CJ Beardsley), Belper
  • Stanley Kilburn (Derby Kilburn Colliery Co Ltd) 100 men working Kilburn and iron pyrites, 36 on s/f, closing down, abandoned Nov, Manager: H Smith. Surveyor was William H Sankey.
  • New Winning A surface drift at 1in4½ was driven.  The UC shaft was 28yards (25.3m) deep and an old shaft at 30 yards (27.3m) had been filled up. Seam section, tops left 6½”, brights 1’ 4⅓” (0.42m), hards 1’ 1⅓” (0.34m), list 5” (0.13m), flush 5” (0.13m), bottoms 1’ 4” (0.40m) inferior containing iron pyrites and not sent out of the pit.
  • High Park (Barber Walker and Co) Abbey seam, top 1’ 4” (0.40m), dirt 9½” (0.24m), bottom coal 2’ 0” (0.61m),
    shaft 195 yards (178.3m),
    UC 195 yards (178.3m), abandoned 14 May 1918, Surveyor Charles H Whitelock.
  • Bestwood (Nottinghamshire) (Bestwood Coal and Iron Co Ltd) Main Bright seam, bright coal 1’ 10” (0.56m), hard coal 2” (0.05m), bright coal 8” (0.20m), abandoned 23 Nov 1918.
  • Birley East (South Yorkshire) (Sheffield Coal Co Ltd), Silkstone, section roof coal, branch coal, tops 2’ 2” (0.66m), dirt 6” (0.15m), bottoms 2’ 0” (0.61m), dandy 9” (0.23m), clunch floor. 244 yards (223m) to seam, shaft depth 261 yards (238.7m). Finished 30 Jun 1918. Surveyor A Rogus (854), H Watson Smith, Mining Agent. No coal would be worked from 1918 to 1933. This pit would be used as a Training centre for new entrants later.

Seymour Colliery Closed 1918 After 63 Years

Seymour (Derbyshire)  (Staveley Coal and Iron Co Ltd), Norbriggs, closed on 2 Jul 1918 after 63 years.  Sunk to Top Hard seam at 167 yards (153m) in 1855, position E445255 N373950. Part of Speedwell pit which was 145 yards (132m) deep to Top Hard. Coaling finished 2nd July 1918.  Seam: Roof coal 9¾” (0.25m), harroty coal 9¾” (0.25m), main coal 2’ 11” (0.89m), soft coal 3¾” (0.09m), branch coal 6¾” (0.17m), soft coal 9” (0.23m), fireclay 11” (0.28m).  Norbriggs shaft North East of Woodthorpe, 85 yards (78m) to Top Hard, E445260 N375000.

Seams worked: Top Hard only.


  • 1894: 429 Top Hard, 61 s/f
  • 1895: 433 TH, 76 s/f
  • 1896: 523 TH, 85 s/f
  • 1897: 537 TH, 85 S/f
  • 1898: 500 TH, 99 s/f
  • 1899: 524 TH, 96 s/f
  • 1900: 534 TH, 96 s/f
  • 1901: 495 TH, 86 s/f
  • 1902: 647 TH, 105 s/f
  • 1903: 677 TH, 129 s/f
  • 1904: 642 TH, 97 s/f
  • 1905: 390 TH, 74 s/f
  • 1906: 341 TH, 68 s/f
  • 1907: 327 TH, 70 s/f
  • 1908: 333 TH, 75 s/f
  • 1909: 268 TH, 55 s/f
  • 1910: 278 TH, 55 s/f
  • 1911: 288 TH, 55 s/f
  • 1912: 259 TH, 54 s/f
  • 1913: 307 TH, 51 s/f
  • 1914: 319 TH, 55 s/f
  • 1915: 273 TH, 4 s/f
  • 1916: 262 TH, 4 s/f
  • 1917: 148 TH, 35 s/f
  • 1918: 110 TH, 35 s/f, abandoned.


  • Joseph Humble and Manager (2178)
  • Alfred Winter Barnes (1284) 1889-1893
  • RW Cuthbertson (2266) 1893-1913
  • W Waplington 1913-1918.


  • Joseph Humble (2178) pre 1883-1894
  • Thos Richardson (821) 1894-1895
  • William Bunting (839) 1895-1896
  • SB Gilroy (76 service cert) 1896-1897
  • Richard Woods (688) 1897-1904
  • H Gregory (799) 1904-1905
  • John Thomas Greensmith (2292) 1905-1909
  • William H Gregory (799) 1909-1918.


  • William Bunting (301 c) pre 1889-1894
  • James Barber (2nd) 1894-1896
  • RS Knight (service cert and 340 cert) 1896-1918.

Surveyor: Herbert Cuthbertson (761).

Fatal Accidents at Seymour

  • Joel Casmere (?), shotfiring accident 11 Nov 1864
  • Richard Madley (14) crushed by tubs 3 Nov 1865
  • John Bell (28) fall of roof 17 Jan 1867
  • John Jones (17), stone fell down the shaft and struck him 15 Jun 1867
  • John Cross (19) crushed by the cage 2 Jul 1868
  • Robert Sweetmore (40) fall of roof 26 Jan 1869
  • James Flowers (45) fall of coal 29 Sep 1871
  • John Bowns (18) crushed by tubs 6 Feb 1874
  • William Moody (16) run over by tubs 26 Jan 1877
  • Edward James (50) fall of coal 8 Nov 1877
  • William Revill (48) fall of coal 15 Mar 1878
  • James Hibbert (38) crushed by tubs 7 Jan 1880
  • John Bramley (48) fall of roof 21 Feb 1880
  • George Deakin (34) fall of roof 4 Mar 1880
  • William Mason (66) run over by wagon on the surface 14 Dec 1881
  • Thomas Morris (36) fall of roof 10 Sep 1882
  • James Bailey (43) fall of roof 3 Apr 1883
  • William Henry Milner (21) fall of coal 26 Sep 1887
  • William Hicklin (32) fall of coal 11 Dec 1889
  • John Thomas Hyson (27) fall of roof 8 Mar 1895, died 4 Sep 1895
  • George N Crookes (62) injured his foot 20 Feb 1898, died from gangrene 1 Mar 1898
  • Enoch Yarnall (45) fall of roof 5 Dec 1898
  • Edward Collins (14) run over by tubs 20 Jul 1900
  • Sam Ward (61) crushed by tubs 23 Nov 1910.

Stanley Kilburn Closed

Stanley Kilburn (Derbyshire) , (Derby Kilburn Colliery Co Ltd), Stanley, closed, 100 ug / 36 sf.

Gedling Seam Correlation Wrong

At Gedling (Nottinghamshire) (Digby Colliery Co Ltd) the High Hazles seam was discontinued. The seam correlation was interpreted wrongly and confusion would arise later (see).

North Wingfield

North Wingfield First Silkstone seam, bright coal 1’ 3” (0.38m), hard and bright 8” (0.20m), holing clunch 6” (0.15m), rock floor, dip 1in8 North East, abandoned 8 Apr 1919, DC shaft 153 yards (140m) to S, UC not connected, Surveyor Cyril North (105), (qualified under Secs 21 and 22 CMA 1911 and plan certified accurate under Sec 21(2) CMA 1911).


Pumping continued at Campbell (Staveley Coal and Iron Co Ltd) and Winterbank (South Normanton Colliery Co Ltd),
South Normanton 2/2.

Derbyshire Miners' Association

Enoch Overton was elected Vice President of the Derbyshire Miners Association 1919 - 1924. George Spencer was later to be the controversial Union figure in the 1926 strike and afterwards. He was the eldest of 19 children born in a poor miner’s home. In 1918 at the age of 46 he was elected MP for Broxtowe at Nottingham.

Fatal Accidents 1918

  • Blackwell, Fred Ault (56) fall of roof 8 Aug 1918
  • Blackwell, John James Adnitt (51) fall of coal on 24 Aug 1918, died 28 Aug 1918
  • Hartshay, John Bonsall (69) run over by tub on the surface 1 Jul 1918
  • Hartshay, Walter Barlow (50) fall of roof 10 Sep 1918
  • Langwith, John Arthur Cotman (19) crushed by cage 20 Aug 1918
  • Manners, Joseph Smith (57) coal fell down shaft and struck him 7 Apr 1918, died 8 Apr 1918
  • Manners, John Holloway (54) run over by wagons on surface 21 Sep 1918, died 29 Sep 1918
  • New Langley, James Haynes (58) fall of roof 14 May 1918
  • Ormonde, Thomas Ernest Tagg (31) caught in machinery 13 Jul 1918
  • Ormonde, James Cripps (70) strained himself on pit surface 22 Aug 1918, died 23 Aug 1918
  • Pentrich, Stephen Percy Daniel (33) fall of roof 7 Mar 1918
  • Shipley, William Barnes (53) fall of roof 28 Sep 1918
  • Shirebrook, John Lowe (14) kicked by a pony 26 Jun 1918, died 3 Jul 1918
  • Shirebrook, John Haywood (50) fall in a roadway 19 Nov 1918
  • West Hallam, Percy Newton (16) crushed by tubs 23 Jan 1918, died 26 Jan 1918
  • Wingfield Manor, Lawrence Edward Moore (18) fall of roof 28 Feb 1918
  • Wingfield Manor, Albert White (39) fall of roof on 9 Mar 1918, died 23 Mar 1918
  • Woodside, Allen Thornhill (18) fall of roof 23 Apr 1918
  • Woodside, Charles Salt (44) fall of roof 20 Jun 1918.


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