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The Decline Of The Industry And Nationalisation 1947


1921 - Page 2

High Surface Manpower

Rufford Colliery
Rufford Colliery
Note the very high surface manpower at some of the collieries mentioned above, particularly Rufford (photo), Mansfield and Gedling and the combined mine at Kirkby Summit and Low Moor and the multi-shaft pit Grassmoor.


President of Board of Trade, Stanley Baldwin
(Lib Coalition), 31st Mar 1921-1922.

Pits Returned to Private Owners

In 1921 the Government returned the pits to the private owners, whose response was to offer a cut in wages and to close uneconomical pits, due to the decline in the market.

Nottinghamshire miners fared better than other regions due to efficiency and low export output, but rejected local wage agreements in favour of a national structure.

HM Inspectorate

FH Wynne succeeded as Mines Inspector for the district in 1921.

Pumping Discontinued at Old Winterbank

Pumping at old Winterbank, South Normanton, (Derbys/Nottinghamshire) which had continued since the pit had closed in 1896, was now discontinued. There were 2 men underground and 2 on the surface. The old wooden headgear was left to rot away as I remember and would not be dismantled until the 1950s.

See also BBC Archive Video - Remembering Tonypandy's role in the 1921 National Coal Strike.

All Pits Were Closed For Some Time During 1921 Strike

The strike began on 1st April the day of de-control and ended on 28th June with the Government agreeing to subsidise the coal industry. On 15th April 1921 known as Black Friday, the Railwaymen and the transport workers withdrew their support. After 94 days out, (75 working days), the miners returned to work for less money on 4th July 1921 and only district agreements, the terms they had rejected in May. However some pits were waterlogged and at others only datallers could be employed due to the state of the roads. The coal hewers were still laid off until transport facilities were returned to normal. The strike forced the NMA (Nottinghamshire Miners Association) to demand steep levies to pay debts. The falling prices of coal and the accompanying falling wages with the increase in unemployment, increased the militancy.

Sacked for Joining a Union

Miners were sacked for joining the radical Miners Minority Movement.

Annesley And Newstead

The Top Hard was abandoned at Annesley (Nottinghamshire) (Annesley Colliery Co) after working since 1867.
A connection was made to neighbouring Newstead (Newstead Colliery Co) sometime later.

Management Keeping Pit Open

At Sutton colliery (Nottinghamshire) (Blackwell Colliery Co) the officials were operating the engines and pumps. Four men stoned the officials, but local miners subsequently condemned their action. It was realised that by keeping the pit open there would be jobs to return to.

Strikers Mining Shallow Outcrop Coal

A small amount of shallow outcrop working by striking miners was carried out in various parts. Coalfield Wood, down Doles Lane at Kirkby (Nottinghamshire) being one such site. The Clowne seam outcrops in that area.

Unfortunately a miner named S Wray (..?) was killed whilst illegally working outcrop coal at Newton tip (Derbyshire).

Mellers Family

The mine owning family of Mellers (sometimes spelt Mellors) finally ceased in 1921. Samuel Mellers born in 1710, his son John Mellers (1732-1788), followed by Richard Mellers (1766-?), then John Mellers (1792-1850) married Elizabeth Chambers (daughter of another Mine Owner), Nathan Mellers (1818-Sep 1879), Hannah married John Ward (1846-1899) in 1870, and finally Nathan Mellers (1876-1921). The family had owned mines around Hucknall Huthwaite for generations, covering 200 years.

Midnight Demonstration

There was a midnight demonstration by underground miners on 20th/21st June 1921 against outcrop workers at Whittington Moor and Brierley Wood. The strikers were charged by police to disperse them.

Pits Affected By the Strike

Following the return to work in July 1921, roof falls affected places at Grassmoor mine. Bonds Main was run down;
s and Waingroves pits were closed. Seams were closed at Avenue and West Hallam collieries.

Cage Fell Down Shaft

At Pleasley (Derbyshire) (Stanton Iron Works Co Ltd) the detaching hook on the downcast shaft cage broke and the cage fell down the shaft. Considerable damage was done but no one was injured. The pit was laid off whilst repairs were carried out. Manpower at the time was 1,640 underground working Top Hard and 290 on the surface.

Coal Cutters Installed At Teversal

The Dunsil seam was entered again in 1921 at Teversal (Nottinghamshire) (Stanton Iron Works Co Ltd).

Two Hopkinson 22 hp jib and chain coal cutters were installed in this seam. The seam was re-developed using these cutters and the shaker pan type conveyors or ‘Jazzes’ as they were known as. A series of pans on a dip angle were jigged along with an eccentric camb thereby making the coal loaded on them ‘shuffle along’. From reports given to me by old colliers who worked on them at Teversal the noise from these conveyors was incredibly loud, particularly when running empty.

A record output was achieved with the filling of 160 trams of 10 cwts from a face 100 yards (91m) long in a shift. Twelve men filled out the coal and 2 boys at the gate end loaded the tubs from the jig. There was another man who was driving the engine and seeing to the timber. Unfortunately this seam would be affected by potholes in the roof, sometimes up to 10 yards (9m) across. These would have very slippery sides (slickensides) and the roof would be treacherous, often leading to accidents. Coal top would be left in many parts in order to create a good roof and keep up the face advance. Of course this reduced the working height and Managers were continually assessing when it was possible to work this top coal in order to improve tonnage rates. Washout conditions prevailed in this seam also, as in the Top Hard. Unlike faults the washouts were completely unpredictable and had serious repercussions on the output. Two 30 hp Sullivan chain coal cutters and one 35 hp Crescent disc machine were installed in the Top Hard seam down the Skegby Dips district.

Old Birchwood colliery name was changed to Upper Birchwood (Butterley Co Ltd).
A Lower Birchwood pit had existed nearby in 1855 owned by Milnes and Eggleshaw.

Collieries Sunk or Opened in 1921

  • Ambergate (Edwin Glossop) Ridgeway Farm, Alton seam start early 1921
  • Ambergate (Edwin Glossop) separate adit driven
  • Barlow Silkstone (Boythorpe Co Ltd) Chesterfield, Silkstone
  • Barlow Commonside (H Booker and Son) Ashgate
  • Chivers Silkstone Blackshale adit
  • Do-Well (Staveley Coal and Iron Co Ltd) The first sod was cut 21st Sep, E441866 N374687
  • Littlemoor (H Blair)
  • Nesfield (Pearson and Co (Chesterfield) Ltd) DC shaft 21 yards (19.2m) to Tupton seam
  • New Auckland (Abbott, Bradley and Hamblin) Newthorpe, Top Hard
  • New Broadfields (Arthur Annable and Co) Horsely Woodhouse, Mickley seam
  • Paddock (E Wheatley and Co) Horsely, Kilburn seam
  • Smalley Footrill started Low Main
  • Wood Lane (Kilburn Coal Ltd).

Hobsick (shown) near Brinsley was a shallow coal digging by striking miners.

Collieries Closed in 1921

  • Ambergate (Edwin Glossop) separate adit, closed Dec 1921 (but see 1927)
  • Bank End (SL Williamson and Son Ltd) New Mills, No1 and No2 adits, Yard mine, Jan 1916-Apr 1917 but abandoned 31 Mar 1921, Surveyor Ernest J Nash
  • Bankend No2 or Ellybank adit (SL Williamson and Son Ltd), New Mills, adits, shaft, met old works, worked Jan 1917 and closed in Feb 1921
  • Bells Footrill, probably Morley or Mickley seam, July
  • Belper Lawn Drift (Midland Refractories Co Ltd), Bull Bridge 11/1
  • Birley Gate drift no coal found, washout of Fenton seam, continued dipping at 1in3, old shaft scoured out to water at 40 yards (36.5m) and further drifting discontinued after 154 yards (141m) when a dispute in lease of royalty arose, Apr 1921, Levi Robinson Colliery Manager and Surveyor
  • Bonds Main at Temple Normanton was closed temporarily (Staveley Coal and Iron Co)
  • Cobnar Wood (Sheepbridge Coal and Iron Co Ltd) Potters coal, room and pillar method worked out, 10 Aug 1921, adit and airshaft 14 feet (4.25m) deep, sunk 1901
  • Common End (...) 2 Footrills and 25 ft (7.5m) airshaft to Blackshale, full dip 1in4, met old goaf, JA Tankard Qualified Surveyor to the Mine
  • Dale Abbey (Stanton Iron Works Co Ltd) 71 Kilburn abandoned, 19 s/f, Manager: Joseph Harvey (1040),
    Agent: GA Longden
  • Gun Lane (JT Bollington), Nether Heage 3/1
  • High Field (J Sharpe and Co) Apperknowle, Piper, info from owner; Surveyor William Henry Burgin (20 Feb 1924)
  • Hutcliffe Wood (Pickford, Holland and Co Ltd) 8/2
  • Ingmanthorpe (..?.) Kilburn but most probably Mickley Thin 2’ 9” (0.84m), adit and shaft 20 feet (6m) deep, heads and some Room and Pillar work, Surveyor Geoge C Longbotham
  • Lark Hill (Burton, Oldfield and Sheldon) New Mills, Yard
  • Littlemoor (GE Hellaby), Ashover, Alton 4/4, dip of mine 45o or 1in1 to east, unprofitable, 6th Dec, Surveyor Hubert Blackshaw
  • Marsh Wood (Witton and Parker) New Whittington, Tupton Three Quarter abandoned
  • Moor Edge (Pickford, Holland and Co Ltd) Totley, Halifax Hard and ganister, stood, Undermanager: Isaac Salt
  • Moss Ganister (Pickford, Holland and Co Ltd), Dore 11/2 Halifax Hard and ganister, Undermanager: J Sykes
  • Nab Wood (Gregory, Reddish and Co) Holymoorside, Halifax Hard
  • North Wingfield (North Wingfield Colliery Co) 124/64, Deep Soft, Manager: RJ Cunliffe (446),
    Undermanager: G Thorpe (6828 / 2nd), Agent: Joseph Cunliffe (409)
  • Newbold Moor Edmond Street (…?)
  • New Dunston (ED Fawcett of Dunston Hall), Newbold, open work, 4 adits, 7 shafts, Deep Soft 21/7, met old works, 31st Dec 1921, Surveyor Coke Turner and Co
  • New Whittington (South Yorkshire Collieries Ltd) Silkstone discontinued
  • Park Wood (..?.) Whittington, Tupton seam coal 2’ 3” and 3’ 0” (0.91m) clay, small working from 2 shafts, 15 feet (4.5m) and 18 feet (5.5m) deep, met old works, Surveyor Arthur D Marriott
  • Spink Hill (Joseph and George Wells Ltd), Eckington, Top Hard
  • Strawberry Lea (Pickford, Holland and Co Ltd), Totley
  • West Hallam (West Hallam Colliery Co) Kilburn finished 1 Apr 1921 at the commencement of miners’ strike, signed Leslie Black (253). (27)
  • South Leicestershire Nether Lount 5’ 5” (1.65m) at 241 yards 1ft 8in (221m) deep, surface level 514 feet (156.5m) above sea level, AW Warburton Manager and Surveyor.
  • Campbell (Staveley Coal and Iron Co Ltd) Pumping shaft, Manager: RG Eaton (13), Undermanager: JW Fidler (358/ 2nd).
  • Marehay Main Silkstone or Blackshale dip 1in5, abandoned 31 Mar 1921, Furnace coal shaft 216 yards (197m) to Furnace, 253 yards (231.3m) to Silkstone, also Balance shaft 406 yards (371.25m), Surveyor Cyril North (105).
  • Mapperley (Mapperley Colliery Co Ltd) Deep Hard, Gees 1’ 3” (0.38m), scuds 10” (0.25m), hard coal 3’ 4” (1.01m), soft coal 6” (0.15m), dark soft clunch floor, Abandoned Feb 1921, Surveyor GE Emmerson (671).

At Belper, other known old mines were Shire Oaks, Far Lawn, Bent and Nibble and Clink.


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Pit Terminology - Glossary