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The Decline Of The Industry And Nationalisation 1947




Andrew Bonar
The Coalition Government broke up in October 1922 and was followed by a Conservative Government lasting until early 1924Prime Minister Andrew Bonar-Law (Conservative) had to resign through ill health and was succeeded by Stanley Baldwin (Conservative) 1923-1924.
President of Board of Trade, Sir Philip Lloyd Graeme (Conservative), 24th Oct 1922-1923.
Secretary for Mines GR Lane Fox MP 1922.

Shaft Accident

On 11th January 1922 two Deputies were killed at Blackwell (Derbyshire)  whilst riding up the shaft at the end of their shift when the rope broke and the other cage fell and struck the cage they were in.

Inrush Of Water

There was an inrush of water in a 1in4 heading approaching the outcrop at Ramcroft (Derbyshire)  (Ramcroft Colliery Co Ltd) from unknown old ancient shallow workings on 22nd January 1922.  Fortunately no one was injured.

Men Locked Out

At Grassmoor (Grassmoor Colliery Co) the men were locked out until they accepted a reduction of 20% in rates.

Colliery Changed Hands

Lount (Leicestershire) sunk 1920-1921 changed hands from WJ Hardy to Leicestershire Colliery and Pipe Co Ltd.


One of the first fatal accidents involving the use of electricity underground was at Silver Hill (Stanton Iron Works Ltd) when a coal-cutting attendant was electrocuted in the Deep Hard seam in 1922, the first fatal being at Cossall in 1919.


Frank Lee of the Derbyshire Miners Association was elected MP for North East Derbyshire 1922-1931.


Top Hard coal was reached at Clipstone (Bolsover Colliery Co) (Nottinghamshire) sinking, on 7th April 1922.

Wages Agreement

A wages agreement for all Nottinghamshire collieries for all seams except Top Hard came into force from 8th May 1922.

On the same day an agreement for Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire enginemen and firemen other than Top Hard working also came into force.

Lease For Renishaw Park

RE Horrocks (previously Manager at Elsecar, Yorkshire) obtained a lease from Sir George Sitwell for Renishaw Park colliery (North Derbyshire) and began to de-water the flooded shaft. At the time he was working a small drift mine at Furnace Hill colliery to the west of the pit on the fringe of old Thirbycliffe workings.

Gassed During Outcrop Working

On 22nd June 1922 there was a incident at Whittington (Derbyshire)  where 3 men were gassed in outcrop workings and 2 of them never recovered consciousness and died. Heavy flooding was reported on 7th August.

Naked Lights Abolished

The Stanton Iron Works Co abolished naked lights and smoking underground at Teversal (Butcherwood). Candles and naked lights were banned at the coalface from 1923. It was one of the last deep mine pits in the district to do so. (However, see Radford (Nottinghamshire), 1948). Ackroyd and Best hand held electric battery lamps were introduced in 1922.  The men would now rely on chewing ‘bacca’ (a screw of pigtail twist tobacco), chewing wood, chew a piece of hawthorn hedge, small lump of coal (and much later chewing gum) to help slake the dust or the craving instead of smoking or sucking on a pipe, or smoking a cigarette.  Of course the usual ‘pinch of snuff’ was refreshing and would continue.

Coal cutters and conveyor belts had been introduced, along with shaker jigs in Top Hard also. 

First Underground Conveyor

The first underground conveyor had been introduced at a colliery in Yorkshire in 1902, but the system was slow to spread, the cost being prohibitive at the smaller pits. 

The method was to fill wooden trams or jotties at the coalface. Lads driving ponies ganged the trams to the main roads, where they were transferred so many at a time and clipped to main rope haulage systems leading to the pit bottom.

The Top Hard seam at this pit had a strong sandstone roof overlying the seam and required very little support.

This seam was affected by washouts. Single or double wooden cockering would be used as supports where necessary for the gate roads as at other pits. Many roadways were just hewn out of the rock.

Later when the Dunsil seam was entered, that had soft shale above, cambered girders were set in the gate roads. 


Nystagmus reached a peaked throughout the country in 1922 with over 4,000 cases and of course there were many with this non-curable disease in the region.  However the introduction of better illuminated lights would help to eradicate the complaint for by 1938, there were only 1,225 cases. Some oil lamps were fitted with a yellowish green lamp glass in the hope of relieving eye strain. They did give a softer light but overall the density of the light diminished between 5% and 10%. The idea was not pursued.


Compensation, albeit small, was paid to miners who suffered greatly from beat hand, beat knee, beat elbow, ankylostomiasis, tenosynovitis and nystagmus as they were listed as scheduled industrial diseases.

However I can imagine that the tests for same would be carried out by a doctor employed by the colliery company as is mentioned later.

Cornish Pumping Engine

Up to 1922 the old Cornish pumping engine with a capacity of 225 gpm (gallons per minute) was at work at the old Pinxton Green shaft (Pinxton Collieries Ltd).  In November of that year the rising main burst and the pump and shaft was flooded out. 

It was decided to install an electrically driven pump of 300gpm, but by the time the installation had been completed, the water in the shaft had risen to within 65 feet (20m) of the surface.  The water level in the shaft was lowered using the new pump.  The old pump was dismantled and the 9 feet (2.74m) diameter shaft cleared as the water was lowered.  However this operation was to take 2 years.

Pinxton Collieries Ltd introduced the name Plymouth pit at Brookhill / Pinxton colliery complex (Derbyshire).


Ormonde colliery (Derbyshire)  (Butterley Co) employed 880 below ground and 240 on the surface and the Kilburn at 2 feet 9 inches (0.84m) and 382 yards (350m) deep and the Low Main at 3 feet 6 inches (1.07m) thick and 195 yards (178m) deep were worked.  Henry Eustace Mitton introduced the Rheolaveur system of coal washing from the Continent, a system that would prove to be popular throughout the country.  In May 1922 a non-Top Hard seam agreement was signed.  7½% was to be deducted on the basis rates in all seams except Top Hard.

Clipstone Camp

Miners from the areas of Staffordshire were attracted to the new mine, but had to live in the vacated Army huts
on Clipstone Common until new housing was built

Sinking was completed at Clipstone, The Successful Sinking Team

Collieries Sunk or Opened in 1922

  • Allpits New (SE Redfern Ltd) Chesterfield, Blackshale
  • Bonds Main was re-opened by Clay Cross Co, Tupton seam
  • Brimington Silkstone (South Yorkshire Collieries Ltd) New Whittington, Blackshale.
  • Clipstone (Nottinghamshire) (Bolsover Colliery Co) Sinking was completed in April 1922 at 648 yards (592m) to the Top Hard seam. The successful team are shown in the photo above.  Many men would be needed to work the pit and miners from the areas of Staffordshire were attracted to the new mine, but would have to live in the vacated Army huts, seen above, on Clipstone Common until new housing was built. A lease was taken out for the mine in 1912 but owing to the impending war, operations were suspended and did not commence until 1920.
  • Chivers Silkstone (WE Chivers and Son) Dronfield, Silkstone
  • Cobnar Piper (Cobnar Piper Colliery Co) Barlow, Piper
  • Do-Well sinking
  • New Dunston (ED Fawcett) Deep Soft 4’ 8” (1.42m) (Coke Turner and Co Jan 1922)
  • Furnace Hill (Furnace Hill Colliery Co) Eckington (later known as Renishaw Park), Deep Soft
  • Harworth Main (now Barber, Walker and Co), sinking continued at 140/277, the Barnsley Bed or Top Hard seam lying at a great depth of almost 1,000 yards (915m)
  • Holmley Lane (JB Dawson) Coal Aston, Silkstone
  • Lee Wood (Chetwynd and Tagg) Barlow, Silkstone
  • Park Wood No2 (J Parkes, W Wilton and T Ryan) New Whittington, Silkstone
  • Sicklebrook (Joseph Sharpe) Coal Aston, Silkstone
  • Sloads Farm (Rhodes Bros) Dronfield Woodhouse, Ashgate
  • Smalley (Kyte and Co) near Derby, Low Main
  • Stone House (William Orwin) Newbold, Piper
  • Tinkersick (Marson Bros) Brimington, Deep Hards
  • Whitecotes (AH Harrison) Chesterfield, Piper
  • Whitemoor (Greenwood and Jackson) Belper, Naughton seam worked. 

Following The Strike of 1921, Many Pits Were Closed in 1922

  • Amberley (….?)
  • Belper Lawn Drift (Midland Refractories Co Ltd, Mr E Glossop) Belper Lawn or Naughton 2’ 8” (0.81m, one adit stone head 1in2, one shaft 15 yards (14m), met old works, one head to outcrop, 25 Mar 1922, Surveyor JG Lander
  • Birley Gate (TA May) drift 154 yards (140m) at 1in3 to Fenton, Levi Robinson, Manager and Surveyor
  • Bowmers (Joseph Bowmer), former Nether Heage, Naughton abandoned
  • Brierley Wood No1 (Henry Blair and Sons) (sunk by Messrs Moseley Bros), Old Whittington, Black Shale, 12 adits, 4 shafts, 17/3 and High Main 4/1, Undermanager: H Blair (2nd) abandoned 27 May 1922, abutted old works from J Moseley and Bros, Surveyor William Deakin Wadsworth
  • Brimington (Walt Gibbons and Sons), temp 3/1
  • Broadfields New (Annable, Arthur and Co), Horseley Woodhouse, 5/1 Mickley, closed Feb, surveyed by and info given by owners, plan made by Surveyor George K Burrows (365)
  • Brushes at Sheepbridge, Blackshale, 2 shafts, 2 adits, opened Mar 1921, set out 2 long walls, worked up to edge of Broomhouse tunnel, Midland Railway Sheepbridge to Unstone, abandoned 1 Jun 1922, met old goaf, Surveyor T Bywater.
  • Commonend (Manor Collieries Ltd), Brimington, Blackshale, 3/2, Manager: John A Tankard (3946)
  • Dore coal and ganister mine (Dore School Trustees) J and J Stannington near Sheffield, mine near Blacka Wood, met old works, abandoned Dec 1922, WH Marriott 30 Nov 1923, 30 Jan 1924
  • Do Well (Staveley Coal and Iron Co Ltd) sinking suspended, Manager: S Collins (790)
  • Far Lawn (Harby and Wain) Belper Lawn coal abandoned
  • Highfields (Dethick and Sharpe) Apperknowle, Piper
  • High Holborn (Cossall Colliery Co Ltd) Babbington, pumping shaft
  • High Lane (execs Andrew Vardy), Ridgeway, 43 yards (39m) deep, 3’ 9” (1.14m) coal inc 1’ 0” (0.30m) dirt, 3/1 (0.94m), Blackshale or Silkstone, start 1885, abandoned 10 Aug 1922, 4 adits, used Birley Wood shaft 94 yards (86m) deep as UC, old workings all round. Undermanager: H Vardy, Surveyor: CH Fell (850)
  • Hurst Hollow (The Hurst Hollow Colliery Co Ltd) Ashgate seam, overlain by friable shale, best coal 11” (0.28m), dirt 4” (0.10m), fair coal 1’ 0” (0.30m), inferior coal 3” (0.08m), dirty clay floor, Dayhole, unprofitable, abandoned 27 Jul 1922, Surveyor EG Scott for A Smith Denton and Co
  • Air shaft 13 yards (12m), Dayhole, Littlemoor Chesterfield, Alton seam coal 4’ 4” (1.32m) plus 6” bat (0.15m), shafts 14 feet (4.25m) and 15 feet (4.5m) deep, dip of seam between 42º and 46½º, 21 Nov 1922, Surveyor Hubert Blackmore
  • Lower Hartshay (Butterley Co), Ripley, Deep Hard and Deep Soft 148/35, abandoned 1st July, Manager: CP Proctor (1872), Undermanager: L Sanders (2nd)
  • Marsh Wood (Wilton and Parkes), New Whittington, Three Quarters abandoned
  • Moorwood Moor (Hopton Mining Co, per GH Key) 2’ 3” (0.68m) gannister and 1’ 0” (0.30m) Alton coal worked up to outcrop and water level at base, abandoned Mar, 2 square shafts 4’ 6” (1.37m) x 15 ft (4.5m) and 41’ 6” (12.5m) Surveyor J Parkins, Certificated Surveyor for Clay Cross Co
  • Mount Pleasant (Mrs MR Taylor), Wessington, 3/3, closed 12/1922
  • Nab Wood Ganister (Gregory Reddish and Co Ltd), Holymoorside, Belper Lawn seam 3’ 6” (1.07m)
  • New Broadfields (Samuel Hebb previously Arthur Annable and Co), Horsely Woodhouse, Mickley 2’ 0” (0.61m), overlain by heavy clod, 5/1, coal exhausted as the mine was found to be in middle of ancient workings 22 Feb 1922, met old Cupola, UC shaft sunk 36 feet (11m) at side of old shaft filled up, DC shaft 36 feet (11m), Surveyor George K Burrows (365)
  • New Dunston (ED Fawcett) inferior coal and much water
  • North Wingfield (North Wingfield Colliery Co Ltd) Deep Soft abandoned 14 Feb 1922, DC shaft 224 yards 1 foot (205m), 119 u/g / 51 s/f, Manager: RJ Cunliffe (446), Surveyor Cyril North (105)
  • Phoenix, High Lane, 5 adits one shaft
  • Pilsley No2 (Pilsley Colliery Co Ltd) Silkstone abandoned 10 Oct 1922,worked out, Manager: ME Wild (2749), Undermanager: T Savage 370 / 2nd), Surveyor Luke Sampson
  • Sanvic (Mrs Short and Sons), Newbold Back Lane, Chesterfield, one adit, small face, finished 19 Jan 1922, Piper abandoned 10 Mar 1922, 1/1, Surveyor Hubert Blackshaw
  • Springwell (Jos Molloy), Newbold, 10/21 Piper abandoned
  • Stubben Edge (Pickford, Holland and Co Ltd), Tinkley Lane between Alton and Nuttingfield, Halifax Hard or Alton 4’ 4” (1.32m) stood, met old workings, dip 1in3
  • Waingroves (Butterley Co Ltd) 36/11, Main Soft, Deep Hard 102 yards (93m), Roof coal, abandoned due to damage caused through miners’ strike, 22 Feb 1922, Agent Henry Eustace Mitton, Surveyor John Holbrook
  • West Hallam (West Hallam Colliery Co Ltd), Kilburn 3/1921
  • Winterbank (South Normanton Colliery Co Ltd), pumping station was abandoned, but the old wooden headgear would remain in place until the 1950s
  • Alma North Wingfield (North Wingfield Colliery Co). The Deep Soft seam workings were exhausted in Feb 1922
  • Sutton colliery (Blackwell Colliery Co) The pit was closed, the Top Hard was abandoned, but pumping would continue for another 67 years from the ‘Mary Ann well’ at this horizon until the pit was closed (I remember seeing the water pouring out of the inset)
  • Pilsley (Pilsley Colliery Co) the Blackshale seam at around 4 feet (1.22m) thick including dirt was worked out by October 1922 and the No2 shaft abandoned.  
    (25 Pits)
Bretby Kilburn, abandoned July 1922, finished Dec 1919, Surveyor Arthur A Hook (63).
Hurst Hollow colliery (Hurst Hollow Colliery Co Ltd), Ashgate seam finished June, however Mickley seam still being worked at this date.
Watnall (Barber Walker and Co) Coombe and Top Hard abandoned 8 Jun 1922, finished working Lady Day 1921, and
High Park
Coombe and Top Hard finished Michaelmas 1921, Surveyor for both George Charles Henry Whitelock.

General Regulations Horses

The Coal Mines General Regulations (Horses) 1922 came into force. Provision was made for examinations to be more frequent by Horse Inspectors to see that the animals were being well treated etc.

Clifton Colliery

The output at Clifton colliery (Nottinghamshire) (Clifton Colliery Co Ltd) for 1922 was 329,986 tons produced by 1,376 men working 247 days.  The value of the coal realised was £123,837 15s 4d (£123,837. 76½). 

The maximum output of 351,395 tons produced by 1,422 men was attained in 274 days in 1923.

Building work was continuing at the new Wilford Power Station, Nottingham adjacent to the colliery. Hundreds of yards of additional electric cable had been laid all over the city. When completed the power station would supply the needs of thousands of people and rank among the largest in Britain. Coal from the nearby mines would supply the fuel and then coal from Clifton pit would be delivered direct to the power station by conveyor

Mines Rescue Station

District Manager for Mansfield Woodhouse Mines Rescue Station was GL Brown BEM 1922-1951.

Fatal Accidents 1922

  • Bailey Brook, Bernard Smith (22) died on Christmas day 1922 through an accident of a fall of roof that happened on 10 Feb 1922
  • Blackwell B Winning, Henry Wood (40) and Joseph Moore (47) both fell down the shaft when the cages collided 11 Jan 1922
  • Creswell, Albert Lee (38) fall of roof on 1 Nov 1921, died 10 May 1922
  • Langwith, Richard Charlesworth (26) object fell down the shaft and struck him 10 Jan 1922, died 15 Jan 1922
  • Langwith, Sam Henson (17) caught in haulage rope 14 Dec 1922
  • Langwith, Ambrose Brown (68) crushed by tubs - Dec 1922
  • Manners, Joseph Houlton (36) electrocuted 3 Jun 1922
  • Manners, Herbert H Pearson (18) run over by tubs 23 Dec 1922
  • New Whittington, John Joseph Toulson (34) and George Merrick (37) both overcome by blackdamp 22 Jun 1922
  • Ormonde, Edward Wright (57) fall of roof on 9 Mar 1922, died 21 Jul 1922
  • Ormonde, Percy Hickling (57) fall of roof 23 Nov 1922
  • Pleasley, Arthur Bradfield (15) hit by a bar on 28 Dec 1921, died 21 Jan 1922
  • Pleasley, Thomas John Fretwell (17) run over by tubs 24 Aug 1922
  • Pleasley, William Henry Chilton (56) crushed by wagons on the surface 26 Sep 1922
  • Pleasley, Harry Foster (18) run over by tubs 14 Dec 1922, died 18 Dec 1922
  • Ripley, Henry Attewell (34) fall of roof 28 Jun 1922
  • Ripley, Arthur James Daley (35) fall of roof - Jun 1922, died 31 Jul 1922
  • Shipley, George Arthur Wright (48) crushed by wagons on the surface 19 Jan 1922
  • Shipley, William Allen Booth (42) fall of roof 23 May 1922
  • Shipley, Edward Newton (35) fell over in 1919, died 30 Aug 1922
  • Swanwick, William George E Smith (55) fell down shaft 2 Jul 1922
  • Tibshelf Thomas Bonser (15) run over by tubs 30 Jun 1922
  • Wingfield Manor, James Riley (47) fall of roof on 15 Dec 1921, died Jan 1922
  • Woodside, John Robert Noon (37) fall of roof 25 Jan 1922, died 4 Feb 1922
  • Woodside, Frank Slater (44) fall of roof 25 Oct 1922.



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Pit Terminology - Glossary