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The Decline Of The Industry
And Nationalisation 1947



National Coalition Government

Ramsay Macdonald
A National Coalition Government with a Labour Prime Minister James Ramsay Macdonald was formed from 1931 to 1935. The vote did not give Labour an overall majority.
President of Board of Trade, Sir Philip Cunliffe-Lister (Lib Coalition), 25th Aug 1931- Nov 1931, when succeeded by Walter Runciman (Conservative National Coalition), 5th Nov 1931-1937.
Secretary for Mines
was Isaac Foot MP 1931.

Dismissed Due To Downturn In Trade

Towards the end of January 1931, 120 men were dismissed at Oxcroft (Derbyshire) (Oxcroft Colliery Co) and in March a complete shift of 500 men at Bolsover, were dispensed with due to a downturn in trade as the recession began to bite.

On 29th March there was an underground fire at Bolsover hampering production.

Pillar Left For Cromford Canal

From 1929 to Mar 1931 a working from Britain colliery (Derbyshire) in the Low Main seam was shortening down to leave a pillar for the Cromford Canal Tunnel. Shaft depth 241 yards (220m), position 43/4051/964765.

Explosion at Thoresby

Thoresby Colliery (Nottinghamshire) (Bolsover Co)

There was an explosion of gas at Thoresby (Nottinghamshire) (Bolsover Co) on 14th June 1931 after the mine fan had been stopped from Saturday to Sunday evening. Stopping the mine fan at weekends to save money was practiced at many collieries.

Catalogue of Plans of Abandoned Mines

The Mines Department published a Catalogue of plans of abandoned mines after the 1925 appeal.

Bilsthorpe Manpower

Manpower at Bilsthorpe (Nottinghamshire) (Stanton Ironworks Co) for year ending June 1931

  • 7 under 16 years of age underground and 23 on surface
  • 29 under 18 underground and 26 on surface
  • 33 under 20 underground and 17 on surface.
  • 1,058 over 20 underground and 209 on surface

At the coal face 111,054 manshifts worked, elsewhere below ground 133,809 and 76,823 on the surface, however it was stated that 30,274 manshifts were lost due to absence including sickness and accidents.

One electrical chain driven coal cutter was installed.

Explosives now included 100 lb Polar Saxonite with 143 shots fired, 546 lb Super Rippite with 725 shots and 2,334 lb of Polar Samsonite with 3,307 shots fired. There were 3 miss fires.

1,225 Ceag hand lamps in use as well as the other specials and 9 Bullseye No1 and 4 Bullseye No3 lamps also.
120 Hailwood and Ackroyd flame lamps type O1B, 25 type O1BA in use.

Pithead Baths

Pithead baths were opened at Langwith (Derbyshire) (Sheepbridge Coal and Iron Co) at a cost of £21,000 on 12th September 1931 and leased to the colliery welfare scheme for £3 a year.


At Bolsover Co’s Mansfield colliery (Nottinghamshire) the High Hazles seam at 3 feet 9 inches (1.14m) thick was accessed and developed.

Alma Pits

At Alma Nos 1,2,3 (North Wingfield Collieries Ltd, GL Chambers) the Top Waterloo seam was stopped, coal 1’ 9½” (0.55m), dirt 9½” (0.24m), coal 1’ 4” (0.41m), three shafts 70 yards (64m), 13th April 1931.

Coal Imports Began

Polish coal began to be imported! This would be the start. Later the 1939-1945 War and miners strikes would kill off our exports completely.

Testing Station at Buxton

At Buxton in Derbyshire a testing station was set up to investigate and simulate colliery explosions. The picture shows as before how violent an explosion can be and what a powerful force is exerted clearing everything in its path.

Wages Agreement

A wages agreement between Nottinghamshire coal owners and the workmen’s representatives was signed on 11th December 1931.

Buxton Testing Station Was Set Up

Arthur Cook Died

Arthur James Cook, Secretary of the Miners Federation died in London, aged 48. He had been imprisoned in 1918 and 1921 for his activities in the leadership of the striking miners and in 1926 was going round the country rallying the miners to stay out on strike. He had spoken to miners at Bulwell and on the Lammas at Sutton-in-Ashfield and other venues in the Midlands.


Collieries Opened in 1931

  • Coton Park (Moira Colliery Co Ltd), Castle Gresley, Main and Woodfield developing 6/12
  • Grange, Cossall, re-opened Oct 2/1
  • Grangewood (E Brackenbury) Chesterfield
  • Nadins (South Derbyshire)
  • Newthorpe (Newthorpe Colliery Co (1931) Ltd) Greasley
  • Octavia (Joseph E Whitchurch) Piper seam
  • Stone Lane (Nurse and Wilkinson) Tupton, start 1931
  • Stoney Lane (Stoney Lane Colliery Co), New Whittington, Tupton and clay opened Dec
  • Valley (E Glossop), Heage, opened Dec.

Colliery Closures in 1931

  • Avenue No9 and No11 (Clay Cross Co), Clay Cross, Tupton, idle 1931, Deep Hard and Deep Soft and Blackshale abandoned 18 Apr 1931, Surveyor George Wilfred Fox (796)
  • Birk Hill (F Storey), Eckington, Ell seam stood
  • Birley Vale (Sheffield Coal Co Ltd), Birley Vale, Silkstone
  • Brampton (James Pearson Ltd), Chesterfield, Tupton and Tupton Threequarters 1900, Surveyor Joseph Archer ME, abandoned Apr, however last worked 6th February 1929, Surveyor: Hubert Blackshaw (Service Certificate)
  • Butterley Park Western (Butterley Co) Gent’s Hard, Hard coal, Silkstone and Main Soft, 9 Dec 1931
  • Chesterfield Road (Herbert Barker), Eckington, Flockton closed temp in Dec 1930, 1/1, abandoned May 1932
  • Cown Edge (Frank J Mills) Simmondley or Two Shades coal, rock top, coal 2’ 0” (0.61m), fireclay, 2 day eyes met ancient workings, 1 day eye, 1st Dec 1931, John Mort (187) Surveyor, unprofitable, old workings surround, plus
    Two Sheds Mine
    (Frank J Mills)
  • Heage Naughton (or Haynes pit worked by JF Siddle or Siddall) (Heage Naughton Colliery Co Ltd) Belper,
    Alton Upper and Lower or Belper Lawn, 31st July 1931, 23/4
  • High Moor (Chandros Pole Esq) High Hazels, drawing pit about 70 yards (64m) met old hollows and a shaft closed 13 Dec 1877 but still used for pumping, abandoned 16 Nov 1931 Manager EE Sopp, Surveyor George Senior, surface tramway
  • Holbrook, 4 adits, Parkgate, 31 Mar 1931
  • Little Hartshay (E Glossop), Lower Hartshay, Blackshale, closed temp 8th Aug, 6/2, worked again later
  • Markham No2 (Staveley Coal and Iron Co Ltd), Staveley, Top Hard, Waterloo and Deep Hard closed
  • Marsh Quarry (Marsh Quarry Colliery Co), Jos Cooper, Eckington, Flockton 4’ 0” (1.22m), new adit 1930 met Mallenders old workings of 1926-1927, 18th May, fin 18th Sep 1931, Surveyor Arthur D Marriott (908)
  • Monkwood (Monkwood Colliery Co) Ashgate and Blackshale
  • Moor Edge (Pickford, Holland and Co Ltd), Totley, idle since 1929
  • Moorwood (SL Williamson and Son Ltd) Yard mine New Mills, adit and shaft 52 yards (47m) to Yard seam, Kiln coal 9” (0.23m), coal 3’ 5” (1.04m), June – 22 Sep 1931, Surveyor William Morris (1030)
  • Mosborough Moor (Mosborough Moor Coal Co) Parkgate abandoned Mar 1931
  • Nesfield (Pearson and Co (Chesterfield Ltd), Barlow, Tupton flooded Feb
  • Park (Middlewood Brick Co Ltd, James Morton), New Mills, day eye to Yard 2’ 6” (0.76m), fireclay, 3/nil, unprofitable, met old workings and faults, 17th Nov 1931, inc River Adit, adjacent coal got by Drinkwater to 1855 and beyond, Levi and Elijah Hall got coal to 1905, Surveyor John Mort (187)
  • Quarry Gate (Quarry Gate Colliery Co), Coal Aston, Silkstone closed June 2/1
  • Ryefield No1 Piper drifts 5th May 1931
  • Stanhope (Hall’s Collieries Ltd), Bretby
  • Shireoaks still stood – fan installation
  • Upper Hartshay (Butterley Co Ltd), temp closed due to quota restrictions, 334/115 Kilburn or Mickley
  • Waleswood (Skinner and Holford Ltd) opened May 1919 abandoned 8th Aug 1931, exhausted, DC shaft 97 yards (88.6m) to High Hazel, UC shaft Thorncliffe at 459 yards (419.7m), Coke ovens on site, old works up to Sep 1890, serviced by LNER, Surveyor Adrian W Stanisforth MIME, Surveyor’s cert also
  • West Hallam Nos 2 and 3 (West Hallam Colliery Co Ltd), Tupton, High Main, closed in Dec 1931 after 83 years, 322/107- Isaac Keighley (15) was killed on 6 Mar 1893
  • Woodside No1 (Shipley Collieries Ltd), Shipley, Tupton 5/nil.
    (23 Pits)

Quota Restrictions

All companies had a restriction on output at this time but larger companies were able to swap tonnages from one pit in one area to another pit in another area and still comply within the rules. Smaller companies were unable to do this and suffered and sometimes had to lay the miners off. This was during the depression period and of course no work, no money.

Bailey Brook

At Bailey Brook (Butterley Co Ltd) the Deep Hard was last worked 4th March 1931 (abandoned 9th November 1938) due to quota restrictions. Seam section 3” (0.08m) Jays, 9” (0.23m) scud, 2’ 10” (0.86m) coal, total 3’ 10” (1.17m) at 128 yards (117m) deep. The Deep Soft was 3’ 5” (1.04m) thick.

At Loscoe the Deep Hard was 124½ yards (114m) deep.

At Ormonde 114 yards (104m) to Deep Soft, 134 yards (123m) to Deep Hard, shaft 378 yards (346m) deep. Surveyor Ernest Severn Lamb (839).

West Hallam

The West Hallam pit complex near Ilkeston (Derbyshire) was greatly troubled by faulting and water. The High Main shaft at 15 feet (4.57m) dia had been sunk about 100 yards (91m) east of the No2 Wingfield pit. Following the closure of Cam’s Close pit working was carried on at Stoppards, Orchard, Simonfield 1 and 2 and Coppice pits. The Piper Dogtooth and Furnace coals as well as ironstone were worked in the area.

Britain Colliery

Britain Colliery (Derbyshire) (Butterley Co)

At Britain colliery (Derbyshire) (Butterley Co) depth 442 yards (404m), 160 yards (146m) to Soft coal, Silkstone and Main Soft abandoned 9/12/31 and the North Deep Soft was abandoned 30th November 1931, Jack Bircumshaw Agent, Ernest Severn Lamb (839) Surveyor. Previously the Deep Soft had been abandoned Lady Day 1914.


Hours of work in 1931 were now 7½ per shift.


Fatal Accidents 1931

  • Denby Hall, Fred Allen (31) fall of roof 23 Feb 1931
  • Glapwell, John Shooter (33) fall of roof 27 Jun 1927, died 16 Feb 1931
  • Ormonde, Eric Singleton (31) fall of roof 15 Jan 1931
  • South Normanton, Harold Davenport (47) fall of coal 16 Jan 1931, died 22 Jan 1931
  • Tibshelf No3, Tom Allsop (?) fall of roof 2 Feb 1931, died 16 Feb 1931
  • Woodside, Joe Froggatt (37) run over by tubs 16 Jan 1931.

Output For 1931
  • Nottinghamshire pits 13.2m tons
  • North Derbyshire pits 12.0m tons
  • South Derbyshire pits 1.42m tons
  • Leicestershire 1.95m tons. (By comparison, Yorkshire produced 41.7mt).


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