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The Decline Of The Industry
And Nationalisation 1947



Collieries Sunk or Opened in 1933

  • Birchwood Vale closed in 1932 re-opened by A Kay
  • Bolsover No3 shaft sinking was restarted and finally reached the Blackshale seam on 9th August at 737 yards (674m). The company then introduced coal cutters and conveyors. 1,700 men and boys were employed.
    The Top Hard seam was worked out by December
  • Dobholme (J and J Slack) adit to Mickley seam, Surveyor Arthur D Marriott (918)
  • (Oakwood) Grange was re-opened at Cossall (Grange Colliery Co)
  • Ludworth Moor (John Catterall), Ludworth, was developing and Coton Park (Moira Colliery Co Ltd), Castle Gresley, 8/13 also developing
  • Moreland (ex Heage Naughton pit closed in 1931) was re-opened (South Litchfield), Manager George Farmer
  • Wingerworth Park (E Smith), Wingerworth, opened in December; a small drift mine or footrill was developed at Smalley (Henry Woolley and Co). There were old workings surrounding it; The Dunsil seam was developed at Pleasley (Stanton Ironworks Co) in 1932 and would be worked continually until 1965.

Canal Company Formed

The Erewash Canal Coal Carrying Co was formed. It was a revival in the interest of carrying coal by barge.

Pithead Baths at Whitwell

Pithead baths were opened at Whitwell (Derbyshire) (Shireoaks Colliery Co). 

Derbyshire Snowbound

Several pits were stood due a blizzard – the worst for 40 years. Derbyshire was snowbound it being 2’ 0” (0.61m) deep, the worst for 30 years. However by 5th June 1933 there was a drought.

New Miners’ Welfare

A new brick-built Miners’ Welfare was opened at New Ollerton by Winifred the Duchess of Portland to replace the temporary corrugated steel one in 1933.

Tub Stall System Abandoned At Newstead

The old tub stall system of working was abandoned at Newstead (Nottinghamshire) (Newstead Colliery Co) with the introduction of 50 hp Samson coal cutters on longwall advancing panels in the Top Hard. Similarly at Ollerton the Butterley Co introduced longwall panel working by stopping the advancing stall workings and straightening them out and introduced undercutting machines and handfilling onto face conveyors. Gate belts delivered coal to outbye loading points in the loader gates.

Wage Agreement

In July 1933 the wage agreement between the Government and the Mining Association ended. New price lists were issued.

Amalgamations Of Colliery Companies Were Implemented

President Of MF Union

Clipstone Miners' Institute
Clipstone Miners' Institute

Joseph Jones became President of the MinersFederation, but would leave for a more lucrative post with the Coal Commission in 1938.


Coal turning commenced at the Westthorpe shaft (North Derbyshire) from the Deep Soft seam level, at 163 yards (149m) deep.

The shaft had been sunk originally as a ventilation shaft for Holbrook colliery (J and G Wells Ltd).

New Miners’ Institute

A new Miners’ Institute was opened at Clipstone and the old one closed down.

Cyclic System Of Coal Production

A new cyclic system of coal production was begun at Rufford (Bolsover Colliery Co).

A record output of 1,093 tons per day was produced from a double unit and later another record when 1,147 tons were produced from a single conveyor face. There were more than 140,000 steel props in use in the three counties.

Price of Ponies

The price of pit ponies was now down to around £12 each.


During the 1930s the 66 yards (60m) safety barrier between Teversal and Pleasley was completely worked out goaf to goaf by old-fashioned stall methods. The valuable Top Hard coal at 5 feet (1.52m) thick had proved too much of a temptation for the Stanton Ironworks Co. It is said that some of the rats from Teversal were now able to occupy Pleasley pit for the first time, living off the pony food and scraps of miners’ food as at Teversal. At Silverhill that was not connected, there were mice underground. (Later in the early 1950s I remember when we used to be sat in an engine house having our snap, as a break from survey duties, we would set up bottle traps to catch mice, i.e. we would put a bit of cheese in a bottle and entice a mouse into it, but at Teversal we would set up traps to catch rats by putting a piece of bread underneath a large stone that was propped up with a wooden locker to which we attached to a piece of millband string. We would turn our cap lamp onto the pilot light and wait until a rat approached the bread. With great dexterity we would yank the string to pull the wood away, and with luck we would squash the rat under the stone! Mind you, a tub with several dead rats in at the end of the pit holidays is a smell never to be forgotten!


Wolf Alkaline 2.6v lamps were introduced at Ollerton as well as lighting on underground haulage roads. At Manton surface lighting on the sidings by 9 x 1,000w lamps and reflectors.

Explosion at Grassmoor

On 19th November 1933 at 2am there was an explosion in the Deep Hard seam workings at Grassmoor No8 (Derbyshire) (Grassmoor Colliery Co). It was attributed to a broken electric cap lamp. 14 men were killed and 31 others were injured, 8 seriously.

Colliery Closures in 1933

  • Ashgate (Ashgate Colliery Co Ltd), Chesterfield, Blackshale (Mar 1931),Tupton and fireclay 17/8, Oct, expiration of shaft lease, No1 85 yards (78m), No2 83 yards (75.9m) and 29 yards (26m), Surveyor: Arthur D Marriott (918)
  • Birk Hill (sold to WH Robinson), Eckington, Ell, closed July 1933
  • Bretby No3 pit Main coal – Over coal 7’ 6” (2.28m), pot clay 3’ 6” (1.07m), Main (Nether) 8’ 6” (2.59m), pot clay 3’ 6” (1.07m), surface level 274’ 6” (83.66m) above sea level, shaft depth 143 yards 2 feet 4½ in (131m), Main coal inset at 29 yards (26.5m) also Bretby Middle Place, Stockings 5’ 6” to 7’ 9” (1.67m to 2.36m), 14 Oct 1933, Surveyor AA Hook (cert no 63) for both
  • Beardwood (Jas Morton), New Mills, ? coal, Nov
  • Brockwell (Ashgate Colliery Co Ltd) Newbold, rock roof, Tupton 4” (0.10m) bats, 2’ 8” (0.81m) coal and 2’ 6” (0.76m) fireclay, adit 1in4.5 and shaft 96 ft (29.5m) deep, 31 May 1933, Arthur D Marriott (918)
  • Butterbank (Butterbank Colliery Co Ltd), New Mills, Furnace Vale, Yard mine, 8/1, started 1930, temp closed Feb, abandoned 31st Oct 1933, Winning shaft 45 ft (13.7m), Air shaft 36 ft (11.0m), worked up to old works of Beard and Bugsworth Colliery, Surveyor John Mort (187), for George Eagle, Manchester
  • Castedge (John Hewitt) Taxal, sunk 1920, stood from 1930 then worked to Sep, met old workings
  • Coleorton No3 (Bug & Wink) (Checkland & Co) sunk in 1875 closed after 58 years.
    • Fatal Accidents at Coleorton included
    • John Ward (19), Holer, fall of coal 19/1/1878.
    • Frederick Curtis (20) drowned in the colliery reservoir after leaving work 22/6/1889.
    • Benjamin William Johnson (14), Bank lad, crushed between railway wagons on the surface 18/1/1890.
    • Frederick Allen Philips (22), Loader, coal fell from face and knocked out a wooden prop and the roof fell on him 31/3/1890.
    • Harold Fern (21), Pony driver, coupling tubs when the pony started and he was crushed between a tub and the roof 15/1/1891.
    • John Robinson (13), Incline boy attempting to ride on a set of full trams and fell in front of the run 24/5/1895.
    • Joseph Springthorpe (27), Stallman, fall of roof 14/6/1897.
    • John Edwards (44), Roadman, run down by a set of runaway tubs 13/6/1898, died next day 14/6/1898.
    • John Marsden (71) had a slight injury and died 3 weeks later but a postmortem revealed he had died of natural causes 3/2/1899.
    • George Otter (?) run over by tubs 11/3/1905.
    • William Russell (19) Loader, caught his arm between a tub and the coalface causing a scratch 2/5/1910, but died a month later on 5/6/1910 after an operation following an infectious wound.
    • Charles Marshall (23), Shifter, repairing an old gate by ripping the roof when a fall of roof reeled out a new set bar and another set previously and buried him 2/5/1910. William Birch working with him was also buried but freed himself and attempted to release Marshall after 4 more falls of roof. He was awarded the Edward Medal (2nd Class Bronze) for his efforts.
    • David Gardiner (51), Incline man was riding on tubs illegally and struck his head on the roof and fell between a run of 11 empty tubs 29/12/1910.
    • Thomas Lord (32), Stallman, ripping a gate road was struck by a piece of rock 12 feet long x 2 feet 6inches wide and 2 feet thick that crushed him 19/8/1911.
    • Nathan (30), brother of above, a Stallman, whilst travelling along a haulage road a large stone fell from the roof and dislodged a roof support allowing the roof to fall on him 24/4/1912.
    • James Bailey (50), Collier, fall of roof fractured his skull, broke some ribs and a compound fracture of his left thigh 15/11/1917.
    • Sam Matchett (?) killed on 18/12/1918, details unknown.
    • Samuel Robert Fretstone (21) crushed by wagons on the surface 27/1/1919.
    • James W Sharpe (21) fall of roof 2/5/1927.
    • Sam Walker (51) crushed by tubs 19/5/1930.
  • Loscoe (Butterley Co Ltd), Codnor, Deep Soft 3’ 6” (1.07m), New Soft, Deep Hard fin 16th May, abandoned August after 101 years. Managers: William Sutton, Humphrey R Watson, BD Elliott. Undermanagers: James Walker, Thomas Henshaw, TE Williams, FGN Wigram. DC shaft 125 yards (114m), Furnace shaft 127 yards (116m) to Hard coal, Pumping shaft 129 yards (118m), Soft coal 3’ 6” (1.07m) thick. Nearby Ormonde shaft was used for ventilation where the New Soft coal lay at 98 yards (90m). Section: coal 7” (0.18m), dirt 3½” (0.09m), coal 2’ 0” (0.61m), clunch 3’ 7” (1.09m), coal 9” (0.23m), dirt 3” (0.08m), coal 2’ 3” (0.68m), 114 yards (105m) to Soft, 134 yards (122m) to Hard, 195 yards (178m) to Low Main, 368 yards (336m) to Kilburn and DC shaft 382 yards (350m) to Kilburn, 16th May finished, abandoned 4th Aug 1933, Chief Surveyor Ernest Severn Lamb
  • Loscoe (Butterley Co) sunk in 1837 by Goodwin and Griffin and taken over by ED Whittingstall, then Butterley Co since 1854/55 Deep Soft, Roof Soft and Deep Hard, Aug, E442400, N347460
  • Marehay (Fords) pumping shaft abandoned Oct
  • Marsh Lane (Noah Chandler and Co Ltd), Piper or Parkgate rock top, coal 2’ 0” (0.61m), dirt 6” (0.15m), coal 1’ 6” (0.46m), July, Sir George Sitwell estate, Drawing shaft 33 yards (30m), UC 20 yds (18.2m), surface drift 1in3, met old works of Lady Day 1898, and another adit (day eye) with seam dipping 1in3 was worked by BR Mills 1925 to Dec 1926 and a further area worked prior to that starting in 1904 and finishing in 1914, Surveyor GT Ingham (1038)
  • Marsh Lane (Jas Morton), New Mills, Little Mine, Red Ash seam, rock, coal 1’ 4” (0.41m), fireclay floor, 2 day eyes, room and pillar work, start Jan? finished July, unprofitable, abandoned 12th Nov, Surveyor John Mort (187)
  • Moorwood Moor (RS Merriman), Crich, Alton and ganister, 7/nil, June
  • Nesfield (Messrs Pearson and Co (Chesterfield) Ltd), Barlow, Tupton coal and bats left up 7½” (0.19m), 2’ 7½” (0.80m) coal taken plus 2’ 4½” (0.72m) fireclay, 11/2, 27th Apr, 2 shafts 21 yards (19m), air shaft 8 yards (7m), adit and part open work in 1926, started 1921 met old works. Sud Brook runs past the pit top, fin 15 Jun 1933, E434996 N374261, Surveyor: BR Russell (909)
  • New Farm ( William Needham), Barlow, Blackshale, 3 separate areas worked, 4 adits, 6/2, July, old works all round, Surveyor George E Durkin (952), Coke Turner and Co ME Nottingham
  • Quarry Gate (Quarry Gate Colliery Co) Troway, Blackshale, April
  • Ryefield No1 (Denby Iron and Coal Co (TW Ward Ltd)), Denby, 2 Foot or Hospital coal 1’ 10” (0.51m), Jan 1933, worked previously 1870-1878 and Piper, soft coal 2’ 10” (0.86m), dirt 1’ 2½” (0.37m), hard coal 1’ 9½” (0.55m), May 1931, previously worked by WH and G Dawes to Midsummer 1869
  • Spring Bank (Blair Bros), Unstone, Piper, start 1931 adit 1in3 and shaft 30’ 6” (9.30m) fin 21st Feb 1933, 4/2, Surveyor BR Russell (909) for Coke Turner and Co, Unstone Main colliery adjacent to the west, old shafts disused, Surveyor BR Russell (909) for Coke Turner and Co MEs; Stoney Lane (Stoney Lane Colliery Co), New Whittington, Tupton Threequarters 2/1, Mar
  • Swadlincote Darklands (South Derbyshire), No1 UC to Stanhope 269 yds (246m), No3 193 yds (176.5m) to Woodfield, No2 DC 242 yds (221.2m) Eureka hard rock bind, coal 4’ 2” (1.27m), bat 4” (0.10m), Ganister 1’ 1” (0.33m) clay 3½” (0.09m), clunch floor, 11th Dec 1933, there was an emergency exit road through to Cadley Hill, old Cartwright pit adjacent, Coke ovens on site
  • Wood Lane (Kilburn Coal Ltd) Horsely, Kilburn, voluntary liquidation, It was noted that 380 tons of Kilburn coal was worked between closing the mine and the last survey at Michaelmas, exhausted Oct 1933 27/13, abandoned Nov
  • Woodside No1 (Shipley Collieries Ltd), Roof Soft and Deep Soft, temp closed July 1933.
    (21) Pits

Loscoe Closed After 96 Years

Loscoe (Butterley Co Ltd), Codnor, Deep Soft 3’ 6” (1.07m), New Soft, Deep Hard fin 16th May, abandoned August after 101 years.  DC shaft 125 yards (114m), Furnace shaft 127 yards (116m) to Hard coal, Pumping shaft 129 yards (118m), Soft coal 3’ 6” (1.07m) thick.  Nearby Ormonde shaft was used for ventilation where the New Soft coal lay at 98 yards (90m).

Seams worked: Soft coal section: coal 7” (0.18m), dirt 3½” (0.09m), coal 2’ 0” (0.61m), clunch 3’ 7” (1.09m), coal 9” (0.23m), dirt 3” (0.08m), coal 2’ 3” (0.68m), 114 yards (105m) to Soft, 134 yards (122m) to Hard, 195 yards (178m) to Low Main, 368 yards (336m) to Kilburn and DC shaft 382 yards (350m) to Kilburn, 16th May finished, abandoned 4th Aug 1933. Advertisements showed the various grades of coal available: Best Hard coal, Hard steam coal, brights (large), screened brights, Hard cobbles, picked bright coal, bright cobbles, slack (Nutty) and best Hards Loco coal.

Managers:  William Sutton, Humphrey R Watson, BD Elliott. 

Undermanagers:  James Walker, Thomas Henshaw, TE Williams, FGN Wigram. 

Chief Surveyor Ernest Severn Lamb

Loscoe (Butterley Co) sunk in 1837 by Goodwin & Griffin and taken over by ED Whittingstall, then Butterley Co since 1854/55 Deep Soft, Roof Soft and Deep Hard, Aug, E442400, N347460

Various Other Collieries

  • Pumping continued at Ramcroft (Hardwick Colliery Co), Heath, nil u/g /3 s/f and also at Tibshelf No1 and 2 (Babbington Coal Co Ltd)
  • Baker Street (Hearthcote Pottery Co (1930) Ltd), Swadlincote still idle, and had been stood since June 1932
  • Lodge (Ilkeston Collieries Ltd) was owned by Manners Colliery Co Ltd to c Mar 1933. The pit had closed originally in 1896 and re-opened from 1913-1916. Main and tail haulage was used on the sidings.
  • Bretby (Hall’s Collieries Ltd) (South Derbyshire) Eureka seam abandoned on 11th December 1933.
  • (Bretby) Stanhope colliery Stanhope seam abandoned 11th December 1933, previously abandoned 1884.
  • Coleorton (Leicestershire) Middle Lount, Nether Lount and Roaster or Lower Main abandoned 26 Jul 1933, Lewis and Lewis.
  • Pilsley (No5) pit, (Derbyshire) Yard seam abandoned 30 Sep 1931, Manager and Surveyor Oscar Holt Taylor
    22 May 1933.

Pithead Baths Opened

A large majority voted against the installation of pithead baths at Ollerton (Nottinghamshire), a Butterley Co mine, where there was a prejudice against washing the back for fear of weakening it, but at Williamthorpe (Derbyshire), pithead baths were opened, the pit top was refurbished and electricity introduced and Henry Eustace Mitton, Managing Director of Butterley Co was appointed temporarily to the Board of the Hardwick Co.

Pithead baths were opened at Pleasley (Derbyshire) (Stanton Ironworks Co), building started in 1932. Building of Pithead baths was begun at Sherwood (Nottinghamshire) (Sherwood Colliery Co Ltd).

There were 75 coke ovens working at Williamthorpe.

Fatal Accidents 1933

  • Alfreton, Douglas Johnson (45) injured 13 Aug 1925, goitre, died 24 Jun 1933
  • Blackwell B Winning, Sam Green (58) fall of roof 8 Nov 1933, died 21 Nov 1933
  • Coppice, Cyril Kinney (38) crushed by tubs 18 Jul 1933
  • Creswell, William Henry Thorpe (59) and Booth (?) fall of roof 27 Sep 1933
  • Grassmoor 13 killed in an explosion of firedamp 19 Nov 1933
    • Albert Wheatcroft (48)
    • Stanley Knibton (?)
    • George Lenthall (?)
    • George Muschamp (33)
    • George Wright (?)
    • Frank Wilbourn (41)
    • Reg Hopkin (27)
    • William Brocklehurst (48)
    • Alfred Cyril Johnson (30)
    • Sidney Tunnicliffe (30)
    • Sam Foyster (33)
    • Ernest Keighley (30)
    • George Peasgood (41),
  • Manners, William Smith (53) and Thomas Meakin (51) fall of roof 25 Oct 1933
  • Pleasley, James Lawson (37) fall of roof 2 Feb 1933
  • Shipley, Cyril Trueman (26) kicked by pony 12 Jul 1933, died 28 Aug 1933
  • Shirebrook, Walter Waterman (21) fall in a roadway 5 Dec 1933
  • South Normanton, Charles Vardy (15) crushed by tubs 14 Dec 1933, died 19 Dec 1933
  • Swanwick, Graham Hewisson (43) fall of roof 27 Aug 1929, died 6 Nov 1933
  • Tibshelf No4, Thomas Gower (42) fall of roof 28 Aug 1933
  • Williamthorpe, Joseph Jones (39) fall of roof 1 Nov 1933.

Output For 1933
Nottinghamshire pits 12.6m tons,
North Derbyshire pits 10.5m tons and
South Derbyshire pits 1.249m tons,
1.6m tons. (By comparison, Yorkshire 38.1m tons).


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