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The Decline Of The Industry
And Nationalisation 1947



New Hucknall Faced Closure Again

New Hucknall colliery (Nottinghamshire) was faced with closure again. By 27th June 1934 more than 1,000 men and boys had been issued with 14 days dismissal notices signed by Percy Muschamp for the New Hucknall Colliery Co. They were already on a two-to-three day week due to Quotas.

The men were allowed to meet with the Secretary of State for Mines Ernest Brown, who advised them to appeal for an increase in tonnage allowance. This failed, and a number of men and boys were made redundant but the company won a last minute reprieve and kept the pit open on a reduced output.

Naked Lights

At South Normanton (Derbyshire) (South Normanton Colliery Co) naked lights were abolished underground in 1934. This was probably the last deep mine in the district around Sutton to do so.

Naked lights such as Carbide Lamps and Candles continued to be used at Radford, Nottingham until 1949 and at some small mines in Derbyshire after that.

Banksman's Job to Check For Contraband

At safety lamp mines it became the Bankman’s job to check all men entering the mine by frisking them for contraband, such as matches, lighters, cigarettes, pipes, cigars etc, and of course liquor or beer was not allowed underground either, however it was only a token gesture and in my career I never saw a proper search, but of course that does not mean to say there weren’t any such as randomly taking a person to one side and emptying pockets, pouches, searching helmets etc.

I do know of one case though where an Official went to work drunk and was not allowed down the pit, being barred from entering the cage by the Banksman. He was reprimanded and demoted for a few months before being reinstated as an Official again.

One man at Welbeck (Nottinghamshire) in the 1970s was found playing a battery operated radio/tape recorder down the mine!!

Membership of Union Increases

The membership of the Nottinghamshire and District Miners Industrial Union was around 17,000 in 1934.

Bestwood Village

The model village at Bestwood adjacent to Bestwood mine was completed. A Drill Hall was opened at Clipstone village.

Clipstone Village

A Drill Hall was opened at Clipstone village. Boys Brigade, SJAB etc used it.

Ollerton Colliery Price List

The Butterley Co issued a price list for Ollerton Colliery (Nottinghamshire) workers in the Top Hard seam in 1934:

  1. Filling: Getting and filling machine cut coal on to conveyors on any line of cleavage.. per ton of 20½ cwts - 1s 0 ¾d (5⅓p) (since 1926) increased to 3s 2.28d (16p).
    Getting and filling hand got coal on to conveyors on any line of cleavage.. per ton of 20½ cwts - 1s 2½d (6p).
    This price includes the setting of all coal face roof supports. All dirt, bat, stone or shale to be thrown into the goaf.
    To ascertain the dirt deduction take the total weight of dirt abstracted by all coal cleaning plants and of this rejected dirt The Butterley Company to stand 50% and the contracts to stand the other 50%. The Workmen’s 50% deduction to be adjusted on the beam of the pit top weigh machine periodically. The tonnage so arrived at to be the tonnage allocated to all the contracts.
    The Company to provide the necessary explosives free of cost, but the filling contract to bore the holes.
  2. Cutting Fast Ends... per yard - 6s 9d (33¾p).
  3. Stripping Gobs or Old Workings...per yard - 3s 9d (18¾p).
  4. Packing. For the building of all necessary solid packs and the withdrawal of all roof supports from the wastes and pack holes (this includes the setting and withdrawal of any temporary supports) - 0s 5 ¼d (2¼p).
    In the New Wages Agreement operative from 24th April.. per ton - 1s 2d (5¾p).
    The above price to operate whilst the system in operation is 4-yard packs and 6-yard wastes.
  5. Cutting. To undercut the coal as required including setting of any roof supports per team of 3 men per ton - 0s 1¾d (¾p).
    The above price to include all normal turning of the machines and handling of all cables.
  6. Belt Erecting. For the turning over, lining up and incidental work in connection with the turning over of belts…
    per ton - 0s 1½d (0.62p).
    This includes the extension of the gate conveyor and all belts should be tried and left in good running order for coal turning shift.
  7. Ripping. For ripping and packing dirt, including the building of two substantial gateway packs 8 yards in length and the removal of all supports from such packs…per cubic foot – 0s 1½d (0.62p).
    Where the packs exceed 8 yards in length extra per lineal yard – 1s 6d (7½p).
    On back ripping where it is necessary to take out arches the same price shall be paid as for setting.
    In loader gates where 15ft (4.57m) arches are set at the face, the area of ripping taken to set the arches to count as 120 square feet (11m²).
    In loader gates where part of a pack is left out for a motor there shall be a packing allowance of… 2s 3d (11¼p).
  8. Back Ripping. When dirt is filled over Gate Conveyors… per cubic foot – 0s 1⅛d (0.7p).
  9. Supports. For setting girders or wooden bars – up to 10ft..- 2s 0d (10p).
    Over 10ft (3.05m) and up to 12ft (3.68m).. – 3s 0d (15p).
    Over 12ft.. 4s 0d (20p).
    For setting bull rails 12ft and over .. 2s 6d (12½p)
    For withdrawing “ “ “ . . 2s 6d (12½p).
    For setting arched girders 10ft and under 3s 0d (15p).
    Over 10ft (3.05m) and including 14ft (4.27m).. 4s 6d (22½p).
    Over 14ft (4.27m) .. 6s 0d (30p).

These prices include the setting of all necessary backing boards and struts as directed by the Management.

The above prices are basis and carry the current percentages and awards.

They are to be operative forthwith.

Where abnormal conditions prevail in any stall over which the workmen has no control, and prevent him from earning a day’s wage, he shall receive not less than the County rate of pay.

Where either side decide to terminate or review any of the agreed prices it shall give three months notice to the other side.
Signed on behalf of The Butterley Co., Ltd MFM Wright (General Manager, Butterley Co)

J Belfitt (Agent)
S Thorneycroft (Manager)

Signed on behalf of the Workmen………….. W Bayliss (President NMU)
S Kilner (Secretary NMU)
H Ilett (Workmen)
W Swann
G Ilett


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Pit Terminology - Glossary