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The Decline Of The Industry
And Nationalisation 1947




Stanley Baldwin

Stanley Baldwin took his third term as Prime Minister until 1937, when Neville Chamberlain succeeded 1937-1940. Frank Lee was elected MP for Chesterfield. Secretary for Mines Captain Harry Crookshank MP 1935-1938


Mine Safety

There was a Royal Commission on Mine Safety in 1935 following the Gresford explosion in September 1934 when 265 men and boys perished.

Reviving Apparatus To Be Kept

The Coal Mines (Rescue) Amending Regulations 1935 passed in which oxygen-carbon dioxide reviving apparatus was added to other equipment kept at Rescue Stations.

The Depression Continues

The depression continued throughout the coalfield, but there was light on the horizon as the fortunes of the coal industry changed towards the end of the year and as production increased, the MFGB union regrouped and forced the Nottinghamshire coal owners to offer rise increases.


At the beginning of 1935 there were only 7 members of the NMA at Harworth out of a total manpower of 2,285. Membership increased to 100 by June 1935,157 in December 1935 and by June 1936 to 302.

Pithead Baths

There were now 10 pits in Derbyshire with pithead baths. Bolsover pithead baths opened in that year also Creswell pithead baths costing £17,000 the ceremony on 12th January 1935 being carried out by Cuthbert Bainbridge a Director of the Co. The Bolsover Co appointed a Safety Officer and issued free helmets and gloves to the workforce.

Pithead baths were opened at Newstead (Nottinghamshire) (Newstead Colliery Co).

Blizzard and Some Severe Gales

On 30th January 1935 there was a blizzard and some severe gales in the region creating a few problems.

Head Lamps For Ponies

The Staveley Coal and Iron Co Ltd (formed in 1864) followed the idea later at their 7 collieries and their 90 ponies each had a Davis Hunter electric light. The company was producing 2.5 million tons of coal a year and had 6,500 railway wagons. Top Hard, Deep Soft, Deep Hard, Hazel, Ell and Blackshale coals were worked producing steam, gas, manufacturing, household and coking coals. They had 1,278 acres of freehold surface plus 824 acres on lease. The company also owned 3,390 houses for their workforce.

Collieries Sunk or Opened in 1935

  • Birch Vale (James Morton) to work area of Yard or Big mine 2’ 6” (0.76m) thick between outcrop and old Birch Vale workings, 2 new day eyes and used some old ones
  • New Horsley (New Horsley Kilburn Colliery Co), at Horsley village, was developing. Previous old pits in the area were Horsely and Hartley and the shafts were about 5 feet (1.52m) diameter. There were also several adits.

Creswell Deepening

One shaft at Creswell (Bolsover Colliery Co, sunk 1894) was deepened to the Blackshale at 812 yards (742m). The Top Hard at 5’ 10” (1.78m) thick was at 452 yards (413m). The surface level was 99 yards (90m) above sea level. The colliery would be plagued with water from surrounding mines in later years.

Staveley Co Pits

The Staveley Co pits in 1935 were Markham No1 and No4, Markham No2 and No3, Ireland, Warsop Main, Hartington, Do Well, Campbell and Barlborough (North Staveley). The company produced 2.5 million tons a year from the 7 pits, from Top Hard, Ell, Deep Soft, Deep Hard, Hazel and Blackshale seams for gas, steam, and coking, manufacturing and household uses. They had 27 square miles of mineral royalties leased from the Dukes of Devonshire and Portland, Sir William Fitzherbert, Capt BHG Arkwright, etc. They had 1,278 acres of freehold surface lands and leased 824 acres. The Company formed in 1864, owned 3,390 houses, 6,500 railway wagons and 90 pit ponies.


From 1st April 1935, Huthwaite, Skegby and Teversal Parishes were absorbed into Sutton Urban District.


At Harworth (Nottinghamshire) (Barber, Walker and Co) the highest ever manpower of 2,346 was reached (with 1,841 men and boys in the Barnsley Bed workings and 505 on the surface).

The manpower at Bilsthorpe (Nottinghamshire) (Stanton Ironworks Co Ltd) reached a maximum ever at 1,671 in 1935 (1,398 in Top Hard seam).

Bestwood and Babbington Talks

During 1935 the Bestwood Coal and Iron Co Ltd entered into negotiations with the Babbington Coal Co regarding an amalgamation of the 2 companies.

Strictly No Dogs

It was strictly forbidden to keep dogs as pets in the colliery village of New Ollerton (Nottinghamshire). The popular sport of greyhound and whippet racing was outlawed also. W Stan Fletcher (2349) the second Manager at Ollerton stressed that any offender would be strictly dealt with – in other words the sack, and of course that would mean vacating the colliery house (which by the way was supplied with electricity and hot water from the pit).


Bobby Healey

A Company ‘Bobby’, (Eric Healey) was employed to tour the village and among other duties to note if any dogs were kept, also any other misdemeanours, such as ‘walking on the open plan front lawns’, when a fine could be implemented or ‘living in sin’ i.e. not married, when one could be ousted - (What about today’s way of life?).

Some men kept racing pigeons as many others did and of course they do make a mess.

Eric Healey was the House Agent for Butterley Co. and on 28 Apr 1939 went to Worksop Police Court for re-possesion of 3 houses on Walesby Lane, built 1928, rent being 7/6d (37.5p) per week. All the tenants had ceased working for the company.


From 12 May 1939 George William Hibbert, from Derby, was the new Ollerton Picture House manager.

In May 1939 George Theobald, of 278, Walesby Lane, Ollerton, was buried under 2 tons of roof fall, died from multiple fractures whilst repairing 150s main road (only 2 days after starting work). The HMI was W. Gray, manager and agent was W. Stan Fletcher and Joe N. Morley was assistant manager, Aaron Jenkins for the Notts and District Miners Federation Union, R. Price for the Deputies Union.

The first coal/oil plant at Bolsover was opened by the Mines Minister, Lloyd, it was a low temperature carbon process to yield 10 million gallons per year.

Huge Fall At Glapwell

On 10th September at Glapwell (Derbyshire) 6 men were trapped by a fall. One man died and 3 others were taken to hospital after being rescued.

Modern Coke Ovens

More modern coke ovens were built at Holmewood in 1935 and would last until 1962. The wooden headgear was replaced by steel. Henry Eustace Mitton of the Butterley Co had been appointed temporarily as Managing Director of the Hardwick Colliery Co and Harry Watson Smith was appointed permanently in 1935.


Following the General election in June 1935 a National Government was elected with a Conservative PM until 1940.

Stanley Bauldwin took his third term as Prime Minister on 7th June 1935 - 28 May 1937 when Neville Chamberlain succeeded to 1940 and Frank Lee was elected MP for Chesterfield.

Secretary for Mines was Captain Harry Crookshank MP 1935 - 1938.

A Royal Commission On Mines Safety

There was a Royal Commission On Mines Safety in 1935 following the Gresford Explosion in Sept 1934 when 265 men and boys perished.

Rescue Regulations

The Coal Mines (Rescue) Amending Regulations, 1935 passed in which oxygen-carbon dioxide reviving apparatus was added to other equipment kept at Rescue Stations.

Clay Cross

Threequarter or Lees coal and ironstone, had been worked at Clay Cross No1 pit. The coal was 2ft 4in (0.71m) thick and the floor was black clunch with beds and balls of ironstone. The shaft was filled in during 1935. The Threequarter seam workings had been abandoned at Clay Cross No2 pit in September 1934.

Pit Ponies
In December 1935 there were still 111 pit ponies at work underground at Bentinck (Nottinghamshire) (New Hucknall Colliery Co). The Deep Hard seam was worked by hand got system with wooden props and several compressed air Sullivan and AB coal cutters. In the Low Main (or Tupton) at 3 feet 6 inches (1.07m) thick, steel props were used, but some of the coal was still loaded out by hand into trams at the face. Note the screen or fork for loading out smaller coals but not slack and very small coal. The Deep Soft seam was still worked on the hand got methods with wooden props. The washery was a Blantyre Baum type and separate screening plants were used for all the different seams. 14 hand fired Lancashire boilers created the steam necessary for winding. No electrical power was generated at Bentinck. It was transmitted overland by cable from Annesley about 2½ miles away at 11,000v. The ventilation fan was a Walker Indestructible extracting 250,000 cubic feet of air per minute at 2.2 inches (0.055m) water gauge. The fan was originally driven by steam but had been replaced by a GEC electric motor. A Waddle 40 feet (12.2m) diameter steam driven fan was on standby (New Hucknall Colliery Co).

Collieries Closed in 1935

  • Bagot (Geo Hartley), West Hallam, Piper (High Main), Jan, finished Aug 1934, unprofitable. The Surveyor died shortly after making the last quarterly survey and the owner completed the abandonment plan
  • Bakers Bank (Brierley Wood Colliery Co), Sheepbridge, Piper, Nov 1935
  • Billam (EC Kennington), Eckington, Flockton, Jan
  • Bramley Hall (Bramley Hall Colliery Ltd), Marsh Lane, Silkstone 8/4, Apr
  • Brierley Wood (Brierley Wood Colliery Co), Sheepbridge, 3/nil, Ashgate bind, dirt 1’ 0” (0.30m), top coal 4½” (0.11m), dirt 2’ 2” (0.61m), coal 1’ 4” (0.40m), clay, 3rd Apr 1935, Surveyor Arthur Barlow (429)
  • Denby (Capt JAE Drury Lowe) Kilburn, 2 Jan 1935, spavin under the seam, Surveyor Charles C Whitaker (123), H Steele HMI, winding level 158 yards (144.4m) and 170 yards (155.5m) to pumping level where there was a large water lodge
  • Dobholme (J and J Slack), Troway, Mickley, Dec
  • Ford Lane (H Kay), Marsh Lane, Silkstone, 31 Jan 1935, Surveyor Arthur D Marriott (918)
  • Hartington, sunk in 1879 was closed in 1935, although production had ceased in 1930, manpower in 1894
  • No1 Cannel pit 320 u/g, 44 s/f and No2 Silkstone 108 u/g, 26 s/f
  • Little Hartshay (E Glossop) had been re-opened, Blackshale, dip 1in3, discontinued 15 Jun 1935, unprofitable, heads and room and pillar met old hollows and long benk worked to 1880, Surveyor: HL Jackson (502), one pit fell in from surface in 1925, worked heads up to Porter Barn fault then extracted double width heads on retreat back to pit bottom 1928 1930, pillars worked out by 15 Jun 1935
  • Marsden Troway No1 (Thomas and F Unwin), Blackshale, 14 Nov 1935, bad trade, previously abandoned
    5 Nov 1931, then re-opened, as No2 worked up to outcrop and to old workings of 1926 by Ayres and Robson, Arthur D Marriott (918)
  • Moreland (or Crown Farm) (Moreland Colliery Co), Heage, Alton Upper 3’ 8” (1.1m) and 6” (0.15m) fireclay and balls at 25 yards (23m) and Lower Alton, stopped Apr 1934, tops 11” (0.28m), best 1’ 10” (0.51m), bottoms 6½” (0.16m), sandy seggar 3” (0.08), Apr
  • Moorwood (RS Merriman) near Whaley Bridge was abandoned in 1935
  • Octavia (Joseph E Whitchurch) Cossall, Piper 3’ 2” (0.97m), with 8” (0.20m) inferior floor coal left and not worked, Feb, No1 pit 49 feet (14m) deep, No2 pit 39 feet (12m), No3 pit 29 feet (9m) and No4 pit 45 feet (14m),a small mine, usually 4 men u/g, 1 on s/f, Surveyor: PR Smith (cert) 30 Jul 1935
  • Townend (Thomas Tomlinson), Shirland, Deep Hard, temp closed Dec
  • Westfield (G Dunn), Barlborough, High Hazel 2/2, 30th Dec
  • Wingfield (Boythorpe Co Ltd), North Wingfield, 2/1 Dunsil, Feb.
    (17 Pits)

Pentrich Low Main working abandoned 1935. Upper Hartshay NW shaft 135 yards (123m) abandoned.

The Deep Hard at Brookhill, part of Pinxton (Derbyshire) was closed in Aug 1935.

Fatal Accidents 1935

  • Bolsover, Clifford Darlow (44) fall of roof 1 Oct 1935
  • Glapwell, Thomas WB Marshall (31) fall of roof 10 Sep 1935
  • Stanley, Hector Page (37) fall of roof 18 Mar 1935
  • Stanley, Charles Straw (53) fall of roof 29 Mar 1935
  • Swanwick, Leslie Elliott (28) fall of roof 19 Oct 1935
  • Whitwell, Benjamin Robinson (34) fall of roof 24 Sep 1935.

Output For 1935
Nottinghamshire pits 13.3m tons,
North Derbyshire pits 11.3m tons
South Derbyshire pits 1.305m tons
Leicestershire 1.9m tons. (By comparison, Yorkshire pits produced 41.4m)


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