Strike At Ramcroft
In January 1941, there was a strike over wage rates at Ramcroft (Hardwick Colliery Co Ltd) (North Derbyshire). At all pits, a cost of living increase of 6d (2½p) a shift was granted from 1st January 1941 for over 18 years of age, and 3d (1¼p) for less than 18 years. At the same time the price of coal was increased by 8d (3p) a ton.
Land Mines at Kiveton Park
At Kiveton Park, close to the North Derbyshire border with South Yorkshire, 2 land mines dropped by a German raider exploded on the tip on 13th March 1941. Once again it was assumed that it was not a deliberate raid on the colliery.
Hucknall No1 Colliery and the Aerodrome
Hucknall aerodrome bordering Hucknall No1 colliery (Nottinghamshire) was the No1 (Polish) Flying Training School of the RAF from January 1941.
This is where the 'flying bedstead' was tested. I remember seeing it one Sunday morning in the late 1950s ? on a trip out with my Uncle Jack. This invention led to the vertical take off and landing fighter planes.
Westthorpe (North Derbyshire) (J and G Wells Ltd) was taken over by Tinsley Park Colliery Co in 1941.
A Meco-Moore cutter-loader was installed at Rufford (Nottinghamshire) (Bolsover Colliery Co) during the Easter break 1941. The pit pioneered the new coal cutter, which had a bottom jib, middle jib and back jib and loaded coal onto a face conveyor.
First Pit To Provide Full Meals In The Canteen
Grassmoor (Derbyshire) (Grassmoor Co Ltd) was the first pit to provide full meals in the canteen. At Ollerton (Nottinghamshire) (Butterley Co), the Agent Montagu Wright also organised a pithead canteen in a Nissen hut offering a 3-course meal of soup with bread, meat and vegetables and a sweet, for 11d (4½p).
From 1st June 1941 a one shilling (5p) attendance bonus was granted to all miners over 18 years and 6d (2½p) for those under 18 for full attendance in a week.
More about the Meco-Moore - The Machine That Will Revolutionise The Mining Industry
A further 4d (1½p) a shift cost of living rise was awarded from 1st July for over 18 and 2d (¾p) for less than 18 years of age.
Clothes were rationed from 1st June 1941. A further cost of living increase of 4d (1½p) a shift was granted from 1st July. Coal was rationed from 4th July. Ration books were issued with coupons that were cut out by the retailer to show that the requisite amount allowed was adhered to. However it was not unknown for the system to have flaws and in some areas goods could be obtained on the ‘black market’ from unscrupulous dealers and the word ‘spiv’ became synonymous with this procedure.
Essential Works Order
Miners were now forced to stay in their jobs and others who had left to join the forces or other industries were being returned to the pits under the Coal Mines (Release) Essential Works Order. A miner could not leave his job without leave from a National Service Officer. Physically fit ex-miners were drafted back underground, along with some surface workers and guaranteed wages were paid (see 1942).
The Coal Supply Order 1941 was enacted.
The Low Bright seam that had only been worked since 1939 at Newstead (Nottinghamshire) was abandoned (Newstead Colliery Co).
At Oakthorpe (South Derbyshire) the abandoned shafts from 1886 were de-watered down to the Main seam, but much gas was encountered.
Dogs Could Be Kept For First Time In New Ollerton
During 1941, the Butterley Co management finally relented, and agreed that for the first time in the colliery village of New Ollerton that greyhounds could be kept. Dogs had been banned since 1923, also walking on the open plan front lawned gardens as stated previously. The colliery Bobby (Eric Healey) was employed to see that these rules were adhered to. Offenders were fined or sacked. Of course being sacked meant that the house had to be vacated, as that came with the job. Even couples, not married, but living together, were still asked to leave!
The François Cementation Company of Doncaster (Yorkshire) was renamed The Cementation Co Ltd August 1941.
A steel headgear recovered from a closed Welsh mine replaced the one at Langton No8 / No9 shaft (Nottinghamshire) (Pinxton Collieries Ltd). Confusion arises here when there were only 2 shafts. The company named them No7 and No8 for part of Pinxton colliery where No6 shaft was at work. No9 shaft refers to the deepening of No7 shaft.
At Creswell (Derbyshire) (Bolsover Co) the Threequarter seam working was stopped on 26th July 1941. However the seam would be developed again later after driving a steep dog-leg drift at 1in3 down from the Top Hard level.
A Spitfire Fund, under the Wings for Victory campaign for the War effort raised about £5,800 for a Spitfire aeroplane named the ‘Nottinghamshire Miner’. The money was collected from all collieries and the generosity of the miners who would have been on about £3 10s (£3.50) to £5 a week is shown by the magnificent response to the appeal. There was a picture of a Spitfire above the serving counter in Ollerton canteen noting the amount of money collected at the pit.
War Additions To Wages
By September 1941 miners were getting cost of living War additions of 2s 8d (13⅓p) a shift, to which now there was added, unconditionally, the 1s (5p) bonus from 1st June for adults and 6d (2½p) a week for boys. The Government regulated the pits and coal prices.
8oz more cheese rations were to be made available to Land Girls and Railway Train Crews from 1st September 1941 bringing them in line with miners and agricultural workers.
Output per manshift in Nottinghamshire stood at 84 cwts against a national average of 59 cwts.
Calverton (Nottinghamshire) had a pithead restaurant 1941-1943. Pithead baths and canteen were opened at Granville (South Derbyshire).
Collieries Sunk or Opened in 1941
A new drift mine was opened by 3 men at Harper Hill off Wild Hill, near Huthwaite (Nottinghamshire), to work the Dunsil seam about 3’ 6” (1.07m). (later owned by Horace Taylor, of Whatstandwell). The first sod was cut on 3rd May following opencast mining which had begun to the West of Tibshelf around this time for the War effort. The limit of overburden for Open casting work then was about 10 yards (9m). George Wilson a good miner from Sutton drove Wilson’s Slit, the first roadway for an air road at right angles and the main heads to the dip at about 1in5 in the 3ft 6in (1.07m) thick Dunsil seam with 6 ft x 6 ft (1.8m x 1.8m) arches and stalls were opened up either side in the following year. He also ran a coal business.
The first Manager was Mr Fenn from Nottingham. The second Manager was Dan Rogerson from Rotherham.
He and a few others were sent to South Normanton colliery to assist with improving coal production during the War. The Undermanager and Deputy was Arnold Heappey. The men were transported to and from work by lorry. During the day coal was delivered to households, farms and the small slack to a Steel works in Sheffield and also a power station. Unfortunately in the early days ventilation was a problem and to create a good airflow through the mine a centrifugal fan was installed. Naked light acetylene lamps were used for illumination. A typical drift mine entrance is shown.
Noon Sun (James Morton) (North West Derbyshire) Yard coal seam, opened 1st May 1941.
Collieries Closed in 1941
- Barnes Lane (Barnes Lane Colliery Co Ltd), Stubley, Dronfield Woodhouse, Silkstone coal 3’ 0” (0.91m), dirt 10” (0.25m), coal 2’ 0” (0.61m), met old works 30 Sep 1941, Surveyor Arthur D Marriott (918), Surveyor John Mort (187)
- Birch Vale (James Morton) North West Derbyshire, Yard or Big mine coal, rock, coal 2’ 6” (0.76m), fireclay, used old day eyes, met old works, unprofitable
- Birch Vale (Noon Sun, see) (James Morton), New Mills, (North West Derbyshire), Yard or Big Mine, coal 2’ 9” (0.83m) sunk 1935-8 Feb 1941; 41 to 23 Aug 1941, unprofitable, used 3 old day eyes, met old workings, new entrance made 1939, old works were abandoned in 1907, Surveyor John Mort (187)
- Birchett (TF Thorp) Holmley Common, Blackshale 31 Apr 1941, dip 1in5, adit entrance met old workings after only a few yards (few metres) in, and a further adit abandoned also, Surveyor Arthur D Marriott (918)
- Hady Wood (T Bartram) Tupton coal and clay, rock top, bats and coal 8” (0.20m), coal 2’ 4” (0.71m), clay 2’ 4” (0.71m), adit 1in3.3, dip of seam 1in6, air shaft 18 yards (16.5m), Surveyor Arthur D Marriott (918)
- Hollis (JW Fletcher) Mickley, abandoned Apr 1941, start adit 1in2.9, also shaft and staple pit, 1939/1940, Surveyors Coke Turner and Co
- Holmley Common (Kay and Rowbotham), Silkstone, Jan 1941
- Moor Top (HS Lee), Unstone, 16/4, Piper, Feb
- Moss Coal and Ganister mine (Pickford, Holland and Co Ltd) Halifax Hard bed, shale roof, coal 2’ 2” (0.66m), ganister 2’ 3” (0.68m), clay floor, 4’ 6” (1.37m) extraction, Surveyor BR Russell (909) for Coke Turner and Co MES, abandoned 4 Feb 1941, mm May 1940
- Noon Sun (James Morton) 1st May 1941-23rd Aug 1941, closed as unprofitable, Surveyor John Mort (187)
- Orchard and Moor Top (HS Lee), Unstone, Piper, Feb 1941Oxcroft No5 colliery (Oxcroft Colliery Co) Stanfree, High Hazel was stood, 43/6
- Old Gin pit (F Whyatt) at Eckington was finally closed. That pit was the last one.
- Pinxton No6 pit was closed in February 1941.
- Denby Hall (Butterley Co) (Derbyshire) Kilburn finished 29 Sep 1941 Surveyor Stanley Dobinson (951 Jan 1930)
- Grassmoor (Grassmoor Colliery Co Ltd) Top Ell 2’ 3” (0.69m) at 185 yards (169m) abandoned 1 Nov 1941, for second time, see 1909, Surveyor Fred Owen (1256, Nov 1937).
- Netherseal (Netherseal Colliery Co Ltd) (South Derbyshire) Eureka seam 3’ 10½” (1.18m) at 690 ft (210m) was abandoned 30 Apr 1941, Surveyor R Hughes (1015, 24/7/31)
Shady Birchwood Closed After 104 Years
Shady Birchwood Pit (Derbyshire) (Babbington Co) Was Closed In December 1941 After 104 Years. It Was Sunk In 1837 To 178 Yards (162.8m). The Victoria UC Shaft 186 Yards (170m) Deep Closed 9th April. Low Main And Threequarter Seams. 289 Men And Boys U/G And 97 S/F. Balguy Shaft 90 Yards (82m) Deep. Yard And Tupton Seams Worked Here.
Managers for Shady
- Stewart Channer Wardell (506 Service cert), promoted to Agent
- CE Pegg (3940)
- Arthur W Baddesley (2543).
- Matt Hayes
- William Powiss
- A Robinson
- A Kitts
- Jack G Belfitt (2265)
- Tom Hudson
- WR Fountain (2nd)
Fatal Accidents Shady
- John Ward (50) fall of roof 9 Aug 1898, died 12 Dec 1898
- David Hargreaves (18) fall of roof 24 Jan 1899
- George Pridmore (17) run over by tubs 5 Jan 1901
- Arthur Haywood Kits (17) crushed by tubs 22 Oct 1903
- Thomas Pridmore (64) crushed by wagon on the surface 26 Sep 1904, died 4 Oct 1904
- Peter Hill (62) fall in a roadway 26 Sep 1903, died 16 Nov 1905
- Samuel George Radford (13) caught in machinery 13 Dec 1907.
Cotes Park (Derbyshire) (James Oakes and Co (Riddings Collieries Ltd) Low Main abandoned 15 Mar 1941, Surveyor JG Lander, UC shaft 225 yards (205.7m) to Low Main and 284 yards (259.7m) to Blackshale.
At Oakwood Grange (Nottinghamshire) (Oakwood Grange Colliery Co Ltd) the Soft coal working was abandoned in March via the No3 adit as there was old goaf all around. The No1 adit and No1 shaft at 34 feet (10m) deep were abandoned previously in 1938.
Lack Of Capital
The Top Hard seam at Creswell (Derbyshire) (Bolsover Colliery Co) was abandoned in August 1941.
Some mines were really backward due to a variety of reasons – lack of capital for new machinery, or lack of obtaining new machinery due to the War.
At Bagworth (Leicestershire) for example the first electric drill was put into use for boring holes in the coal or stone in readiness for inserting explosives. Prior to this all holes had been drilled by ‘man power’, as seen to left.
George Spencer MP Opposed A National Wages Board
As late as this, George Spencer MP was arguing against a National Wages Board, opposing the attempt to impose a levy to finance guaranteed wage payments to miners on short time working.
His argument was that the average output per man in Nottinghamshire was 84 cwt against a national average of 59 cwt and this was not due to the chance of geology, but to harder work by the Nottinghamshire miners.
He utterly opposed the principle of ‘asking the workmen of one district to help pay the profits of another district’.
(He was right: note how the NPLA (National Power Loading Agreement) of 1966 (see), pegged the Nottinghamshire Area miners’ pay, whilst all the other Areas in the country caught up!)
Fatal Accidents 1941 Included
- Alfreton, Thomas Moakes (58) fell over 19 Mar 1941, died 5 Apr 1941
- Brookhill, Claud William Brown (20) crushed by a conveyor 2 Mar 1941
- Denby Hall, Joseph Calladine (19) run over by tubs 28 Nov 1940, died 19 Feb 1941
- Glapwell, Harold Parry (36) fall of coal 17 Mar 1941
- New Langley, Alan Henshaw (41) fall of roof 19 Jan 1941, died 20 Jan 1941
- Ormonde, Joseph Weston (63) fall of roof 10 Feb 1941
- Pleasley, John Roebuck (31) fall of roof 10 Oct 1941
- Shirland, George Herbert Callin (23) fall of roof 1 Jan 1941
- Swanwick, Sam Purdy (47) crushed by tubs 18 Dec 1940, died 9 Feb 1941.
Average Wages Per Shift
- North Derbyshire 15s 9¼d (78¾p)
- South Derbyshire 17s 5¼d (87¼p)
- Nottinghamshire 18s 9d (93¾p)
- Leicestershire 17s 9d (88¾p). Overall average gave wages of £4 11s 1d (£4.55½) per week or 17s (85p) a shift.
Output For 1941
- Nottinghamshire collieries produced 17.8m tons with 43 pits using 346 coal cutters, 36 pits using 549 conveyors and 97 loaders
- North Derbyshire 14.5m tons, 55 pits using 456 coal cutters, 45 pits using 615 conveyors, 55 loaders
- South Derbyshire 1.3m with 7 pits using 42 coal cutters, 6 pits using 56 conveyors and 4 loaders
- Leicestershire had 12 pits using 113 machines and an output of 3.62m tons.
Collieries Closed In 1941
- Barnes Lane (Barnes Lane Colliery Co Ltd), Stubley, Dronfield Woodhouse, Silkstone Coal 3’ 0” (0.91m), Dirt 10” (0.25m), Coal 2’ 0” (0.61m), Met Old Works 30/9/1941, Surveyor Arthur D Marriott (918), Surveyor John Mort (187)
- Birch Vale (James Morton) North West Derbyshire, Yard Or Big Mine Coal, Rock, Coal 2’ 6” (0.76m), Fireclay, Used Old Day Eyes, Met Old Works, Unprofitable