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The Decline Of The Industry Continued
After Nationalisation 1947


1947   1      3    4    5    6 

1947 - Page 6

Rexco Plants


A Rexco smokeless fuel plant had been built adjacent to Mansfield colliery (Nottinghamshire) in 1935. It was one of the first in Britain to develop the process of manufacturing smokeless coal with coal-gas as a by-product. It would be closed down in 1972 as being uneconomic. The manufacture of this fuel had been stopped during the War and just after for the site had been adapted to produce motor fuel called Motor Rexco. A by-product of this was charcoal. By about 1947 the Company began to expand and similar installations were planned at Thoresby, Snibston and Ollerton

Own Coal Service

The first pit to have its own coal service for miners’ coal was at Ollerton. The coal was bagged at a bunker in the pit yard and delivered to the houses by lorry and tipped into the coal-houses whereas previously a load of coal was tipped outside the house on the road and had to be reloaded and barrowed by the recipient.

New Coal Prep Plant

A new coal preparation plant was commissioned at Silver Hill, water being pumped from the old abandoned Coopers shaft nearby.  Water arrived at this shaft from the old pits in the Meden Valley, by means of the old New Inn Level or sough.

Rationing Continued

Austerity times still reigned. Potatoes were still rationed at 3lb per person per week and also milk at 2½ pints each at 5d (2p) a pint, bacon 1oz a week. Meat and cheese and bread were rationed also. Miners were classified as heavy industry and were entitled to a larger meat ration. A packet of 20 Players cigarettes was 2s 4d (11⅔p) and a pint of bitter beer 1s 4d (6⅔p).

The average wage was around £6 5s 10d (£6.29) a week. From the end of November 1947 the minimum underground rate for adults was £5 15s 0d (£5.75), an increase of 2s 6d (12½p) per week and for surface rate £5 0s 0d (£5.00) per week, an increase of 1s 8d (8⅓p) per week under the Day-wage Agreement of December 1947, however the increased rate was not to total more than 19s 10d (99p) a shift exclusive of the War addition plus the skilled shilling (5p) where payable.  The surface rate was not to be more than 18s 2d (90¾p) a shift similarly. 

There was a scaled increase for boys as follows:

  • 14 years 44s 6d (£2.22½) underground and 35s (£1.75) on the surface
  • 14½ years 46s 6d (£2.32½) and 37s (£1.85)
  • 15 years 49s 6d (£2.47½) and 39s 6d (£1.97½)
  • 15½ years 52s 6d (£2.62½) and 42s (£2.10)
  • 16 years 55s (£2.75) and 45s (£2.25)
  • 16½ years 58s (£2.90) and 47s (£2.35)
  • 17 years 62s (£3.10) and 50s (£2.50)
  • 17½ years 66s (£3.30) and 52s 6d (£2.62½)
  • 18 years 80s 6d (£4.02½) and 66s 6d (£3.32½)
  • 19 years 86s (£4.30) and 72s (£3.60)
  • 20 years 92s (£4.60) underground and 77s 6d (£3.87½) per week on the surface. 
  • Apprentice Surveyor starting rate was £2 0s 10d (£2.04) per week.
  • Overmens rates from 18th December 1947 were £13 5s 0d (£13.25) min to £14 18 3d (£14.91¼) max per week. 
  • Colliery Safety Officer rate was £13 0s 0d (£13.00) min to £13 10s 0d (£13.50) max, with an extra 10s (50p) a week if holding a First Class certificate of Competence (Managers’ certificate).
  • Training Officer rate of pay £13 0s 0d (£13.00)
  • Pithead baths Superintendent rate £7 10s 0d (£7.50)
  • Head Ambulance man min £7 10s 0d (£7.50) with a max £8 10s 0d (£8.50) per week.


A McLuckie hand held methanometer was devised which would revolutionise the testing for firedamp or methane gas.  By the 1960s these would be in regular use everywhere. However until the 1960s generally, testing for methane gas was done using the lowered flame on a safety lamp.

Collieries Sunk or Opened in 1947

  • Butterley Drift sinking continued
  • Wingfield Park New or No2 (H and C Hartshorne), Kilburn 3’ 10” (1.17m), room and pillar, 2 adits.



Opencast working to mine the Top Hard, Dunsil and Waterloo seams commenced at the Silverhill site. Some artifacts would be found in the ancient workings encountered.  Morley Park Opencast site, Deep Soft; Copper Yards (near Ormonde) July 1947.

Collieries Closed in 1947

  • Bonds Main, Deep Hard finished June but the Tupton seam working continued
  • Bretby Middle Place, Eureka 31/12/1947 (depth unknown) and Stanhope 20/9/1943 and 31/12/1947 and Stockings 1932/33, Head Surveyor Arthur A Hook (63)
  • Four Lane Ends (JH Taylor) Deep Hard, section: batt 1’ 2” (0.35m), coal 2’ 3” (0.68m), dirt 2” (0.05m), coal 1’ 7” (0.48m), unprofitable, Surveyor: Sydney Smith (787)
  • Furnace Hill No3 (H and C Hartshorne), Oakerthorpe, June 1947
  • Handley (Sunk by R Barrow) closed after 117 years
  • Hirst Hollow drift (Hirst Hollow Colliery Co Ltd) Ashgate coal 1’ 3” (0.38m), dirt 4” (0.10m), coal 9” (0.23m), finished 30/6/1947, seam outcrop surrounding workings, Surveyor Chas Dobbs (1841)
  • Holmewood No3, Blackshale and Ell abandoned Dec 1947
  • Mapperley Nos 1 and 2, (Mapperley Colliery Co or Checkland and Co) Deep Soft, Piper, Low Main and Kilburn abandoned Dec 1947
  • Netherseal (South Derbyshire) sunk 1855, closed Dec 1947 after 92 years, electrically driven Siskol cutters were still in use at closure
  • Oakerthorpe Drift (Wingfield Manor), formerly Furnace Hill No2 (closed in 1945), reopened at Oakerthorpe, Tupton  (Low Main), was closed and abandoned April 1947, Surveyor Leslie H Watson (578) (July 1920)
  • Pinxton No2 pit was closed in 1947 but the shaft was kept open for ventilation and pumping until about 1970
  • Renishaw Park (Derbyshire) the Deep Hard, Parkgate and Thorncliffe workings finished in Nov 1947, Manager
    AH Jackson (3084).


Minister of Fuel and Power: Hugh Gaitskell (Lab) 7th Oct 1947-1951
President of Board of Trade
: Harold Wilson (Lab) 29th Sep 1947-1951.


Thorntree No2 Drift Abandoned

Thorntree No2 Drift (Nadins Unit), (South Derbyshire) (previously J and N Nadin and Co Ltd) sunk 1927 to Eureka, then Stanhope Stockings and Woodfield seams.  Household and manufacturing coal mined. The mine was situated to the north of Newhall and to the east of Burton on Trent. 440 volts electrical power used. Served by the LM and S Railway. Nether seam abandoned, a feeder of water flooded the new drift from the floor under pressure just below the Over seam.  

  • 1931: 100 underground, 32 surface
  • 1946: 104 Stockings and Woodfield, 45 surface
  • 1948: nil u/g, 23 s/f


  • HG Nadin 1928-
  • Frank M Joyce (844)


  • R Hay (1413) 1927-1940
  • John W Parker (1905) 1940-1943
  • JG Mein -1944 (4086)
  • H Longworth (2291) 1944-1945
  • J Edwards (202) 1945-1948


  • Geo G Bourne (508) 1927-1928
  • No Undermanager listed 1928-1931
  • John W Parker (1905) 1931-1940
  • No Undermanagers afterwards.

Accidents for Thorntree; None known.

Influx Of Water

Netherseal sunk in 1867, taken over by Moira Co in 1942 was one of the 6 pits sunk to the North side of the South Derbyshire Coalfield. On 30th October 1947 water was found running into workings in the Stockings seam. It was not water from old workings but water from the overlying water-bearing Red sandstone measures. The pumps could not handle it so the seam was abandoned and work continued in the Woodfield seam. There was another influx of water into the mine on 2nd November 1947 and again the pumps could not cope and working the pit had to stand. The decision to close the pit was made and most of the 450 odd the men were transferred to other pits nearby. Output at closure was around 850 tons per day. The pit was abandoned in early 1948. (see)

The other 5 pits in the North side area were Bretby, Cadley Hill, Granville, Gresley and old Swadlincote.

Naked Light Pits

Around 20 mines continued to be worked using naked lights underground:

  • Beighton Fields No2 (PT Bullions) Barlborough, Top Hard
  • Cobnar Wood (Cobnar Wood Colliery Co Ltd) Barlow, Deep Hard and Piper
  • Denby Clay No2 (WH and J Slater) Denby, Mickley and fireclay
  • Dent Main (Dent Main Colliery (1924) Ltd) Birley Wood, Parkgate
  • Doe Lea (Doe Lea Colliery Co Ltd) Doe Lea, Top Hard
  • Firth Wood (Firth Wood Colliery Co) Dronfield, Piper
  • Furnace Hill No3 (H and C Hartshorne) Oakerthorpe, Low Main
  • Handley No1 and No3 (Handley Collieries Ltd) Eckington, Flockton
  • Hollis No1 (Hollis Colliery Co) Heage, Blackshale
  • Hunloke (Blair Bros) Wingerworth, Deep Soft
  • Lindway Lane (Derbyshire Silica Firebrick Co Ltd) Lindway Lane, Alton and ganister
  • Lodge Hill (Derbyshire Silica Firebrick Co Ltd) Wingfield Park, Alton and ganister
  • Moor Side (Dent Main Colliery (1924) Ltd) Mosborough, Parkgate
  • Oakwood Grange (NCB No5 Area), Piper
  • Quarry (H Kay) Mosborough, Parkgate
  • Radford and Wollaton (NCB No6 Area) Nottingham, Deep Soft and Deep Hard
  • Scarsdale (Charles Fletcher) Sutton Scarsdale, (Derbyshire) Top Hard
  • Wheeldon Mill No1 (JS Gaunt) Brimington, Deep Hard
  • Whitecotes Nos 1,2,3 (Boythorpe Co Ltd) Chesterfield, Piper and  Wingfield Park (H and C Hartshorne) Wingfield Park, Kilburn.

Belt Flinger Trials

Trials were made with a belt flinger for gateside packs at Markham (North Derbyshire).

Opencast Sites
  • Bulls Head  8/7/1947
  • Copper Yards First Piper seam, 7/7/1947
  • Coppice Farm 1st Waterloo and old workings
    1/10/1945 - 4/4/1947
  • The Cottage; Kilburn seam
  • Top Dumbles Roof Soft and False Ell seams 1in5.5 dip to E abandoned July 1947
  • Grangewood Farm
  • Holmewood Farm Top Hard and Dunsil, 3 areas,
    Geo Wimpey, finished Aug 1947
  • House Farm Deep Hard and Piper
  • Lings Hazel seam, Sep 1947
  • Longcourse Farm Clowne, 9th Oct 1947
  • Mapperley Wood (RM Douglas) Waterloo 2’ 6” (0.76m) and Dunsil 2’ 0” (0.61m) finished Dec 1947, 184,000 tons
  • Morley Park Farm
  • Morley Park, House Farm, position SK 440400, 376200
  • Ogston Ford
  • Old Ryefield, Deep Soft seam
  • Park Meadow Roof Soft 3’ 11½” (1.2m) and False Ell 2’ 11½” (0.9m) abandoned 10th Sep 1947, came across ancient workings
  • Poolsbrook, Long Duckmanton, Clowne, Deep Hard seam 12/11/1946 to 4/4/1947
  • Renishaw Park Deep Hard, 11/1947
  • Silverhill (see above)
  • Sidney Hill (Derbyshire) Kilburn, Aug 1947
  • Smithymoor (private) ?

Derbyshire Fatal Accidents 1947

  • Brookhill, Harold Stubbs (36) caught in a coal cutter 31/10/1947
  • Brookhill, Horace Wainwright (30) fall of roof 6/11/1947
  • Manners, Alfred Newton Knighton (38) fall of roof 6/2/1947, died 10/4/1947

Average Wages

Average wages per shift:

  • North Derbyshire  29s 8d (£1.48)
  • South Derbyshire 32s 0¼d (£1.60)
  • Nottinghamshire 32s 4d (£1.61½)
  • Leicestershire 32s 10¾d (£1.64½)
Nottinghamshire output for 1947 was app 7,460,000 tons.

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Pit Terminology - Glossary
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