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The Decline Of The Industry Continued
After Nationalisation 1947


 1962    1    2    3    4 

1962 - Page 1

Smokeless Fuel

From 1st January 1962 smokeless fuel was granted to miners as concessionary allowance. (See Concessionary Fuel For Miners Nov 2013) Lorries were used to transport the coal and leaders carried the bags and emptied them in the respective householder’s coalhouse. From March small coal for boilers began to be delivered by tanker and loaded into bags on site via a 5” (0.12m) pipe.

Radford Merges Again

Colliery Merges:- In January 1962, Radford (Nottinghamshire) sunk in 1898-1900 by the Wollaton Colliery Co was merged for the second time after 62 years with Wollaton of 88 years, sunk in 1874 to 195 yards (178m) by New and Oldknow. The pit was located to the western edge of the City of Nottingham and to the east of Wollaton Park.

Seams worked were Deep Soft and Deep Hard 1900-1958. Shaft positions: SK54SW, No1 shaft 454705, 340015, No2 shaft 454975, 341015. Radford surface 36m above sea level and Wollaton 60m above sea level.

Radford shaft sunk 1898-1900 to 212½ yards (194m).  Position: SK54SW, 454705, 340015. Surface level was 118 ft (36m) above sea level. Deep Hard seam finished in Nov 1962.  Adjoining workings to North, Broxtowe, to North West Cossall and Strelley and to W Catstonehill and a line of old shafts. Position 43/5144/975004.

After nationalization it was still a naked light pit, and must have been the last in the district to be so. Candles were still being used for illumination down the pit up to 1948 and an allowance of £2 per week was granted, and above that one had to buy one’s own. Other illumination was by carbide lamps used by officials.

At Radford there was a longwall face 1,000 yards (915m) in length. Management used carbide lamps for better illumination and the Surveyors kept a drum of carbide in their office and a pricker for their lamps. Should any gas be found inbye then candles were banned and a notice was displayed stating that candles were not allowed beyond this point until the gas was cleared. Oil lamps were used in this situation and the carbide lamps were left burning, the oil lamps opened and lit and then screwed up tight before proceeding inbye – they were not of the magnetic lockable type of later years. There was no mechanization at the pit, and holing out was done under the coal in a bed of fireclay then the coal was spragged up with wedges 20 yards (18m) either side of the gate. It was noted that before filling out, the sprags were released one at a time and the last one was knocked out by throwing a hammer at it, due to the danger of all the coals rolling over! There was no electricity down the mine and the one main haulage road rope was driven by an engine on the pit top with the ropes going down the shaft and diverted by pulleys. In the pit bottom were some 4 sided street lamps using oil.  These lamps were lit every day. A record output of 2,000 tons a day was achieved at Wollaton in 1948, the coal being wound in 8 cwt wooden tubs.

‘Stretchers’ were set for supports in the gate and at the gate end with the face, 6 split bars were set, and as coal was removed inbye the last of the 6 was moved to the front, and so on. The Undermanager’s office in the pit bottom was called the ‘box hole’. At Radford the first electrical substation was designed by the Surveyor and built in the pit bottom about 1949. (Quoted by Fred Paling to me at a RICS dinner at Worksop Golf club, He was Surveyor -1948, and later Area Chief Surveyor in Yorkshire).

Manpower: Radford: Wollaton Colliery Co1918; Wollaton Collieries Co Ltd1946:

  • 1899: 27 sinking, 19 s/f
  • 1900: Deep Hard 65, 36 s/f, total 101 men
  • 1903: 404 men
  • 1905: 409 men
  • 1911: 554 men
  • 1913: 598 men
  • 1915: 488 men
  • 1920: 613 men
  • 1923: 513 u/g, 103 s/f, total 616 men (max)
  • 1925: 570 men
  • 1926: 613 men
  • 1927: 575 men
  • 1928: 581 men
  • 1929: 606 men
  • 1930: 582 men
  • 1933: 485 men
  • 1935: 419 men
  • 1940: 388 men
  • 1945: 363.

Manpower NCB: No6 Area EMD:

  • 1947: 408 Deep Soft and Deep Hard, 108 s/f
  • 1948: 408 DS, DH, 81 s/f
  • 1949: 520 DS, DH, 120 s/f, 238,000 tons
  • 1950: 384 DS, DH, 123 s/f
  • 1951: 405 DS, DH, 119 s/f
  • 1952: 437 DS, DH, 117 s/f
  • 1953: merged with Wollaton: 1,076, Deep Hard, New Main, 221 s/f
  • 1954: 1,067 DH, NM, 239 s/f
  • 1955: pits split again : Radford: 463 Deep Soft, Deep Hard, 106 s/f
  • 1956: 487 DH, Low Main, 111 s/f
  • 1957: 487 DH, LM, 111 s/f
  • 1958: 510 DH, Tupton (Low Main), 146 s/f
  • 1959: 508 T, 117 s/f
  • 1960: 495 T, 110 s/f
  • 1961: 495 T, 110 s/f
  • 1962: 496 T, 116 s/f; merged with Wollaton again.


  • William Pattison (2016) Agent 1909-1922
  • John E Jones (3427) Agent 1922-1936
  • W Alan Jones (535) Agent 1936-1945
  • Major FMT Bunney (2760) Agent 1947-
  • MH Young Agent 1950-1954 and Sub-Area Manager
  • W Alan Jones (535) Agent 1955-1962.

Sub-Area Managers / Group Managers:

Managers for Radford

  • WB Hague (420) 1899-1902
  • R Laverick (613) 1902-1907
  • William Pattison (2016) 1907-1922; merged with Wollaton in 1915
  • John E Jones (3427) Manager 1922-1936
  • W Alan Jones (535) 1936-1945 Manager
  • Major FMT Bunney (2760) (later Group Manager)
  • W Alan Jones (535) 1954-1955 (promoted to Agent); pits split
  • Wilf Clements (5817) Manager Radford 1955-1957
  • Derek Francis (4550) Manager Wollaton 1955-1957
  • J Derek Harding (5325) Radford 1957-1960
  • Ken Butt (4675) Manager Radford 1960-1962
  • Wilf Knight (5224) Manager Wollaton 1960-1962.  

Undermanagers for Radford

  • WT Hewitt (2nd) 1898-1900
  • R Bloor (2nd) 1901-1926
  • R Woods (688) 1926-1930
  • E Dobbs (1016) 1930-1941
  • Alan Hill (2769) 1941-1951
  • Frank Dunn (5647) 1951-1952
  • B Meakin (3938) 1952-1959 continued for Radford part
  • Derek Francis (4550) Senior Undermanager 1953-1956
  • William H John (3711) Wollaton part 1954-1959
  • Wilf F Morrell (7879) Radford, 1960-
  • W Crompton (8149) Wollaton 1959-1962. 


  • Edgar R Jones (810) for Vernon 1927 (brother of W Alan Jones, their father being on the Board of Directors)
  • Stan Dixon (transferred to Bestwood)
  • Fred Paling (uncertificated) 1947/48, supervised by Jack Rigby Sub-Area Surveyor
  • Stan Dixon returned from Bestwood.

National Safety Year

National Safety Year saw exhibitions, competitions, training, booklets and films in all Areas of the Board.

'The Miner'

The NUM produced a monthly newspaper called ‘The Miner’ to fill in the communications gap between the rank and file membership and NUM Area and HQ officials.

Outburst at Welbeck

There was an outburst of gas in the Top Hard seam at Welbeck (Nottinghamshire).

Crude Oil at Bevercotes

Bevercotes 2Crude oil began seeping into the Parkgate workings at Bevercotes (Nottinghamshire) causing minor problems, but more importantly, due to the concrete shaft lining deteriorating and crumbling allowing strata water to enter the shafts in ever increasing quantities, the colliery was closed down in February 1962.  Most of the men were Geordies from closed North East or Yorkshire pits and were transferred to nearby collieries Ollerton, Thoresby and Bilsthorpe (Nottinghamshire) on a temporary basis whilst vital shaft repairs could be carried out.  Many men settled down at the pits where they were transferred to and refused to return when the pit was re-opened some 2 years later.

Civil Defence in the Cold War Period

The old South Normanton colliery site was used for the HQ of Civil Defence and other outstation offices of the NCB.  Civil Defence courses for Radiac Officers were run at the offices during February and March 1962.  At that time it was a major Government concern. Colliery Surveyors and their Senior Assistants alternately over several weeks listened to lectures and were trained in the use of an opisometer (a thick pen like object with a scroll that would change colour in the event of a nuclear attack, and register any radiation fallout should there be such an occurrence). Only practices were carried out, and personally I do not think the system would have worked anyway! Along with others I was appointed as a Radiac Officer at the end of the course. I was instructed that should a nuclear warning be issued, I was supposed to read the radiation fall out on the opisometer, and if a high reading was noted by me, then wherever I was, race to the colliery and inform the men, allowing them time to get out of the mine and return home to their families and then get to a place of refuge – it was a 4 minute warning !!!!!  I know which way I would have gone – home to my family that is, if I had had the time!! 

Another crack pot scheme. Still it was a day out, away from the hustle and bustle of the pit and it kept someone in a job.  We also managed to get a pint during the lunch break at the Robin Hood a nearby pub locally called the ‘Thack’.

Power Station Opened

Photo From Wikipedia

High Marnham power station, on the banks of the River Trent in North Nottinghamshire, the biggest in the country, using 10,000 tons of coal a day, was opened.

Mapperley Tunnel Closed

Due to workings from Gedling affecting the Mapperley tunnel it was closed.  There had been a serious roof fall previously in the tunnel in 1925.

Ripping Machine Addition

A ripping machine with mechanical arch setting and advanced head with stower introduced in Clowne seam at Bramley Vale drift (Glapwell) colliery (Derbyshire).

Kilburn Shaft Re-Opened 

Colliery opening 1962: The Denby Drury Lowe pit (Derbyshire) was a colliery opened by the NCB.  It had a surface drift and used the old Kilburn shaft, which had been closed in 1906.  This was re-opened and used as a ventilation shaft.

Ripley Lane No2 Closed 

Colliery Closures: Riley Lane No2 (H and C Hartshorne) (Derbyshire), closed 29th June 1962.  Two adits and a shaft 33’8” (10m) deep to Low Main 3’ 8” (1.11m) thick. Water from the surface needed to be pumped out.

Full dip of seam was 1in 4.5. Barriers left to old workings at Speedwell (stopped 1868), Pentrich Room and Pillar (stopped Nov 1939) and Wingfield (stopped Jan 1954).

Manager: C Hartshorne. 

Surveyor: David R Keetley (4781).

Coke Ovens Closed

The coke ovens at Hardwick (Derbyshire) and Harworth (Nottinghamshire) were closed in June 1962.

Turkey Field Shaft

The Turkey Field old shaft (Nottinghamshire) was equipped with a concrete headgear. It was used as a ventilation shaft for a nearby pit.... Cossall?

Workings Missed Off Plan

John Hope (2593) Surveyor at Church Gresley (South Derbyshire) noted in July 1962 that some workings had been missed off the plan for Coton Park abandoned in 1898 and so he added the same to the working plan of the mine.


Newstead ROLF 2Newstead ROLF -In 1962 a revolutionary system of mining was experimented with at Newstead (Nottinghamshire) in the High Main seam.  The system was called ‘ROLF’ – Remote Operation of Longwall Face.  A central console was located in the main gate and all face operations and machinery were monitored from here.  The experiment was a fair success but the system needed almost perfect conditions to work well. The first trial had been in the Piper seam at Ormonde (Derbyshire) earlier. That was the first installation in Britain.  It was planned to pave the way to manless coalfaces, but the system relied on the underground conditions being ‘absolutely perfect’!  Very few other locations were found. Automatic steering mechanism was attached to an AB 125 fixed drum shearer at Newstead (Nottinghamshire). The idea of these Remotely Operated Longwall Faces was that there would be hardly any men on the coal face and all cutting would be monitored on a console in the loader gate and they were fully operational in 1963.

Bevercotes (Nottinghamshire) was another colliery chosen to have the ROLF system later in 1964, but it was a failure. Face conditions were not good, poor roof and soft floor. There were hardly any pits with such perfect conditions required that’s why the installations were few and far between. In fact I can’t think of any pit that I’ve been down having ‘perfect conditions’.

Mining Exhibition

There was a Mining Exhibition and sports day at Berry Hill Park, Mansfield, Nottinghamshire that was attended by thousands. There was always a well known MP and other dignatories from the NUM etc at these venues. Bernard Bailey Surveyor at Teversal and I were on a stall again exhibiting mine plans and surveying instruments and answering questions posed by interested parties.

Idea at New Hucknall

The Manager at New Hucknall colliery (Nottinghamshire), John L Collinson (5737) (later Production Manager and then NCBs Chief Safety Engineer) had a morphia safe and telephone welded to the gate end switches, as a permanent location that would be moved up with the face advance. The idea spread to other collieries.

Safety On The Surface

However regarding safety on the surface, it had been a stupid, illegal, but general practice for shunters, the men who uncoupled the railway wagons and escorted the railway locos, to put their shunting pole through the brake handle of the wagon and ride by balancing on it, whilst the loco pushed the trucks up the slope to the end of the empty sidings.  Here they would dismount and undog the trucks from the engine, and then they would put several brakes on and gently ease one off allowing the empty trucks to gradually pass under the screens to be filled with various grades of coal.  Gradually automatic wagon lowerers would replace the men and diesel locos would replace the steam locos.

Mobile TV Units

Mobile TV units visited collieries so that men could watch safety films at change of shift. Competitions were held. Nottinghamshire NUM leaders thought it was wrong to bribe men to safeguard themselves from accidents.

Deployment Centres

Deployment centres were opened at most pits whereby men who had previously been ‘set out’ to work underground were now allocated jobs at the surface before descending the shaft.

Area Chief Surveyor Died

Tom W Bush (845) Area Chief Surveyor No3 Area, Edwinstowe HQ since 1947 died in post, and was succeeded by Robert (Bob) E Waite from No5 Area Eastwood HQ 1962-1967.


Production from the Parkgate seam at up to 6 feet (1.82m) thick commenced at Manton (Nottinghamshire).

Langwith Peak Output

Peak output was reached at Langwith (Derbyshire) with 845,392 tons produced by a manpower of 1,247 in 1962.



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Pit Terminology - Glossary