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The Decline Of The Industry Continued
After Nationalisation 1947


  1964    1    2    3 

1964 - Page 1

Surface Drifts

Sinkings in 1964:   A new drift mine to the Clowne seam at Bramley Vale adjacent to Glapwell colliery (Derbyshire).

Surface drifts were started at Ormonde (Derbyshire), Kirkby and Bentinck (South Nottinghamshire) as part of major reconstruction schemes.

Bentinck surface plan and surface drift position.

Bentinck Surface Plan
Bentinck Surface Drift 1964 Finished 1967

Bentinck Surface Drift Section

Shaft Accident At Kirkby Summit

Kirkby Summit 2

On 7th March 1964 whilst a periodic brake test on the steam winding engine at the North or High Main/Top Hard shaft at Kirkby Summit Colliery (Nottinghamshire) was being carried out on the afternoon shift, a cage containing tubs of heavy metal being wound at full speed (80 feet per second) failed to stop at the surface, even though the brake had been fully applied, and the cage kinged in the headgear, at approximately 8.30pm causing severe damage to the King plate and distorting it to such a degree by stretching and wrenching the bolts holding it to the headgear, that it was almost doubled up when the capel and rope broke free that it nearly allowed the cage and fitting to drop back down the shaft. 

It was apparent to the winding engine man Derek Cresswell (story of events related to me by Derek) that the engine could not be stopped, so he dived behind his seat and awaited what was to be a horrific experience as the bottom rope and capel flailed round and round the winding drum and in doing so each time hit the thick brick engine house wall smashing a huge hole in it.  Fortunately no one was injured. 

The winding engine man Derek had begun his 8 hour shift at 2pm and was due to knock off at 10pm, however after a short period at home to recover from the shock he returned to the scene to explain and answer questions to the Mines Inspector and Manager, and help with the enquiries as to what the circumstances were that had caused the accident. 

He was relieved at 1.30am having satisfied the officials of his actions.  One of the wheels or sheaves to the headgear was badly damaged having a piece torn out of it.  Unfortunately the spare wheel kept at the colliery was unable to be fitted due to distortion at the mounting on the headgear, so a specialist firm was brought in to stitch a piece of metal onto the damaged wheel so that it could be used temporarily until a new wheel and mounting could be fitted on 31/3/1964. The King plate thickness was then strengthened to about 3” (0.08m) thick as obviously the existing steel plate was not thick enough as it had bent under the strain. 

The shaft was laid off for a week. It would appear from the investigation into the incident that the small handle operating the clutching valve on the Black’s braking system had moved out of its position thus allowing the piston mechanism to fail.  All winders in the country fitted with that kind of system were then immediately checked for wear or operation and modified to prevent such a happening in the future.  (However refer to Markham incident 1973).

New Accounting Year

As stated the National Coal Board year end accounting figures for coal production etc was now 31st March. All pits ‘produced’ record outputs ‘on paper’.

Ventilation Officers

From April 1964 Ventilation Officers at the pits had to have a Colliery Ventilation Officer’s certificate. Arrangements were made for them to attend courses of tuition to attain one.

Bacon Slicer

A 13-inch (0.33m) wide drum Anderton shearer was installed at Teversal (Nottinghamshire) in April and was nicknamed the ‘bacon slicer’, the usual drum width being 24 inches (0.61m).  The machine cut the face one way then ploughed the coal onto the panzer on the return run. Dobson Double Two walking chocks were installed. A visit to the Dobson factory at Nottingham was made by personnel involved with the project including myself and Unit Surveyor so that accurate Support Rules could be drawn up and posted.


Trepan-shearers were introduced at Pleasley (Derbyshire) to eliminate supply gate end stable holes.

Rest Day Agreement

On 1st May 1964 the Rest Day agreement came in, when miners could arrange to have three or four odd Colliery Rest days off throughout the year, and the others to a total of 7 arranged at the pit, paid for.  This free time supplemented the fortnight’s holiday enjoyed.  Before 1953 only one week’s paid holiday was granted.

Modern Pithead Baths

Pit head baths 2

New modern pithead baths with clothes lockers were opened at Harworth replacing the old fashioned high ones where the miners’ clothes were hung on a hook and hauled into the ceiling area above the changing area and the cord was wrapped around a numbered peg at the side.  A similar arrangement in the bath-house had been at Gedling (both in Nottinghamshire).

Saturday Morning Coal Turning Ended

From June 1964 voluntary Saturday morning production of coal finished.  This also meant that unless required for certain jobs it was not necessary for surveyors and others to attend.

Wage Agreement

A wage agreement was accepted following a ballot of the miners and a separate grade was created for colliery fitters / electricians.

Protective Clothing

Negotiations between the Unions and NCB commenced regarding protective clothing.

Industrial Relations

Training and education of some industrial staff previously the responsibility of the Staff Department was transferred to the Industrial Relations (IR) Department, making them responsible for industrial training.

Rest Days

1st August 1964 2 rest days were awarded to miners.

Portland Row Demolished

Portland Row at Selston built in the 1820s to house local miners at the Portland pits was demolished. The two-bedroom houses with gas lighting and cooking and heating from a coal range fire had no bathroom and a communal w.c. had to be used by several families. Modern houses with the latest up to date facilities would be built on the site.

Cotgrave Begins Production

Production of coal began at Cotgrave (Nottinghamshire). Tower winders at 47½ yards (43m) high, with multi-rope friction winding having been installed.  The cages could be wound independently.

Bevercotes Re-Opened

Bevercotes (Nottinghamshire) re-opened after shaft repairs had been completed and began producing coal again. Many men who had been transferred when the pit was closed temporarily in 1962 due to shaft conditions refused to return as they had settled in at the neighbouring pits of Bilsthorpe, Ollerton and Thoresby.  It was the first pit to try integrated mine monitoring, control, and automation and information system. A ROLF face was installed in the Parkgate seam.  This was the remotely operated longwall face system planned to run a coalface with none or only a couple of men instead of a team of men. However it was not successful and the conventional mechanised method of working was resorted to.

A successful ‘open day’ at Bevercotes was attended by many and underground visits were arranged with a ride on the paddy. I took my father for a trip out, but for me it was a ‘busman’s holiday’.

Eimco side loading buckets were introduced at ripping lips to speed up the rate of advance.

Fully Mechanised

All the coalfaces at Newstead (Nottinghamshire) were completely mechanised by 1964, one of the first pits to do so.

Coal Prep Plants

A dense-medium coal washery plant costing £330,000 was opened at Oxcroft (Derbyshire).  A new coal preparation plant with a nominal throughput of 300 tons per hour was commissioned at Sutton (Nottinghamshire).

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Pit Terminology - Glossary
Page 2