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The Decline Of The Industry Continued
After Nationalisation 1947

1969 1970

  1972 - Page    1     2  

1972 - Page 2

Old Mines

The old Calow Main drifts (North Derbyshire) sunk to the Blackshale seam and connected to Arkwright mine were abandoned due to their poor state.

New Plumbley (W Redfern and Son) (North Derbyshire) shaft position 379919.847, 442323.824 plus adits, Parkgate seam finished 4th Feb 1972 was abandoned, Manager C Gould, Surveyor A Green (1127) 16/12/1972.

Collieries in North Derbyshire Area, 1972

  • Director Robert B Dunn (4318)
  • John H Northard (4954) Deputy Director (later Director)
  • Production Managers: Des Stringer (5143), Len Harris (7388) and Jim Clark (6986)
  • Chief Mining Engineer: Tom W Peters (4482)
  • DCME: P Julian Griffiths (5676) later Director South Nottinghamshire  Area)
  • Bas G Wright (5160)
    (14 pits) 16,500 men, £42m turnover, 8.385m tons: 
  • Later Des Stringer (5143) (to DCME)
  • Albert Wheeler (7349) (to DCME, later Director Scotland and South Nottinghamshire, the North Nottinghamshire Area)
  • Len Harris (7388) later Director South Midlands, the North Nottinghamshire)
  • A (Tony) F Deakin (7903) (later Deputy Director Yorkshire and Director South Midlands).

Arkwright, 674,000 tons from 2nd Waterloo and Tupton, 920 men

  • Agent Manager Alan Hird (5328)
  • Deputy Manager Don Hotchkiss (8632)
  • Assistant Manager JH Eric Dobb (4407)
  • Undermanagers Peter Slater (9185) and Barry A Reynolds (9910) (left the industry for a time then rejoined the Training Branch North Nottinghamshire)

  Bolsover, 650,000 tons from Deep Hard and Low Main, 848 men

  • Colliery General Manager John G Town (7579)
  • Deputy Manager Derek W Kirby (5423)
  • Undermanagers John C Kirkwood (9216) (from Scotland) and Don D Hackett (8170)

  Glapwell, 575,000 tons from Deep Hard, Low Main and Blackshale, 1,103 men

  • Agent/Manager John H White (8350)
  • Deputy Managers William (Bill) T Steel (8544) and Len Edwards (7953)
  • Assistant Manager Jim McGuigan (5695)
  • Undermanager Mike C  Saint (9987)
High Moor, 500,000 tons from Clowne, 434 men
  • Agent/Manager William (Bill) Bridge (6973)
  • Deputy Manager Fred Oldfield (4397)
  • Undermanagers Jim B Wallace (8061) and Charles A Clarkson (9058)
Ireland, 560,000 tons from Piper, 763 men

  • Manager A Russell Dove (4719)
  • Assistant Manager Glynn W Rogers (5313)
  • Undermanager Sam A Mather (9140)

  Langwith, 600,000 tons from Main Bright and Clowne, 1,102 men

  • Colliery General Manager John E Hancock (6205)
  • Deputy Manager Frank G Hicken (7868)
  • Assistant Manager Don R Wilson (7715)
  • Undermanager E Hall (4643)

  Markham, 1.65m tons from Deep Soft, Deep Hard, Piper, Threequarter and Blackshale, 2,093 men

  • Colliery General Manager Anthony (Tony) F Deakin (7903)
  • Deputy Managers William Foster (6008) and William W Bryan (8590)
  • Undermanagers Rob L Tighe (4871), John Dawson (9797), S Wood (….), Ray J Parkin (9900) and Lol Roberts (7395)

  Oxcroft, nearing exhaustion, 665,000 tons from Clowne, 734 men

  • Agent/Manager Charlie Hawkesley (4442)
  • Deputy Manager Don Hunt (4595)
  • Undermanagers A A (Tony) Seal (9178)
  • Fred Tildesley (6778), Charlie A Hall (6155) and Stan W Hunt (6092)
  • Deputy Manager, Planning Len Edwards (7953)

Pleasley, 400,000 tons from Deep Hard, 780 men

  • Manager John T Nicholson (8665)
  • Deputy Manager E Cliff Glover (3094)
  • Assistant Manager H Brian Bennett (8306)
  • Undermanagers Charlie Hall (2nd) and Roy Sims (6002)

Renishaw Park, 360,000 tons from Chavery, 477 men

  • Manager Keith J Otter (8932)
  • Deputy Manager Frank A Fletcher (9085)
  • Undermanager Harold Smedley (2nd)

Shirebrook, 1m tons from Clowne and Deep Soft, 1,549 men

  • Colliery General Manager Ray H Tucker (5607)
  • Deputy Manager William Ball (8021)
  • Assistant Manager Jim Ferreday (7684)
  • Undermanagers A Eddie Boulton (6970) and Phil Goodwin (8917)

Warsop, 740,000 tons from Main Bright and High Hazles, 1,339 men

  • Colliery General Manager Jim Rodgers (6128)
  • Deputy Managers Arnold Vardy (7891) and Konrad P Hess (Polish) (7609)
  • Undermanagers Frank Moore (6808) and Charlie Daniels (6797)

Westthorpe, 600,000 tons from Chavery and Thorncliffe, 746 men

  • Manager C Arnold Heeley (7692)
  • Deputy Manager George Bradshaw
  • Undermanagers George K Bright (7480) and Jack E Taylor (9912)

Whitwell, 500,000 tons from Hazel and Chavery, 980 men

  • Agent/Manager Jim Clark (6986)
  • Deputy Manager Terry McAllister (9142)
  • Assistant Manager Terry J Charlesworth (7857) later to South Africa
  • Undermanagers Alec F Bowmer (6054) and Don Holland (8039)

Strathfield (H and C Hartshorne) (Derbyshire), Blackshale, abandoned 23rd Mar 1972

  • A Green (1127)
  • William Erskine(1578)

South Midlands Area:

  • Director: George W Sanders
  • Deputy Director: Ralph Rawlinson (5788)
  • Production Manager: Harold E Taylor (5793)
  • Chief Mining Engineer: Jack E Wood (4395)

South Derbyshire pits:

Cadley Hill Main Coal, Stockings and Eureka, 707 and 200

  • Colliery General Manager: J Chris Boyle (5733)
  • Deputy Manager: Barry A Finch (8614)
  • Undermanager: John Quimby (8397)

Leicestershire pits:

Bagworth New Main, Minge, Five Feet and Splent.

  • CGM: Stuart A Skelding (6257)
  • Deputy Manager: Lol Newbold (5589)
  • Undermanagers: Matthew Smith (3248)
  • Vic M Birchall (9125 / 2nd), Norman Harvey (8469) (later Manager Betteshanger, Kent)

Desford High Main, New Main, Middle Lount.

  • CGM: Lionel Lees (7262)
  • Deputy Manager David Drake (8700)
  • Undermanagers: HAM Liddell (9696), Lewis Elverstone (9080), RS Abbott (8862)

Donisthorpe Main, Little Woodfield, Lower Main, Woodfield.

  • CGM: F Malc T Ashley (5548)
  • Deputy Manager: Granville Fowkes (8391)
  • Undermanagers: WJ Thomas (7235 / 2nd), Ivor J Popejoy (5505), Harry DB MacPherson (9137), F Herbert Johnson (9460)

Ellistown Excelsior, Minge.

  • Agent Manager: Mick E Skelding (7563)
  • Deputy Manager: D Nev Rady (7297)
  • Undermanager: GeorgeP Betts (9445)

Measham Eureka, Stockings, Kilburn.

  • Agent Manager: Roy Mallinder (7875)
  • Deputy Manager: Terry P Leader (8256)
  • Undermanager: Derek Massey (7960)

Rawdon Little Woodfield, Main Coal, Stockings, Eureka, Kilburn

  • General Manager: W John Bond (6307)
  • Deputy Manager: Donald J Cox (7223)
  • Undermanagers: Lol Doody (8160), C Clamp (6516 / 2nd)
  • Services: W Owen  Cashmore (8441)

Snibston Middle Lount, Nether Lount, Yard.

  • Agent Manager: Harold Durkin (6168)
  • Deputy Manager: Terry F Gregory (7955) (promoted from promoted to Manager Betteshanger, returned as Area Safety Engineer)
  • Undermanager: David N Hancock (8261).

South Leicester Minge, Nether Lount, Five Feet.

  • Agent/Manager: Lol Collier (7222)
  • Deputy Manager: Derek Johnson (7696)
  • Undermanager: P Rock (9681)

Whitwick Excelsior, Minge, New Main, Nether Lount, Yard.

  • Agent/Manager: Ken Bradford (5553)
  • Deputy Manager: A Harry Savage (7967)
  • Undermanagers: R Gordon Booth (7477)
  • S Bialas (8991), Services: Jack W Ash (7469).

Extra Holidays

From May 1972 five Individual days holiday was granted bringing the total to 29 days holiday a year.

NUM Officials

North Derbyshire:

  • President C Ford,
  • Secretary Herbert E Parkin continued. 

Nottinghamshire  NUM officials

  • Len Clarke President
  • Joe P Whelan General Secretary


Don Concannon was MP for Mansfield
Bolsover MP was Dennis Skinner
Chesterfield MP was Eric Varley, all Labour.

The Labour PM Jim Callaghan attended the Nottinghamshire Miners’ Annual Demonstration and Gala at Berry Hill Park, Mansfield.


Jack E Wood (4395) was appointed Director, South Nottinghamshire  Area (1972-1976), to replace Noel R Smith.  Average manpower was 16,000 men and boys.  £71m capital investment and a turnover of £50m.

Hucknall Record

The all time weekly record output was achieved at Hucknall (Nottinghamshire) with 26,050 tons in June.

Skip Winding

Skip winding was introduced at Creswell (Derbyshire pit in North Nottinghamshire  Area) in 1972 with each skip holding 6 tons.

At Manton (Nottinghamshire pit in South Yorkshire Area) trunk conveyors delivered to a skip bunker replacing the mine cars for coal transport.

New Seam At Blidworth

The Abdy/Brinsley seam was accessed at Blidworth (North Nottinghamshire) and production began in August 1972.

New Training Centre at Grassmoor

A new Training Centre was opened at Grassmoor surface (North Derbyshire) on 6th September 1972. There was a big recruitment drive at schools to tempt boys into the pit. The school leaving age had been raised to 16. The Williamthorpe Training centre was then closed down. At Moorgreen (Nottinghamshire) there was a Training school in the Piper seam and also a large Training Centre on the surface, where I did the odd lecture in the late 1980s on Surface tips, Emergency plans, Accident plans and Incidents to Mining Engineers.

At Grassmoor coal turning had ceased in 1952 but the shaft was still used by workmen and therefore the pithead baths, medical centre, and a canteen could be used in conjunction with the new centre. A foundation training face would be set up 11th Sep 1980.

Mining Craft Scheme Introduced

The new Mining Craft Apprenticeship Scheme and Mining Training Scheme were introduced.

Arkwright Drift

A third surface drift was driven at Arkwright (North Derbyshire) to the Waterloo seam to improve ventilation and supplies access and was opened on 7th October 1972.  The dip of the strata underground varied from horizontal to 1in2 at the crest of the anticline.  Water was always a problem at the mine.


Minister of Trade and Industry, Peter Walker (Con) 5th Nov 1972-1974.

Another Re-Organisation Of NCB

Rationalisation of management organisation was implemented creating 4 groups … deep mining, opencast mining, coal products and ancillaries.

Celcon Blocks

Celcon blocks were first used as packing material underground at Whitwell (North Derbyshire) at the tailgate of W6s Clowne face.  It had been foreseen by NCB HQ Timber Branch in 1968 that there would be a possible shortage of chock timber for packs. By 1973 there were Worldwide price increases in timber, therefore making large demands on limited local home-grown timber, some of which although set many years before had still not reached economical maturity.   This had led to the need for a replacement medium.  Although blocks of dewatered slurry and cement were used in the building industry they had a poor performance in air pack form.

Engine Sheds Demolished

The engine sheds at Lowmoor Road, Kirkby (South Nottinghamshire) were demolished in 1972.  They had continued to be used by British Rail after the changeover from steam to diesel locos in the 1960s, but were closed down in October 1970. There was a turntable for getting the engines into the correct direction, but it was hand pushed. However on this occasion there was a slip up and the engine was derailed. It was deemed imperative to get the engine back on the road as it was possible that the boiler could have exploded as the engine was lying at an angle with the water and coal in the boiler at the dip end.  

Laser Beams For Direction Of Underground Roadways Introduced

Laser beams for control of centre line and grade were successfully introduced by Roy Garrett (2834), Surveyor, in the twin 1in4 drifts to the Low Main or Tupton seam at Newstead.This was the first installation in the South Nottinghamshire  Area.  I visited the drifts later to note the installation procedure in preparation for installing lasers in the new Parkgate drifts at Ollerton. This was to be the first installation of a laser beam in North Nottinghamshire  Area. The idea was to spread to other collieries.

Blind Gardener at Ollerton

At Ollerton the rose bed gardens at the front of the pithead baths continued to be tended by a 'blind gardener' whose black Labrador guide dog led him around!  The roses were removed later and the gardens were covered by stone chippings in the surface tidying / efficiency drive that continued at all collieries.  Fred Smedley the gardener was made redundant.

Pioneering Rexco Plant Closed

The Rexco plant adjacent to the pit lane at Mansfield colliery was closed in 1972 as uneconomic. It was one of the pioneering companies to develop the process for manufacturing smokeless coal with coal-gas as a by-product in 1935.


  • Blackwell B Winnings St John 15/6/1972-23/9/1972 (NCB)
  • Cutthorpe Silkstone 25/3/1972 – 22/4/1972
  • Hamilton Plant incidental coal July – Aug 1972
  • Shirland Upper Delves (James Oakes and Co) Deep Hard, Sep 1970 – Jan 1972.

Inspector's Report 1972

HM Inspectors: M McCarthy retired.

  • North Midlands: Senior District Inspector Dilwyn Richards (5250)
    District Inspectors RA (Bob) Bower, VJ Hugh
    Inspectors Ken Couldwell (5064), Geoff Weston (6269), Guy DR Adamson (5391), John Bennington (5046). 
  • South Midlands: Senior District Inspector Fred Tootle
    District Inspectors S Marlow, PA Walker
    Inspectors RAK Colquhoun (6060), F Stephens, TV Thomas, P Williams.

North Midlands:
29 pits, 5 Pumping shafts, 5 Licensed mines.

Output 16.3m tons in 1972 and 21.0m tons in 1971.

2 men killed and 81 seriously accidents.

South Midlands
27 pits, 12 Pumping shafts.

Output 14.7m tons in 1972 and 19.0m tons in 1971.

7 men killed and 66 serious accidentsas against 6 killed and 63 in 1971.

North Midlands:
The introduction of the half head system where half the gate is ripped forward and the other part of the gate following in in solid heading.

Impact ripper installed at Whitwell in a main gate and at Bolsover in a tail gate.

Several dint heading machines introduced in North Derbyshire.

At Thoresby production began from the High Hazel seam and it was pleasing to note that no floor dirt was mined.

  • Rufford Low Main was replaced by Yard seam panels.
  • Sutton the Deep Hard seam was re-entered.
  • Silverhill, similarly the Piper seam was re-entered.
  • Warsop developed the Clowne seam.
  • Shirebrook developed the Main Bright.

A National Mining Museum opened at Lound Hall near Bevercotes.

South Midlands:
An underground water lodge to the north of Whitwick permitted the final abandonment of New Lount mine.

2 surface drifts and the shafts were filled and the water was pumped by submersible pumps delivering through 2 x 36" (2 x 0.90m) diameter pipes to the surface.

Rawdon surface drift was completed to the Upper Kilburn and Block seams and connected to the UC shaft.

Production started from new seams at Calverton and Linby.

Drifting down to new seams at Babbington and Newstead.

Bagworth were working within 60 feet (18.3m) of the base of the Trias water-bearing strata. Boring proved that there was little water in that area so working was allowed to carry on until within 30 feet (9.15m) with safety.

At Donisthorpe on a 100 yards (91m) face trials were carried out with a new machine chain with pick boxes and scoops. Loop of a heavy duty roller chain attached to the Shearer loader to replace the haulage chain. Driven round the sprockets and engages with a row of massive horizontal pins mounted at ther top of re-inforced side plates on the waste side of the conveyor. As the machine moves along the face, shoes force the pins into their correct position and retract them sfter it has passed.

In South Nottinghamshire arched scourings in destressed ground driven by heading machines were an economical alternative to repairing existing roadways.

A number of heatings were recorded.

Installation of tube bundle system of automatic sampling for carbon monoxide gas from inbye districts.

Garforth flame lamps in operation throughout.

Coalface lighting at one mine in North Derbyshire at 2 gate ends.

10 applications of radio-active isotopes at mines.

Water container barriers at Creswell in 1971 was an addition to light weight stone dust barriers. In 1972 was used solely as a light barrier.

Grassmoor Training Centre baths and canteen opened by Eric Varley MP.