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The Decline Of The Industry Continued
After Nationalisation 1947

1969 1970

  1972 - Page    1     2  

1972 - Page 1

Salaries at March 1972

Management and Technical Grades from 1 Dec 1971

Grade Minimum Maximum  
Senior M and T £4,550 £5,650 included Production Managers
M and T 1 £4,050 £4,950 included Managers
M and T 2 £3,600 £4,400 included Deputy Managers
M and T 3 £3,150 £3,925 included Undermanagers
M and T 4 £2,765 £3,500 included Surveyors
M and T 5 £2,315 £3,030 included Assistant Undermanagers
M and T 6 £2,050 £2,675 included Assistant Surveyors
M and T 7 £1,710 £2,250 Junior posts

HM Inspectorate

HM Inspectorate of mines: Senior District Inspector Dilwyn Richards (5250)
District Inspectors R (Bob) A Bower, Vernon J Hugh and Robert (Bob) F Young.
Inspectors: Guy DR Adamson (5391), John Bennington (5046) and Geoff Weston (6269) continued.
Inspectors: John W Jones (ex S Wales) and Ken Couldwell (5064) (ex Manager Thornhill) were transferred to the district.

Jobs Done in the 1972 Miners’ Strike

The first miners’ strike since 1926 began Jan to Feb 1972 over wages and a large pay rise was granted finally. During the strike the various jobs I did were: Landsale 1 shift
cleaning out a blocked culvert 1 shift
cleaning out the boiler blowdown 2 shifts
cleaning out a settling pond 2 shifts
riding shotgun for wages collection from a bank in Mansfield
sanding and checking rails on sidings
lowering wagons
working on screens 12 shifts and a couple of shifts lecturing to Deputies.

Police Clash At Clipstone

In February 1972 police clashed with 250 protesters outside Clipstone pit (North Nottinghamshire) arresting 20 pickets.

Protest March in London

More than 1,000 Nottinghamshire  miners and their wives joined a massive protest march in London to present a petition to Edward Heath PM at No 10 Downing Street.  A group of women from Calverton carried banners declaring ‘Miners’ Dollies say pay the lolly’. On that day thousands of workers were laid off as power cuts continued to cripple industry.

With the fear of running out of coal some miners and their wives began picking coal leavings at the edge of the waste tips. A typical scene saw about 20 men and women sorting out the bits of coal from the dirt and filling old cement bags, plastic bags and barrows, prams etc at Kirkby (South Nottinghamshire). However the strike was not to last and generally their efforts were fairly futile as coal deliveries were to commence as soon as the strike ended.

A soup kitchen was set up at Cotgrave Miners Welfare (South Nottinghamshire) to help the struggling miners and their families.

3 Day Week

On 16th February 1972 there were total electricity blackouts.
Power Stations closed down to save fuel.
Industry was put on a three-day week.

A Court of Enquiry chaired by Lord Wilberforce (set on by the Secretary of State for Employment) recommended a £6 increase in rates per day, and on 19th February 3,000 cheering miners held a Victory rally at Chesterfield Road recreation ground in Mansfield led by Lawrence Daly General Secretary of the NUM.

End Of Strike Following Pay Rise

Following a ballot the men returned to work on 28th February 1972. New pay rates were £34.50 per week for face workers, £25 elsewhere underground and £23 for surface workers. Adult rates were to be paid at the age of 18, and consolidation of the 5-Day Week Bonus into the wage rates. 5 extra day's holiday and subsidised transport to and from pits was also granted.

Last 2 Women Screen Workers In Britain Retired

(one of the most gruelling jobs imaginable) A point of interest - the last two remaining women screen workers in the country were retired at Whitehaven colliery, Cumberland. The last ones in Lancashire around Wigan, the 'Pit Brow Lassies', had finished earlier. At one time hundreds of women were employed on colliery surfaces. Some women were employed at Saw pits, Tibshelf, during the Second World War, and after until 1956, unloading, stacking and re-loading cut timber.

Coal From Babbington Taken To Hucknall By Road

Coal preparation operations ceased at Babbington and the coal was transported by road to be washed at Hucknall (South Nottinghamshire).


1971-1972 coal production from pits in North Derbyshire was 7,565,269 tons at an OMS of 57.3 cwts by 14,064 men, whilst in South Nottinghamshire 8,417,116 tons was produced by 16,365 men at an OMS of 54.3 cwts and 18,369 North Nottinghamshire Area miners produced 9,568,757 tons at an OMS of 54.2 cwts.

Only 3 pits were closed in 1971/72 the lowest number in one year since 1947, none in North Derbyshire  or Nottinghamshire .

Use Of Gyro Theodolite For Correlation Of Underground With Surface And Electronic Distance Measurers Introduced

The correlation of the underground mine workings began to be checked by gyro-theodolite observations at several local pits, Ollerton being the first using a borrowed instrument.

The system used a gyroscope spinning at around 25,000 revs per minute attached to a theodolite and powered by a 12-volt battery. 

By making sightings to previous known survey marks and a series of observations at the instrument over a period of several hours, maybe over several days the underground bearings of survey baselines throughout the pit and on the surface could be determined and checked.  All the workings in the mine would be connected to such a baseline. The Gyro was checked on a stable and known base at Nottingham University set up by Prof Doug Hodges in one of the large ‘workshops’ before taking the instrument underground and then checked on that base again after the exercise was completed to note any slight change that could occur with the Earth’s magnetic field.

Several Senior Surveyors from the Areas including Jack Brown (2414), Eddie Betts and my predecessor Gordon Ison (2633) were versed in the operation so as to set up, and oversee the operations at the mines, both underground and on the surface base lines, and all Surveyors, or shall I say quite a few were trained in its use. I too would oversee and train others when I was appointed as a Senior Surveyor later. The advantage of this system was that generally the survey could be done in normal working hours.

Notification to the local District Inspector of mines was required to obtain an exemption to use it underground because of the lack of flameproof casing required by law. Of course the parts of the mine where the instrument was used needed to have a methane gas content of less than 1¼%, in practice much less. 

Previous methods of correlating the workings included hanging piano wires down one or more shafts heavily weighted and the weights immersed in a mixture of oil and water to try to stop them oscillating.  Generally the mine ventilation fan needed to be shut down. This again needed the permission of the Inspector but more so from the Manager of the mine, as over the period of observation and preparation one or both shafts at a mine could be out of commission for a whole weekend. Dangerous gases could build up at fiery mines and sometimes correlations were brought to an abrupt end with the re-starting of the mine fan. During this period hardly any other work could be carried out and sometimes the mine was limited to a maximum of 9 men underground. The job needed to be well organised and planning would start at least 12 months beforehand.

On a big correlation survey as many as a dozen surveyors plus other specialist staff were required and could be tied up for a whole weekend.  A variety of different methods were used including co-plane, Weisbach triangles etc. The new gyro system could be carried out by a minimum of 3 men and work in the mine could carry on as normal. 

Prior to the 1940s simultaneous magnetic correlations would be observed at the surface and underground and care would have been taken to site the observations where there was no iron or steel – a very difficult task then and certainly impossible now.  Even in the early 1950s older colliers would make the remark that surveyors should be on the ‘night shift’ and not being in their way on days.  The reference was made that many surveys were made on the night shift in the 1920s and 1930s and earlier, due to the fact that the magnetic needle on a mining dial was more stable during the hours 12 midnight to 4 am and it was very erratic in the daylight hours. These surveys were plotted using possibly a brass protractor, cardboard Bocking protractor and parallel rule or later in the 1940s co-ordinates to a local grid.

Of course complicated calculations were necessary using any of the latter two methods before the final results were obtained.
Shaft measurements and positional checks were again carried out using piano wire until methods using an electronic distance measurer and an auto-plumb came on the market. The new systems could be carried out in the shafts in a relatively short period, so releasing the pit for normal working. 

At Ollerton I pioneered each exercise that was conducted in about half an hour on two different occasions (snap time plus ten minutes).  However at all other pits it was generally done at weekends. A complete survey of the underground workings was carried out again by me, since 1942, some 32 miles being carried out in 18 months 1971-1972. Every roadway open was check levelled and checked for position by theodolite and catenary measured by 50m steel band. Likewise 100 ft marks beginning at the shaft, and later superseded by 10m measure marks after 1976, were accurately established on every main road and panel gate, so that one could determine how far one was from each junction etc.  It was pleasing that the huge thirling survey of 25s/42s Top Hard some 5½ miles round from one end to the other and hanging on a very short sight between stations of about 5m, thirled on 16th October 1971 with an error of ½ an inch (0.0125m) in direction and less than 6 inches (0.15m) in distance – to the lay man, ‘spot on’.

The survey using bay levelling method of measuring, and angling with a Watts theodolite had taken many shifts over a 4 months period, including many weekends, whereas the system I employed was to measure the distance by catenary method with a 50m band, (this is where the steel band is suspended in mid air, to ‘carrot’ markers on a set of dial legs each end and carefully pulling a tension of 20lb from one end and anchoring at the other and then taking 3 readings at each end simultaneously when the tension figure was reached) and then taking vertical angles with a Watts dial took a total of 5 shifts, the first shift being the shortest at about ¾ mile of measuring completed due to training the colliery staff (including Keith Houghton, Unit Surveyor and Senior Area personnel, Ron Hays, Eddie Betts and Albert Robinson) in the new method, and the final shift achieving 1½ miles when everyone knew the routine.  The angling was carried out using the same Watts theodolite and was completed in 5 shifts also. All this work was done during normal working days assisted by HQ staff in the week, as the catenary system is so flexible that should any materials or manrider run be necessary, one could get to a convenient spot quickly and allow that to go ahead then continue with the job after the run had passed.  Nowadays, with the modern system of measuring done with electronic methods, called total station instruments, no measuring tape necessary, no note book, the job would have been completed in 5 shifts, as the angling is done at the same time.  My how times have changed!