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The Decline Of The Industry Continued
After Nationalisation 1947

1972 1973

 1975 Pages    1     2  

1975 - Page 2

The Health And Safety At Work Act 1974 Came Into Force

Vale of Belvoir Prospect

Jack Brown (2414) was appointed Senior Surveyor for Vale of Belvoir prospect or NELP (North East Leicestershire Prospect). He was a Group Surveyor in South Nottinghamshire, and previously Surveyor at Pleasley and Sutton.

National Exploration Engineer

On 1st September 1975, Keith Shaw Senior Mining Engineer North Nottinghamshire Area (previously Planning Engineer) was appointed to the post of National Exploration Engineer. At the time a deep-sea drilling rig was in operation proving seams under the North Sea for Ellington colliery.
A Geologist is shown examining seismic survey results.

Manless Haulages

There were 12 manless haulage systems operating in South Nottinghamshire Area. The system saved one man, the haulage operator.


Jack Kniveton (7391) (Manager Blidworth) was appointed Area Tunnelling Team Engineer North Nottinghamshire and Robert (Bob) G Siddall (9974) was promoted from Deputy Manager Rufford to Manager at Blidworth (Nottinghamshire) to succeed him.


Ellistown (Leicestershire) Excelsior seam abandoned 22/8/1975, Surveyor Ken Leiver (4318), Manager Don J Cox (7223).

Miraculous Escape In Shaft Incident

On 5th September J Vice (29), had a miraculous escape in a further shaft accident at Markham (North Derbyshire) when his foot caught in a rope and he was hoisted hundreds of feet up the pit shaft and dangled below the cage. Following the lowering of the emergency cage he was released by rescuers and he recovered from his ordeal after treatment at Chesterfield Royal Hospital but then had to have his foot amputated.

Coal Board Chairman Visit to Thoresby

On 25th September 1975 Sir Derek Ezra Coal Board Chairman, Elliott Richardson USA Ambassador and his wife and Joe Gormley NUM President escorted by Terry E Wheatley (8348) the colliery Manager, made an underground visit to 85s panel Top Hard seam at Thoresby colliery (Nottinghamshire). They rode in and out of the district by diesel manrider. In the afternoon a tour was made of the NUM Minersoffices and Welfare Centre at Berry Hill, Mansfield.

Fossil Of Rare Dragonfly Found Underground At Bolsover Colliery

A point of interest, at Bolsover (North Derbyshire) a fossilised giant dragonfly dating back from some 300 million years was found underground by M Spencer. Later in 1978, a second one was found at 625 yards (570m) deep by G Ball, a fitter. More were found later and described in detail by the Natural History Museum in London. The whole thing resulted in the enthusiasm of Terry Judge, then an underground worker in the Deep Hard seam. (John Rippon, Area Geologist)

A fossilised giant dragonfly was also discovered in the French Stephanian Coal Measures of Commentry in 1880, see photo above. In 1885, French paleontologist Charles Brongniart described and named the fossil "Meganeura" (large-nerved), which refers to the network of veins on the insect's wings. The Meganeura is a genus of extinct insects from the Carboniferous period approximately 300 million years ago, which resembled and are related to the present-day dragonflies. With wingspans of up to 65 cm (25.6 in), M. monyi is one of the largest known flying insect species. Meganeura were predatory, and fed on other insects.

Underground Fire At Rawdon

A fire underground at Rawdon (Leicestershire) sealed off a new road, and it was reopened by driving a 45m long road to short circuit it however the last 2m had to be cut by hand, by 8 teams of Rescue men from Ashby Rescue Station and Rescue men from neighbouring pits.

Coal Industry Act of 1975

The Coal Industry Act, 1975 was enacted. A typical notice published in the Chad (Mansfield Chronicle Advertiser) under the Act regarding the right to withdraw support conferred on them by Section 2 of the Coal Industry Act, in relation to certain lands within the Parish of Mansfield in the vicinity of Water Lane etc. Other notices that were published included land referred to in the Parishes of Kirton and Laxton in the Newark District in the County of Nottinghamshire and was issued and signed by the Area Surveyor and Minerals Manager Chas J Whyte (2678) North Nottinghamshire Area on 22/7/1976, on behalf of the NCB, under Public Notices in the Local Newspaper. It stated that the Board hereby gives notice that it remains their intention to exercise such rights in relation to certain parts of the said land shown on the plan referred to, deposited and available for inspection at the North Nottinghamshire Area Offices Edwinstowe during normal working hours.

Before exercising the rights granted by the Coal Industry Act 1975, sections 2 and 3, to withdraw support from the Mansfield Town Area and to work coal in the former copyhold land after 3 months time, the NCB again was to publish notices in the London Gazette and for 2 successive weeks in at least 2 local newspapers with a plan of the proposal. Copies of the Sec 2 notice to be served on the Nottinghamshire County Planning Authority and Mansfield District Planning Authority and copies to be posted on the land to which the notice relates, in conspicuous places around the Parish boundary, a job done by the Group or Senior Surveyor. On this occasion regarding the Newark District I accompanied the Senior Surveyor Ray Greasley (3063) on this duty as I was an interested party being Surveyor at Ollerton, the workings of which were the ones referred to. It was an insight into the job I was to do after 1986 when promoted to that position of Senior Surveyor. An anomaly was that owners of the former copyhold coal have 12 years from the date of publication to give notice to the NCB.

Coal Dust

The Coal Mines (Respirable Dust) Regulations, 1975 came into force on 30th September, laying down statutory limits of dust permissible in underground workings at all the mines where 30 or men were employed. Of course apart from about half a dozen private footrills in North Derbyshire these regulations applied to all pits. No more than 8mg/m³ of air at 70m from the face in the return airway and 6mg/m³ in headings where the quartz content in the sample was not more than 0.45mg/³ and 3mg/m³ in headings where it exceeded 0.45mg/m³. All mine owners were to have dust respirators available at all times and provide free medicals. Of course dust masks were available before and sometimes used by some men, but not by the majority, and the new regulations did not specify that one had to use one. The new rules did require a more intensive and frequent dust sampling operation.

Overlap Fan Ventilation

Introduction of forcing overlap fan ventilation in headings allowed better methane and environment control. Demonstrations were held at Lound Hall (North Nottinghamshire) to see the merits of the idea. 'Smoke' was used so that one could see the opperation of the system. All Surveyors as well as mining personnel were invited to attend.

Employee Protection Act

Employee Protection Act 1975 passed. Looking back in history how could any of the previous mine owners complied with such laws?

National Record

October 1975, and Sherwood colliery (North Nottinghamshire) 'Dosco Dynamos' drove 108s roadway 226¾ yards (207m) in 5 days, an all comers, all time national record.


John CH Longden (9134) (Manager Welbeck) was appointed Senior Mining Engineer Mine Planning and Survey North Nottinghamshire Area from 1st Nov 1975.

John L Collinson (5737) (Production Manager South Nottinghamshire since 1967, then Area Safety Engineer South Nottinghamshire) was appointed NCB Chief Safety Engineer.

Alan Hird (5328) Colliery General Manager Arkwright was appointed Mechanisation/Strata Control Engineer, North Derbyshire Area.

J Geoff Illsley (8107) (Manager of Tilmanstone, Kent since 1971) was appointed Manager of Welbeck (North Nottinghamshire)

Jack J Lewis (5459) General Manager Kent Area, appointed Deputy Director South Nottinghamshire Area in charge of the North East Leicestershire Exploration.

Rapid Boring

The ‘Plan for Coal’ surface bore holes were drilled by the Canadian Gardner Denver rig which completed the holes in a quarter of the time as previously, astounding NCB personnel, because it had always been thought that it was imperative to drill slowly through coal seams to get a good core. This proved otherwise and excellent core samples were recovered.

NUM Annual Conference

At the NUM Annual Conference at Scarborough a wage of £100 for face workers was proposed. Nottinghamshire NUM resolution for early retirement became the policy of the union and the basis for an actual retirement scheme.

The NCB Decided To Close Langwith

The NCB decided to close Langwith (North Derbyshire), because the reserves had become thin and dirty and expensive to mine. The NCB refused the NUMs request to test the workability of the seams. The NUM union’s NEC decided to apply an overtime ban from 15th February 1976. In my opinion this type of action only hastens a proposed closure as output suffers which in turn causes loss in revenue.

50 Pit Safety Campaign

Annesley, Rufford and Silverhill pits (North Nottinghamshire) were in the last of the 50 pit safety campaign scheme, it being the 10th anniversary, where management and unions had worked jointly together since 1966 to lower accident rates whilst increasing productivity. Sir Derek Ezra Chairman of the NCB stated that above all, safety was to be at the forefront. Teach-ins were to be arranged for colliery officials and workmen, with information relayed by television, posters, newspapers and films showing the latest ideas and ways to prevent accidents.

Many Pits Were Closed By Various Governments

Between 1950 and 1975 the Labour Government closed many pits employing 440,000 miners throughout the country. It is always assumed that the closures were always by the Conservative Governments who of course did close as many. Hundreds of miners from closed collieries in Scotland, Lancashire and the North East transferred to the ‘longer life pits’ in North Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire.

Renishaw Park Drift

A start was made on driving a new 250 yards (230m) surface drift at Renishaw Park, (North Derbyshire) for ventilation and manriding.

Opencast Working

The Opencast Act 1958 states that the Secretary of State for Energy must consent to the working of a site and can impose conditions. The Bond Yard site, North Derbyshire, was one such example comprising of 61acres of land, including the old colliery yard and stocking ground for coal, and coke plus 2 tips of burnt shale, plus other dereliction. The old McLane tip was removed and although having very little subsoil cover, it was restored to agricultural use. The Opencast Executive removed 82,000 tonnes of coal from the site.

Opencast Sites

  • Clay Cross Fishing incidental coal by Clay Cross Council, 2,090 tons of Canal (cannel) and Yard, Apr – June 1975
  • Common End, Threequarter seam 8/1975
  • Holmewood, Hawkins Lane, cannel 0.15m, ? coal 1.3m, (JC Hayes) 7/6/1974-11/4/1975
  • Holmewood (DCC) 5/1975-12/1975
  • Kirkby Park Farm Swinton Pottery 1 and 2, 5/1975
  • Pilsley Allotments (Martin Kennelly (Contractors) Ltd) TH, June 1974-Feb 1975
  • Wrang Farm Top Hard, Upper Dunsil, Lower Dunsil, First Waterloo, Waterloo Marker, Second Waterloo and old works (Oct 1971- Sep 1975). Wrang Farm extension started.

Inspector's Report 1975

HM Inspectors:

  • North Midlands:
    Senior District Inspectors GH Thomas
    District Inspectors John W Jones, Freddie B Turton (MV Thomas resigned)
    Inspectors Ken Couldwell, Guy DR Adamson, John Bennington, John Rushton.
  • South Midlands:
    Senior District Inspector Fred Tootle
    District Inspectors AG Conliffe, P Williams
    Inspector RAL Colquhoun, Brian Langdon.

North Midlands:

27 pits, 4 Licensed mines, 5 Pumping shafts.

6 men killed and 106 serious accidents.

Cross-measures drifts at Silverhill and Ollerton, Markham, Renishaw Park, Warsop Main, Shirebrook and Ireland.

New surface drift started at Renishaw Park to Chavery seam.

Rapid loader bunkers at Bilsthorpe and Warsop.

Reconstruction scheme at Markham with surface washery plant to receive coal from connection through to Ireland.

At Blidworth the aerial ropeway was discontinued for dirt tipping.

At Morton tip a cascade was constructed for the effluent from the mine and it reduced from 100 ppm to 5 ppm (parts per million).

A refrigeration plant was installed at Bevercotes and on the main fan to combat the heat underground.

Warsop, a hydraulically operated arch setting device for use with ripping machines.

Rack and pinion face haulage on DECMT in North Derbyshire.

There were now 153 man-less transfer points on conveyors.

23 pits out of 27 now practicing firedamp drainage.

In a 3m seam the leading drum of the Shearer was taking the top part of the seam and the trailing drum taking the lower part.

At Creswell the district using the water light weight barrier was abandoned.

A stone dusting machine was introduced at Welbeck.

South Midlands:
3 killed and 57 serious accidents.

5 pits in South Midlands practicing firedamp drainage.

Cadley Hill new surface fan with a 895 Kw motor giving 120 cu m of air per second at 6.25 kilopascals pressure.

Trials were made with longer life self-rescuers, but they were heavier.

Surface drilling for exploration in South Nottinghamshire and Warwickshire.

At Bentinck trials were made using a diesel powered stone dusting machine. An electrical stone dusting was tried elsewhere.

All medical centres were equipped with 'Entenox' apparatus which is a pain reliever and aid to persons suffering conorary attacks.

X-rays continued re pneumoconiosis check.

Radiological surveys for Radon and Radon daughter.

The last few horses were dispensed and retired. It was an end of an era, starting in the 1760s when donkeys were first introduced underground in the South Midlands.

Training: 1,147 young persons, 1,524 adults and 1,114 re-entrants. 873 men were trained for coal face (as against 41 in 1974). 866 craft apprentices including 160 mining apprentices.