1977 - Page 1
Two fitters, Nigel Bennett and Colin Dodson from Babbington were among 5 miners taking part in a job-swap between National Coal Board workers and West Germany’s Ruhrhole organisation in February 1977. Five German workers came to work at Newstead and Babbington (South Nottinghamshire) in exchange, to note the varying differences in mining in the 2 countries.
Sulphur hexafluoride was used as a trace gas to determine leakage rates between shafts, stoppings etc at Newstead / Annesley (South Nottinghamshire). It was also used at Bevercotes (North Nottinghamshire) Parkgate workings.
A new surface drift was driven at Kiveton Park in South Yorkshire and a second surface drift was completed at Renishaw Park, North Derbyshire. These collieries would be linked together later and worked as one mine.
Mines and Quarries (Metrication) Regulations
The Mines and Quarries (Metrication) Regulations, 1976 came into force on 1st February 1977, substituting measures in the Coal and Other Mines (Height of Travelling Roads) Regulations 1956, the Coal and Other Mines (Ventilation) Regulations 1956 and the Coal Mines (Clearance in Transport Roads) Regulations 1956, as well as in the Mines and Quarries Act, 1954.
Coal Industry Bill Was Published in February 1977
The Coal Industry Bill was published in February 1977. It raised the limit on borrowing by the NCB from £1,100m to £1,800m. Quite a lot of this money was allocated to new schemes in North Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire.
Vale of Belvoir Boreholes
Since 1974, 80 boreholes had been drilled and 250 miles of seismic survey lines for the proposed development of the Vale of Belvoir Coalfield which covered parts of Leicestershire, Nottinghamshire and Lincolnshire. 6 seams were found between 1,300 feet (396m) and 2,790 ft (850m) deep, viz South and West part 290m tonnes of Parkgate and Deep Main, to the East 160 m tonnes of Top Bright and Dunsil/Waterloo, and 50m tonnes of Blackshale and 10m tonnes of Cinderhill Main, giving a grand total of 500m tonnes and a mining area of 11 miles North to South and 12 miles East to West.
The winter of 1976-1977 was quite severe. Coal sales were welcome for the industry.
Only 3 Mines Closed
Only 3 mines were closed in the country in 1976/1977, none in North Derbyshire or Nottinghamshire.
Linby Tonnage Fell
The tonnage at Linby (South Nottinghamshire) fell to 443,810 tonnes with a manpower of 1,193.
A rapid loading bunker was commissioned at Creswell (North Nottinghamshire) in March 1977.
Collieries In South Nottinghamshire Area 1977
- Director: F Donald Davies (….)
- Deputy Director: Jimmy A Wright (3926) retired 31st March after 45 years. He was appointed Deputy Director in 1973
- Chief Mining Engineer: Harold E Taylor (5793), DCMEs: Jack Wadsworth (….) and Ken Butt (4675)
- Production Managers: Maurice Godfrey (5994), Ken J Simmons (6132), Edward (Teddy) E Bishop (5396)
(12 pits) with £150m turnover
- Area Surveyor and Minerals Manager: William (Bill) E Martin (1523)
- RICS, Deputy Ron Sheldon (2305)
- Senior Surveyors: included Jerry Hancock (3…), Philip H Smith (3…)
- Senior Geologist: John D Raine BSc.
- Mine Geologists: K Ian Gill, Dave Mitchell, Mike A Allen, Gerry Howe and John Simmons.
South Nottinghamshire: 12 pits, 8,913,787 tons from 59 faces and 15,701 men at 54.1 cwts OMS.
- Annesley, 600,000 tonnes from Deep Soft, 910 men, and developing Tupton seam
- Babbington, 700,000 tonnes from Tupton and Blackshale, 1,180 men
- Bentinck, 1.5m tonnes from 2nd Waterloo, Tupton and Blackshale, 2,075 men
- Calverton, 900,000 tonnes from High Main and Low Bright/Brinsley, 1,436 men
- Cotgrave, 1.1m tonnes from Deep Hard, 1,740 men
- Gedling, 775,000 tonnes from High Hazles and Top Hard, 1,590 men, skips installed
- Hucknall, 1.05m tonnes from Blackshale, 1,100 men, surface methane extraction plant and boilers installed
- Linby, 600,000 tonnes from High Main, Main Bright and 1st Waterloo, with development in High Hazles, 1,200 men
- Moorgreen, 975,000 tonnes from 2nd Waterloo and Blackshale, 1,235 men
- New Hucknall, 330,000 tonnes from Deep Hard and Deep Soft, 700 men
- Newstead, 1m tonnes from High Main, 1,410 men, developing Tupton
- Pye Hill, 880,000 tonnes from Blackshale, 1,075 men, chainless shearer installed.
Jimmy A Wright retired at the end of March 1977 from his post as Deputy Director Mining South Nottinghamshire Area (1973-1977) after 45 years in the industry. In a conversation with him in July 2004 I remarked that he was Manager at Teversal when I started work as an Apprentice Surveyor and he used to offer me a cigarette whenever I had occasion to go to his office, generally weekly to fetch his mine plan folder, update the working faces and development headings and return the folder. Sometimes I got 2, one when fetching the folder and one when returning it, depending upon his mood. (The Players cigarettes on his desk were gifts from Reps). He told me that he had started in the pits as a haulage lad of 14 at Bentinck in 1931, and moved to Bull and Butcher (New Selston) when he was 16 (because they worked coaling on days and afters). He progressed from coal face worker to Shotfirer, Deputy, Overman and obtained his Second Class Certificate at 23 in 1940 and his First Class Certificate (No 3926) at 25, in 1942. He was Undermanager at Pye Hill for a short time and a ‘go between’ as Assistant to the Manager 1947-1948 at pits previously owned by James Oakes’s Company prior to nationalisation. As his predecessor before him, on being appointed Manager he was in charge of both Cotes Park and South Normanton, however when it became necessary to have a Manager at each colliery under Nationalisation he chose Cotes Park, (where there was a house available to go with the job, he told me), albeit that the improvements he had made at South Normanton enabling the output to rise from 250 tons a day to 1,000 tons a day. In 1951 he was transferred to Teversal for 2 years to 1953, residing at the Grange in Teversal village, then to Kirkby Summit until 1955, when he was promoted and appointed No1 Group Manager No4 Area for Kirkby, Newstead and Annesley -1958, when he was promoted to Deputy Area Production Manager (DAPM) No4 Area, Huthwaite, and in 1964 exchanged with Jim H Stone as DAPM No5 Area, Eastwood. He was appointed Chief Mining Engineer (CME) at South Nottinghamshire Area, Bestwood HQ on the re-organisation in 1967. He said he had refused to go to the new North Derbyshire Area (Bolsover) and in doing so he reckoned it had cost him a Director’s job. (Died 2011 aged 94).
Collieries In North Nottinghamshire
- Director: H Merrik Spanton (4612)
- Deputy Director: John P Berry (6049)
- Chief Mining Engineer: Robert (Bob) Scott (4454)
- DCME: David R Mounsey (4840),
- Senior Mining Engineer: John CH Longden (9134)
- Production Managers: Ray Gregory (4354), Robert (Bob) Anderson (5547), Frank Middleton (8180)
- Surveyor and Minerals Manager: Charles J Whyte (2678)
- Deputy: E (Ted) Hinde (1….) to retire and A Eddie Betts (2…) (Group Surveyor, to succeed),
- Senior Surveyors: Gordon Ison (2633), J Ray Greasley (3063), George H Jackson (1341)
- Senior Geologist: Doug E Raisbeck (Qualified Surveyor, ex Surveyor Calverton)
- Mine Geologists Jim AM Barnett (Qualified Surveyor, ex Assistant Williamthorpe (died 10th April 2004), Chris T Thorne BSc., (later Senior Geologist for Nottinghamshire Group), John D Freeman, Steve Lunnon BSc., (later Senior Geologist for Nottinghamshire Group), Dave P Muller, Jimmy Mayne (Manager’s cert and ex Overman Ollerton) and John Nicholls.
North Nottinghamshire : 15 pits, 10,483,067 tons from 57 faces by 17,630 men at 57.3 cwts
Collieries in North Derbyshire
- Director John H Northard (4954)
- Deputy Director Albert (Bert) Wheeler (7349)
- Chief Mining Engineer Tom W Peters (4482)
- DCME Des Stringer (5143)
- Senior Mining Engineer A (Tony) Deakin (7903)
- Production Managers Jim Clark (6986), Jim Rodgers (6128), John G Town (7579)
- Surveyor and Minerals Manager Norman Smedley (2….)
- Senior Geologist John H Rippon BSc.
- Mine Geologists: JA (Tony) Smith, Robert (Bob) Brown, David Green and Peter Boam (recently retired).
Output for 1976-1977: North Derbyshire 12 pits 7,228,575 tons from 49 coalfaces by 12,438 men at 55.6 cwts OMS.
- High Moor
- Renishaw Park
Collieries In South Midlands
- Director Ralph Rawlinson (5788)
- Deputy Director WIS Wilson (….)
- Chief Mining Engineer Arthur Summers (4896)
- Production Managers John Chris Boyle (5733), Jimmy McPherson (5237), JC Nixon (4735)
- Surveyor and Minerals Manager A Trevor Taylor (3…) (later National Chief Surveyor)
South Midlands 12 pits
- Birch Coppice
- Daw Mill
- Newdigate in Warwickshire
- Tilmanstone in Kent. A periodic visit by Area HQ staff to these collieries was by aeroplane.
- Cadley Hill
- South Leicester
- Whitwick in Leicestershire.