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The Decline Of The Industry Continued
After Nationalisation 1947

1976 1977
1981 1982

  1979 Pages    1    2     3     4  

1979 - Page 1

Pneumatic Coal-Blower

In January 1979 another pneumatic coal-blower for fine coal was commissioned at Shirebrook shaft to increase tonnage further. A similar one was installed at Warsop in May, which increased the winding capacity to 470 tonnes an hour (North Derbyshire).

NCB Chairman Visit Bolsover

Sir Derek Ezra MBE, Chairman of NCB visited Bolsover colliery (North Derbyshire) on 11th January 1979. He would be re-appointed as Chairman of the NCB in July.

Winders at Thoresby Replaced

The electric winders at Thoresby (North Nottinghamshire) originally installed when the pit was sunk were to be replaced at both shafts at a cost of £4.7m. The pit had produced over 1 million tons a year 26 times since 1951, proving that the reorganisation finalised in 1950 with the introduction of diesel haulage and mine cars had paid off.


At Annesley (South Nottinghamshire) the first coal from the newly developed Tupton seam surfaced on 20th February 1979. Since 1918 most of the coal produced at the pit had been from the Deep Soft seam and 92% was destined for power stations.

Pay Rise

The NUM accepted another pay rise to begin in March 1979.

Pay rates for staff from 26th February 1979:

  • Senior Management grade, inc Colliery General Managers £9,815 - £12,490 per annum
  • Grade 1 inc Agent Managers £8,695 - £11,070
  • Grade 2 inc Colliery Managers at small pits £7,695 - £9,815
  • Grade 3 inc Deputy Managers £6,810 - £7,955
  • Grade 4 inc Undermanagers, Engineers and Surveyors £6,125 - £ 7,955
  • Grade 5 £5,395 - £ £7,095
  • Grade 6 £4,760 - £6,300
  • Grade 7 £4,090 - £5,395. Apprentice Surveyors aged 16 £37.42 p.w. and at 21 years £66.39 p.w.
    Colliery allowances per annum increased to £800 for A grades, £600 for B grades and £400 for C grades.

Old Mine Shafts

Some old mine shafts were sealed off around Grassmoor (North Derbyshire) and a burning tip at the west end of Grassmoor colliery was removed. In the past many dirt tips used to be smouldering, the discarded small coals being on fire and baking the shale, this being a source of red shale, used as a base for roadways, paths etc.

The Vale of Belvoir Inquiry

A nine-month inquiry into the proposed Vale of Belvoir Coalfield continued. The new coalfield was administered by a special team from Bestwood HQ and was called the North East Leicestershire Prospect (NELP). More than 150 witnesses were expected to give evidence in what was expected to be the longest and most expensive inquiry ever held.

Three mines were proposed at Hose, Saltby and Asfordby to mine an estimated 500 million tons, and mining was planned to last about 75 years giving work to many miners. They were all turned down, but eventually a decision was made to allow one mine site at Asfordby on the edge of the Vale to proceed. Unfortunately this site was the least attractive of the three and as was proved later, doomed to failure.

Rapid Loading Bunker

The surface rapid loading bunker was completed at Warsop colliery. These bunkers were called merry-go-round trains, as locos brought in trucks that were top-loaded as they moved slowly along inside the bunker structure and were bottom-unloaded when they reached the power stations, ready to return again to the colliery.

Snibston Colliery (Leicestershire) Closed

Snibston (Leicestershire) No1 Riding shaft 43/4114/865518, No2 Furnace shaft 43/4114/872575, Stephenson shaft 43/4114/925481, Owners George and Robert Stephenson, Joseph Sandars and Chas Binns. Yard seam 2’ 5” (0.74m), located to the north western edge of Coalville was abandoned Mar 1979. Twin headgear shafts, wood in 1900.

Side tank steam loco Snibston II on surface for shunting operations in 1950s. Later a Hunslet diesel and Snibston No1 diesel were introduced. There was a conveyor to take dirt to the tip.

Power stowing was tried 1957/58.

Ponies were used underground for supplies.

Fortunately a floor mounted Trepanner on 14s face in the Nether Lount seam safely crossed over a staple shaft sunk from the Middle Lount to the Yard seam in December 1963. It was found 40 feet (12m) from the plotted position on the Working plan.

Surveys from 1915 to 1946 were plotted using the magnetic system. Had allowance been made for the changing pole position that was moving east at approximately 8 minutes of arc each year since the meridian base was set up?

There was an inrush from the floor in 1960 coming from the old Colerton pit workings. In 1972 during the strike period the water percolated through to the Yard seam forcing a panel to be abandoned.

A Surface drift was driven in 1963.

In 1933 a pony named French was exhibited at the Royal Show Derby and another pony named Sailor came 3rd in the Ashby Show.

Seams worked:

  • Middle Lount 5’ 4” (1.63m) at 213 yards 1 foot 6 inches (195.2m) deep, abandoned 25/3/1879
  • Main coal 5’ 4” (1.63m) at 667 feet (203.2m) = 13/4/1881
  • Snibston No3 Middle Lount 5 feet (1.52m), inferior coal 3” (0.08m), coal 8” (0.20m), best coal 1’ 2” (0.35m), very soft and full of sooty veins 8” (0.20m), very soft inferior sooty coal 3” (0.08m) at 672 feet (204.75m), headings abandoned 29/9/1881
  • No3 Roaster 3 feet (0.91m), section hard at 780 feet (237.7m) – 9/3/1885
  • Middle Lount tops 1’ 3” (0.38m), brown stone ½ “ (0.006m), middle coal 2’ 0” (0.61m), coal mixed with large brown stone 1’ 3” (0,08m), inferior coal 7” (0.18m), total 5’ 1½“ (1.56m)
  • Deep Seam or Kilburn 4’ 2” (1.27m)
  • Yard 29/1/1924

Agents for Company:

  • Joseph Charles 1885


  • William Melling for South Leicestershire Colliery Co Ltd, 19/11/1896
  • SJ Boam
  • R McLaughlan (7875) Agent Manager 1979


  • JHR White 1879 +
  • Arthur William Warburton (68)
  • George Bragge (766) 1920s
  • GA Malcolm Sleigh (3690), later to Asfordby prospect
    Snibston No1 Colliery nearby at 289 yards (264.25m) deep – position uncertain!

Output for 1978-79

  • North Derbyshire 11 pits 7,541,079 tonnes, 12,312 men at 2.90 tonnes OMS
  • North Nottinghamshire 15 pits 11,265,421 tonnes, 17,942 men at 2.92 tonnes
  • South Nottinghamshire 12 pits 8,792,074 tonnes, 15,910 men at 2.61 tonnes OMS.

Collieries in North Derbyshire 1978-1979

  • Area Director: John H Northard (4954) (died 2012 aged 86)
  • Deputy Director: Albert Wheeler (7349)
  • Production Managers: Jim Clark (6986), Jim Rogers (6128) to DCME later, John G Town (7579).
  • Chief Mining Engineer, Edward (Ted) Horton (8325) 1978- , (previously Undermanager at Frickley, Deputy Manager Bentley, Deputy Manager Frickley/South Emsall 1970, General Manager Brodsworth, Production Manager Doncaster Area 1974)
  • Deputy Chief Mining Engineers: Jim Rogers (6128), Des Stringer (5143).
    (11 Pits)
  • Arkwright, 560,000 tonnes from 2nd Waterloo, 2nd Ell and Tupton seams, 1,000 men, 1973 3rd drift to Waterloo, £250,000
  • Bolsover, 610,000 tonnes from Deep Hard and Tupton seams, 980 men, skips installed 1976
  • High Moor, 470,000 tonnes from Clowne and development in Two Foot seams, 520 men, 1975, 3rd drift £150
  • Ireland, 560,000 tonnes from 1st Piper seam, 710 men, output wound up Markham after connection in 1975
  • Markham, 1.48m tonnes from Deep Soft, Deep Hard, 1st Piper, Threequarter, Blackshale and development of 2nd Waterloo seams, 2,400 men, skips in 1976/77 and additional coal prep plant £10m
  • Pleasley, 400,000 tonnes from Deep Hard and Piper seams, 730 men
  • Renishaw Park, 280,000 tonnes from Chavery and recently developed Deep Hard seam, £400,000, 530 men, 2nd drift for manriding 1977
  • Shirebrook, 1.13m tonnes from Clowne, Main Bright, Piper and Deep Soft seams, 1,670 men, major development of a surface drift, developed Threequarter, Yard and Blackshale
  • Warsop, 700,000 tonnes from Main Bright, High Hazel, Clowne and development of Deep Soft seams, £4.5m, coal hoist 470 tons ? hour, 1979, Rapid loader bunker on surface completed, 1,330 men
  • Westthorpe, 430,000 tonnes from Chavery seam, 710 men
  • Whitwell, 370,000 tonnes from Clowne seam, 920 men.

Licensed Mines

  • Doe Lea, (Top Hard, 26 men, Manager Eric G Sellars (3000)
  • Moor Side, (Parkgate, 20)
  • Mossbrook, Eckington (Parkgate, 13)
  • Strathfield, Stretton (Blackshale, 13 men).

Collieries in North Nottinghamshire Area 1978-1979

  • Area Director H Merrik Spanton (4612) (15 pits)
  • Deputy Director John P Berry (6049)
  • Production Managers Robert (Bob) Anderson (5547), Ray Gregory (4354), …
  • Bevercotes, Parkgate 651 and 208 surface
  • Bilsthorpe, Parkgate and Low Main 884 and 224
  • Blidworth, Top Hard, Abdy / Brinsley, High Hazles, 845 and 244
  • Clipstone, Low Main, Yard and Deep Soft, 1,278 and 268
  • Creswell, Threequarter, 799 and 244
  • Harworth, Barnsley Bed, 833 and 255
  • Mansfield, High Hazles and Deep Soft, 1,193 and 278
  • Ollerton, Top Hard and Parkgate, 963 and 289
  • Rufford, Yard and High Hazles, 1100 and 293
  • Sherwood, Deep Hard, Deep Soft, 664 and 211
  • Silverhill, Low Main and Piper, 789 and 241
  • Sutton, Deep Hard and Low Main, 649 and 169
  • Teversal, 1st Waterloo, 582 and 146
  • Thoresby, Top Hard, High Hazles and Parkgate, 1,195 and 277
  • Welbeck, Top Hard, 999 and 247.

Collieries in South Nottinghamshire Area 1978-1979

  • Area Director F Donald Davies
  • Deputy Director Harold E Taylor (5793)
  • Production Managers: Ken J Simmons (6132), Edward (Teddy) E Bishop (5396), R A (Tony) Caunt (8028)
  • Chief Mining Engineer Ron J Price (5134), DCME Jack Wadsworth (….), Ken Butt (4675).
  • Deputy Director also North East Leicestershire Project: Jack J Lewis (5459)
    (12 pits)
  • Annesley, Deep Soft, 712 and 185
  • Babbington, Tupton and Blackshale, 972 and 199
  • Bentinck, Tupton, Waterloo and Blackshale, 1,744 and 318
  • Calverton, Low Bright/Brinsley, 1,207 and 234
  • Cotgrave, Deep Hard, 1,468 and 261
  • Gedling, Top Hard and High Hazles, 1,339 and 246
  • Hucknall, Blackshale, 880 and 228
  • Linby, High Main, Main Bright, High Hazles and Waterloo, 979 and 220
  • Moorgreen, Waterloo and Blackshale, 981 and 252
  • New Hucknall, Deep Hard and Deep Soft, 551 and 139
  • Newstead, High Main and Tupton, 1,227 and 177
  • Pye Hill, Blackshale, 846 and 202.

Precautions Against Inrushes

The Mines (Precautions Against Inrushes) Regulations 1979 were issued, one of the main conditions being that the Manager of the mine was to prepare a scheme of work to prevent an inrush should there be such a circumstance. This was a job that fell mainly on the Surveyor’s shoulders – knowing where old workings could contain water, proximity of water-bearing strata, old shafts, boreholes etc.

Following these Regulations the Regional Geologist issued a fairly in-depth report in December1979 to comply with the Signing of Mine Plans (P.I.1974 / 1 and 2 and Precautions Against Inrushes Regulations, 1979 on Water-bearing Formations to the Area Chief Surveyor, with copies to Senior Mining Engineer (Mine Planning & Survey), Senior Surveyor, Mine Geologist and Surveyor for the Mine.


The Labour Government closed 257 pits, 12 coke ovens, 3 tar distilleries, 2 manufactured fuel works and one special solvent plant between 1964 and 1979.

The Conservative Government closed 26 pits.

Cory Coal

150,000 tonnes of Russian Donets Anthracite coal on behalf of the NCB were processed at the Grassmoor plant of Cory Coal in 1979. Trials proved the coal to have an ash content of just 5%.  The experiment would continue for the next 3 years!

New Large Diameter Drilling Rig

A new Wirth L4 large diameter drilling rig costing £500,000 was purchased and kept at Foraky, Colwick, Nottingham.  The new rig could drill 100m deeper than the previous 13 years old rig.  Keith Shaw, National Mining Exploration Engineer was in charge.


Practically all the output since 1918 at Annesley (South Nottinghamshire) was from the Deep Soft seam. Now production from the Tupton seam would supplement the output. Two 1,200m tunnels costing £1.5m dipping at 1in10 had been driven to access the seam. 92% of the output of last year’s 580,000 tonnes went to the CEGB power stations.