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The Decline Of The Industry Continued
After Nationalisation 1947

Book 6

1986 Pages   1     2     3     4     5     6     7     8     9     10     11     12     13     14  
    15     16     17     18     19     20     21     22     23     24     25     26     27     28  

1986 - Page 13


Donisthorpe: (Leicestershire, South Midlands) sunk to the edge of Donisthorpe village.

Shaft positions

  • No1 97.6ft (27.7m) above sea level, depth 166.6 yards (94m)
  • No2 E431265 N314288, depth 179½ yards (164m)
  • Little Woodfield abandoned
  • Kilburn 4’ 0” (1.22m)
  • Main seam coal 14’ 6” (4.42m) @ 688’ 4” (209.8m)
  • Nether bottom 7’ 0” (2.13m) worked out of the 14’ 6” (4.42m). There was 2’ 6” (0.76m) clot over the seam.

Other seams:

  • Toad 4’ 0” (1.22m) @ 720’ 10” (219.7m)
  • Slate 3’ 8” @ 777’ 7” (239.0m)
  • 1st Ryder 2’ 6” (0.76m) @ 647’ 11” (197.5m)
  • 2nd Ryder 2’ 6” (0.76m) @ 651’ 11” (198.7m).

Donisthorpe introduced semi-automatic operation of mine cars from the cage and the empties were side moved by a traverse ready to be rammed onto the cage. With this system one man replaced 15 others on the pit top and production was up to 1,800 tons per shift. However there was a kink in the shaft due to a fault 1975.

A thirling from Measham to Donisthorpe in the late 1950s was badly out of line requiring an extra transfer point (quote H Brian Bennett).

Donisthorpe was the Training Centre for the South Midlands.

Underground locos: 2’ 6” gauge 2 x 0-4-0 DMF 50hp HE 1947 and 1949.

Walton Way short surface drifts 1in3 and 1in3.5 to Stockings, then long 1in6 drift, then further drifts to north.

Old workings of uncertain position 1920s-1930s to the north.

Donisthorpe absorbed Rawdon in 1988 and renamed Donisthorpe / Rawdon as above.


  • William Unsworth (2391)


  • Les R Watkin (4367) 1960s
  • Alan Hawkins (10760).


  • Co Surveyor pre 1947 FH Liptrott (182)
  • Derek Taylor
  • Ray J Wallis (2002) transferred to Subsidence Surveyor Coleorton HQ c 1958, then to Planning dept
  • Ron Parkinson (5078)
  • Peter B Arnold (4630)
  • (Denis Berry went on to be National Surveyor? ...quote H Brian Bennett)

Fatal Accidents Donisthorpe: included:

  • Tom Wright (16) caught in an explosion of firedamp gas 28/10/1874
  • John Shuttleworth (14) caught by a fall of coal 10/6/1877
  • Joseph or William Winter (42) run over by tubs 4/6/1877
  • James Kirk (34) fall of coal 16/11/1877
  • William Whetton (44) fall of roof 16/1/1878
  • Tom Shuttleworth (43) overwind of the cage 11/12/1884
  • Tom Stubbs (30) fall of side of a roadway 17/10/1886
  • Tom Ward (30) fall of roof at the face 23/12/1886
  • James Evans (19) crushed by the cage 12/5/1888
  • Francis Hart (60) killed in a shotfiring incident 5/6/1889
  • Joseph Scott (48) crushed by tubs on the surface 19/12/1894
  • Henry Dennis (21) fell onto a broken glass bottle on 17/11/1898 and died from injuries 27/11/1898
  • Arthur Whetton (38) fall of roof 8/5/1899
  • Harry Garrett (21) crushed by the cage 24/4/1900
  • Henry Talbot (52) and Edwin Hemsley (29) both fell down the shaft on a cage overwind 25/10/1902
  • James Evans, run over by tubs 19/9/1930

Whitwell Closed After 96 Years

Whitwell colliery (North Derbyshire). 2 shafts were sunk 1890-1891 to the south east of Whitwell village. No1 shaft 378 yards (346m) surface level 285.9 feet (87.1m) above sea level and No2 373 yards (341m) by the Shire Oaks Colliery Co was closed on 27th June 1986 after 96 years.

  • Thickness of Permo Trias measures 170’ 7" (52m)
  • Clown(e) seam 3’ 1” (0.92m)
  • Main Bright coal and dirt at 395’ 7” (120.5m)
  • Two Foot 2’ 3” (0.69m)
  • Coal and dirt 6’ 2” (1.88m)
  • Coal 1’ 1” (0.35m)
  • Coal 1’ 6” (0.45m), a few streaks of coal
  • High Hazles or High Hazel 3’ 10” (1.17m) at 619’ 8” (188.9m)
  • 4 thin seams
  • Coal and dirt 1’ 10” (0.56m)
  • Top Hard 4’ 10” (1.47m) 202.6m below O.D.  with sump at 983’ 8” (300m)
  • No1 shaft 15’ 0” (4.57m) dia with 212’ 0” (64.5m) of tubbing
  • No2 shaft 14’ 0” (4.27m) dia with 70’ 0” (21.3m) of tubbing
  • High Hazel at 104.4m, dumb drift inset at 180.8m
  • Top Hard at 199.7m
  • Threequarter at 443.7m
  • Bottom at 447.4m below O.D. The ventilation of the workings was effected by means of a furnace in the early years. In 1924 No2 shaft deepened to Threequarter at 698 yards (638m), however in 1971 during the reorganisation it was infilled to its original level. A previous reorganisation costing £2¼m had been carried out in the 1950s.

Highest Manpower was 1,389 in 1959 and highest output 623,153 tons in 1962.

Shaft positions: SK57NW 453439, 375788, 453411, 375765.

This colliery had been transferred to NCB North Eastern Division, Yorkshire Area previously from No2 Area of East Midlands Division 1947-1949

It was transferred later to No1 Area then North Derbyshire Area in 1967.

Underground loco: 2’ 0” gauge 4wBEF CRT3+ CE 1979.

Seams Worked

Mawco Cutting Machine
Top Hard (or Barnsley Bed) 1891-8th May 1942, 312 yards (285m) deep.

 Thorncliffe or Piper (Low Main horizon) later found to be Threequarter seam finished Mar 1926, abandoned 21/6/1929, 570 yards (522m) deep, soft bind 1’ 8” (0.58m), coal 3’ 2” (0.96m), soft clunch 7” (0.18m), coal 8½“ (0.21m), strong fireclay floor.

 High Hazel 1935-24/11/1976, 207 yards (189m) deep, finished due to adverse geological conditions. There was a proving head from the Two Foot seam into Main Bright (0.85m) thick but not pursued. The heading is showm on the Two Foot seam plan. Methane holes bored in this seam. There was an error of +10 feet (3m) in the sinker’s log to the High Hazel seam. When driving a heading near the shaft came across unrecorded goaf, full extent not known.

Main Bright -1986, Two Foot 1979-27/6/1986, section, mud/cannel/canneloid coal (0.09m), coal 0.66m, mud 0.20m, coal 0.09m, silt, 145 yards (132m) deep, uneconomic.

 Clowne seam accessed by cross measures drift 1968-5/6/1986, 97 yards (89m) deep, coal 3’ 1” (0.94m).  No methane holes in this seam as it was not bothered by gas. Other seams were Dunsil at 330 yards (302m), 1st Waterloo at 345 yards (315m), Deep Hard at 528 yards (483m) and Parkgate at 547 yards (500m).  Distances between seams, from Clowne to Two Foot 42m, to High Hazel 57.5m, to Top Hard 96m and to Threequarter 244m.

A Mawco cutting machine installed in 1959 on a short 104 yards (95m) long face in the High Hazel seam. This was a hybid type of machine based on an Anderton shearer but with a frame jib and hauled by a ½” steel coiled rope. The prototype jib was attached to an Eickhoff Type S IV shearer 82.5hp water-cooled motor and a hydraulic haulage giving variable speeds up to 14 feet (4.27m) per minute in both directions.  Pithead baths were built in 1934 and opened in 1935 along with a canteen. A medical centre was opened in 1956. The canteen was replaced in 1961. Workshops were built in the same year. A Baum washery was constructed in 1981.

Materials and man riding was by rope, or 2-way conveyor.  The large Parkhall fault lay to the South West and Creswell workings to South West also.

Whitwell was connected in the High Hazel and merged with Steetley and the Clowne seam worked. There was a Barnsley seam goaf connection to Shireoaks.

Shireoaks Barnsley connected to Kiveton through a heading adjacent to Harry Croft drift, E452850 N381550.

Kiveton Barnsley was connected to Dinnington. The colliery was bounded by workings from Kiveton Park (South Yorkshire), Steetley (North Derbyshire) to North East.  Approximately 52 million gallons of water per year needed to be pumped from the Clowne seam.

The Water Position

  • 1987 Steetley High Hazel seam workings were filled with water to a level 8762 ft using a datum of 10,000 ft as sea level (1,248 feet or 380.4m), and overflowed to Barnsley seam via the drift to Steetley pit bottom.
  • 1999 Shireoaks/Whitwell Barnsley seam was filled to the 8762 feet level (1,238 feet or 377.3m).
  • 2003 Shireoaks/Whitwell Barnsley seam and Steetley/Whitwell High Hazel workings filled to the Clowne horizon at 9052 feet level (948 feet or 288.9m) in Steetley shaft.
  • 2004 the water had reached 9096 feet level (904 feet or 275.5m) at the bottom of the concrete plugs in No1 and No2 shafts at Shireoaks (17m below Clowne horizon).
  • 2009 Shireoaks/Whitwell Barnsley workings were totally full to 9800 feet (200 feet or 61m) highest level also Whitwell Two Foot seam workings full.

Whitwell Clowne seam workings full to the feeder level at 9950 feet giving the maximum head of water.

The pressure head at the narrowest part of the Manton boundary in the Barnsley seam was 1,800 feet (780psi) at the North end and 1,700 feet (740psi) at the South end.

The pressure head on the plugs at Shireoaks No1 and No2 shafts is 854 feet (370psi). There is a passage for water to run through Harry Croft drift to Kiveton Barnsley seam and then through to Dinnington (Yorkshire). Like many pits in the region pre 1940s surveys were carried out using a magnetic dial followed up with more accurate fixed needle surveys. A correlation of the underground workings in relation to the surface was first done by co-plane system in May 1954 and followed up by a further co-plane in August 1955. In 1985 a GAK Gyro theodolite was taken underground and bases were checked inbye in the workings. An exemption from the Mines Inspector allowed this providing that tests were made frequently for the prescence of methane gas, of course there was none. A check on the underground levelling bench mark was done in July 1955 by direct measurement.

Alcane Energy at Whitwell

Alkane Energy drilled a borehole into the old workings at Whitwell around the turn of the 21st Century to extract methane gas after the pit was closed.  The idea was to burn the gas to drive turbines to create and supply electrical power to the Grid or other interested parties. However eventually the source of the gas ceased as the pipe became waterlogged. The second Alkane Energy project was at Shirebrook Jubilee Drift.



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