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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 23

Below are sections and a plan of a dirt tip.

At a working mine the up to date Working plan on 1:2500 scale of each seam plus O.S. (Ordnance Survey) plans along with the above would be Ventilation plans, updated periodically to show the system of ventilation of the workings with all the known doors, overcasts, fans etc. Similarly an Electrical plan would be updated showing the position of all electrical gear (enlarged for practicality) and coloured cables to denote the power (plus schematic sketches). A signed Ventilation plan to show development work.

Methane drainage plan (overlay) for each seam where practised showing borehole positions, length, direction, pipe size etc and exhaust point.

Support plans for each face or development.

Methods of work plans, for junctions etc.

Most annoyingly a special plan would have to be created late on a Friday afternoon for special works to be carried out at the weekend when the job had been planned the week before but the Undermanager or Deputy Manager had ‘forgot’ to inform the Surveyor until late on the Friday.
Usually arguments followed. This happened at many collieries.

Progress plans to show weekly advance etc.

Deputies Districts’ plan, showing the area each particular Deputy is responsible for.

Manager’s plan to enable him to oversee all the mine workings.

An up to date Rescue and Fire fighting plan showing the positions of hydrants, valves, fire buckets, doors, ventilation coursing etc plus numerous other symbols.

Similarly a surface plan in case of emergency.

A Fire Certificate plan for HMI showing much information, and including positions of all workshops, other surface buildings and offices etc.

At pits with a spontaneous combustion problem a plan would be kept to show where stoppings could be erected in case of emergency.

Numerous other plans, e.g.

  • Stone dust Zone plans and Stone dust Barriers.
  • Airborne dust plan.
  • Pumping plan, showing position of all pumps and the amount of water pumped and size and location of pipes etc.
  • Noise plans showing areas of varying loudness in decibels, Manrider and haulage routes plan with type, rope and engine size, diesel loco etc and length of run and gradients etc.
  • Conveyor plan showing route from faces to pit bottom and size of belt, length and position and size of motor.
  • General Purpose plan to enable ideas to be ‘dreamed up’ (planned!).
  • Pit head sketch plan (Means of Egress) showing all routes out of the mine from all districts and positions of telephones.

Sketches of faults, determination of throw and direction, seam deterioration, isopachytes of thickness of seam, Boreholes underground (sometimes using a mechanical tropari instrument to determine angle and position at various distances) and surface.

Egress Plan

Of course there could be many more plans kept depending upon circumstances at each individual mine.

Plans when necessary were drawn for coal stocks and the calculation of such.

As you can see the Surveyor has a busy job, let alone keeping abreast of all legislation and other instructions passed down the line from time to time.

When I was Surveyor it appeared that anything with a number or distance or height or weight on the Manager’s correspondence, whether it be yards, feet, inches, metres, gallons, pints, water, tons, tonnes or cwts or ‘cubits’ etc ended up on my desk for me to deal with.

Problems in other departments sometimes ended on my desk as well.

Generally speaking most Surveyors are capable of solving the problems that occur at a pit even if it is to work out a gradient or find out how tall a chimney is or how many weeks it will be before a slurry pond is full etc, make various notices, find size of a fault throw etc.

Answer many queries over the phone.

The one major thing for me whilst being a Surveyor throughout all my career was that it was something different every day.

Overtime problems following absenteeism of underground lads caused occasional brushes with the NUM officials who would insist that I was not to deny them the chance to do work at weekends, generally face check lines etc. However the unwritten law was – come to work every day in the week and the chance was there, providing the Undermanager’s budget allowed it.

Have unauthorised time off in the week- no overtime – and I stuck by it, the lads and NUM never won.
The NUM Secretary and President weren’t very pleased when it came to sacking a linesman but I won all my cases.
To go to work and do some underground surveying was easy at Teversal, because no one ever bothered you.
To do similarly at Ollerton was practically impossible for a time, until I sorted them out, because it seemed everybody bothered you. In fact before I went there most jobs were referred to as ‘mission impossible’, with a bag of survey tackle to go with it, called the ‘mish bag’.
However as at all mines, you cannot cater for the unexpected. I was experienced in interaction from other seams, something not needed in a single seam pit, but useful when another seam was worked as I could be one jump ahead and able to inform the Undermanager of some possible bad work – I was usually right.  It came in handy at Ollerton when working Parkgate under Top Hard.
Other jobs such as measuring distortion of arches, gate crush, floor lift, gate convergence, clearances for conveyors, manriders, bunkers etc and of course accidents.
The scene of serious and fatal accidents and major incidents have to be measured up, a plan prepared for the Inspector of Mines after perusal by the Manager and Safety personnel and Union official and any useful witness who could add or substantiate information.
Some of these jobs were ghastly and invariably could be at night or at a weekend.
I measured up the scenes of 5 fatalities at Ollerton (plus 4 at Teversal and assisted at the Sutton Colliery explosion where 5 were injured and died).
There were many reportable accidents and incidents, listed later.
Weekly liaison with Cost clerk re tonnages etc.
One was expected to attend various one day courses occasionally on up-date methods or computers etc.

Personally the two Managers I had at Ollerton from 1971-1986 relied on me to prepare papers and reports on various subjects and to visit other mines or establishments to see new equipment that was to be installed at Ollerton and then write a report on same.
I may have been fortunate in anticipating many problems that could crop up and the information was readily available.
I could count on one hand for each of four Managers who left me alone (Horace Gubbins, George Noble, Dave Rodden and Walter Standage) the number of jobs found in that long period whereas some Surveyors could be found the same number of jobs in one day! I attended a Special Management course for several weeks at The Vache, the NCB Staff College at Chalfont St Giles.
 Form filling was another ‘chore’, sometimes weekly, monthly, quarterly, 6 monthly and yearly.
 It was also necessary to assist other departments such as the Safety department with their forms.
Invariably on every visit to the mine by HMI one would be sent for to answer questions posed by the Inspector for his report, such as face length, seam thickness, depth, gradient, gate sizes, distance and other such information.
Again I would find out where the visit was to and the information would be ready for when the HMI surfaced, instead of having to get the information then. It was usually during lunch break so I was not away too long from the ‘recreation’.
Generally a daily meeting with the Undermanager and Assistant Manager regarding progress etc and continual interruption from the Deputy Manager with some ‘crazy scheme’ when he was not down the pit.
Another job was to give newly appointed personnel (Assistant Undermanagers etc and new young mine officials etc, some being seconded to my department for several months) information and an insight into the surveying part of the mine duties and to accommodate Royal School of Mines and various other students from abroad for practical experience (at one time I had a Greek and a Turk who needed to be parted).
When the weather was fine the extra special jobs away from the colliery could be done such as triangulation work, subsidence levelling, liaison with Surface Superintendent re updating the colliery dirt tips, slurry ponds re life etc.
At Ollerton Ted Hodgson and I had a fantastic rapport and both of us went out of our way to help one another by meeting one another several times a week.
Walter Standage remarked on my leaving that there were only two people he had never had problems with in 13 years. I was one and Ted Hodgson the other.
Of course I also met with most of the other departments but not so often.
Liaison with the Training Officer was also important when it came to staff changes and training etc.
Other special jobs generally during the pit holidays when there was only a small manpower could be shaft work, e.g.
correlation, shaft measuring, pit bottom baselines, major traverses and check levellings, surveying through face lines and such and other jobs underground where daily routine colliery work would interfere.
Later the use of the Gyro-theodolite enabled correlation of the underground workings to the surface to be done in the pit during normal coaling shifts in certain parts of the mine away from activities thereby not taking up valuable shaft time or having to do ‘overtime at weekends’.