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The Decline Of The Industry Continued
After Nationalisation 1947

Book 6

1987 Pages   1     2     3    4    5     6     7     8     9     10     11 

1987 - Page 1

Short-Wall Single Entry Working

At Bevercotes (Nottinghamshire) the Parkgate re-started with the short wall single-entry working in December 1986, as tried at Mansfield and was working quite successfully, however the extreme temperatures caused concern. On a visit to this panel I nearly melted. The system is where a short face is worked on retreat using only one gate road and the ventilation is supplied by fan, however the seam was abandoned in April 1987 due to heat problems. Men had been supplied with salt tablets in the past and everyone drank lots of water.

Coal Industry Act

On 5/3/1987 the Coal Industry Act received Royal Assent decreeing the end of the National Coal Board and the beginning of the British Coal Corporation. I remember attending a meeting of all Colliery Surveyors at Nottinghamshire Area HQ, Edwinstowe, by now in my new job as Senior Surveyor. The meeting was chaired by Tony Caunt, Chief Mining Engineer who outlined the change. It was quite a shock really to us all. As usual with change it invariably affected Surveyors and in this case greatly, more than most, as every plan in use would have to have the National Coal Board title erased and replaced with British Coal, a fairly monumental task, but as usual it was done in a very short time and of course all new plans were titled British Coal. The Corporation bit was not used. 

Development Of A New Seam Abandoned

The High Hazles development entry at Bilsthorpe (Nottinghamshire) was abandoned’ Only drifting was done and was stopped before the seam was reached. The construction of a vertical bunker near the pit bottom began in January 1987

Sutton Investigations

At Sutton a steep 1in1 head up from the Piper to Deep Hard to prove that the Silverhill workings were dry was completed.  This was after boreholes had been drilled up as mentioned previously. This paved the way to work the Piper seam that lay about 12 yards (11m) below.

A borehole was also drilled from Sutton Piper P40s development into Sherwood 104s Deep Hard and water at 60gpm was encountered. (Nottinghamshire). Of course I was involved re SM1 forms etc.

Hucknall Shafts Filled

At Hucknall, Nos 3 and 4 shafts (Nottinghamshire) were filled in February 1987.  Measurements using wire and a pump float which tipped over when it reached the debris and created a circuit determined the amount of fill. The Surveyor then determined whether or not the depth agreed to a predetermined calculation of the amount of stone needed to fill the shaft.  An allowance of only 2% was the agreed figure otherwise filling was to be stopped until an answer was found to determine why there was a difference.  However over the following years experience gained from successive shaft filling would result in virtually no hold-ups whatsoever and calculations and practical work agreeing extremely well. I attended this exercise and participated in the measuring with Gary Blacknell (d 2011) Assistant Surveyor at Hucknall to gain experience which was invaluable later.

Visit by MP and Director to Ollerton

Ollerton miners (Nottinghamshire) achieved a record 6.87 tonnes OMS w.e. 21/2/1987.  David Hunt MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Department of Energy visited 16s Parkgate panel at Ollerton with Albert Wheeler (7349) Director, and Graham Coupe (8911) Manager on 19/3/1987.

Ollerton Colliery Newspaper

First edition of the ‘Ollerton Oller leaflet was issued outlining progress and planning for the colliery. The pit produced a record output of 1,265,831 tonnes for 1986/87. Over 100 men left the colliery on redundancy terms and many were replaced by miners who had been made redundant at Newstead.

However there was an unofficial strike at the pit on Thursday and Friday 23rd and 24th April 1987. Reason?
Average earnings for the year were £52.74 per shift for coal face workers and £47.52 for elsewhere underground.
Most Collieries had there own newspaper updating the workforce on results and ideas.

Rescue Station

Keith R Screen (8939) (Manager at Hucknall) succeeded as District Manager at Mansfield Woodhouse Mines Rescue Station 1987-1993 replacing SJD Fawcett. 

  • Mansfield Woodhouse Superintendent Peter Harley
  • Chesterfield – GAT Burton
  • Ilkeston – G Shields
  • Ashby-de-la-Zouch – E Bonser. General Manager Peter Hallam (4279).



New Productivity Records

94 Pits Produced 99.6 M Tonnes And Exports Of 2.2 M Tonnes

Nottinghamshires 23,000 miners set a new productivity record to top 4 tonnes per man shift for the first time. Silverhill achieved a best of 4.22 tonnes while Mansfield reached 3.75 tonnes a man.  Six of the Area’s pits produced over 1 million tonnes for the financial year.

Conjure Alders Borehole

Conjure Alders borehole used by Thoresby to expel methane gas was now defunct by March 1987 and the Top Hard sealed off and a letter had to be sent to Ron Goosens Chief Geologist re the fill of non-use oil well cement being used.  BP milled out No15 oil bore hole steel casing so far above through the seam and so far below so that workings could advance into the Bothamsall area in safety. The panel was worked successfully.

Collieries Closed In 1987

Watson Avenue, Heanor, (….?) Coombe and Top Hard, Jan.


Chargehand J Wilson was killed in a rock fall on 5th March 1987 at Markham (North Derbyshire).