1987 - Page 10
New Seam Development At Bevercotes
In October 1987 a start was made to access the Kents Thick seam by driving drifts at Bevercotes (North Nottinghamshire), as yet an unknown quantity.
Wage Settlement Paid
The second stage of a two-year wage settlement agreed with the UDM was paid from November 1987. The same wage increase would not be paid to NUM members until the end of their overtime ban in March 1988.
Special contracts were now available e.g. building and dismantling machines, special excavations, special or normal haulage work, belt cleaning, belt jointing, rope extensions, track-laying. A lump sum of money was offered after considerations by British Coal and a group of men could decide how many were needed for the task and the money split per hour worked. This led to some men earning up to £1,000.
Hurricane Of The Century
The hurricane storm of the century hit the country on 16th October 1987. It was the worst for 250 years, killed 18 people, and felled 9 million trees, many in the forested areas of the 3 counties. Damage was done at several pits. One of the wooden cooling towers at Ollerton was badly damaged and had to be demolished later. The TV Weather man Michael Fish had ignored a warning from a viewer about the storm and assured people there was not a problem so many were unprepared for it.. How wrong he was and of course he never lived it down.
Water as always was still a problem in the pits, and of course was very expensive to pump, and neighbouring Areas bickered continually over the costs, and who was responsible for it, who would supply the manpower for pumping and maintenance etc, - and this was in a Nationalised Industry, so Lord knows what it was like before, when the mines were managed and owned by private firms. But of course the main reason for pumping water was because of its nuisance value, but above all the danger that it could cause if allowed to build up and cause an inrush with the loss of life!
For example Shirebrook (North Derbyshire) eventually ended up pumping water that had originated from the old New Inn Level sough driven between 1666 and 1754 through the upper Meden Valley down to Hardwick.
Water broke into Teversal (North Nottinghamshire) Top Hard workings from the ancient sough in 1888 and after pumping stopped at Teversal on closure of the pit in 1980 the water passed through Teversal Top Hard, Dunsil and Waterloo workings before passing through a water trap in a purpose-made connection to Pleasley (North Derbyshire) Waterloo in 1980, then down the drift to Pleasley Deep Hard by November 1986 and eventually pumped through to Shirebrook through the connection made in 1983 when Pleasley was merged with Shirebrook (from 1st Jan 1984). Shirebrook was then connected to Warsop (Nottinghamshire pit in N Derbyshire Area) later.
From October 1987 Part II of the Control of Pollution Act 1974 applied to new mine water discharges from October 1986 with existing discharges coming under the Act. This certainly was a headache for British Coal as many discharge points from collieries were already in operation and had been for many years and now it was possible that some of the discharges could be refused permission or have sanctions imposed. The watercourses concerned were the
- Babbington (South Nottinghamshire) 290 million gallons at 560 g.p.m. (gallons per minute)
- Blackwell A Winning (North Derbyshire) about 340m gallons was pumped during the year at 650 g.p.m. (gallons per minute)
- Creswell (North Derbyshire pit in North Nottinghamshire Area) 120 million gallons
- Langwith (North Derbyshire) 16 million gallons at 30 g.p.m. (gallons per minute)
- Langton (North Derbyshire) 245 million gallons at 470 g.p.m. (gallons per minute)
- Moorgreen and Pye Hill (South Nottinghamshire) 225 million gallons at 430 g.p.m. (gallons per minute)
- Morton (North Derbyshire) 320 million gallons at 605 g.p.m. (gallons per minute)
- Oxcroft (North Derbyshire) 22 million gallons at 40 g.p.m. (gallons per minute)
- Williamthorpe (North Derbyshire) 600 million gallons at 1,150 g.p.m. (gallons per minute)
- Shipley Woodside (North Derbyshire) lying at the base with the greatest amount at around 1¼ billion gallons at about 2,400 g.p.m. (gallons per minute) collected from about 20 old mines.
- River Erewash (for Bentinck, about 200 g.p.m. (gallons per minute)
- Bailey’s Dyke (for Harworth (North Nottinghamshire) – 40 g.p.m. (gallons per minute),
- Boughton Dyke to River Maun (for Ollerton (North Nottinghamshire) – 30 g.p.m. (gallons per minute)
- Doe Lea (North Derbyshire) – (Heath pit – to River Rother)
- Tinkers Leen (for Annesley (South Nottinghamshire) – 1,600 g.p.m. (gallons per minute)
- Maun (for Sherwood (North Nottinghamshire) – 10 g.p.m. (gallons per minute)
- Thoresby (North Nottinghamshire) – 50 g.p.m. (gallons per minute)
- Meden (for Silverhill (North Nottinghamshire) – 25 g.p.m. (gallons per minute)
- Sutton (Mary Ann well above Top Hard inset) – 50 g.p.m. (gallons per minute)
- Bevercotes (North Nottinghamshire) – 20 g.p.m. (gallons per minute)
- Millwood Brook, Creswell Crags (for Creswell (Derbyshire) – 255 g.p.m. (gallons per minute)
- Gallow Hole Dyke tributary to River Maun (for Bilsthorpe (North Nottinghamshire) – 10 g.p.m. (gallons per minute)
- Grantham Canal (for Cotgrave (South Nottinghamshire) – less than 5 g.p.m. (gallons per minute)
- Ouse Dyke (for Gedling (South Nottinghamshire) – 10 g.p.m. (gallons per minute)
- Poulter (for Langwith (North Derbyshire), only from 1st Nov – 1st May after being aerated)
- Rainworth Water (for Rufford (North Nottinghamshire) – 5 g.p.m. (gallons per minute),
- A sewer (for Clipstone – 10 g.p.m. (gallons per minute) etc mainly in the Severn Trent catchment area and there were many more in North Derbyshire in the Ouse catchment area.
The Water Authority needed to determine what constituents were in the mine waters already being discharged into water courses and any new ones contemplated. For example Blidworth and Welbeck (North Nottinghamshire) had never discharged water at the surface as it was always drained into old abandoned dip workings. Calverton (South Nottinghamshire) discharged water to ground, there being no water course nearby. At Langwith (North Derbyshire), pumping station built by North Nottinghamshire team, discharge was only allowed for 6 months in the year. The constituents concerned were suspended solids, which could settle or be abrasive if in a fast water flow; iron compounds in the coal such as pyrites oxidise when exposed to air causing the water to turn ‘red’ and needed to be aerated by cascade or settling lagoons before discharge; salts which are dissolved in the water make it highly saline and toxic and it is very expensive to remove; most mine waters are also acidic and need alkali additives to accelerate the natural process of the water course; chloride in the coal gives rise to ammonia which is toxic to fish life among other things; another consideration was the amount to be discharged which could cause a variety of conditions or problems downstream. The River Rother was a major watercourse in North Derbyshire.
Another water problem is the abstraction of water for colliery use as in the Water Act 1945 –
Asfordby Transferred To Nottinghamshire Area
From 1st November 1987 the Asfordby mine in North West Leicestershire was transferred to the newly formed Nottinghamshire Area administration. The large diameter shafts were sunk to 563 yards (515m) and 533 yards (487m), the second shaft having to stop short due to extreme hard volcanic rock, a volcanic plug. Again, the same mistake had been made as at Bevercotes where a borehole drilled on the shaft positions would have proved the strata beforehand! A special freezing process of the strata was used in the shafts. The Deep Main seam was at 440 yards (402m) deep. Calculations gave estimates for reserves at 55m tonnes of Deep Main seam, around 65m tonnes of Parkgate and around 30m tonnes of Blackshale. 26 tonnes capacity skips were installed in the shaft with counterweights to facilitate separate winding with skips in the same shaft. Twin towers at 57 yards (52m) and 51 yards (47m) dominated the skyline. A modified AS RH 1/4 heading machine was used with the 18’ 4” (5.6m) internal dia concrete roadway supports at 2 feet (0.6m) c/c and the roadway was grouted behind it.
The temporary winding headgear and engine is shown
Warsop And Shirebrook Connection
The connection between Warsop (Nottinghamshire pit in North Derbyshire Area, British Coal) and Shirebrook (North Derbyshire) using circular steel arches, and grouted behind, was excavated by a DRCL MkIIA machine. Up to November 1987, around 220 yards (200m) of drivage and 655 yards (600m) of repair had been done from the Warsop side and 655 yards (600m) of drivage and 328 yards (300m) of repair work from the Shirebrook side, with a best advance of 41½ yards (38m) in a week.
No1 shaft at Rufford (Nottinghamshire) was abandoned in November 1987 and also the shafts were filled at the closed Newstead colliery (Nottinghamshire) in December 1987, which then relieved me of my temporary position as Surveyor for the Mine.
There were now only 102 pits in the UK employing 103,000 men and boys; however the output per man per year had escalated to 786 tonnes, basically because all coal was now produced by machine. Long gone now, were the days of the ‘pick and shovel’.
Computerisation of Plans and Engineering Drawings
Computer work continued with a PC1640 machine and among other things, support rule plans were produced by the Surveyor at Thoresby (North Nottinghamshire), whereas at Calverton (South Nottinghamshire), the first pit to have a computer, the Surveyor there continued to produce notices as well as developing plans. Being as I knew nothing about computers at that time Mike Goldsby (8208) Deputy Chief Mining Engineer gave me the job of reporting to him periodically the progress of the systems. He knew nothing either so he thought we would see it from the ‘other side’ and not the ‘hands on side’.
There was a further computer to produce engineering drawings at Edwinstowe HQ that was put into operation but I had no dealings with that.
An In-seam miner was put to work in the wide headings at Sherwood. Again I saw these headings on the visit there.
Interaction And Subsidence
Interaction was experienced on Sherwood 134s Deep Hard / Piper face from a Deep Soft panel at Shirebrook. Damage was also done to British Rail lines and Sherwood shaft pillar (Nottinghamshire).
Further movement was noticed in Ollerton (Nottinghamshire) No1 pit bottom roadway and also in the shaft. The shaft pillar to protect the shafts was riddled with roadways as seen. More than likely further settlement following was do to excavations done for the Parkgate drifts 1976 – 1988. As noted on the sinking record a large fault passed through the shaft and caused problems in the No2 pit bottom drivages way back in 1925. The office slit between the 2 shafts began falling in in the early 1980s and was sealed off at both ends.
Ollerton Shaft Plan