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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 2

Newstead Closed After 113 Years

Photo From Shane Phillips Collection

On 19th March 1987, Newstead colliery (Nottinghamshire) sunk in 1873-1874 by the Newstead Colliery Co to the west of Newstead Abbey and 14.5 km northwest of the City of Nottingham, 9 km south west of Mansfield and adjacent to Annesley colliery was closed after 113 years

In 1939 ownership of the colliery was taken over by the Sheepbridge Colliery Co. At its creation the mine was a joint enterprise with Sheepbridge and Staveley companies having equal shares.

Shaft positions: 141 yards (129m) above sea level, SK55SW, No1 shaft 452157, 353139, Permo Trias thickness down to the coal measures was 65’ 2” (19.9m), tubbing having to lag the shafts to keep the water back, High Main seam was at 95½ yards (87.4m), Top Hard at 484 yards (442.5m) and 476 yards (435.2m) to sump and No2 shaft 452112, 353137, Top Hard at 462 yards (422.5m) due to fault passing between shafts, was 494 yards (452m) deep and 499 yards (456.2m) to bottom of sump.

At the time of sinking there was a colliery closure in the Leicestershire Coalfield and men were enticed to the new sinking.

Snibston colliery had problems in 1882 and the men were thrown out of work and they too moved to the Leen Valley pits. The Colliery was unusual in the fact that it was sunk very near to the Annesley shafts that belonged to a rival company.

Underground locos: 2’ 3” gauge 0-4-0 DMF 65hp HE 1956, 0-6-0 DMF 100hp HE 1974.

Seams Worked

  • Top Hard 4’ 3½“, 1874-1955 (up to 5 miles out from pit bottom)
  • Dunsil 1939-1940 poor conditions, 1947-1950, 1955-1956
  • High Main 1948/49/50 4’ 0” (1.22m) thick, initially by partial extraction, then worked by long wall very successfully to 11th July 1983
  • Tupton 1977-1986
  • Low Bright 1953-1954
  • High Hazel 1943-1953
  • High Hazles -1983, then again - June 1987.  Pumping ceased in October.  When the High Main was discontinued, when Kirkby closed in 1968, the surface drift became part of Newstead.  There were also connections to Annesley and Bentinck.

Maximum output 1,266,826 tonnes, 1,316 men in 1969/70
Maximum manpower was 1,448 when 1,053,477 tons was produced in 1972/73
One million tonnes plus of coal was produced at Newstead 16 times from 1957 to 1976 and for many of those years the pit vied against Thoresby for the fastest million tons for the year.

The Old Newstead Colliery Village

Photo From Digital Engagement
Coalmining Representation in the Heritage Sector of the East Midlands
Newstead Colliery – End of an Era – 25th anniversary By: David 28th March 2012

The old Newstead colliery village of pit rows was bordering the colliery pit yard and built to house the workforce by the Newstead Colliery Co. Workshops and stores were built in 1880.

In 1923 the Colliery Welfare club was built and in 1924 additional housing or new village for the 1,200 workforce.

An additional Baum wash box was erected in 1928 to cater for larger coal.

4 more Lancshire boilers were installed in 1931. A total of 20 Lancashire boilers were needed, 15 of them for winding and also for driving the 30 ft dia Guibal fan and 5 for a turbo-generator for producing electricity.

The vertical steam engines with 72” stroke and 40” dia cylinders worked at 65lb / sq inch steam pressure (unusual in the fact that most steam engines were of the horizontal type) were installed in 1894/96 and would last until replaced by electric winders in 1961.

In 1934 conveyors were installed and vibrating loader ends on screens to eliminate breakage as only large coal was needed.

A manhauler some 3½ miles long installed in 1934 also.

Pit head baths for 1,680 men and boys were not built until 1935. All the workforce bathed at home in a tin bath usually at the front of the fire. Their clothes invariably would be hung on the range to dry so as to be ready for the next shift.

Cutters were introduced in 1936, conveyors installed in the gates with loading points for the tubs.

Ponies were now used for supplies and salvage only.

Two drifts from Top Hard up to the High Hazles seam were driven in 1940 and development of the seam began in 1943.

A canteen and medical centre was added in 1942.

2 dry cleaning plants for nuts installed.

In 1946 power loading was introduced in the High Hazles.

No1 UC shaft had a ‘copper top’ airlock, i.e. where the chair lifts a cover at the surface to create a temporary air lock and when the chair descends, the copper top drops back down to the running on level to create an airlock again.

My first visit down that pit in 1956, as part of my training, was with Stan Brunskill, No4 Area Geologist at the time to a borehole site on the old Top Hard paddy road to examine the cores.  As the lid dropped when the cage descended down the shaft from the bank level my helmet went flying upwards off my head with the air pressure change – it was quite a shock as I was not expecting it.

A further experience down the mine was a ride on the tram down the old Top Hard paddy road. The deputy taking us inbye down the incline let the tram go running free and the arresting part when we reached the borehole site was quite exhilarating as he applied the brake and the tram eventually skidded to a halt but not before sparks seemed to be issuing from the back wheels as the tram was slowed down from its full speed. Of course the tram should have been clipped to a haulage rope but this was only used for the outbye journey when it was taken back to the top of the incline. We travelled outbye via the Dunsil roadways to the pit bottom. The Top Hard paddy was installed prior to 1900 and was run inbye and outbye at shift times by rope haulage.

The High Main was developed in 1948 from the shafts by the room and pillar system 1951-1954.

Mechanised longwall was introduced in 1953 mainly by advance method but there were some retreat panels. 

A connection was made into Annesley No1 shaft at High Main seam level in 1953. This was used as a second means of egress from Newstead. A demarcation point was made between the two collieries. The South and North side workings were connected in Dec 1974. The West side working commenced in 1956 and ceased in 1978. The South side workings finished in 1976.

Three roadway connections were made between Kirkby and Newstead.

Notice of discontinuance of the High Main was served on the Senior District Inspector on 5th September 1983.

All surveys prior to July 1949 were to a magnetic meridian established in 1934.

In July 1949, 2 wires were hung in both No1 and No2 shafts and coplaning observations made at surface and Top Hard insets and also at High Main inset at No2 shaft and Weisbach triangle observations were made at High Main inset at No1 shaft.

In 1956 a further correlation was made by having 2 wires in Annesley No1 DC shaft and Newstead No2 DC shaft. In 1983 a check correlation of underground and surface was effected using a Wild GAK 1 Gyro theodolite and a Wild Autoplumb and AGA Geodometer.

Both shafts were 13 ft (3.96m) dia.  Previously 12 cwt tubs were raised at both shafts then later 1 ton tubs prior to the reorganisation of 1957-1958

Face mechanisation was introduced in 1956 and by 1964 all faces were equipped.

A major reorganisation was carried out in 1957 and a new surface airlock was created. 

Underground transport in the High Main was reorganised and a new pit bottom circuit was driven and 3½ ton mine cars for coal transport concentrated at No2 DC shaft were introduced.

Originally 2 x 36ft (11m) dia steam driven Guibal fans (1 standby) were used for ventilation which gave 200,000 cfm at 3” (0.08m) (1877). Twin main ventilating fans were installed and put into operation at the end of 1959.

Dirt was transported at 120 tons per hour to the tip by aerial ropeway installed in 1947 until the 1960s when the tips were re-graded and all dirt was then layered and compacted. Dumpers in lieu of the ropeway were introduced in 1960.

A new inset and airlock at No1 UC shaft together with materials and manriding facilities was created.

New electric winders replaced the original steam engines and No2 shaft winder was commissioned in Sep 1960 for No2 shaft and Sep 1961 for No1 shaft.

Electricity generated by a Scott and Mountain DC generator 110v dynamo was introduced in the early 1890s to light pit bottom (taken down the shaft by 2 insulated cables, protected by wooden casing), pithead and screens and the rows of the pit house where 1d (⅓p) per week was added to the rent, originally lit by gas, produced in the pit yard.

Oil lamps lit the pit bottom. 50hp

Samson Coal cutters and 16 inch (0.40m) wide canvas rubber 10hp drive conveyors which delivered onto portable 5hp gate end loaders were introduced in 1933, replacing the tub stall system of working and by 1946 there were 6 faces working. Stints of about 7 to 9 yards with an undercut of about 5 feet was worked on one shift, cut on another and packed and ripped on another.

Compressed air driven manriders were introduced in 1946, later changed to being electrically operated.

Twin ventilation fans electrically driven were installed in 1959.

A new coal preparation plant was commissioned in 1965 to replace the one built in 1903

Prior to 1957 coal was manhandled onto the cage in 1 ton tubs loaded at a nearby loading point.

A major reorganisation of pit top and pit bottom costing £1.8m carried out during 1957-1958, culminating with 3½ ton mine cars being introduced in 1958.

Power loading had been introduced in 1956/57 with Anderton shearers and then trepanners being used.

A steel-corded trunk conveyor (one of the first in the country) some 2,450 yards (2,240m) long was installed in 1961 with a 400 hp drive, later up rated to 600hp.

The first ROLF face (Remotely operated longwall face) was commissioned in 1963 in the High Main with automated haulage, supports etc in 1964. The photo shows the console with the operator. Face OMS (output per manshift) was 115 cwt in 1956 but it had increased to 214 cwt a man by 1963. In 1964/65 a dense medium coal preparation plant was built. A plant for washing small coal was added in 1973. A second ROLF face was commissioned in 1967 with complete mechanisation at the Airgate end, using a Bretby Meco Ripper.

When Kirkby Colliery closed in 1968 the Kirkby Surface to High Main drift and the High Main workings became part of Newstead Colliery, being used as a second means of egress and ventilation.

In 1969 rapid heading techniques and short retreat faces was introduced. 

A Mining Supplies single strand panzer chain was introduced in 1970 and the first Becorit Plough Packer with a Dosco UTR ripping machine in April 1971. The first fully mechanised advancing coal face with a Dosco ripping machine and Becorit plough packer working at both Loader and Supply gate in the country in 1972, followed by the elimination of both Loader gate and Supply gate stable holes using Mining Supplies Planers. Another first was a BJD In-Web 200hp double-ended shearer introduced in 1974.

The last 4 ponies coming out of the pit on 2 July 1970 being led by Dick Flint. Photo taken by his son Ian Flint, a Deputy at Newstead. At one time around 200 were being used underground on coal haulage and supplies.

Two 2,000m long dipping drifts started from High Main in 1971 at 1in4 dip with level cross cuts about every 400m, were continued from Top Hard to Threequarters seam lying 6m below Tupton in 1975.

High Hazles seam was accessed in the 3rd cross cut.

Laser Beams Were Installed

Laser beams were installed for alignment and grade. This was the first use of lasers in the region in South Nottinghamshire and the roadways were excellent. I went on a visit to see them in situ and also to gather information regarding same as lasers were to be installed by me in the Top Hard to Parkgate drifts at Ollerton in 1976. This was to be the first installation in North Nottinghamshire Area. The Tupton seam was moderately gassy giving off 35,000m3 of methane per week. Methane drainage holes were drilled in the supply gates and connected to 150mm dia Carlton pipes and pumped using 2 Nash Hytor pumps and exhausted safely into the general body of the air in the 3rd cross cut.

Water Became A Problem

Water became a problem in the Tupton seam and conditions of gate crush, pot holes  etc were experienced for the first time at Newstead after having had such good conditions in Top Hard and High Main. Nuisance water was encountered to start with then in April 1981 water issued in quantity from the sandstone rock some 10m above the seam and flooded the working cutting off the ventilation. Emergency pumping scheme put into operation, however the quantity of water persisted so much so that the district was abandoned in June. 

Panels Worked In Tupton By Driving Up From Threequarters Horizon

  • T1s Dec 1976 - June 1981
  • T2s Jan 1978 – Mar 1980
  • T4s June 1980 – Feb 1984
  • T6s Feb 1984 – June 1986. The seam became uneconomic.

Amount of water pumped from the seam between 1976 and 1986 was about 129m gallons using 9 pumps. Total abstraction from High Main seam was 90,252,000 gallons per year. The 3 water lodges remained in use until 21st March 1984 when a stopping was made in the Kirkby Surface drift when pumping ceased from the Kirkby water lodge, Water was allowed to gravitate into Newstead. The drift was abandoned 13th June 1984.