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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 8

Personal Accident Insurance

The UDM launched a unique personal accident insurance scheme, the best of its kind in the British mining industry. For just £1 per week a UDM member can cover themselves and their families for up to £30,000 worth of proptection from accidental death, serious injury or hospitalisation, 24/7. The policy scheme is based on the purchase of units and for example two 25p units buys £30,000 worth of cover for the spouse and all dependent childrenunder 18.By the end of its first year in June 1988 over 8,000 UDM members would have joined.

Conjure Alders Borehole

In the past a surface borehole had been drilled to Thoresby Top Hard workings at Conjure Alders near Bothamsall to exhaust methane gas from the workings. This is the place where the Rivers Meden and Maun meet and split again after a few metres into their respective rivers again. It is a very rare occurrence. The hole was to be filled and the pump house demolished during the next year following the cessation of working in that area. It was necessary to inform the Rivers Authority.

Radon Gas

Radon a naturally occurring radio-active gas is known to exist in the ground and can seep out of the strata and into buildings via the foundations (mainly through limestone). It is chemically inert and cannot be detected by human senses. It is readily dissolved in water but rapidly released after contact with air. Radon formed as a result of radio-active decay of Uranium 238 and Thorium 232 which is present in the coal bearing measures strata.  According to the scientists Uranium 238 decays into Radon 220 or Thoron which has a short half-life (the time taken for radio-activity to fall by half). Radon 222 a gas that decays through a series of products known as Radon Daughters which are chemically active participates. These Radon Daughters at low levels in mine air attach to airborne dust and the gas can increase in an enclosed space and can be collected on the particles of dust at booster fans by cloths, as was done at Thoresby.

I gave a small presentation on the subject at a Production Manager’s monthly meeting at Thoresby, chaired by David Crisp.

The Ionising Radio-active Regulations 1985.  High concentrations of Radon Daughters are associated with reduced ventilation rates and / or broken ground.  Salvage districts are a likely source.

Proposed Extension To Welbeck Tip

A Public meeting was held at Warsop Church Hall regarding the proposal to extend Welbeck tipping area to within a few hundred metres of housing met with strong opposition; however the project would go ahead. As Senior Surveyor, I was a representaive of the HQ Survey Department in attendance to answer any questions should they arise.

Open Day at Harworth

There was a successful Open day at Harworth on 15th August 1987.  Many of the visitors and most from the village of Bircotes who had miners in the family were astounded at the size of the complex although living near to it, as well as the depth and heat of the shaft.
However during the following week there was an industrial dispute by workers in the Haigh Moor seam workings. 

There had been a threat by British Coal in July to withdraw investment if the miners did not work a 6 day week.  However the UDM President Roy Lynk thought it was a bluff, as Harworth had so much to offer.  However the Haigh Moor seam at the colliery was abandoned.  A similar threat had been aimed at Cotgrave.

Rescue Station

Terry T Clark (9950) was appointed Assistant Operations Director at Mansfield Woodhouse Mines Rescue Station 1987-1991.

Water Arrived At Bentinck Water Lodge

Water from the disused Pye Hill/Moorgreen Collieries arrived at the Bentinck - Moorgreen connection (South Nottinghamshire).

Skip Installation At Blidworth

A £2.8m skip installation was completed at Blidworth (N Nottinghamshire) during a 3 week summer holiday break in 1987. The previous method of raising coal was in huge 7 ton capacity mine cars.

Senior Staff Appointments

July 1987:

  • Terry E Wheatley (8348) (Production Manager Nottinghamshire Area appointed Assistant Director (East Operations, South Wales Area)
  •  Brian C Wright (9913) (Production Manager appointed DCME (Operations) Nottinghamshire Area)
  •  David S Crisp (9601) (Manager Cotgrave appointed Production Manager Nottinghamshire Area)
  •  Brian R Turner (9654) (Manager Blidworth appointed Production Manager Nottinghamshire Area).

Rufford Shaft Fill Problem
Rufford Colliery
Malcolm Roebuck - Rufford Colliery - I do not have any information on this photo, it was given to me by the late Mick Baggaley, He is the man kneeling on the right.

On 21st August 1987 whilst shaft filling operations were in progress at the defunct Rufford No1 5.49m diameter shaft (in the background), the filling material perforated the shaft tubbing and water began to fill the shaft from the bunter sandstone.  The Rescue Team from Mansfield Woodhouse operated the emergency winder and 2 shaftsmen eventually plugged the holes with oak pieces and shaft filling operations continued. Pumping was re-established underground. An emergency meeting was called to assess the situation and Colliery Surveyor, Andy L Wells (5934), and Robert (Bob) Bradley ** (4381), Senior Surveyor, monitored operations until the water had been pumped clear and shaft filling completed. The shaft was abandoned in November 1987. (see full report)
Industrial Anarchy

On 25th August 1987 Arthur Scargill President of the NUM warned British Coal Chairman Sir Robert Haslam that the new disciplinary code would lead to ‘industrial anarchy’, and added that possibly someone in the Government appeared to want a further confrontation.  However Sir Robert warned that any industrial action would dent customer confidence and further jobs could be lost.

Stealing from Pithead Baths at Rufford

There was a spate of stealing from the pithead baths at Rufford (Nottinghamshire) in September 1987 and it was agreed between management and unions that anyone caught stealing would be sacked on the spot.

Machines Installed

On Rufford 208s panel at the pit in the thick Yard/Blackshale seam, a Joy Continuous miner and a Perard Torque Tension double boom drilling rig and a Dosco MkIIA cutter loader machine installed. Tell tales, i.e. wires attached to the roof bolts were monitored to see how much the roof was lowering.  Various colours of wire were used to indicate certain amounts of lowering of the strata.

Large Face Fall

There was a large face fall at Shirebrook (Derbyshire) hampering production.  This was a fairly regular occurrence. Fortunately no one was injured.

Cyclo Hauler

At Warsop Main materials and men were transported using 2 car radio-controlled cyclo hauler. However at times it was unreliable.

Charlie Shadbolt and Subsidence

In August 1987 (Dr) Charlie H Shadbolt (2499) ARICS Consulting Mining Engineer and former Chief Subsidence Engineer for the NCB gained a PhD. He was Surveyor at Annesley then Kirkby (Nottinghamshire) in the 1950s before leading the Subsidence department. His work on catenary measuring in the 1950s spread to many pits and in my career I was deeply indebted to him as it was a system that I always used and it was fairly quick, extremely accurate and easy using a steel measuring band suspended between 2 tripods and having a predetermined tension at one end usually of 20 lbs and it did not require grovelling about on the floor and finding bits of wood or a stone to support the steel band whilst carrying out precise accurate measuring by the old fashioned bay levelling method.

On the subject of subsidence, a panel from Bevercotes (Nottinghamshire) was working under Gamston Aerodrome, so close checks were being kept to ensure there was no danger to aircraft when landing or taking off. A Parish Council meeting was held one evening to discuss the matter of subsidence under the village. Again I was in attendance as Senior Surveyor. Note all these meetings were in the evenings so even at HQ ‘unpaid overtime’ was made.

Celcon Blocks

Celcon blocks were used for the first time at Whitwell Clowne seam face ends as a substitute for wood blocks (North Derbyshire).