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The Decline Of The Industry Continued
After Nationalisation 1947

Book 6

1988 Pages   1     2     3     4     5     6     7     8     9     10     11     12  

1988 - Page 11

Future National Mining Museum

Caphouse Mining Museum near Wakefield, Yorkshire opened 6th June 1988.

The old mine would later become the National Mining Museum where surface and underground visits (lasting about 1 hours) down the pit can be made, escorted by ex miners to see all aspects of mining from the pre-Victorian to modern day.

It is connected underground to Hope pit and can be cut off by water if pumping is not continued. Automatic detectors would be put in place for water and gas and ventilation fans. Another outlet is via a steep 1in4 drift to the surface.

The museum is open 7 days a week 10am to 5pm.

Admission £3.50, children aged 5 and above £2.70 and concessions/parties £3.00. However by 2003 the admission charges were dropped and it would be free for everyone.

Trials To Correct Cutting Horizon

At Bolsover (Derbyshire) the Minnovation Epytensic system was on trial. This was where the correct cutting profile to eliminate floor dirt and maintain a constant horizon on the face line. The system involved installing a high pressure water pump into the final drive of the epicyclic gearbox of the shearer and the pistons were charged with low pressure water and moved by an eccentrically mounted roller bearing, and as the piston came to the top dead centre the pressure built up was released into the shearer drum.

Reducing Subsidence Damage

Single entry working was continued at Sherwood (Nottinghamshire) and also extra-wide coal headings to reduce subsidence costs. On a visit there seeing both these ideas on the same day was a great experience. The highest weekly output was 28,600 tons for w.e. 25th June. Week ending 27th August 135s panel produced 14,763 tons (148 shears or 5 miles for an advancing face). The retreat faces were doing 65 yards (60m) a week.

Examples of weekly progress for a normal longwall coal face at Mansfield Colliery can be seen on the wall on Welbeck Road, Mansfield Woodhouse. The system mentioned above was to combat subsidence damage such as this.

Electrical Engineer Died Undergound

Sadly Jack Lyons the Electrical Engineer at Ollerton, (Nottinghamshire) since 1972 succumbed to the extreme heat and collapsed and died on 3s panel Parkgate seam in June 1988. I was deeply upset because Jack and me had a great working relationship whilst I was Surveyor at Ollerton.

UDM Win Damages For Widow

The UDM won large damages for the widow of John Cooper (31) killed at Sherwood in 1980 when he had to step round a motor bed frame on the track and tripped and a was struck by a train of tubs he was walking in front of and suffered multiple injuries when his body was wrapped around the front of the lead vehicle and he died before he left the pit.

Management Changes

On 1st July 1988 Albert Wheeler (7349) Director of Nottinghamshire Area was promoted to Eastwood HQ and succeeded by Len Harris (7388) from Midlands Area, Coleorton, who in turn was succeeded by A (Tony) F Deakin (7903) (Deputy Director Yorks) as Director for Midlands. All were ex Managers and Production Managers at one time in Derbyshire. Mike Goldsby (8208) DCME Planning and Survey also transferred to Eastwood Hall as Assistant to Director of Group Operations and was succeeded by Peter A Chambers (8313) from Eastwood Hall. Roy Stubbs (8193) Area Planning Engineer retired, Eric Spencer was appointed (ex Group Planner S Nottinghamshire).

Terry E Wheatley (8348) Assistant Director East Operations, S Wales was appointed Group General Manager South Wales). Frank Middleton (8180) General Manager Kent Area was appointed Group General Manager North West Group).

Further European Records

On w.e. 9th July 1988 two more European records were broken at Thoresby (North Nottinghamshire), when the output soared to 64,453 tonnes for the week, with 61,718 tonnes from 147s ‘Grand Prix’ retreat face in the 2.3m thick Parkgate seam which retreated 75m or up to 20.2 miles of cutting with an AM17 double-ended shearer, the face panzer had Parsons chain twin inboard 26mm panzer chain. The face was equipped with a Pitcraft chainless haulage and IFS chocks and 400hp gear boxes at each end of the face and a 300hp motor.


A new Coal Preparation Plant was commissioned at Harworth, (North Nottinghamshire) also a mine cooling system (shown in photo).

There was a fatal accident (..?) on the tip, on 6th August 1988.

New Seams

At Rufford (Nottinghamshire) access into the thick combined Yard/Blackshale seam was made at one side of the pit and a Z system panel worked later.

The Yard seam re-entered at Silverhill, (Nottinghamshire) the coal being reached by a cross measures drift on 11th August 1988. It had been worked previously but abandoned due to excess dirt and poor quality

The Blackshale seam was accessed at Shirebrook (Derbyshire). A new medical centre and pit head baths was opened. A low-cost portal framework mono-pitch structure was used.

Coaling In Pit Holidays

Coal production was carried out at Ollerton (Nottinghamshire) in the annual pit holidays using volunteers. It had been muted that there was a shortfall in Area production and ‘every little helps’.

Self Diagnostic Electronic Shaft Signals

Self diagnostic electronic shaft signals and interlocking system at Ollerton (Nottinghamshire) No2 UC, materials and manriding shaft were operational at the end of August. The system works on 8 wires, one cable, compared with the old system where hundreds of wires in multicore cables were used.

6 Day Week Agreed For Asfordby

A framework agreement was agreed by the UDM for the new Asfordby mine (Leicestershire). A six-day working was planned. Flexible holidays for all were also agreed along with the right to represent WPIS members (weekly paid industrial staff). It was proposed to increase the 1,200 capacity pit head baths to 1,400 with the anticipation of the large output envisaged.

West Burton Power Station Open Day

Photo From Wikimedia

An Open Day weekend’ was organised at West Burton Power Station for 10th-11th September 1988 and exhibits of mining equipment were on show. British Coal personnel manned stalls and were on hand to answer queries from the public. Tours of the power station were organised by the generator personnel. I was on a British Coal “stall” offering general information to interested parties.

Flue Gas Desulphurisation (FGD) equipment was used here. All new coal fired power stations have to be fitted with this equipment. Sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxides are major contributors to acid rain. When pulverised coal is burn, the fine ash produced is removed from the flue gas by electrostatic precipitators generally. This resultant ash is used in the building industry to manufacture blocks etc. Limestone / gypsum process requires the importation of large quantities of limestone which reacts with the flue gases to create calcium sulphite.

Open Day At Sutton

On 17th-18th September 1988 there was a successful Open Day at Sutton colliery (Nottinghamshire) where many visitors over the age of 14 enjoyed a visit underground as well as seeing a display of mining machinery etc on the surface.

Ollerton Resignation

The September edition of the ‘Ollerton Oller’ news sheet caused a furore, due to the Manager’s comments (Graham Coupe) about 3s production. Remarks about the sandstone roof and Loader gate water were ill received by the workforce. There had been several serious falls from the treacherous sandstone roof at the Loader gate end and subsequently the roof was bolted before the machine was turned. His remarks about the pool of water ‘where you can get a dip if you get too hot’ was most damaging, as just before the Summer break there was a walk out over water money and conditions, which resulted in a breaking of the dispute procedure. He had complained about the fact that the panel had still not produced 10,000 tonnes in a week after 6 months working. His sarcastic remarks did nothing to help foster relationships between the men and management. Following further meetings with higher management and union officials Graham Coupe (8911) was asked to resign and left his position as Manager of Ollerton Colliery on 16th December 1988. Tim Burke, Deputy Manager (10738) was appointed Manager from 1st January 1989.

UDM Win Compensation Case

A Harworth face worker who lost an eye when a piece of steel flew from another working area several metres away and pierced his eye and despite surgery the eye had to be removed. He received £20,000 from the UDM Personal accident scheme.

Charges for Scientific Department

From October 1988 the Scientific department began charging the collieries on a ‘work done’ basis. Prior to being relocated to Bretby the Scientific HQ for the East Midlands was located off the High Street at Mansfield Woodhouse.

British Coal To Be Privatised

On 12th October 1988 Secretary of State for Energy, Cecil Parkinson MP (Con) announced that British Coal was to be privatised. Also the electricity industry was to be privatised with 12 Electricity Boards.

Town and Country Planning

Town and Country Planning General Development Order 1988 new ‘Authorised site’ mentioned in the planning rules.