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The Decline Of The Industry Continued
After Nationalisation 1947

Book 6

1989 Pages   1     2     3     4     5     6     7     8     9     10  
      11     12     13     14     15     16     17     18     19      

1989 - Page 9

Ollerton Rexco Plant Closed

The Rexco smokeless fuel plant adjacent to Ollerton colliery was closed. Another market for Ollerton coal had disappeared. Coal Products Ltd sold their interest in Staveley Chemicals (Holdings) Ltd.

More Investment Into Asfordby

Another £50 million was to be invested in the Asfordby mine during the financial year adding to the £471 million project started 4 years ago. Before coal production can begin in late 1991 21 kilometres of underground roadway need to be driven. This year 1,000 metres will be completed.

Clipstone Top of Safety League

Clipstone Colliery was hailed top of the National Safety League for the second time in 4 years. British Coals national underground safety competition is open to every pit in the country and a prize of 600 was gained to spend on pit safety promotion.

New Dust Monitoring System

Laser trials for a new dust monitoring system have been set up. The Health and Safety Executives Research Division and Revel Engineering have developed the new system. The new system will allow dust samples results in 10 minutes instead of days as at present. Dust is drawn into a chamber illuminated by a laser light beam. The light scatters a proportion of the light in much the same way as dust motes dancing in a shaft of sunlight. The amount of scatter is directly related to the dustiness of the air and this reading can be relayed back to a monitoring station in a pit control room. The cost of setting up such a worthwhile system is just about £10,000.

Sutton Colliery Closed August 1989

Sutton Colliery (Nottinghamshire) sunk in 1873-1874 off Rooley Lane (now Brand Lane) at Stanton Hill to Top Hard at 200 yards (183m) as New Skegby, then Brierley Hill until 1896 was working the Piper seam and also a very steep face about 1in2 in the Deep Hard at closure working on the Brimington anticline. The colliery was closed on 11th August 1989 after 115 years. Shaft positions: SK46SE, No1 shaft E448338, N360160, No2 shaft E448369, N360179. 448 yards (410m) deep. Surface was 567.5 feet (173m) above sea level.

Seams Worked: Since sinking:-

  • Top Hard top bright coal 1 ft (0.30m ), hard roof 3” (0.08m), smooth hards 8” (0.20m), best hards 1’ 6” (0.47m), bottom brights 1’ 2” (0.37m), sloam 4” (0.11m), total 5’ 0” (1.53m ), at 201 yards (184m) deep, ave worked 4ft 10in (1.49m) 1874-1887, re-opened 1889-1925
  • Dunsil accessed by drifts 1876-1894 and re-opened 1896-1916 (top brights 11” (0.28m), spires 1’ 5” (0.43m), bottom brights 8” (0.20m), bat 3” (0.08m), fireclay 10” (0.27m), total 4’ 1” (1.26m)
  • Low Main (Tupton) 1897 / 1898 abandoned 9 Jan 1981
  • Deep Hard 1899-1949 / 1950, ?-21 / 10 / 1960 and 1974 / 1975-1977 / 1978, 1983 28 / 8 / 1989
  • Piper 3 feet (0.91m) thick 1923-1942, re-opened 1947-1958, 1967 - 1968, 1971 - 1972 and 1978 - 1979 - 25 Aug 1989
  • Threequarter heads 1957.

In 1943 an inset was constructed in the UC shaft to develop the Piper seam, knowing that the Deep Hard and Low Main seam workings were almost exhausted to the South West area.

At March 1975 the Low Main coal was conveyed to a central mine car loading station in No2 DC pit bottom at the Low Main horizon. (Note that the shaft numbers are opposite to the vast majority of mines where No1 shaft is usually the DC (downcast). 3 ton capacity cars were wound to the surface at No2 at a max of 240 tons ROM per hour by means of a 2 deck cage with one mine car on each deck. This shaft had a 2,500hp ground mounted electric winder, with double parallel drums, one clutched. No1 UC shaft had a 350hp AC winder and one ton tubs were carried, one on each deck. Manriding and materials were transported in this shaft also. Methane drainage practiced on all panels, the gas being dispersed into the general body of the air stream in the return gates.

Ventilation main fan 103” (2.61m) dia double-inlet, backward aerofoil bladed Davidson fan driven by 350hp motor, capable of 230,000 cu ft per min at 9.6” water gauge. Standby fan also a Davidson, multi-vane Sirocco diesel fan capable of 100,000 cfm at 5” w.g. (water gauge).

The axis of the Brimington anticline crosses the take, approximately mile to the North of the shafts, giving gradients of app 1in6 to the North East and app 1in2 to the South East.

John Dodsley sank the colliery originally, as New Skegby colliery (Skegby Colliery Brick and Lime Co) off Occupational Lane or later referred to as Brand Lane, leading to Rooley Bottoms, app 1.75 miles to the west of the centre of Sutton-in-Ashfield. The estate belonged to RMEW Dodsley.

The colliery was taken over by the New Skegby Colliery Co, then renamed Brierley Hill colliery in 1874. It was subsequently managed by the Sutton Colliery Co who renamed it Sutton colliery in 1888, and then it was purchased by the Blackwell Colliery Co in 1899. However to the locals it was always referred to as Brierley, Brily, Briery or the ‘Bread and Herring’ pit.

Three rows of houses were built for the workforce including one called Deputy’s row, off Carsic Lane (opposite to the later Percival Crescent). It was referred to as Packy’s Puzzle, by all accounts due to the fact that when the Tally man (carrying his goods in packs?) called for his weekly payment for goods previously bought, as the houses were joined, a system of signalling went along from the first house to the last, and the Tally man invariably could never get anyone to answer the door, thereby never collecting his money that week, so it became a ‘puzzle’ as to why. In 1895 a 20 feet (6m) dia Walker ventilating fan was installed.

An electrically operated coal-cutting machine (probably similar to the one shown) was successfully installed in the Top Hard Dips district in 1896, however there was a dispute over the fixing of price rates for machine cut coal in March and there was a strike lasting 17 weeks after all the men came out in sympathy, negotiations unacceptable, then the company threatened to close the pit and the pit was only reopened in 1898 in June with the new price operational, when the 9 feet (2.74m) dia shafts had been widened to 14 feet (4.27m) dia and the East shaft deepened to below Low Main at 465 yards (425m) and No1 UC to Deep Hard at 392 yards (359m) and both seams developed.

At the same time the wooden headgears were changed to steel lattice. A magnetic correlation of the workings was carried out 9th May 1887 by WH Sankey, and a precise magnetic correlation of the workings was carried out from Nov 1945 to Apr 1946, a rather old fashioned system at this date.

Further correlations of the workings were carried out in the mid 1950s using the Weisbach system of wires down the shafts (and on one occasion clamping of the wires in their most probable best position was tried. I remember it well, lying on a heap of overspill coal and dirt in the bottom of the sump, assisting Jack Brown the Surveyor, watching the piano wires oscillating for hours on end along scales fixed up in both directions, making notes of maximum swings, until we were sure of the mean positions. We must have got it right because the correlation was very successful).

The dirt was transported up the tip by overhead bucket system and later by dump trucks and scrapers where along with all collieries following the Aberfan disaster of 1966 dirt disposal was by layering and compaction.

Coke ovens were on the site also for many years.

Surface locos 4’ 8” gauge:

  • Raven 0-4-0WT 1913
  • Miller (Annesley) No3 0-6-0ST 1907, rebuilt 1921
  • Annesley No1 0-6-0ST 1931
  • 0-4-0ST 1926
  • Carnarvon 0-6-0ST 1901
  • Devonshire 0-6-0ST 1900
  • Bentinck No1 0-4-0ST 1900
  • Progress 0-4-0ST 1907
  • No5 0-6-0ST 1895
  • BC55 0-4-0ST 1942
  • RNCF No3 0-4-0ST 1925
  • Lo / 62 / ML 0-4-0DH 1962
  • Balmoral Castle 4wVBT 1950
  • D17 4wDH 1968
  • D18 4wDH 1968
  • D12 4wDH 1966
  • Brierley 0-6-0DH 1963.

Underground locos 1’ 10” gauge:

  • 4wBEF 1975, rebuilt 1982
  • 4wBEF 1985.

A very frugal pit in many ways, even to using portable hand wound haulage equipment on a tram, very few haulages in supply gates. A major reorganisation was completed in August 1958 that provided replacement pit top and pit bottom arrangements.

The steam winders were replaced by electric motors, 1,864Kw at No2 coal shaft in 1958 and 261 Kw at No1 UC shaft. In the 1920s and 1930s my Uncle Jack’s father Bernal Osborne was a winder at the pit and in those days it was a highly respected job.

3 ton mine cars were installed at No2 shaft on 2 decks.

Pit-head baths and canteen had been opened in Aug 1955 and pit ponies dispensed with shortly afterwards.

Due to diabolical low conditions in the gates timber draggers were employed to get supplies to the faces. If they were late it was not unknown for a cambered girder back up the gate to be taken out and set at the front lip thereby leaving a heap of continuing ‘bitting’ roof beneath the gap in the supports. I’ve seen the rippers do it!

A new stores compound was constructed in 1961 and a new Stores building opened in 1962.

A new surface Loco shed was opened in the same year.

An emergency connection road drift through from Piper level at Silverhill to Sutton Deep Hard at 1in4 and demarcation point was made after Aug 1967.