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The Decline Of The Industry Continued
After Nationalisation 1947

Book 6

1990 Pages   1     2     3     4     5     6     7     8     9  

1990 - Page 5

Shireoaks / Steetley Closed After 130 Years

Collieries Closed in 1990

On 26th May 1990 the combined mine of Shireoaks, (Nottinghamshire pit managed by Yorkshire Area) sunk 1854-1860 by the Duke of Newcastle, and Steetley, (Derbyshire) sunk in 1876 as Steetly Wood to 590 yards (540m) by the Shireoaks Colliery Co was closed after 130 years.

Shaft positions: SK58SE -

  • Shireoaks No1 shaft 194.8 feet (59.4m) above sea level, depth 529 yards (483.7m), 383.7m to seam, 43/5580/874922
  • No2 shaft 43/5580/833920.

Shireoaks the most northerly pit in Nottinghamshire was a difficult sinking taking 6 years due to the water ingress and in Feb 1859 the sinkers refused to work due to the bad conditions. It was called Newcastle pit for a time. There was an incident on Tuesday 14/7/1897 at 11.30am when a cage with tubs of coal going up the shaft snagged with the chains of the cage going down the shaft and the conductors were steel ropes not rigid wooden guides, and the cage hurtled 520 yards (475.5m) down the shaft as the chains broke, but no injuries were reported.

The Shireoaks Colliery Co Ltd took over from 1 January 1865. There was a gasworks, electric generator, workshops, wagon works, brick yard and iron and brass foundry on the site. Housing for the miners was built nearby.

From 1945-1947 the pits were owned by the United Steel Co.

Steetley Colliery by Peter Watson
Painting Found At BBC, Your Paintings

Position for Steetley shaft, SK57NE, 455203, 3878476. This mine was administered as part of South Yorkshire Area, although Shireoaks is in Nottinghamshire and Steetley in Derbyshire, but straddling the Derbyshire/Nottinghamshire border.

It is said that the first two loads of Top Hard coal were delivered to the Hall in Clumber Park by horse and cart.

Harry Crofts (Shireoaks No3 or Anston colliery) was ill fated from the start by poor geology. It was sunk 1924/26 to Top Hard at 488 yards (446m) and production began in Aug 1928 but stopped in 10th Aug 1929, however the single shaft was used until 1931. The shaft was re-opened and used for ventilation for Shireoaks again in 1951, and shared the shaft with Kiveton Park 1957-1970 but was capped off temporarily due to water ingress in 1970s and finally capped in May 2002.

Concessionary coal for the miners was charged at 5s (25p) per 12 loads a year and widows were entitled to 6 tons.

An underground heating in 1953 was causing concern and a new method to try to extinguish it was tried. Solid blocks of carbon dioxide (CO2) were taken into the mine where the coal was on fire, to try to smother it but the system failed and the district had to be sealed off by traditional method of brick walls and concrete, to prevent oxygen getting to the site.

Electric winders were installed in 1957. Shireoaks pit was the first to have a pilot scheme for free work wear in 1978.

There was a family of 5 Morris brothers and their father worked at Shireoaks.

Seams worked
Top Hard 3’ 8” (1.12m) coal, 2” (0.05m) batt, 2” (0.05m) coal 1860-1/1/1960, Sough or Two Foot Blackshale roof, coal 2’ 3”, floor stoney warrant.

A small area of Sough coal seam had been worked round the shafts in 1863.

A time book was found underground when re-entering the seam from the shaft at the end of June 1951 indicating that working was taking place in 1863. At the time the seam was called Furnace coal.

For Shireoaks/Steetley Clowne 2’ 11” (0.88m) coal 1954-3/5/1990, at 345yards (315m) deep was in close proximity to the Oaks Rock aquifer (49 yards or 45m above), High Hazel -1986.

An adit by the side of the Chesterfield Canal started in 1978 and costing £9.5m was equipped with a cable belt capable of 1,250 tonnes per hour and manriding. It was driven at 1in3.9 for 1,585 yards (1,450m) plus 80 yards (73m) to the Clowne, 1,665 yards (1520m). 480 million litres of water per year from the Mexborough Rock was pumped into the canal.

The collieries were merged, on 27th March 1983, when NCB Chairman Norman Siddall visited the mine and was renamed Shireoaks / Steetley.

Position of Steetley No1 shaft at 15ft (4.57m) diameter, 43/5578/200478.

On abandonment, a concrete plug was inserted in the shaft.

The Top Hard at Shireoaks was worked for 100 years. 123 acres 0 poles 39 perches were worked in the Hard mine up to 31/3/1864. By 1861 over 300 tons a day was being raised, all worked by pick and shovel.

The Prince of Wales had visited Shireoaks colliery in 1861 but had declined to go underground.

60 terraced houses were built at Shireoaks for the workforce and referred to as Tub Row. A new village called Rhodesia near Worksop was built later for the workforce at both Shireoaks and Steetley.

In 1930/31 the tubbing in No2 shaft was found to be corroded and leaking and a cement lining was injected, immediately prior to the changeover from furnace ventilation giving 125,000 cfm on 13th Oct 1931 the temperature in the shaft was 130F to fan ventilation. The new surface fan produced 160,000 cfm and dropped the temperature to 70F.

Two ironstone mine shafts are nearby and are 8’ 6” (2.6m) dia and around 80 yards (73m) deep and were purchased from a Mr Dawes for £700.

Coal was also transported by barge on the Chesterfield Canal until the 1950s.

The first trepanner coal cutting machine was installed in 1955 in the newly opened Clowne seam.

A new coal prep plant was erected in 1974-1976 to deal with the output of around 450,000 tonnes, the coal being wound in mine cars.

A pneumatic stower blower was built in the 12 feet (3.65m) dia No1 shaft to increase the output.

The tonnage did increase and in May 1988 the weekly output record was broken by 800 tonnes to 17,617 tonnes.