1991 - Page 6
Gedling Closed After 89 Years
- Continued -
Unlike many Colliery Companies no houses were built for the workforce other than a few for Management and Officials as the Digby Colliery Co thought that the pit being near to Nottingham adequate and sufficient housing was available. Post Second World War it was realised that housing had to be made available for the workforce and an estate was built opposite the pit on the steep slope using the quick building method with concrete sections leading to its name 'Concrete Canyon'. In January 1953 a bakery was established in an extension to the pit canteen and bread and pies were supplied to around 11,000 customers.
Coal plough introduced in the T section of the Low Hazel in 1956. The panzer (Panzerforderer) or armoured face conveyor loaded the coal.and German friction props and w bars from hand filling faces were replaced with Dowty hydraulic props with 'cabbage heads' and tubular bars supported the roof. Unfortunately mixed results were obtained due to the rope-hauled machine digging into the soft floor and also the inability of the machine to burst off hard parts of the seam. An Anderton Shearer was installed in the Top Hard seam.
In the Low Hazel 2 x 50hp Thompson slusher buckets for ripping dirt were used in conjunction with sliding arches over the slushing area. (named after the Manager George Thompson?).
A new canteen was built during the tenure of George Thompson and included a licensed bar.
There were no connections to any other mine. Ponies were used for transport of coal and materials in the past and there were 2 sets of stables underground. About a dozen ponies were still being used in 1970 on materials and was one of the last pits in South Nottinghamshire Area along with Bentinck and New Hucknall to dispense with them. The last 3 to be released from underground work were Blackie, Short and Starr around the end of 1970.
After attempting to develop the Low Bright and finding poor conditions and with the High Hazles reserves running out, the decision was made to close the pit.
It also meant the end of the only electric 25mph high-speed 550v DC overhead trolley manriding / materials locomotive installed in 1983, and Norman Siddall, Chairman of NCB and ex Sub Area Manager for Gedling attended the opening (see photo, Alan Beales is in the background in the centre).
It had proved a great success when a new roadway was driven Jan 1978-Mar 1979 by Prototype MkIII Dosco, installed Apr 1979.
FLP laser beam installed for alignment and grade. Materials were then transported inbye by diesel loco following shunting by pony locos.
Endless rope haulage was used up the panel gates and 2 speed engines were able to transport men up some of the tail gates.
Further manriding was facilitated by 2 way manriding conveyors and outbye manriding on panel gate belts with properly designed getting on and getting off platforms.
Previously existing 100hp 30 year old diesel locos travelled at 10mph.
Output for the year 1990-1991 was 578,000 tonnes. The coal prep plant had a throughput of 500 tonnes per hour of run of mine material. Some of the coal on occasion was still picked by hand.
Gedling Picking Table
The dirt tip was one of the largest, if not the largest in the county. There were two separate overhead dirt bucket hoists before the colliery waste was transported to a bunker by conveyor then by dump trucks and spread by bulldozer and compacted by 4 x TS24 scrapers.
Wet slurry was pumped app 4.5km to a lagoon site at Stoke Bardolph where the slurry was tipped into disused gravel pits with capacity increased by constructing and raising lagoon banks. A coal wharf was situated on Mapperley Plain, the wagons being hauled up by rope haulage. The surface manpower was also one of the largest at 558 men in 1923. In 1903 there was a steam locomotive named Catherine No1.
New Offices, Canteen and Pithead baths in 1959 with personal lockers for clean and dirty side replaced the old fashioned one opened in 1942 where ones clothes were hoisted into the roof space by a rope. The old bath house was used as a store place afterwards. A new self service lamp room was opened in 1960.
A support pillar had to be left for Mapperley railway tunnel but damage to the tunnel caused the line to be closed in 1960 so all coal traffic then had to go south to the main line connections at Netherfield.
An Anderton shearer was installed on a Top Hard face in 1956c. The results were so good that Tommy Wright (3048) APM No4 Area ordered 6 for that Area. One was installed at Kirkby and Teversal had one also in 1957. A low-seam one was ordered for Radford also.
An Atlas Copco loading machine was installed in 1961.
A first aid carriage was attached to the paddy cars on a manrider in 1962.
A new fan and evaseé was built in 1963.
A new Landsale and rail bridge were operational in 1964.
At one time the cable belt was probably one of the longest in the country.
In 1970 the steam winders were replaced by electric ones recovered from a closed pit in Scotland.
No1 DC shaft had 10 tonnes skips giving 520 tons an hour in 1975. These replaced the tub system.
£10m was invested in the mine in the 1980s to improve efficiency.
In 1982 two tunnels linked up during the summer, when Dosco road headers completed some 3,000m of drivage and met on a 1in25 grade on a bend, a truly excellent surveying achievement. It was part of a £6m scheme to uprate the colliery.
The skips were changed for larger capacity ones in 1985 and a 1,000 tonnes run of mine bunker installed on the surface to prevent overloading of the coal prep plant.
Face machines were standardised using single ended ranging drum shearers in the High Hazles seam with the stable holes eliminated by the machine.
Coal was transported by gate conveyors to a trunk belt.
A Sharlston bunker was installed inbye in A50s main gate.
A belt weigher was installed in the system to help regulate the delivery.
A20s trunk conveyor incorporated a 300 tonnes capacity Butterley bunker.
A vibrating feeder sent run of mine onto a cable belt. The product was fed to skips at No1 shaft.
Gedling was a cosmopolitan pit and being near Nottingham attracted many different nationalities including, Poles, West Indians, Hungarians, Chileans and others.
In Nottinghamshire, Gedling Colliery, was known as the Pit of Nations, with hundreds of workers drawn from 15 different countries in the 1950s.
While race riots made Nottingham streets dangerous for black people the miners said they were treated as family down the pit.
Many of the miners came to the region in the late 1940s and 50s when West Indians were promised work.
During Gedling's heyday between the 1950s and 1970s, about 10% of the workforce was black, leading to its moniker The Pit of Nations.
And while racism was rife on the surface, with riots in Nottingham making international headlines in 1958, it was too dangerous down the pit not to trust colleagues.
Robert Meikle, Coal Miner 1950s
Photo Courtesy of Karen Miekle
It was the only pit as I know to have had a drinks license on the premises where beer could be obtained.
A steel tube aircrossing, see above, was built over one roadway saving many shifts building a conventional brick and girder one.
A new correlation of the workings in relation to the surface was carried out in 1971 using a Gyro-theodolite on a base line established in No1 pit bottom. Theodolite surveys were taken into all districts with a closed traverse being made between the 2 scours.
Levellings were taken from the High Hazles seam workings down into the Top Hard districts.
At abandonment there was a D10D pump at D10s LH Loader gate pumping 2,100 gals per day to BPD junction then to No2 shaft sump. From Mar 1979 No2 sump became disused as a water lodge and the water was pumped to tanks in No2 pit bottom.