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The Decline Of The Industry Continued
After Nationalisation 1947

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1993 - Page 24

Bevercotes Closed 1993, After 36 Years

Bevercotes colliery (Nottinghamshire) sunk in 1954-1958 by the National Coal Board was closed on 7th May 1993 after 36 years, where 807 men were working the Top Hard -1993

Shaft positions: SK67SE, No1 shaft 469474, 373905, No2 469535, 373964, 98 feet (30m) above sea level.

Site work began in July 1952 following the turning of the first sod ceremony.

The colliery was situated away from the main road to the north of Walesby and to the west of the hamlet of Bevercotes some 7km south of Retford and 12 km south east of Worksop. The pit yard was shielded by trees, but of course the 2 tower headgears could be seen from the surrounding countryside.

Temporary bathing was used until permanent pithead baths were built.

Arthur Wadsworth was the East Midlands Divisional Sinking Engineer for Calverton, Bevercotes and Cotgrave (he died young). Eddie (Agar) Gilfillan (a Londoner) was a sinker here, following the sinking of Calverton. Eddie started in the pit at Bilsthorpe after leaving the Marines, and would later become Tunnelling Engineer for North Nottinghamshire Area.

Seams worked:

  • The Low Waterloo, coal left up, coal 2’ 0” (0.60m) mud 2” (0.05m) coal 1’ 7” (0.50m), seat earth, (40yards (36m) below Top Hard) Aug 1978Oct 1992
  • Deep Soft -1992
  • Kents Thick 44 yards (40m) above
  • Top Hard, coal 1’ 7” (0.51m), mud 1” (0.02m), coal 1’ 7” (0.51m) -1991
  • Parkgate January 1961- 7th April 1987 had also been worked. 

Trials with ROLF, ‘blocking out’, Z system faces and single entry systems had been tried over the years in the Parkgate seam.

Conventional diesel and battery locos for manriding had been used in the Parkgate horizon and a Bo-bo diesel loco manrider had been used for the Top Hard and Waterloo
Boring freezing holes prior to shaft sinking to hold back water from the Bunter beds was done during 1952-1953. The 2 shafts at 24 feet (7.3m) diameter were 944 yards (863m) and 960 yards (878m) deep. 

No connections to any other mine. 

Town and Country Planning

Town and Country Planning permission had to be obtained for underground working as well as surface development in 1954. Stage II approval was granted 1957. It had taken 10 years to develop before any coal was produced.

The mine was closed for approximately 2 years 1964-1966 whilst shaft repairs were carried out. Water was issuing through the concrete walls in huge amounts. It would appear that the correct grade of concrete for the conditions known and expected had not been used. Additional brickwork had to be installed effectively reducing the shaft dia to 6.8m. The workmen were transferred temporarily to neighbouring pits, Ollerton, Thoresby and Bilsthorpe, however many elected to stay at that pit when the time came to return. Some of the staff personnel were transferred to other pits also.

No1 DC shaft was sunk to the Top Hard horizon at a depth of 727m and to the Parkgate at 827m. Winding was by a tower mounted 4 rope friction winder with a 3.66m dia drum powered by a pair of 1,003 Kw DC motors. Two decks on the cage were used for materials, either 2 materials vehicles or 4 x 1.27 cu metres mine cars per wind. All three decks used for manriding with 30 men per deck giving 90 men per ride.

No2 UC shaft R.O.M. coal and dirt at 532 tonnes per hour was wound in 14 tonnes skips from the Parkgate horizon at 860m. The 2 x 1,293 Kw DC electric motors driving a 4 rope friction drum 3.66m dia were also situated in a tower above the shaft. The balanced skips could carry mineral or 18 men in a cage above the skip or in an emergency a removable manriding deck could be used carrying 30 men. Coal transported from the faces by conveyor was delivered into a 1,700 tonnes capacity vertical bunker at Parkgate horizon.

Coal Prep Plant

The coal prep plant was commissioned in 1965 with a through put of 600 tonnes per hour. The dirt extracted at the washery together with any dirt wound out of the mine in tubs was conveyed to a 250 tonnes bunker then transported to the tips by conveyor to be spread by scrapers. Lagoons were constructed for slurry. The total output was supplied to High Marnham power station via a 4,000 tonnes capacity rapid loading bunker and merry-go-round trains. The power loaders used were shearers with ranging drums and these were later used to eliminate stable holes at both loader and tail gates. Underground manriding and materials transport was by diesel bo-bo loco and rope haulage systems.

Pithead baths were opened in 1965, temporary facilities had been used previously.

Coal preparation plant operational in 1966 but unfortunately no coal was produced at that time so coal imported from nearby collieries had to be used to test the system.

There was a control room underground as well as on the surface with TV monitors and were automated in 1966.

A loco shed was built in 1967.

Around 20 gallons of mine water was pumped from Parkgate horizon at 905½ yards (828m) deep and discharged into the River Meden.

Crude oil issuing from the strata in the workings caused great problems also. It was like tar and stuck to everything and the smell was not too pleasant either as I recall when on a visit there.

The main areas were South West Main heading 1959, No3 and No5 Returns and face 1968, No9 Return gate head 1969, No10 return head 1970, No90 Return gate 1973/74

A vertical bunker was constructed in the late 1970s along with a new pit bottom at the Waterloo horizon.

In 1980 a track Hausherr dinting machine was in use.


  • 1959, 2,047 tons, 252 men
  • 1985/86 1,041,400 tons, 1,335 men. 

Overall it was great disappointment, as can be seen, for hailed as the first ‘push button pit’ in the world it took 15 years to accomplish a yearly tonnage exceeding 1 million tons.  Again, this was a blunder by NCB officials. The target seam Top Hard was washed out at the shafts site and both shafts had to be sunk deeper costing extra money and of course coal production was delayed by a similar time period.

A borehole drilled at the shaft site before sinking started would have proved this!  Even the seam reached was wrongly named, being called the Dukeries seam as at Bilsthorpe, and was later proved to be the Parkgate (or the merging of the 1st and 2nd Piper seams to the south of the county).

Air leg boring with compressed air and 60 shots per round firing was employed to connect the pit bottoms.

arable farming
Reclamation of the tips continued and was returned
to arable farming

The ROLF system failed and the 1960s continuous shift system, operated by increasing the normal 5 day 15 shifts to 7 day 20 shifts with only one shift on Sundays not being worked.  This so called ‘continental system’ of work failed too, as both men and management did not like it.

There were many problems due to unknown faulting stopping faces producing or shortening the life of panels so it was decided to ‘block out’ the proposed area of working in the Parkgate seam to prove faulting and roof conditions etc. This meant again transferring men and management due to the only coal being produced was from development headings.

The Deputy Manager Harry Lingard (8786) invented a system of overlap ventilation called the ‘Lingard box’ which was used at many collieries in development headings.

Roof bolting was introduced in 1986 in 14s development using a Cyclo bolter and at 3s face ends using a Wombat and Superoo machine.

More Photos


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