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The Decline Of The Industry Continued
After Nationalisation 1947


  1994 Pages  

1994 - Page 1

Manpower Figures

Manpower figures at January 1994:

  • Annesley Bentinck 565 underground / 126 surface, 220 / 43 contractors, 72 Officials (Overmen and Deputies) and 40 WPIS (weekly paid industrial staff)
  • Asfordby 400/50, 131/72 contractors, 47 Officials and 26 WPIS
  • Bilsthorpe 450/85, 122/43 contractors, 59 Officials and 27 WPIS
  • Calverton (Nov 1993) 471/102, 23/11 contractors, 57 Officials and 28 WPIS
  • Harworth 713/104, 427/69 contractors, 104 Officials and 41 WPIS
  • Manton 473/76, 288/86, 62 Officials and 33 WPIS
  • Ollerton 614/99, 133/53 contractors, 69 Officials and 29 WPIS
  • Rufford (Nov 1993) 226/50, 61/48 contractors, 29 Officials and 18 WPIS
  • Thoresby 734/108, 64/85 contractors, 85 Officials and 38 WPIS
  • Welbeck 646/104, 23/45 contractors, 81 Officials and 39 WPIS.

Clipstone Re-Opened

Collieries re-opened in 1994:

On 24th January 1994, Clipstone (Nottinghamshire) was leased from British Coal for 8 years and re-opened by RJB Mining, with a reduced manpower of 140.

The colliery had been closed by British Coal in April 1993. It was the first colliery to apply MASHAM, the new Mines Administration package, introduced to replace the Mines and Quarries Act of 1954, which was implemented from 1957. This was the Companys first deep mine. However as with the manpower, the management numbers were reduced also.

Previously the 2 inch rope had been changed for two 1 inch ropes due to the expense of the single rope. The winding wheels were changed to accommodate the two ropes on each wheel.

Seam worked: Yard seam.


  • Chris J Daniels (12111) (transferred to Prince of Wales, Yorkshire, later Hatfield)
  • Kevin Bancroft (11819) (transferred from Calverton) -2003.
  • Glynn J Robinson (11817) 1994-2003 (transferred from Rufford as Undermanager, appointed as

Assistant Manager under RJB Mining, as no Undermanager post after 1994).


  • John Cranham (6534) (promoted from Deputy on re-opening), 1993-2003.

Shock Announcement, Ollerton To Close

At the end of January 1994, British Coal announced that Ollerton was to close, due to saturation of the coal market. Deterioration of the shafts was a further reason with substantial repair work required.

Large surface stocks (around 200,000 tonnes) of mainly power station type coal at Ollerton remained unsold and would be transferred to RJB Mining in 1995.

The news was a body blow to the local community of New Ollerton and Boughton which had been purpose built to serve the colliery. To take away the colliery, was to take the heart out of the community and it could never be the same again!

Ollerton Was Closed 1994, After 69 Years

Collieries closed in 1994: On 12th February 1994, Ollerton colliery (Nottinghamshire) was closed, one week earlier than planned, after 69 years.

Ernest Arthur was in charge of Ollerton sinking on behalf of the François Cementation Co.

No1 shaft position (SK) 43/6667/252453, surface level 174.5ft (53m) above Ordnance datum, Main Bright inset at 408 yards (373m), Top Hard at 525 yards (480m) and deepened to 551 yards (504m) in 1970 for introduction of 9 ton capacity skips to replace the 3.5 ton mine cars.

No2 shaft position (SK) 43/6667/326449, surface level 170ft (52m) above OD, shaft depth 560 yards (512m). The shafts had been sunk by the Butterley Co, to the Top Hard seam at about 520 yards (475 m) deep in 1923-1925 both being 18 feet (5.49m) diameter.

An alliance with Stanton Ironworks Co from 1918-1921 resulted in several boreholes being drilled for exploration Wellow borehole or Galley Hole dyke and Boughton bore and Ollerton bores being three. Originally boreholes had been drilled at Farnsfield, Lowdham and Houghton but had proved unsatisfactory by either being thought that the seams were too deep or in disturbed ground or too wet due to the closeness of the Permo-Trias water-bearing measures.

Early in 1920 the Managing Director of the New Hucknall Colliery Co had suggested that the companies should form a triple alliance, however this was not to be and the 3 companies went their own way and sank individual pits.

Butterley Co bought out Stanton Ironworks half of the lease which was some 7,000 acres, 5,000 of which were from Lord Savile of Rufford Abbey for 60 years. The mine was situated about 10 miles North East of Mansfield on the verge of Sherwood Forest and to the east of old Ollerton village.

Several of the officials appointed to the mine had to take up residence from 1st August 1922, such as the Surveyor Herbert B Watson from HQ Ironville, Electricians and Engineers, with the sinking Undermanager John William Elliott starting in December, being transferred from Low Moor pit, Kirkby.

10 Officials houses (type Z) for the Engineer in Chief, Engineer on the Ground, Surveyor, Enginewright, Head Electrician, Colliery Electrician, Chief Clerk and Time keeper, Undermanager, etc were built at the bottom of the pit lane on Forest Road named Savile Row and were referred to locally as the ‘Ten Commandments’. They were built by Coleman and Blackburn of East Kirkby for £6,900 total. Each house comprised a Front room, Living room, Scullery, 3 Bedrooms, Box room, Bathroom and WC, Coal house, outhouses, WC and store. Still further up the social scale Butterley built substantial detached houses for the Curate and the Doctor. Each cost over £1,700 and the Doctor’s house had its own surgery. Dr Cuddigan was appointed and often proved an ally for the company in compensation cases by declaring on occasions that men were fit for work when the doctor nominated by the union had deemed the men liable for compensation payment.

The 47 Sinkers huts were of a temporary character and sufficient for 56 single and 24 married men. The last one, still occupied, was demolished in December 1978 to make way for a coal stocking site, some 56 years later!

Quite a few of the mainly Irish sinkers lodged at the house of Mrs Esther Gibbons. She had 24 boarders at 25s (£1.25) a week, board and lodging they slept in turn, the beds never went cold!

The Water reservoir was constructed and a culvert, followed by the loco house, blacksmiths, fitters, electricians and joiners shops. A water well 9 feet (2.74m) in dia and 9” (0.23m) brickwork was sunk by the side of the ‘black pad’ to Poplar Street, to a depth of 96 feet (29m) and a further borehole was drilled at the base to 140 feet (42.5m) to supply all needs at the mine and also to lower the water table. It was fitted with a Turbine Well pump made by Harland Engineering Co Ltd of Alloa capable of supplying the colliery with 300 gpm.

A motor Ambulance house 21’ 0” x 11’ 0” (6.4m x 3.35m) provided with a Lancia Motor Ambulance fitted with 2 stretchers and ambulance requisites. The First Aid room was fully equipped to deal with minor accidents.

A Stores building 146’ 0” x 45’ 4” (44.5m x 13.8m) was fitted with a Herbert Morris 10 tons overhead crane.

A Saw Mill 80’ 0” x 36’ 0” (24.4m x 11.0m) had 2 self-feeding 48” (1.22m) circular saws and one Universal machine.

On 31st December 1922 an agreement was signed between the Butterley Co and the Franois Cementation Co for the sinking of two shafts through the known water-bearing strata. Both shaft sinkings were excavated by crane to form the shaft tops. Sinking started at No1 on 6th November and at No2 shaft on 7th December 1922 using a crane and bucket.
The cutting of the first sod was performed on 12th October 1922. Incidentally there were some 2,616 pits in the UK at that time.

Sinking proper commenced after the permanent headgears of Butterley lattice at 88 feet (27m) high including 18 feet (5.5m) of encased concrete base had been made from the first 27 feet (8.23m) of completed shaft. The pulleys were 18’ 0” (5.49m) diameter for both shafts.

No1 shaft started on 20th February 1923 and No2 shaft on 23rd February 1923. The surface level was 174’ 6” (53.18m) above sea level or Ordnance Datum. Because the proving bores had shown that the Perm-Triassic water bearing measures were some 300 yards (275m) thick, tubbing would be necessary in the shafts and the Franois Cementation Co Ltd would use their cementation process sinking through the water bearing strata which comprised drilling 40 holes in the shaft sump around the outside of the proposed 18 feet (5.5m) dia finished shafts area, and Ferro-Concrete of various thicknesses (thick cement) with setting properties mixed at the surface was injected down the holes and into the immediate strata, where the cement set and held back much of the water, although a maximum of 7,000 gallons a minute needed to be pumped out of the shafts at times, and firing and loading out by shovel and kibble or hoppit was done with difficulty, and the pumps were under constant pressure, and after a time the paddles were worn down by the coarse grains of the sandstone and had to be replaced frequently. 3 hoppits were used during sinking which were hand-filled and needed to be steadied before being hoisted up the shaft. Concrete lining was put in the walls in 60 feet lengths and eventually after a very difficult wet sinking the Breccia was reached, which is a bed of conglomerate at the base of the water-bearing red sandstone measures at a depth of 322 yds (295m) on 7th April 1925. Butterley Co took over the sinking at 330 yds (302m) deep on 29th April 1925. The shafts were then lined with bricks produced from Ollerton Brickworks at some 12,000 a day, there being a clay pit on the site.

After completion Ormerod detaching hooks, locked coil winding ropes 5” (0.14m) dia, white metal capels, and six chains to cages, No1 shaft with balance rope and centre rubbing ropes).
Shaft sinking record plus further borehole records: 125 different strata were passed through in sinking.

  • Base of Permian measures 322 yards (295m)
  • Breccia 1’ 10” (0.56m), Mansfield Marine Band 13’ 2” (4.0m)
  • Clowne seam 2’ 0” (0.61m) at 387 yards (354m)
  • Main Bright 3’ 3” (0.99m) at 408 yards (373m)
  • Two Foot seam 1’ 2” (0.36m) at 415 yards (380m)
  • Brinsley Thin 2’ 0” (0.61m) at 449 yards (411m)
  • High Hazles 2’ 11” (0.89m) at 463 yards (424m)
  • Top Hard 5’ 11” (1.80m) at 528 yards (483m)
  • Dunsil 2’ 5” (0.74m) at 541 yards (495m)
  • 1st Waterloo ? at 543 yards (497m)
  • 2nd Waterloo 2’ 2” (0.66m) at 574 yards (525m)
  • 3rd Waterloo 1’ 2” (0.36m) at 594 yards (543m)
  • 2nd Ell 2’ 6” (0.76m) at 633 yards (579m)
  • Clay Cross Marine Band (an important geological horizon) at 653 yards (597m)
  • Deep Soft 1’ 8” (0.51m) at 690 yards (631m)
  • Deep Hard 4” (0.10m) at 713 yards (652m)
  • Piper/Parkgate 5’ 5” (1.65m) at 738 yards (675m)
  • Tupton (Low Main) 2’ 0” (0.61m) at 761 yards (696m)
  • Three Quarter seam 2’ 5” (0.74m) at 770 yards (704m).
    It is assumed that there are other seams down as far as the millstone grit horizon unproven as yet.

The large Winding houses 72 feet (22m) long by 44’ 6” (13.5m) wide each with their parallel drum 20 feet dia (6.1m) x 11 feet wide (3.35m) and drop valve steam winding engines 36” x 84” (0.91m x 2.13m) stroke made by Markhams of Chesterfield and fitted with steam reverser and brake and overwinder set for 160lb pressure from the boiler plant.

A Power house 85 feet (26m) long by 44’ 6” (13.5m) wide stood between the winding houses. That too had a Herbert Morris hand overhead travelling crane of 10 tons capacity. Power and light and compressed air was fed from here to all parts.

The Lamp room was a large building 81’ 0” x 34’ 0” (24.7m x 10.4m) and provision was made for 2,400 Ceag electric hand lamps and a separate room for 800 oil lamps. There was a repair room with mess area and also included in the same building was the Timekeeper’s office and motties. (This system for the timekeeping continued until 1972 when a new Time and Wages office was built behind the pithead baths. New Oldham electric batteries with cap lamps would be introduced about 1948 along with new updated oil lamps for workmen and Officials).