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My Work Diaries


A Unique History From My Work Diaries

Surveying Jobs

No4 Sub-Area, No4 Area, East Midlands Division, NCB from 1st January 1947

Page - 8 - Revised -

Jul 1955

Fri 1 … Office … Adjusting and repairing instruments and boxes etc and new leather straps

Sat 2 … Surface … Adjusting Cooke dial for horizontal and vertical etc… 3 men (WEBB, CB, RB)

Sat 2U/gTransformer house measures 50s … self RB* (Saturday) - (200 + 20 u/g)

Mon 4 … Office … R & FF plans continued.

Tues 5U/g70s dial survey, 3 gates, levelled to No8 borehole bottom of Manrider … 4 men (WEBB, RB, GB, RE)

Wed 6 … Technical College

Thurs 7 … Office … 6 inch plan and R & FF plans.

Fri 8 … Office … Progress. Copying surveys.

Sat 9 … Office … Progress folders.

Mon 11 … Office … Check calculations. Copied Quarterly surveys.

Tues 12 … Office … R & FF plans coloured.

Wed 13 … Technical College

Thurs 14U/g50s LG Borehole No9, location and levelling … 3 men (RB*, GB, RE)

Fri 15 … Office … Progress and sections.

Sat 16 … Office … R & FF plans.

Pit Holidays Mon 18 to Sat 30

Mon 18 … Office … 1/5000 Egress plan.

Tues 19U/g90s belt line check2 men (RB*, GB) and in afternoon … Surface … Spudding on pit top for new theodolite stations … 3men … (RB*, GB, RE)

Wed 20U/gChecking 90s belt line again2 men (RB*, GB)                        

Wed 20 … Surface, spudding on Dirt tip … 2 men (RB*, GB)

Thurs 21 … Surface, spudding on Dirt tip continued establishing stations … 2 men (RB*, GB)

Fri 22 … Surface … Angles for Hardwick Hall Park and precise catenary measuring using tripods with ‘carrots’ and used dial for vertical angles … 5 men (CS, PWH, JB, CB, RB)

Mon 25 … Surface … Angling on Teversal and Silverhill dirt tip … 3 men (RB*, 2 linesmen from Sutton Jeff Drury and Tommy Halfpenny)

Tues 26U/gChecking belt line from 200hp Junction to 60s on South plane … 2 men (WEBB, RB) for proposed introduction of trunk conveyors to replace tub haulage - (205 + 20 u/g)

Wed 27 … Surface … Hardwick Hall … Trig station on roof and battlements accessed through bedroom ceiling hatctch … 4 men … (C Skeavington, CH, CB, RB)

Thurs 28 … Office … Borehole plan

Fri 29 … Surface … Offsetting on Dirt tip … 3 men (RB*, GB, RE)


Aug 1955

Tues 2 … U/g … 20s all 3 gates and 40s both gates dial surveys and measuring … 4 men (WEBB, CB, RB and Roy Dallison linesman from Silverhill)

Wed 3 … U/g … Silverhill … 61s all 3 gates and 35s all 3 gates dial surveys and measuring Deep Hard … 4 men (PWH, CB, RB, Roy Dallison head linesman)

Thurs 4 U/g Accompanied Coal sampler to 50s facesections … (self RB)*

Fri 5U/g60s spudding 3 gates … 2 men (WEBB, RB)

Sat 6U/gChecking belt lines on South Main Plane Road, top to bottom … 2 men (WEBB, RB) …  
Jim Davies U/m had arranged for Pam Harpham engine driver to give us a ride back on the manrider at the end of our shift as a special favour. Unfortunately he didn’t tell Brian and when we had finished the job we walked out up the steep 1in8, 1in6 Intake main road and into Pit bottom and up the pit. It was mid afternoon when Pam decided to ring Jim Davies to tell him that we were still inbye but what time would we be coming out? Of course we were out and bathed and I was at home. Brian lived next door to Jim Davies and he saw Brian. He had to ring down the pit to tell Pam to knock off. He got 2 shifts in with the overtime on a Saturday afternoon for doing nothing … What a laugh we had …

Mon 8 … Office …  Borehole plan. Colouring prints

Wed 10U/g60s dial survey and measuring 3 gates … 3 men (JW, RB, RE)   (210 + 21 u/g)

Thurs 11 … Office … Calculations and plotting.

Fri 12 … Office … Borehole plan continued.

Annual Leave 2 Weeks Mon 15 – Sat 27 Aug

Mon 29U/g50s TG dial bases … 2 men (JW, RB) Tues 30 … Office … New progress plans.

Wed 31 … Office … Continued with same.


Sep 1955

Thurs 1 … Office … New 1/5000 Composite plan

Fri 2 … U/g Fatal Accident Wilfred Matthews Age 48, Fall of Roof. 60s Packhole measurements

Sat 3 … Office … Composite plan continued.

Mon 5 … Office … Finished Composite plan. Started tracing of sidings.

Tues 6 … Surface … Re-survey of Dirt tip … 3 men (RB*, GB, RE)

Wed 7 … Office … Completed plan of sidings.

Thurs 8 … Office … Plotting surface surveys.

Fri 9 … Surface … Measuring on Dirt tips.

Sat 10 … Off

Mon 12 … Technical College

Tues 13 … Office … New indexing in filing cabinets.

Wed 14 … Office … Finished Bench mark plan.

Thurs 15 … Office … Manager’s plans. Plotting tip survey.

Fri 16 … Office … Manager’s plans. Stone Dust Zone plan.

Sat 17 … Office … Progress folders.

Mon 19 … Office … Technical College 9am – 7pm

Tues 20 … Surface … Silverhill ground measuring a theodolite traverse … 3 men (CB, JW, RB)

Tues 20 … Office … Electrical plan prints.

Wed 21 … Office … New R & FF tracings.

Thurs 22 … Office … R & FF plans.

Fri 23U/gProgress and R&FF info … (RB*, GB, RE and Norman Bircumshaw (NB) new Apprentice)

Sat 24 … U/g20s final survey 3 gates, dial and measuring … 3 men (RB*, GB, RE) … 7am start.

Tues 27U/g … 20s final levelling and taping …3 men (RB*, GB, RE)

Wed 28 … Office … Electrical plans. Plan of levels 90s Main Road for Mr Frank England, Planner. (He always called everyone Mister including me).  He was Assistrant Surveyor to JA Burlinson from 1920 app – 1947.

Thurs 29 … Surface … Checking details on Skegby Branch line … 2 men (JW, RB)

Fri 30 … Office … Monthly information. Copied 20s survey.


Oct 1955

Norman Bircumshaw (NB) started as Apprentice at Teversal

Mon 3 … Technical College

Tues 4 … Office … Information on 1/2500 R & FF plan. New Survey book.

Wed 5U/g40s LG, 40s TG measuring and 70s all 3 gates and 30s both gates dial surveys and measuring … 4 men (WEBB, RB, GB, RE) - (215 + 21 u/g)

Thurs 6U/g40s theodolite angling 2 gates … 3 men (WEBB, JW, RB)

Fri 7 … Office … Calculating tip surveys.

Sat 8 … Office … Progress. Section sheets.

Tues 11U/g90s theodolite survey 2 gates … 5 men (JW, RB, GB, RE, NB)

Wed 12U/g 90s theodolite survey continued … 5 men (JW, RB, GB, RE, NB)

Thurs 13U/g90s all 3 gates measuring with steel band … 3 men (JW, RB, NB)

Fri 14 … Office … Progress. Calculations using Curta hand-held machine.

Sat 15 … Bi-annual meeting of all Surveyors at Bentinck Welfare.

Mon 17 … Technical College

Tues 18 … Surface … Subsidence levelling at Skegby Sewage Works2 men (CH, RB)

Wed 19 … Office … Subsidence plan for Skegby.

Thurs 20 … Office … Copying surveys from Dec 1952.

Fri 21 … Office … New … Hall & Harding modern Printing machine to replace the old Carbon stick light machine with broken cog. When the rods on the old machine had burned away some 2 inches between and switched off they had to be moved closer together to get the spark to ignite when switching it on again. It was a trial and error method to get the spark to jump across the gap, too far apart no good and too near no good, the gap had got to be just right to start off and as the machine light was used the carbon rods used to burn away so when the machine had been switched after printing should you need to use it again after it had cooled or next day the process of fiddling about with gap began again. Eventually I was able to get the spark to jump the gap more times than not. The rods though had to be almost burnt away before new carbon rods were replaced dependent upon the number of times the machine had been used. A touch at the wrong place gave you a sharp electric shock!!

Sat 22 … Office … Progress and copying surveys.

Sun 23 … Surface … Winding line projected for new electric Winding house on the other side of headstocks … 4 men (CS, WEBB, RB, JH) (Sunday morning).

Mon 24 … Technical College

Tues 25 U/g50s BG, 50s LG lines checked, and levelled and measured from Pit bottom to Loading point chute … 3 men (RB*, GB, RE) - (220 + 21 u/g)

Wed 26 … Office … Plan for Emergency winder site.

Thurs 27 … Office … Info on R & FF negatives.

Fri 28 … Office … Progress and monthly info.

Sat 29 … Office … 6 inch tracing for R & FF Key plan.

Mon 31 … Technical College


Nov 1955

Tues 1 … Office … R & FF plans coloured. Section of empty runround in pit bottom.

Wed 2 … U/g40s dial survey and measuring 2 gates … 4 men (WEBB, RB, GB, RE)

Thurs 3 … Office …Ventilation plans.

Fri 4U/gProgress 2 men (RB*, GB) then 60s DG theodolite angling … 4 men (BB, JW, RB, GB) (6am start)

Sat 5 … Office … Progress plans and printing plans.

Mon 7 … Technical College

Tues 8 … Office … R & FF plans.

Wed 9 … Office … Colouring prints.

Thurs 10 … Office … Colouring prints.

Thurs 10U/g50s LG check angling … 4 men (WEBB, JW, RB, NB)

Fri 11U/g60s all 3 gates and 90s all 3 gates, dial surveys and measuring … 4 men (WEBB, RB, GB, RE)

Sat 12 … Office … Progress.

Mon 14 … Technical College

Tues 15U/g40s Top gate line was re-established to be parallel to 40s LH Loader gate after bending to the left to avoid the old working and water lying in old 90s face line. But, the water had broken through onto 40s face some yards back … I was using an old fashioned 6” Casartelli dial, and after taking a sight forward went inbye to assist the new lad put some screw  eyes in the roof and paint a white line on the Cambered girders. I stepped aside as a pony passed by me at the  trot, the Ganger having told the pony to go for its snap.


Like dogs they knew certain phrases and obeyed and in the dark it ran into the dial tripod back down the gate but luckily for me only smashed the old wooden dial legs, because after panicking I found the glass top Dial lying on a heap of stone dust at the side of the gate and it was undamaged. The glass tops were scarcer than Rocking horse muck. I breathed a sigh of relief and gingerly gathered the remnants of wooden legs and brass fittings and tied them together with shot wire … On entering the office I was severely reprimanded by C Skeavington, the Sub-Area Surveyor and I was to be reported to the Area Chief Surveyor and he also threatened me that I should pay for a new tripod, until I explained that there were only 2 of us, me and a new starter on a 4 man job and that the wooden fixed leg tripod was 1920s era and worm eaten and could have broken at any time. My boss Brian was critisized for sending me on a job with only one assistant ... 2 men (RB*, RE). It was decreed that 4 men but at least 3 men were to be sent on any job in future … ah, ah! - (225 + 21 u/g)

Wed 16U/g50s LG theodolite angling … 5 men (WEBB, RB, NB, GB, RE)

Thurs 17U/g50s DG measuring with steel band … (puu tight with back mark on zero, shine down the band to make sure it was straight and not snagged, chalk an area on the rail at that distance then pull tight to the 100 feet mark and with with a pencil mark a cross on the chalk. Carry on the measuring between theodolite marks. That was the system) … 3 men (WEBB, RB, NB)

Fri 18 … Office … 6 inch plan. Progress folders.

Sat 19 … Day off in lieu.

Mon 21 … Office … Technical College

Around this time all the pits were issued with a CTS 2’ dial in an aluminium case, referred to as the ‘bomb’ plus 3 aluminium tripods so the Casartelli glass topped dial became obsolete. Aluminium items such as relatively light-weight bull rails and sylvesters would be banned underground some time later due to possible sparking problems in a gaseous atmosphere, however surveying equipment was exempt. Eventually these dials were replaced with Watts 5 min dials.

Tues 22U/g50s Statutory survey and measuring and angle check 50s DG … 4 men (WEBB, RB, GB, RE)

Wed 23 … Office … Typing levels for second copy.

Thurs 24 … Office … Progress plans … survey dates

Fri 25 … Office … Monthly info and surveys in folder

Sat 26 … Office Progress folders

Mon 28 … Office … Technical College

Tues 29 … U/g … 60s theodolite survey from 60s TG to LG to check bases … 3 men (WEBB, RB, NB)

Wed 30 … Office … Typing levels on special levelling sheets for a file.  This was to keep a second copy to send to Area HQ office in case of fire that could destroy records and plans.


Dec 1955

Thurs 1U/g … 60s TG levelling and measuring … 3 men (WEBB, RB and Norman Bircumshaw (NB) became frightened, did not want underground work) - (230 + 21 u/g)

Fri 2 … Office … Deputy’s Districts plan

Sat 3 … Office … General

Mon 5 … Technical College

Tues 6 … Office … Calculations with BT

Wed 7 … Office … Plan of Dunsil for Mr Severn Area General Manager

Thurs 15U/g90s RH re-levelled from South Return … 2 men (RB*, GB)

Fri 16U/g50s LH and LG levelling and taping … 2 men (RB*, GB)

Sat 17 … Office … Progress folders

Mon 19U/g50s RH and 40s RH levelling and taping2 men (RB*, GB)

Tues 20 … Office … Typing levels

Wed 21U/g200hp Junction to 90s levelling and taping2 men (JW, RB)

Thurs 22U/gContinued levelling and taping2 men (JW, RB) - (235 + 21 u/g)

Fri 23 … Office … General
Christmas Party at Carnarvon Arms

Mon 26 and Tues 27 Christmas Holiday
Annual leave Wed 28, Thurs 28 and Fri 29

Thurs 29U/g … 90s Cross gate to 200hp Junction check levelling2 men (JW, RB) (I was on holiday but was called in for the jobit really wasn’t necessary) !
Norman Bircumshaw (NB) Apprentice left, unsuited to job, (he was afraid of underground work)

Abbreviations used:
or DG denotes Loader Gate or Delivery Gate.
LH denotes Left Hand Supply Gate. RH denotes Right Hand Gate, TG denotes Top Gate and BG is Bottom Gate. MG is Middle Gate. AW is Airway or Supply Gate. TG is Tail Gate, again a Supply Gate for materials.



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