I was wondering if you, or you might know someone, who might know why part of the Stanley pit head gear was left in place until the late 1980's when this pit closed in 1962? I can remember seeing a party of people just been or about to descend into the mine in the late 1980 's dressed in N.C.B orange coveralls, was this used as a training venue for mine rescue teams based in Ilkeston?
If you can help it would answer a question I've had since seeing them at the old pit head, which has now had the last section of head gear removed and I presume had the shaft head capped.
Thank for your help with this, or perhaps you can point me in the right direction for an answer. I hope to find out a little more of the history of the pits around Stanley, Dale Abbey, West Hallam and Ilkeston along the way. My Father recalls open cast pits around the Cat and Fiddle area and the pits I mentioned above.
19 July 2011 - Joe Henshaw
I've more or less had this info' confirmed as factually correct by a friend who has always lived near to the site, and can remember the last days of Stanley pit.
Yes, Stanley (Nibby) remained as a pumping shaft for many years post closure of the pit. It was nothing like the scale of Woodside, but perhaps dealt with local flooding concerns until some sort of appreciation was made of how minewater issues would resolve after the closure of pits and the cessation of pumping in the area.
The pumps remained active after the pit closed to continue supplementing water flow in the Nutbrook for abstraction at Stanton Ironworks; I would guess that flow was metered at Stanley, and thus Stanton would have to pay for the use of any water abstracted over and above the amount pumped from the shaft, i.e. using existing watercourses as opposed to pipelines.
The discharge was culverted under the road (originally under the now demolished railway bridge near Cock Orchard), flowed through the old ordnance depot (TDG/Midland Storage), into Stanley Brook, then into the Nutbrook near Kirk Hallam.
We tend to think the pumping continued until the late 1970s, and probably ceased after the Stanton blast furnaces stopped production. I would then think that the pumps were turned-off to establish the efficacy of the Woodside pumps in dealing with rising water levels at Stanley. Once groundwater levels had settled, the remains of the headgear would have been demolished and the Stanley shaft capped; we are pretty sure that this would have been early 80s at the latest. This would probably explain the appearance of men in NCB orange, rather than Stanton personnel, who would perhaps be surveying/working in the upper shaft as part of the capping exercise.
There has, however, been a twist in the tail, in that since the Woodside pumping horizon was allowed to rise from 200m to just 70m (following closure of the Annesley Bentinck mine in 2000), there have been occasional water logging and also resultant contamination problems around Stanley and the wider area. This is due to the fact that the water table is no longer drawn down as far as it once was at Woodside, so there is less dry ground above to absorb rainfall prior to saturation occurring. Furthermore, monitoring of the level at Woodside is now rudimentary, so pumping problems can allow the minewater level to rise more than once anticipated before problems are fixed. This inevitably means that untreated minewater can find its way out of a multitude of routes at ground level where these are below the rising water table, and on many miles of surrounding land; there is also even less volume of ground for absorption of rainfall in such a situation.