Information and photographs submitted by subscribers are posted in good faith. If any copyright of anyone else's material is unintentionally breached, please email me

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Bobby Guthrie - The history of the parish of New Cumnock
Ronnie Hunter - Knockshinnoch, one of our most popular songs
Dr. Colin Pounder - Pits from my old Cotmanhay page - Another and better Cotmanhay page
James Findlay - Ellington had ponies recently
Joseph Henshaw - "Local pits" - Woodside Colliery
Bob Burbeck
- Reseaching Family History

Joseph Henshaw




John Mowbray - Brigadesman on Mansfield Mines Rescue Station
Fabio Bartolucci - Rebreather

Fabio Bartolucci
22 November 2001

From: Fabio Bartolucci - Subject: Rebreather picters I would ask you if I can take some your pictures of rebreathers into my historical section.
Fabio Bartolucci

The magic of a rebreather: No bubbles. Here Fabio Bartolucciposes in the Mediterranean, as if one with the sea.

Documenting the Blinkinsopp Mine and Miners
Joel Porter
09 July 2002

I was given your name from James Findlay as I have been documenting the Blinkinsopp mine and miners before it closes. I have placed some of these images at the following address if you are interested in using them on your site, all I ask is that you place a "Copyright Joel Porter" against the images.

I have been trying to get some interest locally to exhibit the portraits, or even publish. I have had some interest recently from a small public gallery in Lancaster that is interested in around 6 of these. I have kept James informed in any progress on this front and continue to pursue the documentation of coal mines in general when I can.



Joel Porter
Communication Officer
St Martins College
Ambleside, Cumbria

Click here to see some of Joel's pictures

Click here to visit his site

Being most interested in the coal mining heritage of our area,
your site has great personal appeal
Joseph Henshaw
9 January 2002

Has Erewash Council Forgotten Out Coal Miners?
Being most interested in the coal mining heritage of our area, your site has great personal appeal. I haven't worked through all of it yet, but so far its been excellent. It sometimes annoys me that the Erewash Valley and its major contribution to the industrial wealth (not just coal related) and heritage of this country is seemingly overshadowed by other areas. As far as I'm concerned, it compares with anywhere - there just hasn't been the foresight to preserve it in any way, and soon, without efforts such as yours, it will be forgotten.

I remember Philip
(or Rosie's dad as I knew him). I seem to recall that amongst all the other things, he had a hand in TV repairs, and also being particularly impressed with a fairly large calibre bolt-action rifle he had. He gave me two bullets (presumably not live) which I later took to Chaucer infants school. It was found necessary to poke fellow pupil Arthur Butler with one of these items, and consequently they were confiscated by teacher Mrs. James. The promise of their return at the end of term was never realised. Shame.

Wasn't there also a dog (Trixie).
It used to bolt for my older brother Gary whenever he went past the Healy's house on his motorbike. At least until the unfortunate Trixie went for a rotatonal ride with the front wheel. Not so keen to chase after that I recall.

Markham disaster of 1973. I remember the day the cage went down - it was during the school holidays and there was a hell of a commotion at the station as opposed to the normal ringing of various bells etc. so it was obvious something serious had happened. Years later I was on a training course in Wales. Another delegate was an ex-mining engineer who had been involved in the investigation following Markham. According to him the winder's manual braking handle had sheared, and the drum's emergency stop was incorrectly wired preventing this working either. These devices would not have stopped the cage plummeting to the pit bottom (the result of the failure of the other safety devices) but would have reduced the consequential damage that led to so much other stuff falling a) down the shaft and b) being rocketed up the shaft wrecking the winder and winding house. The winder operator just had to wait, unable to do a thing. Understandably, I don't believe he was able to work again. Another account (amongst other horror stories) tells of the bottom deck of the fallen cage being only 18" high when recovered.

Ventilation Furnace Cupola
As a point of interest, the ventilation furnace cupola now at Lound Hall (under local pits) stated to be from Shipley Newcastle pit was actually from the Shipley Nutbrook pit (operating c.1845-1900). It was removed in the 1970's prior to the opencasting that devastated most of that area. Lound Hall museum is now closed, but the cupola still stands there as a last relic. I've been trying to get the NCM interested in preserving it before that too disappears. I'll forward you a copy of the details. The Shipley Newcastle pit was situated NNW of the Deepfields/later Woodside drift mine and had probably closed by 1860 or so. It was in the news a few years ago when the overgrown site caught fire due to spontaneous combustion, presumably in ancient pit spoil.

Click here for more information about the Ventolation Furnace Cupola

Disappointing news about the old Nutbrook Colliery ventilation furnace cupola,They have decided not to list the structure!

The first full-time job I applied for was down the mines. I was turned down for doing too well in the aptitude tests at Moorgreen, being told that I was wasting my abilities. This was really annoying as, unlike many of my fellow applicants, I actually wanted to work there. Having failed to play the nepotism card by informing the interviewers that my uncle was a deputy there, my mining career was over. Still, had I got the job, I would have most likely been sacked by1984/5 due to my differences with scab labour.


Ventilation Furnace Cupola and Woodside Colliery
Joseph Henshaw
16 January 2002

Ventilation Furnace Cupola
I have a reasonable photograph of this piece of local mining history, taken at Lound Hall in April 2001. If interested, you could scan this for use on your Website, and I could give you a little more detail on it than is included in the word document that I forwarded earlier. Since RJB Mining (or UK Coal as they are now known) recently dismantled and sold the Woodside Colliery winding gear (and incidentally realising this as a PR blunder, proceeded to blame other parties), the furnace cupola is one of the few reminders of the Shipley mining industry, albeit now located some 40 miles away. For the time being anyway!

Assuming you haven't seen it, the local history publication "A History of Mining in the Heanor Area" is excellent value for money source of local reference material. A few more comments on current information in your Website: 1) "A short history of coal" - coal deposits were laid down 3-4 hundred million years ago not 3-4 million. (Ooops! I will sort that)

2) "Local pits" - Woodside Colliery actually stopped cutting coal in 1966. 1961 was the year coal winding from the shafts (Woodside Nos. 2&3) ceased, with all production then being via the drift (by then known as Woodside No.1) opened in the late 1940's to exploit the shallower seams. The original Woodside No.1 (now somewhere underneath the American Adventure car park) was replaced by Nos. 2&3, with completion of sinking to the Kilburn seam in 1899. At that time the Shipley Kilburn coal was reckoned (locally anyway) to be the best house coal available in the country, and was the seam in which my grandad Henshaw spent all his working life as a hewer. The dust took its toll to such a degree he had to stop work when he was only in his early 40s - and no compensation in those days. As the Kilburn seam became worked out at Woodside, the 2&3 shafts were used to access some of the shallower seams, thus acquiring their names "Piper" and "Low Main". Although interlinked for ventilation purposes etc., they were operated as separate production entities, i.e. production workers operating from the Piper shaft didn't access workings via the Low Main shaft and vice-versa. The Piper shaft winder was the one recently removed and sold by RJB Mining, despite it remaining as a pumping station and preventing all manner of hydrogeological problems both in active and abandoned workings for miles around. It was supposed to have remained as a local mining monument, in addition to being an asset to pump maintenance, which is still required to this day.

Prior to closure, rumours had been circulating about the future (or lack of it) at Woodside. These were scotched by management on the Friday, with assurances of 20 years more work. However, closure was announced on the following Monday. 20 years more work may have been over optimistic, yet by 1979 with work ongoing, 5.4 million tons of coal had been got via opencast methods within Woodside's take, and much of this at depths normally accessed by deep mines, a pattern currently seen throughout the country. The evidence is that available reserves probably lay between the two extremes, but it was obviously much cheaper to access these by opencast methods, and also offset the considerable pumping costs incurred at Woodside. The one consolation in those days was that there were other pits in the area for those miners wanting redeployment.

Rgds, Joe Henshaw

Blenkinsopp & Wrytree Pits
James Findlay
20 January 2002

I have been talking with some men that have worked with ponys at other pits so I will send you some stories from them and also a story from Lynmouth/Ellington pit which involved a large fire and a brave rescue attempt to save the ponys !

Ellington I believe was the last mine to use ponys underground and not too long ago 5-6 years (?)

Pits from my old Cotmanhay page
Dr. Colin Pounder
3 March 2002

Hello Fionn
I have just come across your web site - Midnight and see you have quoted a few details of pits from my old Cotmanhay page. As far as they go they are correct. However I intend to put up a new set of pages ere too long and may include more detail both from my own and my family`s mining experience and various friends. There will be the few photographs, some of which I notice with a smile have arrived unacknowledged elsewhere. Cameras did not come as a first priority so much has vanished without trace. I will take another look at your pages at a more reasonable hour.
Regards, Dr. Colin Pounder.

Dr Pounder's site has since gone.


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