Portland Pits Thirled
On 17th January 1880, Portland No1 and Portland No2 pit thirled (thurled) or holed through to one another. Similarly Portland No2 and No4 pit’s workings broke through to one another on 20th March and No3 pit was closed (Butterley Co). From 24th February 1880 the coal that would have been turned at No1 shaft (Isaiah’s) was now turned at No2 shaft (Jerry’s).
Demand For Coal Grew
During the first months of the year 1880 demand for coal grew and selling prices increased. The miners knowing this put in for an increase in rates, but by the end of Spring when the weather turned milder the demand slackened and thereby no increase in rates of pay was envisaged. Prices for coal fell with general grades at around 6s (30p) per ton at the pithead with small coal only fetching about 1s (5p) a ton.
Shirland Colliery Flooded
Shirland-Colliery (Image from aditnow.co.uk)
Water broke in at the Shirland mine (Benton and Woodiwiss) in 1880 and the pit was stood for 16 weeks whilst the flooded pit was pumped out and dewatered.
Calculation Of Water In Old Workings
The calculation of the amount of water in old workings can be made as follows. As a general rule of thumb
1½ inches of water per one foot (0.0381m per 0.3048m) of extraction over the area worked including the gates will determine the amount of water to be removed. To get the true area, if the workings are dipping, multiply the plan area by the secant of the angle of dip. Multiply this figure by the determined area under water.
For example a 4 foot (1.22m) seam extraction would give (4 x 1½”) x (area) e.g. (100 yards x 50 yards).
Therefore in this example the volume = 6” x 300 feet x 150 feet = 0.5 x 45,000 feet = 22,500 cubic feet.
Multiply this by 6.25 gallons (app) in a cu foot = approximately
140,625 gallons of water in that area. By knowing the capacity of a pump usually in gallons per minute, the time taken for an area to be dewatered can be calculated. The metric equivalent to the example would be: (1½ inches = 0.0381m) and
(100 yards = 91.44m) and (50 yards = 45.72m).
Therefore: (4 x 0.0381m) x 91.44m x 45.72m = 637.129m3.
1 cu m (cubic metres) = 1,000 litres, or 220 gallons.
If a pump at 60 gallons per minute capacity was used then the time taken to drain the area would be 2,343.75 minutes or 39.06 hours or just over a day and a half, assuming the efficiency of the pump was 100%. However pumps were known to be less than 100%, therefore a more realistic time would be 2 days.
From 1880 until 1885 a Liberal Government was in Parliament. Prime Minister William Gladstone (Liberal) 1880-1885. President of Board of Trade, Joseph Chamberlain, (Lib) Apr 1880-1885.
Principal Secretary of State was Sir William Vernon Harcourt MP (Lib) 1880-1885.
Levy Put On Coal
A levy was put on coal going to London by rail. This put up the price of coal locally as well.
Safety Lamps Not Safe
Although the first gauze flame lamp was used in the mining industry in 1816 it was concluded by the British Mines Accident Commission in 1880 that the available flame lamps were not safe enough and over the next few years various modifications would be carried out leading in effect to the modern bonnetted, double gauzed safety lamp with glass allowing a better light, for the earlier ones were very dull. Again the dates of introduction in this area are sketchy.
Unsuccessful Strike Again
In June 1880 there was an unsuccessful strike over reductions in rates at Monkwood Old (Monkwood Colliery Co) as there had been at Brampton New (Knowles, Wright and Knowles). Tibshelf No1 and 2, 3 and 4 collieries now listed (owners Chas Seely and Co).
From 1872-1880 the new Granville Colliery Co had progressed steadily and in 1879 the underground workforce had raised 112,236 tons, Manager Edward Hedley. He was succeeded in 1880 by George Bragge the Manager at New Hucknall colliery (Nottinghamshire).
Collieries Sunk or Opened in 1880
- Snowden Lane (Swift and Mellor), Blackshale seam.
- Underwood (Barber, Walker and Co) was deepened to 355 yards (108m) at 14 feet (4.26m) diameter.
Sheepbridge Coal and Iron Co completed Langwith shafts (Derbyshire) in 1880. Sinking started in 1876, but it would be several more years before production began in earnest because of bad geology. The depth was 533 yards (487m) to the Top Hard, to High Main 190 yards (174m), Clowne 307 yards (280m), Main Bright 337 yards (308m), and High Hazel at
423 yards (387m). The Sheepbridge Co had taken a lease from Allen Alexander, Earl of Bathurst in 1873, E452915, N370687 shaft positions. No1 DC shaft was equipped with cages to haul two 10cwt tubs on 2 decks. No2 shaft UC was also referred to as Shonky shaft. Both were 14 feet (4.27m) dia.
Other Openings or Sinkings in 1880
- Brockwell or Newbold Back Lane (CJ Saunders), Chesterfield, Tupton
- Hartington New (Staveley Coal and Iron Co), Staveley, opened
- Highfield (George Senior), Chesterfield
- Killamarsh (John Shirtcliffe), Eckington
- New Brampton (Knowles, Wright and Knowles), Chesterfield
- New Tibshelf and Pasture Lane (Edward Chambers), near Tibshelf
- Pentrich (WC Haslam)
- Totley Fire Brick (Totley Fire Brick Co)
- Turn Oak (Samuel Lowe and Sons)
- Waterloo (Buxton Lime Co), Whaley Bridge. (10)
- Shirland (Benton and Woodiwiss) The Low Main seam was re-opened in 1880 after being closed in May 1877. After pumping the pit dry, work was able to be carried on.
- Underwood (Barber, Walker and Co) The sinking to the Deep Soft was completed, a pit bottom constructed, and a new winding engine and house completed.
At Hartington (Staveley Coal and Iron Co), (the new plant sent to Pentrich sunk in 1842), a shaft was sunk in 1880 at
12 ft dia (3.65m) to the Low Main at 165 yards (150m). The shaft was 64 yards (58m) to the west of Speedwell shaft (Staveley Coal and Iron Co). William Arkwright sold a 63 year lease to Staveley Coal and Iron Co for 5,000 acres of coal.
Westfield Colliery Co was inaugurated.
Brinsley (Barber, Walker and Co) a reconstruction scheme started in 1872 was completed. The shaft was 158½ yards (145m) deep and a fan was installed. Thomas Sisson was the Stover in charge of the Hard coal pit. Boys with dog belts dragged sledges about 3ft 3in (1m) long x 1ft 6in (0.46m) wide holding about 8 cwts of coal.
At Moorgreen colliery on the Wednesday evening of 2 Jun 1880 after work was done when a fire on unknown origin was discovered at the surface of the shaft by the engineman. Casing that was soaked in oil was alight and the fire got out of control and spread down the shaft and a fire engine was sent for but the hose burst and it was impossible to pump water to the scene so two lines of men, one passing empty buckets and one passing full buckets of water obtained from the pond between the shaft and the engine house tipped the water down the shaft by men standing on planking between the wheels. However the heat was so intense that it melted the winding ropes and the cage at the top of the shaft fell down the 300 yards (275m) deep shaft to the bottom and was followed shortly afterwards by the rope on the other cage that was in the pit bottom. Two fans were driven from an engine some 20 yards (18m) from the pit top to ventilate the two mines. The wooden brattice that divided the ventilation in the pit connection to High Park was destroyed by the intense heat. Vast plumes of black smoke filled the sky attracting hundreds of onlookers to the scene. Severe damage was done with the casing and conductors completely destroyed and the wooden headgear and pit top severely damaged and the pit was stood for quite some time before normal operations could recommence. The damaged caused ran into several hundred pounds (£)s. The trade depression was in its 7th year, so extra delay and expense did not help.
Bagworth colliery (Bagworth Coal Co Ltd) re-started under new Manager HA Knighton.
Whitwick was again owned by William Whetstone. No4 and No5 shafts down to the Main seam and a new No6 shaft the Speedwell pit down to the Roaster seam. The Manager was JW Richardson.
Paraffin Lamps Prohibited
In July 1880 the Mines Inspectorate prohibited the use of paraffin lamps in stalls and travelling roads. It was the result of a lamp turning over and the paraffin burning on the floor. The simple naked lighting was replaced by candles!
Seventh Year Of Depression
The coal trade depression was in its seventh year. There were several collieries closed in the Unstone and Dronfield districts (North Derbyshire).
Church and Maples were forced into liquidation and once again Newfield Hall (Shoddy) was closed and 250 miners were thrown out of work.
1880 Was The Year That Coal Was First Used In The Generation Of Electricity
Hours Of Work
The hours of work still varied considerably but were generally much lower than in the past:
- Staveley 54
- Hucknall Torkard 49½
- Chesterfield 48¼
- Clay Cross 48
- Bestwood however still at 47 hours per week.
The Education Act Of 1880 Made Education Up To The Age Of 12 Compulsory
The Eastwood collieries: The chief offices were at the North end of the village of Eastwood about 1 mile East of Langley Mill station. The principal owners were Earl Cowper KG PC of Beauvale Abbey, Lancelot Rolleston of Watnall Hall, Duke of Newcastle, Duke of Rutland, Earl of Mexborough, Charles Seely, and Rev’d A Holten. The Collieries were High Park sunk 1861, Moor Green 1869, Brinsley 1874, Watnall 1876 and Selston 1880.
Colliery Closures in 1880
- Alton (Alton Coal and Coke Co), Ashover, position SK (43) 36SE
- Awsworth (Awsworth Iron Co), Nuthall Parish, Threequarter 1’ 2” (0.36m) and blue bind and ironstone 3’ 6” (1.07m), 76 yards (69.5m) deep, just North of Nottingham Canal, dip 1in 28, finished Lady Day and Michaelmas 1880
- Barlow (Sheepbridge Iron and Coal Co), Silkstone and ironstone, abandoned Mar 1880, 7 or 8 shafts varying from
35 yards (32m) to 50 yards (45.7m) sunk to Smut
- Barlow (Sheepbridge Coal and Iron Co) Ashgate, 4 shafts – 25 yards (32m), 36 yards (33m), 41 yards (37.5m),
47 yards (43m) main shaft, and 50 yards (45.75m) Blackshale and ironstone, plus 10 other old shafts, finished
Mar 1880 – section ironstone measure – Whetstone, Chuses, Bears, White bind with balls of ironstone called Blues, Black bind with balls called Old Man, black bind balls called Old Woman, white balls, Gingerbread, Chillerblocks, White bind, Chiller with Rough ironstone balls, black bind – Flampard, blue bind, balls, Trance, Duns … clunch, sandstone, Blackshale coal tops 1’ 2” (0.36m), dirt 7” (0.18m), Middles 1’ 10” (0.56m), dirt 1’ 9” (0.53m), bottoms 1’ 11” (0.58m), depth 20 yards 1’ 6” (18.75m)
- Berry Edge or Burnt Edge and Ollersett (Trustees of Levi and Elijah Hall), Ollersett, Mountain or Yard 3’ 0” (0.91m) Dec
- Birley Hackenthorpe (John Plant)
- Boothorpe (Boothorpe Brick and Coal Co) (South Derbyshire), Eureka 2’ 9” (0.84m) and pot clay 2’ 9” (0.84m),
old hollows c1860, Horse gin, Apr, abandoned Sep 1880, used old pit adit and sank a shaft 12 yards (11m) deep,
JH Joyce Partner
- Bottoms Hall (J and M Tymm), Mellor, Mountain
- Boythorpe (Boythorpe Colliery Co), Walton, Piper
- Brockwell Road (Henry Naylor (409) Chesterfield
- Cadley Hill 1,2 (Hall and Boardman), Swadlincote
- Calow (Aaron Robinson), Chesterfield
- Carr Close pit 56 yards (51.25m) deep, Main Soft 3’ 8” (1.12m), Surveyor Francis Calvert Gillett (1187), Derby,
- Coal Aston Troway (J Addy)
- Coal Aston (Mr James Rhodes, Mart St Steel Works, Sheffield) owners of both coal and land, worked by Messrs Rhode Bros, Blackshale or Silkstone 3’ 9” (1.14m), shaft 20 yards (18.25m), Drawing pit 23 yards (21m), dip 1in7, met old works, finished Sep 1880, Surveyors Coke and Mills, Chesterfield, Oct 1880,Thomas Evans HMI 23 Dec 1880
- Cordon Meadow (John Beardsley), Langley Mill. 3 shafts, UC shaft 36 feet (11m) deep, dip 1in2 and 1in3, workings stopped at fault, old heads found and worked through and used. The pit was adjacent to the old Langley Mill and Cromford Turnpike road. Finished on Lady Day 1880
- Cotmanhay (Messrs Barber, Walker and Co), sunk in 1849 was closed after 31 years after exhausting the Deep Soft 10 Jan 1880 and Deep Hard seams 18 Aug 1880, had a furnace underground for ventilation, SK44NE 446470, 345050, see list of fatalities below
- Cutholme (Oldfield and Co), Walton
- Grasscroft Wood (Sheepbridge Coal and Iron Co Ltd), Whittington, Blackshale and ironstone
- Griffydam (Leicestershire) (Joseph Smart and Son)
Hardwick (executors of John Chambers and John Ward, trading under The Hardwick Colliery Co) First Waterloo or Hartington, 107 yards (98m), small area worked coal 1’ 11” (0.58m), dirt 2” (0.05m), coal 2’ 1” (0.63m), dirt 1½” (0.04m), coal 3” (0.08m), dirt 2½” (0.06m), coal 3” (0.08m), total 5’ 0” (1.52m) finished Jan 1880
- Hartington New (Staveley Coal and Iron Co Ltd), sunk 1879, closed
- High Lee (Whitle) New Mills (Thomas Bennett)
- Hill House (William D Holford), Whittington, situated off Occupation Road, off Burnbridge Lane, 2/1 Silkstone seam, section - roof coal 1’ 2” (0.35m), middles 1’ 10” (0.56m), holing dirt 9” (0.23m), bottoms 1’ 4” (0.40m), finished
6th Oct 1880
- Hill Top (Marshall and Tingle) South Normanton, (Derbyshire), Top Hard, 14 yards (12.8m) deep finished Dec 1879, met old works, abandoned 2 Feb 1880
- Horwich Tunnel (Buxton Lime Co), Buxton
- Langley Mill (Langley Mill Engineering Co)
- Manor (Manor Silkstone Co), Dronfield
- Mellor (J Jowitt), New Mills
- Molyneux (Eastwood, Swingler and Co) Skegby, Top Hard and Dunsil (Jan 1880) however the mine was now leased by Nathan Mellers of Hucknall Huthwaite. The Top Hard furnace was extinguished in 1879 and in Sept 1879 workings in the Dunsil seam were approaching very close to the Furnace pit, depth 93 yards (85m) but the mine could not compete with the newer modern mines. Molyneux was finally abandoned in January 1880, although the pit had been dewatered. The colliery was now managed far better than in the past, by a Mr Gillott. A further attempt at working the Top Hard from 1877 and the lower seam, the Dunsil had been made from 1878
- Newthorpe (Digby Coal Co) single shaft 111 yards (101m) deep, later used Speedwell for ventilation, remaining coal to be worked by New London (Nottinghamshire)
- Old Brampton (Thos Hayes and Co), Chesterfield
- Old Brampton (Nichols and Wheatcroft), Chesterfield
- Old Watnall (Barber, Walker and Co), Watnall, Top Hard and Coombe
- Portland No3 (Butterley Co)
- Rutland (Rutland Colliery CoorJ Potter), Ilkeston, No2 pit sunk to Deep Soft and Deep Hard at 104½ yards (95.5m), finished 21 Jun 1880, ancient workings to north and south, No3 pit 65 yards (59.4m) to Deep Soft but sunk to Piper, No4 pit 61 yards (55.8m) to Deep Soft but sunk to Deep Hard. Worked up to ancient workings. Section 3” (0.08m) list or batty coal, 10” (0.25m) good coal, 5” (0.13m) batty coal, 2’ 2” (0.66m) good coal, this partly worked in gob and partly as separate winning, 3” (0.08m) to 24” (0.61m) duns or bind, 8” (0.20m) top brights and tender, 1’ 2” (0.35m) good bright coal, 0.23m) stony hard coal, 1’ 4” (0.40m) coal, 3” (0.08m) bat, 10” (0.25m) batty coal Surveyor John Wilmot Fearn (1215), Sep 1880, plan sent to Secretary of State 7 Oct 1875, Surveyor Richard George Coke (547) in 1856 and Coke Turner and Co in 1909 (ex Durrance collection Dec 1977). Brick dams were built against West Hallam pits
- Ryefield No1 (C Dawes)
- Snowden Lane (Allen Bros and Swift), Unstone, Silkstone seam, section Branch 1’ 0” (0.30m), Top 1’ 5” (0.43m), dirt 5” (0.13m), Bottoms 1’ 8” (0.51m), dip 1in9, finished June 1880, one adit and UC shaft, surrounded by old hollows
- Springfield (Henry Amos Knighton (75) and W Smith), Eastwood, Top Hard and Coombe, pit 5 yards (4.5m) deep, drift started Mar 1873 – 1879 met water and then worked up to old men’s workings, abandoned 9 Oct 1880
- Springwell (Staveley Coal and Iron Co) after 27 years
- Summerley (leased to Rhodes and Son) under estate of Mr Robert Sykes Ward, Blackshale, Drawing shaft 104 yards (95m) and Water shaft, to Mar 1880, Grace and Archer Mineral Surveyors, start 1875
- Troway (Rhodes Bros), Eckington, Silkstone
- Waterloo (Buxton Lime Co) Whaley Bridge
- Whittington, Silkstone (Chesterfield)
- Woodhouse (Messrs Booker and Co), Silkstone worked to rise at 1in6 on bord, met old works, and old shaft, Drawing pit 58 yards (53m), Engine pit 63 yards (57.6m) Surveyors Grace and Archer, Thomas Evans Inspector 21 Aug 1880.
- Donisthorpe closed again because of an inrush from old workings. Pumping began.
- Hardwick and Holmewood (Executors of John Chambers and John Ward trading under the name Hardwick Colliery Co) 1st Waterloo 107 yards (97.8m), coal 1’ 11” (0.58m), dirt 2” (0.05m), coal 2’ 1” (0.64m), dirt 1½“ (0.04m), coal 3” (0.08m), dirt 2½“ (0.06m), total 5’ 0” (1.52m), heads 1879 - Jan 1880.
- Barlow mine (His Grace the Duke of Rutland) Blackshale ironstone workings, quantity worked from commencement to Mix 1859 was 6ac 0r 17p and finished Lady Day 1880, let to lessees at £90 and £100 per acre.
Fatal Accidents in 1880 Included
- Annesley, Henry Illsley (14), driver, run over by loaded tubs, riding on the horse’s limmers 22 Jan 1880
- Annesley, Herbert Wharmsby (17) incline rope broke, run over by loaded tubs 29 Jul 1880
- Bestwood: William Coates (33) loader, went under a loose roof when it fell...he had previously been cautioned
16 Feb 1880
- Babbington: Joseph Smith (66) 20 Feb 1880
- Bailey Brook, Isaiah Morris (38), fall of roof whilst taking down coals 21 Aug 1880
- Beard and Bugsworth, Joseph Hill (19), trammer, roadway too small and tub knocked a prop out causing a fall in a roadway 24 Sep 1880
- Birley Vale, Hans Ward (22), had a fit whilst ascending the shaft and fell out of the cage and down the shaft
25 May 1880
- Blackwell, William Brookes (50), datler, fall of roof 8 Dec 1880
- Blackwell A Winning, Robert Pike (38), fall in a Hard coal roadway whilst doing repairs 17 Aug 1880
- Bretby No3, Amos Parker (17) run over by full tubs 4 Aug 1880
- Brierley Hill, Walter Turner (17) driver and John Smith (16) door boy both killed when pulling coals from side of road contrary to rules, to fill tubs, when the roof gave way 12 Nov 1880
- Brinsley, James Lawrence (28) coals burst over the sprags whilst being holed 24 Feb 1880
- Bulwell, John Greensmith (27) stallman, roof broke over the timber and fell 21 Apr 1880
- Cinder Hill (66) crushed by loaded wagons whilst opening a swing bridge on the bank
- Clay Cross No4, George Banner (44), loader, fall of bind roof crushed him whilst loading coals 1 Nov 1880
- Clay Cross No5, John Henry Edge (14), screen boy, crushed by a wagon on the surface 30 Jun 1880
- Cottam, Lewis Frederick Bacon (22), onsetter, tub wheel fell down shaft and struck him 12 Apr 1880
- Cottam, George Jennings (14), driver, fall of bind roof whilst men ripping the roof, killed decease and his pony
29 Sep 1880
- Denby, Joseph Hall (34), crushed by cage and bunton 2 Jun 1880
- Digby, Emmanuel Webster (30) making a refuge hole when roof fell 15 Sep 1880
- Digby, Enos Levington (12) door boy, runaway train caught deceased whilst opening his door 17 Nov 1880
- Dunston, Fred Stevenson (19), hit by a broken windlass handle 21 Sep 1880
- Foxley Oaks, A Woodcroft (42), stallman, fall of roof whilst setting a prop 17 Nov 1880
- Heath End, Joseph Hewitt (24) collier, fall of roof in his stall
- Highfield, Thomas Ash (36), stallman, fall of roof 11 May 1880
- Holbrook, James Spencer (42), Enginewright, examining slack hoist whilst in motion and caught by
9 Nov 1880
- Ibstock, Henry Gray (61), fall of roof 27 May 1880
- Kilburne, Alexander Annable (57), run over by tubs on an incline when the tubs broke away 5 May 1880
- Kiveton Park, 4 men, William Bradford, Samuel Layne, Ephraim Riley and James Winfield were killed in an explosion on 12 Apr 1880
- Lings, George Hadfield (50), fall of coal whilst taking out holing sprags 4 May 1880
- Mexbro’, Thomas Holmes (41) stallman, building a pack when the roof fell 28 Nov 1880
- Netherseal, George Wykes (45) loader, fall of roof, Underviewer had shortly before withdrawn the men because it was dangerous 3 Nov 1880
- Pilsley, William Moseley (30), header, fall of roof 7 May 1880
- Ripley, Charles Stanley (20) and William Brindley (21) when heavy weight suddenly came on the stall 20 Mar 1880
- Ripley Road, Robert Hunt (25) fall of bind injured 15 Sep 1879, died 22 Feb 1880
- Seymour, James Hibbert (38), holer, crushed by a loaded tub against a pack wall 7 Jan 1880
- Seymour, John Bramley (48), fall of roof 21 Feb 1880
- Seymour, George Deakin (34) loader and Thomas Clives (22) loader, both killed by fall of roof whilst loading coal at night 4 Mar 1880
- Shireoaks, George Crookes (56) labourer, run over by coal wagons on surface 1 Nov 1880
- Sleights No3, Isaac Gaskin (33), stallman, fall of roof 4 Mar 1880
- Springwell, John Conroy (25), stallman, shotfiring accident, lighting a shot contrary to the rules and shot exploded before he could get clear 17 Dec 1880
- Stanley Kilburne, Walter Hart (40), a piece of timber fell down shaft, the deceased had sent up a cage full up without lashing it 22 May 1880
- Tibshelf, Hard coal pit, John Cotterill (45), Deputy, examining work done by roadmen when the side of the roadway fell on him 23 Dec 1880
- Unstone Main, Thomas Hartley (54), screen man, crushed by wagons under the screens on the surface 16 Apr 1880
- West Hallam, John Hardy (54), fall of coal 12 May 1880
- Whitwick, Samuel Barton (21), fall of roof 27 Jun 1880
- Wollaton, John Henry Bexon (13) driver, travelling up a self-acting incline whilst tubs were running and struck by a loaded train 30 Nov 1880.
In November 1880 Swadlincote colliery (South Derbyshire) dismissed the whole 200 men and the Swadlincote Colliery Co went into voluntary liquidation. Similarly the Bagworth Coal Co Ltd (Leicestershire) also went into liquidation. Rawdon was flooded after a very heavy storm.
The output for 1880 was 7,892,969 tons from
235 Derbyshire pits produced by 27,256 men @ 290 tons per man per year and 4,440,680 tons from
42 Nottinghamshire pits produced by 13,592 men @ 326 tons per man per year.
26 Leicestershire pits produced 1,064,550 tons.
Production began from the Goyte Coalfield in North West Derbyshire in 1600, The best outputs were in the years 1790-1810 and the most productive years 1780-1880.
Aaron Stewart from Coleorton, Leicestershire where he had started work in the pit aged 8 moved to Annesley in 1871 and was appointed checkweighman in 1880. He was also a founder member of the Nottinghamshire Miners’ Federation and would later be elected President in 1888 then full-time Secretary in 1897.