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The Continued Rise Of The Industry
To 1913



Williamthorpe Opened

Williamthorpe colliery (Hardwick Colliery Co) was opened but only electric lights were installed in the pit bottom but no electricity was taken into the workings so coal production continued by hand holing the coal and loading into tubs and conveyed to the pit bottom by ponies. Fred Chambers continued as Manager but then there was a serious collapse in the No2 shaft at Holmewood. Nobody was injured but it took several months to repair the damage as it was difficult to send materials and men without a cage down the shaft and it was done using temporary staging and buckets.

DC to AC

Electricity was introduced into Kirkby Summit No2 pit early in 1905 at Direct current. Later in the year the Butterley Iron and Coal Co changed over from Direct current (DC) to Alternating current (AC) and installed power to all its Derbyshire pits in one group and to all its Nottinghamshire pits in another group. The Butterley Co now had 785 draught animals (horses and pit ponies) at work on the surface and underground.

Industry In Depression Again

There was a price trough again in 1905 and the industry was once again depressed. At Clay Cross, there was much suffering. The miners had no money to pay for food or boots for their children. Some local shopkeepers again came to their aid. The National average for the pithead price of coal was 6s 11d (34½p).

Coal Prep Plant At Manton

A coal preparation plant was commissioned at Manton colliery (Nottinghamshire) Worksop (Wigan Coal and Iron Co).

Collieries Sunk or Opened in 1905

  • Ashgate (?) No1 and No2 pits, Blackshale, start 1905.
  • Dundonald (Dundonald Collieries Ltd) Spinkhill, High Hazles, Manager W Wilson (1736), Undermanager D Strickland (2nd), 42 u/g, 16 s/f.
  • Furness Clough was the last pit to be opened near Whaley Bridge in North West Derbyshire .
  • Grasscroft (Grasscroft Colliery Ltd) Blackshale.
  • Hill Top (Mineral Estates Ltd) Eastwood, 18/4 Coombe and 7/5 Top Hard.
  • Kilburn (W Drury Lowe) Denby, sinking was commenced, Manager AJ Haynes (1020), Undermanager J Hartshorne (161), 30/9.
  • New Loscoe (Butterley Iron and Coal Co) sinking.
  • New Hucknall No1 (New Hucknall Colliery Co), Huthwaite, (‘New Huckna local name) shaft deepening, 25/12.
  • Mansfield was sunk by the Bolsover Co to the Top Hard seam at 546 yards (500m) from 1904-05, and was known locally as Crown Farm pit or ‘Crownie’. The two shafts were both 19 feet (5. 79m) diameter. Robert Daglish Co Ltd, of St Helens made the original winding engine at No1 shaft and Markhams Ltd of Chesterfield made No2 shaft winder.
  • Southwood (Vernon Biggin) Dronfield, Silkstone, 8 u/g, 2 s/f.
  • Upper Hartshay (Butterley Co) 47 Tupton and Kilburn, 20 s/f.
  • Worthington (Sutton and Co) Ashby.
    (12 Pits)

The Avenues Built At Forest Town

The Bolsover Company built several rows of terraced houses called the Avenues for the workforce at Forest Town.

A school and shops were established and an Institute with a licensed bar, library, billiard rooms, reading room, card room, skittle alley, bowling greens, tennis courts and cricket ground and later a cycle track were built adjacent. Allotment gardens were established.

As at many other collieries a Brass band was instituted as well as a football team, St John Ambulance Brigade,
Boys’ Brigade and Girls’ Nursing unit.

In the 1920s Rhyl was chosen for the Boys’ Brigade annual camp visits and the boys would march from the village to the station under strict ‘military’ conditions (quote from my father Jack, born 28 Oct 1913 died 9 Dec 2005 aged 92) and his sister, my Aunt Edna (Aug 1912 - 2010 aged almost 98).

Butties Refusing To Pay Their Share

In March 1905 the checkweighman at Silver Hill (Stanton Iron Works Co) complained that some Butties were refusing to pay their share of his wages. Manpower at the time was 362 in the Tupton or Low Main and 112 in the Deep Hard.

Stallman at Pinxton Sent To Prison

A stallman at Pinxton (Pinxton Coal Co) was sent to prison for 6 weeks for failing to set enough timber supports at his place of work. Pinxton No3 pit, which had been stood for some time, was restarted after deepening the shaft to the Low Main at 200 yards (183m). Surveyors: Coke, Mills and Coke.

Accident Club

Tibshelf Collieries set up an Accident Club for its workers and a set of rules were laid down. President was Sir Chas Seely, Bart, Vice President Major Leach, Treasurers, The Babbington Coal Co Secretary was Mr Frank Lee. The Club to be managed by a Committee chosen thus: 3 from each seam and 3 from surface from No1, 2, 3, and 4 pits plus Manager, Undermanager and Checkweighman from both collieries. Payment to the club was 5d (2p) per week for over 16 years (full members) and 3d (1¼p) per week for under 16 (half members) stopped weekly from the wages due at the Colliery Office. Receipts in case of an accident for those above 16 years old, was 8 shillings (40p) per week, and 4 shillings (20p) for under 16s. If incapable of returning to work after one year, the amount to be 5 shillings (25p), and 2s 6d (12½p) per week respectively. In the case of a fatality, £8 to the nearest relative, in the case of a married or single man, and £4 in case of a boy. A widow was to receive a florin or 2s (10p) per week for each child under 13. All benefits to cease if the widow remarried. In the case of illness a member to receive £1 when he had been off work for 4 weeks and £1 per every succeeding 4 weeks until 6 payments had been made, after which he must resume work. Half members to receive half the above amounts!

Pits Coupled Up

Holmewood and Williamthorpe were coupled together underground and were then administrated under one Manager (Hardwick Colliery Co).


Manpower at Watnall
(Barber Walker and Co) reached a maximum of 789.

Appointment of Henry Eustace Mitton

The Butterley Co had set on a new Mining Agent, Henry Eustace Mitton. He had recently returned from gold prospecting in the Yukon and had been articled to a Mining Engineer for experience.

At the time, the company was producing just over 1 million tons of coal per year from 19 collieries. Mitton set about reorganising the pits and with improved methods in a few years the number of working pits was reduced to 12, but the output had increased to over 2¾ million tons. Lighting and power was extended to all pits and the current was changed from DC to AC as above. Mitton was known for travelling between the pits by horse in the early days.

Explosion at Manners

On 21st September 1905, there was an explosion at Manners colliery (Manners Colliery Co) near Ilkeston (Derbyshire) at 2. 20pm in the Piper seam. Three men were killed and 11 injured.

Appointment of John William Fryar

The General Manager of Barber Walker and Co, since 1891, Edward Linley, died in 1905 and was succeeded by John William Fryar from Co Durham.

Dronfield Area

There was very little mining activity left in the Dronfield area (North Derbyshire) by now.

Collieries Closed in 1905

  • Bole Hill (JH Fletcher) Barlow, Silkstone stood.
  • Brampton (HH Pearson) Chesterfield, Manager W Holland (1469), 7 in Tupton Threequarters, 2 s/f, drift sunk in 1900 (The Honourable Mrs Hunloke), London Pottery near drift mouth, but stopped in 1902 after working 36ac 8rds, re-opened 1904 /1905 abandoned July 1905.
  • Burnd Edge Nos 3 and 4 (Ollersett Collieries Ltd) Birch Vale, Mountain seam stood.
  • Clay Cross No3 (Clay Cross Co) Tupton and Deep Hard, temp abandoned 14 Dec 1901 because of faults and faulty coal, abandoned 1905, Surveyor Charles Parkin.
  • Langar Lane (Theodophilus Pearson and Co) Manager J Pearson (3221), Undermanager R Hopkinson (uncert), 24 Tupton and Fireclay 3 s/f.
  • Marehay Main No5 (Ford’s Ltd) Ripley, 210 yards (192m) Tupton or Furnace 5’ 4” (1. 62m), Manager Charles Lawton, Surveyor CR Hewitt 25 Oct 1905, connected to Kilburn shaft and Balance shaft.
  • Moorhole (Geo H Wells) A and B pits 70 yards (64m)and 58 yards (53m), fire at bottom of Upcast shaft, Dec.
  • Park Hall (Park Coal Co) High Hazles.
  • Plumbley (J and G Wells) Eckington, Silkstone stood.
  • Ripley No1 (Butterley Iron and Coal Co) Deep Soft and Deep Hard.
  • Ryefield (Denby Iron and Coal Co Ltd) Low Main 4’ 0” (1. 22m), 100 yards (91m) Manager HB Stevens, 13 Jun 1905.
  • South Wingfield (South Wingfield Colliery Co) temp.
  • Speedwell (Staveley Coal and Iron Co) closed after 36 years.
  • Tinkersick or Tinkersic Chesterfield, (Thomas and Harry Shardlow) closed, Deep Hard upper bed 1’ 4” (0. 40m) and 2’ 9” (0. 84m) fireclay. The pit stopped by Mr Butcher, owner of land who did not want any more subsidence and this was eventually agreed by coal owner, as there was no prospects with the coal being so thin to develop any further sinking, Thomas Harrison 31 Oct 1905.
  • West Wells pit on Plumbley Lane was taken over by J and G Wells. The Silkstone seam was closed and the pit abandoned. The pit was connected to Plumbley (John Rhodes) where coal was worked under Plumbley Woods via 2 adits. The coal was drawn on a gangway to coke ovens on Plumbley Lane. An endless rope was installed from.
    No2 Park
    to Plumbley but the coal was contaminated by yellow ochre so the pit was closed.

The Top Hard seam 4’ 0½” (1. 23m) thick at Grassmoor (Grassmoor Colliery Co Ltd) was abandoned on 18th July 1905, Agent ATH Barnes.
Renishaw No5 (J and G Wells Ltd) Parkgate Sept 1905, Surveyor AL Sutcliffe.
Stanton (J and N Nadin) (South Derbyshire): sunk to Darcy seam, Woodfield seam abandoned in Dec 1905, connected to Matts Yard in 1860. Robert Hay (1413) was Manager and Surveyor. Stanton was a rich mine as the following shaft section reveals:

Block (Watson coal) 4’ 8” (1. 42m)
Yard 4’ 5” (1. 35m)
Little seam 4’ 2” (1. 27m) about 61 yards (55m) deep
Little Kilburn 6’ 6” (1. 98m)
Over 5’ 10” (1. 78m) at 112 yards (102m)
Nether 9’ 0” (2. 74m) at 115 yards (105m)
Woodfield Little 4’ 8” (1. 42m) at 131 yards (120m)
Lower Main 1’ 2” (0. 47m)
Woodfield 5’ 0” (1. 52m) at 172 yards (157m)
Stockings 5’ 9” (1. 75m) at 189 yards (173m)
Eureka 4’ 6” (1. 37m) at 216 yards (197m)
Stanhope 4’ 6” (1. 37m) at 242 yards (221m)
Darcy (Kilburn) 4’ 4” (1. 32m) at 318 yards (290m).


The average Royalty paid on coal in the country was about 5½d (2¼p) per ton and the average wayleave upon coal produced, whether led or not was ¼ d (⅛p) per ton, therefore the average total charge for royalties of all kinds (i. e. including underground and surface wayleaves, shaft rent etc) was about 5¾d (2⅓p) per ton, therefore to find the amount paid in royalties in the year multiply the output by 5¾d (2⅓p).

The Royalty payments in the two counties were 4d (1⅔p) minimum and 6d (2½p) maximum per ton produced.
For Derbyshire the payment was between £215,311 and £376,967
For Nottinghamshire between £148,636 and £222,954.

Appointment of James Burlinson

James A Burlinson (300 s), later Chief Surveyor for Stanton Ironworks Co was residing at Slack Cottages, Cramlington, Northumberland and was previously a surveyor at Cramlington pit. However he would move to Blackwell Colliery Co first before moving to Stanton Co, as Chief Surveyor around 1920 when asked to do so by John T Todd General Manager of Blackwell Co, whose son Norman D Todd (3058) was to be General Manager of Stanton Ironworks Co, with offices based at Teversal (‘to look after him’, quote Colin (Nip) Burlinson, his son and Assistant Surveyor Silverhill) (died 2004).

Strikes at Rufford and Radford

The men at Radford came out again in September 1905 in support of their demand for a make-up rate of 5s (25p) for stallmen and 4s 6d (22½p) for loaders and after negotiations were satisfactorily agreed the men returned to work at the end of October. The men at Radford had struck in January of that year and had returned shortly on the understanding that their problems would be sorted.


Prime Minister Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman (Liberal) 1905-1908.
President of Board of Trade
, David Lloyd George (Lib), 6th Dec 1905-1908.


Derbyshire output for 1905 was 15,078,680 tons, a reduction of 67,000 tons on the previous year.

Pithead price of coal was 7s (35p) a ton.

Nottinghamshire output for 1905 was 8,918,170 tons, an increase of 215,145 tons
Pithead price of coal was 7s 2d (36p) a ton pithead price.

Fatal Accidents

Fatal Accidents 1905: included Edwin Kirk (25) New Watnall 4 May 1905.

1905 Was A Bad Year For Coal.

The average price of coal at the pithead had now dropped to 6s 11d (34½p) per ton. Wages generally followed the trend of the selling price as the colliery companies were only interested in profits and had very little feeling for the workforce. As is shown throughout the companies dropped the wage rates overnight however it always took quite a while before rates were raised again and that is why there were many stoppages or strikes.

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Pit Terminology - Glossary