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The Continued Rise Of The Industry
To 1913




Herbert Henry Asquith

Prime Minister Herbert Asquith (Liberal) 1908-1915.  

President of Board of Trade: Winston S Churchill MP (Lib), 8th Apr 1908-1910
(Principal Secretary of State).

World Record Outputs

A World record output of 3,920 tons in 11 hours 20 minutes was achieved at Warsop (Nottinghamshire)  (Staveley Coal and Iron Co) in January 1908, only to be surpassed by Mansfield (Nottinghamshire)  (Bolsover Colliery Co) with 4,364 tons in 10½ hours in July.

The Eaton Tramway Finally Closed Down In 1908

Strike at the Eastwood Pits

There was a strike at the Eastwood pits of Barber Walker Co over price lists lasting from 2nd January to 27th April 1908.  There was a further 5% increase in rates from January.  Following the settlement of the strike which arose from the introduction of coal-cutting machines, after a settling in period, more machines were ordered and when the Top Hard was exhausted at High Park which had a working height of around 4’ 9” (1. 45m), the Coombe coal was worked which had a lower height of 2’ 9” (0.83m). However it soon became obvious that machine holing at the lower height was advantageous and the men began to realise this. 

Henry Greener (2569) the Manager resigned in October and moved to the new sinking at Thorne in Yorkshire (which incidentally would still be mothballed into the early 21st Century since the 1960s and would be closed by July 2004. There was a connection made underground to Hatfield Colliery).  Donald McGregor (2788) succeeded as Manager until July 1912, when he too left to take up the appointment as Manager at Bentley colliery also in Yorkshire.


A price-list for Pinxton No8 pit dated 11th March 1908.  For getting the Waterloo Seam at No8 Pit belonging to
The Pinxton Coal Company Limited.

  1. Coal getting 2s 1d (10½p). lack from stalls 9d (3¾p). Heads 10d (+4p) per ton of 20 cwts.  Screens 2½“ (63mm) to be used, and men do 2 feet (0.61m) of ripping, this to include middle dirt.  12lbs per cwt to be allowed for slack.  
    If this is exceeded, twice the weight of the excess to be deducted and paid for as slack.
  2. Gates to be 8 feet (2.4m) wide.  All ripping, in addition to that specified in clause 1, to be paid for at the rate of 1s 6d (7½p) per yard.
  3. In case of difficulties arising from bad coal, bunkies, faults, water, etc preventing men getting wage as per list, this to be made up to 4s 6d (22½p) per day, or equal to rates prevailing at the time.
  4. Building wood packs 4s (20p) each.  Turn packs 1s (5p) per yard.
  5. Where there are two fast ends requiring cutting, one shall be paid for,  2s (10p) if straight and 2s 6d (12½p) if running off, per yard.
  6. Stalls broken down through no fault of the men, to be paid: side loose heading 2s 6d (12½p) per yard
  7. Where in solid 5s (25p) per yard, with coal and slack at current rates.  If the holing dirt has to be taken out of the stalls, such additional labour to be allowed for, and arranged between the company’s officials and the stallmen.
  8. Setting bars or girders in gates, 7 feet (2.13m) 1s (5p), 8 feet (2.43m) 1s 3d (6¼p), 9 feet (2.74m) 1s 6d (7½p).
  9. Contractors brought out of stalls to work on main roads to be paid 4s 6d (22½p) per day.
  10. Where stalls are only 25 yards (22.9m) long, 9d (3¾p) per foot per yard (per 0. 3m per metre), and where only 20 yards (18.3m) long 1s 6d (7½p) per foot per yard (per 0.3m per metre) shall be paid on the 2 feet (0. 61m) of ripping referred to in clause 1.
  11. Packing gob airways with two walls and leaving clean 4s (20p) per yard (per 0.91m)
  12. Where lamps are used in stalls 1d (½p ) per ton, and in heads 5d (2p) per yard (per 0 91m) extra shall be paid.
  13. Heading: end 6s (30p), face 5s (25p) per yard, with coal and slack at current prices.
  14. Allowance for running gates to be made according to circumstances.
  15. For filling or emptying dirt 3d (1¼p) per tram.
  16. For filling water under ordinary circumstances 3d (1¼p) per barrel
  17. under extraordinary circumstances special arrangements to be made.
  18. Short end stalls to receive an extra allowance of 4s 3d (21¼p) per yard.
  19. Current percentage to be paid on gross earnings.
  20. House coal allowance to married men being householders: 18 cwts in winter, October to March inclusive, and 126 cwts in summer, April to September inclusive, maximum charge to be 5s (25p) per load.

Signed on behalf of the Owners,

B Madew, Manager
Signed on behalf of the Men,
John H Hague,     John Iball,
Joseph Kirk,     John Bingley,
Witness to above signatures,
Richard Bexton,     George Peach
July 28th 1903.

Swadlincote, Cruelty

In March 1908 a Swadlincote youth stabbed a pony 3 times with a knife. He was fined 8/6d (42.5p) plus costs.

Birchwood Colliery, Cruelty

In April 1908, a Pye Bridge youth was fined £2 for throwing a piece of coal at a pit pony, knocking an eye out.

South Wingfield Manor Colliery, Cruelty

On 15th April a youth called Fritchley was fined £1.16.9d (184.5p) for hitting a pony with a whip stock.

Fatal Accidents

included: The compressed air receiver at Langton No8 pit top burst on 10th April 1908 and killed William Watson (aged 43) and George Caulton (23), who stood nearby waiting to go down the pit.

Collieries Sunk or Opened in 1908

  • Lawn (Henry Gamble) Alton
  • New Dunston (ED Fawcett) Deep Hard
  • Ormonde colliery was sunk at Loscoe in 1908 and opened in 1910 by the Butterley Co, replacing the Old Ormonde pit.  The Pinxton Coal Co began sinking a single 16 feet (4. 87m) diameter shaft at Brookhill (Derbyshire)
  • Shallcross (Buxton Lime Firms Co), Whaley Bridge. 

Reduction Of Wages

There was a reduction of wages by 5% in September, back to 55% on 1888 basis, due to a sharp depression in the industry.  Boys of 13 years of age at the Leen Valley pits were on a basic wage of 1s 8d (8⅓p) a day.

All District Unions were affiliated to the MFGB by 1908.  The Deep Hard seam men won an improved price-list at Brierley Hill (Sutton colliery) in April with plus 1½d a ton plus percentages.  There were short stoppages at Eastwood pits and High Park.


At Pleasley there were now 11 electric motors in use driving haulages, however there were still 120 horses used to haul tubs from the face to the end of the haulages.  Power was supplied overland from Teversal.

Union Appointment

Charles Bunfield was appointed full-time Assistant Secretary on the same salary and perquisites as Secretary and Agent for Nottinghamshire Miners Association.  On 30th November 1908 it was announced that a wage settlement had been agreed for its 8,000 members with the coal owners of the Erewash Valley.

Changed Hands

Broadfields changed hands from John Sheard to John and Fred Sheard.
Marsh Lane changed hands once again, from Noah Chandler to Chandler and Son.
Shady Hall from Mrs Ruth Mellor to William Horrox.
Stanley changed companies from the Derby Kilburn Colliery Co to Mapperley Colliery Co in December.
Worthington (Staunton) was sold by Sutton and Co to the Worthington Colliery and Pipe Co Ltd.

Norwood Tunnel Collapse

There was a collapse of the Norwood tunnel in 1908 and commercial traffic on the Chesterfield Canal ceased above Shireoaks.  

Distances from Chesterfield: to

  • Staveley Works 3½ miles
  • Hartington colliery 5 miles
  • Norwood tunnel 12 miles – 14 miles
  • Summit locks 16 miles
  • Thorpe locks 16 miles to 16½ miles
  • Shireoaks aqueduct 17 miles
  • Morse lock 19½ miles
  • Shireoaks colliery 20 miles
  • Worksop lock 20 miles ….

Clay Cross Gold Medal Coal

Also in October 1908 the Clay Cross Co were awarded 2 gold medals at the Franco-British Exhibition for its engineering and development and working of coal.  This gave rise to the Clay Cross Gold Medal coal.

HM Inspectorate

RAS Redmayne, the first HM Chief Inspector of Mines was appointed (1908-1919).

8 Hours Act

The Coal Mines Regulation (8 hours) Act, 1908 was passed on 21st December, limiting hours of work.

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Pit Terminology - Glossary



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