Great War Started in August 1914
Several Sinkings Began in 1914
In 1914 an Anglo German firm, the Northern Union Mining Co began sinking 2 shafts at Harworth, the most northerly mine site in Nottinghamshire, being only about ¼ mile from the border with South Yorkshire. The original proposed name of Stinsdorf for the colliery was abandoned due to anti-German feeling. However when the Great War started in Aug 1914, the German sinkers were interned and the sinkings suspended. Huge wooden structures enclosed the sinking headgear. These were demolished when the company’s property was confiscated, and later during 1917 the rights were sold to Barber Walker and Co of Eastwood.
Brickworks had been established by the German developers, who planned to use the bricks to build the colliery village of Bircotes, but the poor quality of the bricks forced its closure, and Watnall bricks were used instead.
The shaft sinking at the Bolsover Co’s new mine at Clipstone (Nottinghamshire) was suspended due to the War also. The depth to the Top Hard seam was 700 yards (640m) deep. Sinking recommenced in 1922 some 4 years after hostilities had ceased and quickly the manpower would rise to 475 men underground and 172 surface men as the workings were opened up beyond the shaft pillar.
Annesley Shafts Deepened
Both shafts at Annesley (Nottinghamshire) (Annesley Colliery Co Ltd) were deepened in 1914 from 477 yards (436m) at the Top Hard level to the Deep Soft at 635 yards (580m).
The original diameter of 13 feet (3.96m) was widened out to 17 feet (5.18m) diameter. In later years the widening of the upper older part of the shaft would continue into the 1990s, Deep Soft 3ft 0” (0.91m) at 617 yards (564m), Deep Hard 3ft 2in (0.97m) at 635 yards (580m).
WC Haslam sold Pentrich Hartington (Derbyshire) to the Pentrich Colliery Co.
Butterley Company Pits
Bailey Brook and Ormonde (Derbyshire) (Butterley Co) abandoned Low Main July 1914, waterlogged.
In 1914 a War bonus of 15½% was added to current earnings. It was also decided to merge 50% of the advance on the 1888 basis into the standard rate thereby forming a new basis, which was called the 1911 basis, and all future percentage rate variations in wage rates were to be calculated on this. A substantial increase for surface men’s’ wages was granted from 29th April 1914.
The Tunnelling Corps
At the outbreak of the Great War (said by some ‘to be over by Christmas’) the Blackwell Colliery Co found that out of their 4,455 men employed at their pits, at Blackwell A Winning, B Winning, Shirland and Sutton, 1,128 volunteered for the forces.
They enlisted with such enthusiasm they were known locally as the Tunnelling Corps. However as history was to show, the War dragged on for four awful years and many of these men would never return. Some experienced miners were actually sent back to work in the pits as production began to drop and coal was desparately needed for munitions manufacture etc.
Quite a few of them were decorated for bravery in the line of fire and for their tunnelling expertise under the German front llines at the great battles at Mons, the Somme, Passiondale, Ypres etc.
At Denby Hall colliery (Derbyshire) (Butterley Co Ltd) the Hard coal was abandoned on 4th September 1914, UC shaft 161 yards (147m) to Low Main and 357 yards (326m) to Kilburn. It was noted on the plan that Brick pit was 50 yards (45m) deep to Minge coal; Whiteley 196 yards (179m) to Furnace coal; Railway pit 210 yards (192m) to Blackshale. The Surveyor for Butterley Co was Ernest Severn Lamb (Certificate No 839).
The Following Mines Were Abandoned or Stood in 1914
- Ashgate (Ashgate Colliery Co), Newbold, Silkstone
- Broadfields (Broadfields Colliery Co) Horsley Woodhouse, Mickley seam
- Coombes Valley (Urban Electric Supply Co) Charlesworth, Simmondley or Symmondley seam 2’ 7” (0.79m) abandoned 26 Jun 1914, pit 4’ 10” x 4’ 6” (1.47m x 1.37m) sunk 76 ft (23m) through old works, Surveyor GE Knowles (uncert)
- Coppice No1 (Shipley Colliery Co) Deep Hard seam 29/3
- Cottam Hazel (PH Haagensen & Co) sunk 1910 to 50 yards (45.75m), later Jno P Houfton, Surveyor
Thomas Nicholson Bramfitt
- Cutthorpe (Robert Ward) Chesterfield, Ashgate
- Gun Lane (J & E Shore) Nether Heage, Norton
- Hazel (Hazel Colliery & Brick Co Ltd) Barlborough, High Hazel
- Holbrook No1 (J & G Wells Ltd) Killamarsh, Silkstone stood
- Holly Bush (Wainwright & Ogle) Belper, Kilburn
- Holly Head (JC Walch & Co) Mellor, 3 Mountain, discontinued Mar 1914, Manager: JC Walsh
- Horsley Lessees (Horsley Kilburn Colliery Co Ltd successors to Horsley Colliery Co), Lessor Edward Sacheveral Wilmot Sitwell, Kilburn seam 5’ 0” (1.52m), adit and shaft 32 yards (29m) and old pit, exhausted June 1914, started 1897/98, George Spencer
- Norbriggs (Lowton Bros), Staveley, High Hazels abandoned March 1914
- Norwood (Sheepbridge Coal & Iron Co Ltd) Top Hard seam was exhausted and abandoned in September 1914. Surveyor: Chas Everson (1285). The mine was then acquired by J & G Wells Ltd, when Holbrook and Norwood came under the same management
- Oxcroft No1 (Oxcroft Colliery Co Ltd) High Hazles and Top Hard abandoned 117/420/117, RH Verner Manager and Surveyor 14 Feb 1914
- Parkside (Marson Bros) Blackshale 5/3
- Parkside (T Kyme & Son) Dronfield Woodhouse, Silkstone, fin March, started June 1913, met old works of
1860 - 1864, tramway from adit, 5’ 0” (1.52m) high x 4’ 6” (1.37m) wide, Dayhole, pit 9 yards (8m) and old pit to an engine near to Birchin Lee Farm, Surveyor FG Buxton
- Pingot (Brocklehurst) 25th Feb
- Renishaw Nos 1,2,3 & 5 (J & G Wells) Eckington, Silkstone and Deep Soft stood Surveyor Arthur Taylor Sutcliffe (cert)
- Ridgeway or Ridgeway Lane (Mrs Caroline Shore) Nether Heage, 3’ 8” (1.12m) Alton seam, 5 shafts, 5¼ yards (4m) to 7 yards (6m) deep, 2 u/g / 1 s/f abandoned 1 Oct 1914, Manager JB Shore (no cert), Undermanager T Shore (no cert), Surveyor Alfred Fowkes (cert); (20)
- Bailey Brook (The Butterley Co) Low Main seam, Jerries 10” (0.25m), soft coal 2’ 9” (0.84m), hard coal 3” (0.08m), total 3’ 10” (1.17m), unprofitable, 13 Jul 1914, Surveyor John Holbrook, Agent H Eustace Mitton.
- Mapperley Hard coal 4’ 9” (1.45m) and Piper 4’ 9” (1.45m) stopped 16 Nov 1914, Surveyor JW Calder.
- Shipley Newcastle pit (Derbyshire), re-opened in 1911 to work Deep Hard workings was abandoned again in 1914, Surveyor E Wheldon.
Many mines had been closed by this time such as the following where very little information is known about:
The cluster of shafts to an unnamed coal seam on Beeley Moor, one working in 1835, and one shown on 1898 Ordnance Survey plan.
A further cluster of shafts were shown at Broad Car on Moor Edge.
Bell pits to the South West of Owler Bar.
Many shafts and Bell pits to the North East and at Robin Hood.
Many shallow mines and Bell pits in Chatsworth Park.
Moscar Moor shafts near High Neb.
Pits named Hartley, Woodside, and Dolley pit or Belper Lane and Shireoaks/Mount Pleasant at Belper.
Roweley and Norbriggs and Bell pits around that area.
There are 30 shafts at Crich (some were lead mines) and to the South West of Crich a further 6 coal shafts.
Alderwasley and Wigwell pits at Moorwood Moor in 1870s, also pits at Alder Wood.
Bell pits to North and South of Ogston Hall and also at Shirland.
Hallfield, Shirland again, Shirland Delves, Goosegreen, Marley Hill, Oakerthorpe Waterloo, Shaw Wood, pits at Uptonfields, Calow Green, Bolehill, Moor Top, Clarke’s, Adelphi, Upperground, Middle Duckmanton, Westwood, Upperground Engine, Whymsey, Staveley, Hollingwood Common, Glasshouse Common, Lower Ground Engine, Davis’ Boat Level, North Wingfield, Pewit, Sutton Common, Grass Hill, Calow, Orchard Common, Burbage, pits to Steke side of Errwood Hall, pits at Wild Moor and Bolt Edge near Benetton Hall north of Dove Holes.
Sett Day eye, Birch Vale, Little mine, Mellor or Broadhurst Edge, High House, Higgin’s Clough near Peak Forest Canal.
Woodsetts, Glossop Vale, Sandy Lane Chisworth, Charlesworth and Cubley Common mine near Bentley Hall.
Of course there are many many more and I am continually researching and updating the list
as more information on old plans is revealed.
By the start of the First World War there had been 50 fatal accidents at Teversal (Nottinghamshire) (Stanton Ironworks Co) since 1869.
The pit was now producing 303,000 tons a year, with a manpower of 632 underground and 230 on the surface. Originally named Teversall No2, then Butcher Wood, as it was named after Butcher Wood a small coppice situated where the pit was sunk and locals would still refer to the pit as that or ‘Butcher’, until it closed in 1980, but this had nothing to do with the fact that there were more fatal accidents there than anywhere else around, although by comparison there had been:-
Pleasley (Stanton Iron Works Co) produced 731,062 tons from the 5 feet 6 inches (1.67m) thick Top Hard seam with 1,578 men underground and 247 on the surface.
- 35 fatal accidents at neighbouring Silver Hill,
- 22 at Sutton (Nottinghamshire) (Blackwell Colliery Co)
- 44 fatal accidents at Pleasley (Derbyshire) since 1873.
Fatal Accidents 1914 Continued
- Alfreton, William S Elliott (28), crushed by tubs 16 Mar 1914
- Barlborough, George Lilley (64) fall of coal 27 Aug 1914, died 31 Aug 1914
- Blackwell A Winning, Ernest McCormack (36) fall of coal on 7 May 1914, died 15 May 1914
- Blackwell A Winning, Alfred J Harrison (32) scalded on 15 May 1914, died 22 May 1914
- Bond’s Main, John Down (26) run over by tubs 18 May 1914
- Creswell, Joseph Swift (46) fall of roof 30 Apr 1914
- Creswell, David Williams (60) fall in a roadway 12 Oct 1914
- Glapwell, John C Maskrey (15) crushed by tubs 28 Jul 1914
- Glapwell, Joseph Thompson (38) fall of roof 8Sep 1914
- Grassmoor, Henry Allen (15) crushed by tubs 31 Mar 1914
- Grassmoor, Clifford Hooper (15), run over by tubs 3 Apr 1914, died next day
- Grassmoor, John Rhodes (58) crushed by tubs on 22 Apr 1914, died 25 Apr 1914
- Grassmoor, Eli Taylor (20) and John Peers (19) fall in a roadway 4 Jun 1914
- Holbrook, Arthur Attenborough (17) run over by tubs 13 Jul 1914
- Holbrook, Robert Copley (38) and John Oxley (60) fall in roadway 24 Nov 1914
- Holmewood, William Mitchell (41) fall in a roadway 11 Jun 1914
- Ireland, Arthur Beresford (14) crushed by tubs 1 Apr 1914
- Langwith, George Wilson (16) crushed by tubs 1 Apr 1914
- Langwith, Joseph Lee (50) fell from a surface building 25 Jul 1914
- Lower Hartshay, Frederick Wadsworth (25) fall of roof 23 Nov 1914
- Manners, John P Pilkington (30) fall in roadway 10 Nov 1914
- Mapperley, William Aldred (21) fall in a roadway 4 Aug 1914
- Measham, Charles Allen (25) 5 Mar 1914
- Morton, Aaron Smedley (57) fall of coal 6 Oct 1914, died of toxaemia 13 Oct 1914
- Oxcroft, Josiah Hunter (37) electrocuted 7 Jul 1914
- Pentrich, Leonard Bradshaw (15) crushed by tubs 22 Oct 1914
- Pilsley, Edward Whitworth (54) fall of coal on 24 Mar 1914, died 30 Apr 1914
- Pleasley, John Priest (16) run over by tubs 14 Aug 1914
- Shirebrook, Isaac Ward (47) fall of roof 17 Dec 1914
- Shirland, John H Redfern (22) crushed by wagon on surface 10 Nov 1914
- Southgate, John William Kirk (15) crushed by tubs 13 Nov 1914
- Swanwick, Gordon Jones (22), fall in a roadway 22 Mar 1914
- Williamthorpe, William Taylor (36) crushed by tubs 31 Oct 1914
Throughout the country the number of fatalities from 10 explosions in 2,967 pits dropped significantly to 26.