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The Decline Of The Industry And Nationalisation 1947


1923 - Page 1

Hartshay Closed

Lower Hartshay (Derbyshire)  (Butterley Co Ltd) Deep Soft 3’ 6” (1.07m) at 93 yards (1861-1884), Deep Hard 4’ 3” (1.30m) at 135 yards (123m), was sunk as Hartshay, Shaft position E438835, N350820. and the name changed to Lower Hartshay in 1913, to differentiate it from Upper Hartshay sunk 1902/03, shaft positions E438745, N350403 and E438734, N350331. The pit was abandoned 30th January 1923.


  • 1884: 154  Deep Hard, Deep Soft, 44 s/f
  • 1900: 121 DS, DH, 34 s/f
  • 1905: 118 DH, DS, 36 s/f
  • 1914: 206 Deep Hard, 42 s/f
  • 1916: 156 Deep Hard and Deep Soft, 32 s/f
  • 1921: 178 DH, DS, 34 s/f
  • 1922: 148 DH, DS, 45 s/f, working finished 11th July.
  • Frederick Channer Corfield (426) pre 1883-1905
  • Henry Eustace Mitton 1905-1921
  • Joseph Bircumshaw (431)


  • Samuel Alsop (432) pre 1883-
  • CP Proctor (1872) -1923


  • J Walker (3883)
  • Henry Bailey (981 service)
  • W Banford (4332)
  • Ben D Elliott (3296) (to Ormonde)
  • L Sanders (7578 / 2nd) - 1922

Surveyor: John Holbrook (Long Service Certificate), connected to Ripley No1 and No3 UC shaft 163 yards (149m) to Soft coal and 192 yards (175m) to Hard coal and to Upper Hartshay position North pit E438745, N350403, South pit E438734, N350331 (and old Run In Pit).  Deep Hard worked from Cally pit to Mix (Michaelmas Day, 29th September) 1884.

Fatal Accidents Hartshay and Lower Hartshay

  • Benjamin Coupe (48) run over by tubs 11 Nov 1912
  • Benjamin G Cooper (55) fall of roof 16 Apr 1913
  • Fred Wadsworth (25) fall of roof 23 Nov 1914
  • Joseph Shore (61) fall of roof 3 Aug 1916

Inrush Of Water

At Ripley (Butterley Co) there was an inrush of water in the Tupton seam on 23rd April 1923 caused by a fall damming an existing feeder level. No injuries were reported.

Berry Hill Convalescent Home

The Berry Hill Convalescent Home, Mansfield was opened. It was for the recuperation of seriously injured miners.
£15,000 was spent on the property, purchased from William Hollins of Pleasley Vale for £10,000 in 1920. (Note this building was rejuvenated inside and out in 2004-2006 after years of neglect and converted into flats).

Winding Rope Broke

On 9th May 1923 the winding rope at Barlborough broke - fortunately no one was injured (Staveley Coal and Iron Co).

Submersible Pump

An electric submersible pump was installed at Green shaft (Pinxton Collieries Ltd).  A hand operated capstan was used to allow the pump to be raised for maintenance etc. An electric winder was installed much later.

Howley Park Case

In 1923 the Mines (Working Facilities and Support) Act empowered the Railway and Canal Commission to grant orders facilitating or restricting the working of minerals.

Although not in our area, in 1911 the findings of the Howley Park case in Yorkshire placed all mine owners in the country in an invidious position, when it held that the mine owner had no right to withdraw support outside the 40 yards (37m) or prescribed area of support.


An inquiry by the Acquisition and Valuation of Land Committee presided over by Sir Leslie Scott in 1919, established the position and subsequently the Mines (Working Facilities and Support) Act 1923 was passed, which increased the area of support to half the depth of the seam, which with the advancement of knowledge of the effects of mining subsidence on the surface was determined as a more realistic area of support.  However this then threw many colliery companies into ‘panic’ as one might say, and Surveyors ‘slide rules’ came out in force.  As it states, there was a possible restriction on mining within the prescribed area of railways etc and some pits had to close and probably many proposed developments curtailed. The Midlands area was riddled with railways by now.

The ‘Big Four’ Railway Companies

In 1923 the ‘big four’ Railway Companies, Great Western Railway (GWR), London Midland and Scottish (LMS), London North Eastern Railway (LNER) and Southern Railway (SR) were formed with the amalgamation of almost all the small Companies.

World Record

A World record advance of 85 yards (77m) in one week was achieved at Clipstone, (Nottinghamshire) (Bolsover Colliery Co).  A Siskol cutter driven by compressed air was used in a heading 12 feet (3.65m) wide by 8 feet (2.43m) high.

Edwinstowe Hall

The Bolsover Company purchased Edwinstowe Hall in 1923

Some companies organised the odd charabanc outing

The Bolsover Company purchased Edwinstowe Hall in 1923 as Social HQ providing games rooms, conference rooms, dormitories, a gymnasium and a cinema. Parties of miners visited the Hall throughout the year as guests of the company. It was the residence of Thomas Eric Boswell Young who became a Director of the Bolsover Colliery Co in 1937. He vacated it when he was offered a post in London for the newly formed National Coal Board.

It would later become the Headquarters of East Midlands No3 Area of the NCB.

Collieries Sunk or Opened in 1923

  • Newstead No2 (Blidworth) (Nottinghamshire) (Newstead Colliery Co), preparation work for sinking
  • Birchwood Vale (Birch Vale Colliery Co), 2 adits 1923, began working Blackshale, 2 other adits had failed previously
  • Calow (Calow Colliery Co) Chesterfield, Blackshale or Silkstone
  • Do-Well (Staveley Coal and Iron Co Ltd) 81 men and boys underground /135 on surface, Blackshale at 299 yards (273m), shaft depth 322 yards (294m), coal 1’ 3” (0.38m), clod 3” (0.08m), coal 2’ 6½” (0.77m), clod 6½” (0.16m), coal 7” (0.18m), clod 5½” (0.14m), coal 1’ 9½” (0.55m)
  • Firbeck Main (Firbeck Main Collieries Ltd), Carlton near Worksop, sinking 49/178
  • Gun Lane (JT Bellington) Nether Heage, Alton
  • Hady Farm (GE Clark) Chesterfield, Yard
  • Harworth Main (Barber, Walker and Co Ltd) continued sinking, E462527, N391262, 110/397, the bath house was the type as at Gedling where the mens’ clothes were put on a hook and hauled up into the roof by a rope in lieu of lockers
  • Hurst Hollow or Hirst Hollow Day hole to Mickley
  • Highfield (Waller), Hard coal, JA Tankard ME and Surveyor 13th July 1923
  • Springfield, Hill Top, re-opened again but was not successful and would close.
  • Ollerton (Nottinghamshire) (Butterley Co) sinking 86 sinkers / 254 surface men. There had been 5 boreholes drilled in the surrounding area to enable the colliery position to be fixed. Kirklington bore 26th Apr 1915 – 4th Apr 1916, depth 2,400’ 9” (732m)
  • Bilsthorpe bore 6th July 1916 – 25th Jan 1917, depth 1,513’ 3” (461m)
  • Wellow bore (Galley Hole) 22nd May 1917 – 13th Feb 1918, depth 2,150’ 5” (655m)
  • Ollerton bore 26th June 1918 – 30th Jan 1919, depth 2,279’ 11” (695m) and Boughton bore 21st May 1919 – 15th Nov 1919, depth 1,992’ 0” (607m)

A water well was sunk to 108’ 6” (33m) plus bore to 12’ 6” (4m) in the pit yard at 9’ 0” dia (2.74m), the natural level of water 47’ 0” (14.5m), and after starting sinking the shafts it was 59’ 2” (18m) to water level by 2nd Oct 1924.

However no borehole was drilled on the site  of the shafts and a large fault was passed through creating a problem in No2 pit bottom.  Again this problem would continue at many pits where a borehole drilled on each shaft site would have proved the strata. Note the time taken to drill a hole (above).

When the Plan for Coal in the 1980s was in full swing a borehole was being drilled in about 2 weeks, and including preparing the site and cleaning up afterwards, the drillers were on and off the site within a month. Originally, in fact right up to the late 1970s it was thought that it was imperative to drill slowly through a coal seam to recover a good core sample.

It was found by chance that due to contract oil drillers doing the first holes they had bored through very quickly and in fact got better cores.   

The photos show water issuing into the shaft and the pumping rising main and a large fissure filled with cement, also a water spout out of a borehole in the floor and the pit top arrangement for the freezing holes by the Francois Cementation Co. The other photo shows the Sinking Manager and first Undermanager at the pit John William Elliott (transferred from Kirkby).

Shaft Deepening At Pleasley

The shaft deepening at Pleasley (Derbyshire)  (Stanton Ironworks Co Ltd) was completed at 900 yards (823m) deep to the Silkstone or Blackshale but the seam was not developed.  However a shaft inset was constructed at 769 yards (703m) deep at the Deep Hard horizon.  There was a 1in4 drift down from the Top Hard pit bottom to the Waterloo horizon and then a 1in2 access drift down to the Deep Hard pit bottom.

This shaft was furnished with pitchpine rigid guides that were continued down to the new pit bottom; however there was a misalignment at the joint and the cage always gave a bit of a jerk as it passed by and continued to do so when these were later replaced with rigid steel rail guides. Markham and Co of Chesterfield made the new winding engine for the Deep Hard.

The old winding drum of 21 feet diameter (6.4m) and 6 feet 6 inches (1.98m) wide was replaced by one of 10 feet (3.05m) wide.  New plant was installed, a mixed pressure steam turbine by English Electric Co to run on exhaust steam to drive a 3,000Kw alternator generating current at 2,200 volts AC at 3 phases, 50 periods.  This power supply was linked up to Silver Hill and Teversal by an 11,000 volts overhead cable transformed down to 2,200 volts to ensure there was always a surplus of current.  The main fan was a Walker Indestructible at 14 feet (4.27m) diameter giving 190,000 cubic feet of air at 275 revs and 9½ inches (0.24m) water gauge.  The standby fan was a Capel type at 12 feet (3.65m) diameter giving 169,000 cubic feet of air at 6 inches (0.15m) water gauge.  The Deep Hard seam was opened in 1924 using Siskol compressed air heading machine. 

Hand Held Electric Lamps

Hand held electric lamps were issued, naked lights being abolished in 1923.  A new lamp room was built for 1,000 lamps initially.  Cap lamps were not issued until the late 1940s.


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Pit Terminology - Glossary