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The Decline Of The Industry
And Nationalisation 1947



Collieries Sunk or Opened in 1927

  • Birch Vale Fireclay mine (Bagshaw and Mills) Yard seam and fireclay, Feb
  • Bond Lane at Heage, 10/7, Butterley Co began sinking
  • Westthorpe mine being developing in North Derbyshire, J and G Wells
  • New Winnings shaft at Denby Drury Lowe, the Ashgate at 2’ 7” (0.79m) thick was developed.
    (4 Pits)

Bilsthorpe Sinking Accident Kills 14 Men

Bilsthorpe (Nottinghamshire)
On 1st March 1927, there was a tragic sinking accident at Bilsthorpe (Nottinghamshire) the last mine to be sunk by the Stanton Ironworks Co. 14 men were killed and 3 more injured when the rising main water pipe fell down the shaft striking the men working at the bottom and some drowned as the water rose up the shaft. (see details later) No1 shaft sinking reached Top Hard at 485 yards (443.5m) on 16th August 1927 but was later carried on down to what was thought to be the lowest of the workable seams at a depth of 792 yards (724m). No2 shaft sump was approximately about the Dunsil seam horizon.

Collieries Merged

New London, sunk in 1878 was merged with Digby, (Nottinghamshire) which was sunk in 1866. They were both Digby Colliery Co pits.

Pleasley Deep Hard

At Pleasley (Derbyshire) (Stanton Ironworks Ltd), the Deep Hard seam working was stopped. It had been developed as an arrow shape with a leading stall and flanking gates to take advantage of the cleavage.


Secretary for Mines was Commodore H Douglas King MP 1927-1928.

Only Working One Week In Every Two

The Staveley Coal and Iron Co introduced a system of working one week in every two, in March so that the miners could apply for unemployment pay.

Pilsley Threequarter

The Threequarter seam workings at 2 feet 6 ins (0.76m) thick were abandoned at Pilsley (Derbyshire) (Pilsley Colliery Co) on Lady Day (25th March) 1927.

The New Houses At Ollerton
The New Houses At Ollerton
Nadins Drift

Following the closure of Stanton colliery in South Derbyshire a couple or so years before it was decided by a consortium to follow the shallow Eureka coal seam from the surface. It was called Thorntree Colliery but was known locally as Nadins Drift. Several seams were worked from this drift and when the reserves there were nearing exhaustion they drove another surface Drift and worked the Woodfield, Stockings, Eureka and Stanhope seams.

Ollerton Village

A Women's Institute Hall was opened at New Ollerton mining village




Mines Research Establishment

At Harpur Hill, Buxton (Derbyshire), a new Mines Research Establishment was opened. Experiments into underground explosions would be carried out here. The previous centre was at Rotherham (South Yorkshire). Note the ferocity and size of the flame. If that was underground one cannot imagine what damage would be done in a confined space such as a roadway but one can understand that a miner or a pit pony could not survive such an outburst.


Birchwood (Derbyshire) (W Seaton) Ford, Ridgeway, Silkstone, worked by William Ibbotson from May 1927.

Babbington Surveyors

John Thomas Walters was Surveyor at Babbington until his death in 1927. Lewis Harold Spencer (517) a Surveyor for Babbington Co was asked to bring his annual one week’s holiday forward to May 1927, for he had been ordered to set out a brand new colliery in July off Longdale Lane, Ravenshead. However the project was cancelled and he was a little peeved as the weather in May had been atrocious. Later, the first shaft at Calverton colliery was sunk in 1938, not too far away from that site. Originally it was to be a satellite shaft for Bestwood. Spencer succeeded as Surveyor for the Babbington Coal Co then was promoted to Chief Surveyor for BA Collieries from 1936, becoming Area Chief Surveyor for NCB No6 Area, retiring in May 1962.

Petrol Produced At Welbeck

New Hucknall Colliery Co erected a plant at Welbeck (Nottinghamshire) to produce oil from Top Hard cannel coal (or Jacks) for creosote. After 2 years research, petrol was produced called ‘Welbeck English Spirit’ and sold at 1s 2½d (6p) a gallon.

Silver Hill Low Main

At Silver Hill (Nottinghamshire) the Low Main seam was worked but difficult and costly. It appeared to be the worst conditions in the district due to the fact that there is a 30ft (9m) Cockle bed (mussels) on top of the seam with a band of rock above that gave off water and made the roof conditions extremely bad. 3,000 tons per week was produced.

Wooden Headgear Replaced

The old wooden headgear at Langton No7 shaft (Nottinghamshire) was replaced by steel in 1927 (Pinxton Collieries Ltd).


Henry (Harry) Hicken became Secretary of the Derbyshire Miners Association from 1927 to 1942.

Only Horse Tonnage At Ollerton

At Ollerton (Nottinghamshire) following a major fall at 201s junction only 50 tons of coal produced – ‘horse tonnage’ quoted.


Three days later on 24th August the winder ‘kinged’ at No1 shaft and the pit was stood. The village was expanding as the workforce increased.

Picture House

Within the next 18 months a Picture house visited by Gracie Fields the famous Lancashire singer, a Women’s Institute Hall, a Miners’ Welfare with a £5,000 grant from the Miners’ Welfare Committee, Whinney Lane school for 1,100 pupils at a cost of £8,823 and a church were built. Activities for the miners consisted of football team, tug o’ war, bowls, cricket team, and the activities of such was published by Henry Waby in the ‘Ollerton Echo’ paper (or known as the 1d (Penny) Liar). Ollerton or rather New Ollerton was built to the east of Old Ollerton, which lies on a major artery to the north from the south, the A614 trunk road and it is on the crossroads from Newark to Worksop and Mansfield to Tuxford and the east.

The village was built up mainly of 3 bed-room houses types A, B, C, E, E3, F, G, J, K, L, Y and Z. Four bed-roomed E4, J2 and 2 bed plus box room M1. All were supplied with electricity and nearly all with hot water from the pit using exhaust steam until the winding engines were electrified. However the washing was still done outside in the dolly tub.

Collieries Closed in 1927

  • Alma (James Rowbottom Ltd) Alma coal seam. Closed Feb 1927, due to heavy expenditure in working. 170 men and boys out of work
  • Ambergate and Bull Bridge (Midland Refractories Co Ltd)
    Bull Bridge, Alton 2’ 6” to 3’ 0” (0.76m to 0.91m), 7 adits, one adit and 2 shafts 7 yards (6m) and 5 yards (4.5m), fin Feb, abandoned Mar 1928, Surveyor / Manager Alan Greenwell (1928 - 1st class)
  • Ambergate Drift (Edwin Glossop) Alton, 5 adits, 1 shaft 12 yards (11m), 23rd March 1927, Surveyor HL Jackson (502), confirmed by Edwin Glossop
  • Aspen Shaw (James Morton) Birch Vale, Yard
  • Barlow (Henry Booker and Sons Ltd) Chesterfield, Ashgate, stone dross in coal, inferior and thin coal – bat 4” (0.10m), coal 1’ 4” (0.40m), bat 4” (0.10m), coal 10” (0.25m), hard canky floor and old works met 1925, 13 Dec 1927, Surveyor Hubert Blackshaw (780)
  • Base Green (BN Bradley) Gleadless, Silkstone
  • Birch Vale Fireclay (Bagshaw and Mills) Yard seam, rock roof, coal 2’ 0” (0.61m), clay 1’ 6” (0.46m), rock floor,
    Feb - Aug 1927, day eye, Surveyor John Mort (187) for George Eagle
  • Birchwood (Seaton Bros, W and H Ford), Silkstone heads, Roof coal 8in (0.20m), Tops 2ft 3in (0.68m), dirt 6in (0.15m), coal 2ft 3in (0.68m), used tramway to Ford Lane screens, Levi Robinson, Cert Manager and Surveyor
  • Blackfordby (TG Green and Co) Clay Mine, roof coal 9” (0.23m), coal gotten 3’ 0” (0.91m), Sottle clay 2’ 6” (0.76m) gotten, adit and UC shaft 22’ 6” (6.75m), dip 1in4, abandoned 21 Dec 1926, Surveyor George J German
  • Bond Lane (Butterley Co Ltd) Heage, sinking abandoned
  • Bramley Hill (BR Mills) Eckington, Parkgate
  • Calow (Calow Colliery Co) Chesterfield, Blackshale full dip 1in2, two adits and air pit 16 feet (5m) deep, flooded, connected to Bonds Main 1908? Surveyor Hubert Blackshaw (780)
  • Chew Wood (James Rowbottom Ltd) Chisworth
  • Chivers Silkstone (WE Chivers and Sons Ltd) Dronfield, Silkstone or Blackshale, several adits and air pits, 3 yards (2.75m), 6 yards (5.5m) and 12 yards (11m) deep, max dip 1in 1.73, stopped Sep 1924, abandoned 28 Feb 1927, Surveyor Hubert Blackshaw (780)
  • Deggs Main (CN Haslam) Swanwick, Top Hard, 7 Mar 1927, adit, set out face, met old goaf,
    Manager Maurice H Walker (1817), Surveyor CM Haslam
  • Dore Ganister (Webster and Co) Dore, Halifax Hard and ganister
  • Do Well (The Staveley Coal and Iron Co) sunk 1921/23, No1 919’ 7” (280m) and No2 961’ 0” (293m) to Blackshale 1/2/27 connected to Hartington Cannel workings 12 yards (11m) above Blackshale approx, Albert pit closed 30/6/1857 and also 23/12/1897, 109 yards (100m) to Blackshale and Ironstone workings finished 25/2/1857, connected to Victoria pumping pit 79 yards (72m) to Blackshale and Drawing pit depth unknown and Steels pit depth unknown
  • Fern (JE Wright) Eckington, Flockton or Deep Softs, 4 adits and 2 shafts, dip 1in 6.7, headings met old works,
    13 Jul 1927
  • Four Lane Ends Wingerworth (JH Taylor) shaft 16 yds (15m) to Deep Hard 4’ 0” (1.22m) inc 2” (0.05m) dirt, only worked a few yards (m) in 2 heads, unprofitable, 25 Oct 1927, Surveyor and ME Sydney Smith
  • Hague (Disley Paper Mills Co Ltd), New Mills, Big or Yard seam 2’ 0” (0.61m) Day eyes from outcrop, met ancient workings, abandoned 24 Jun 1927, Surveyor John Mort (187)
  • Hewitts (Geo Hewitt) Stapleford, Blackshale 4’ 6” (1.37m), Nos 1 - 9 shafts, No4 drift, met old works, faults, Surveyor W Alun Jones (273)
  • Highfields (CW Waller, Manor Collieries Ltd) Chesterfield, Dunston or Deep Hard, or Potters coal 5’ 6” (1.68m), full dip 1in 15, two footrills, air shaft 25 feet (8m), met old works and water, 19 Jan 1927, Surveyor and ME JF Tankard, Walter GT Hartley 8 Jun 1927, plan made from information supplied by Mr Waller of an area worked by him in the coal strike and checked by a surface survey of the subsidence
  • Hundall or Newbold High Main (Henry Blair and Sons) Piper, 2 adits, abandoned 14 Mar 1927, Surveyor Hubert Blackshaw (780)
  • Kilburn ? (T Jordan Jnr) met old works from old Kilburn pit (T Small)
  • Lady Pit or Brownhill (R Dawson) Low Leighton, New Mills, Yard
  • Lane End (JH Taylor) New Tupton, Deep Hard
  • Lark Hill (GS Aitken) New Mills, Yard
  • Limb Lane, Dore, (Webster and Co (Sheffield) Ltd), Halifax coal 2’ 9” (0.84m) and 3’ 0” (0.91m) ganister bed,
    31 May 1927, Surveyor GB Hollins (827)
  • Lodge Farm (Charles Waller) Calow, Tupton
  • Long Acre (Eastwood Colliery Co, A Boon and Others), DC 51 feet (15m) and UC shaft 43 feet (13 m), Top Hard worked, soft coal left 11” (0.28m), hard coal 4’ 2” (1.27m) and floor coal left 1’ 0” (0.30m), 30th April
  • Marple Bridge New (Marple Bridge Colliery Co Ltd) Ludworth, Yard
  • Moorbridge (Moorbridge Coal Co) Stapleford, Kilburn flooded 17th Sep, abandoned
  • Moorfields (Mrs Hulme) Calow, Deep Soft
  • Moorwood Moor (GH Key) coal 1’ 0” (0.30m), ganister 2’ 3” (0.68m), May
  • Moss Coal and Ganister mine (Pickford, Holland and Co) Dore, Halifax Hard 2’ 0” (0.61m) and 2’ 9” (0.84m) ganister, met old workings to Northeast, abandoned 31 Jan 1927, Surveyor WA Baxter (792) for Coke Turner and Co MES; Mount Pleasant (Alfred Tagg) Riddings, Silkstone
  • Newbold Moor (Elliott and Blair) Deep Hard
  • Old Whittington Silkstone (ED Swanwick) Chesterfield, Silkstone, dip 1in4, outcrop, Surveyor Arthur H Booth (300) Pentrich Footrill (Pentrich Colliery Co Ltd) Riley Lane, one adit and shaft 6 yards (5.5m) deep, top coal 1’ 2” (0.35m), open hard coal 1’ 1” (0.33m), hard coal 1’ 1” (0.33m), dirt 6” (0.15m), bottom soft coal 4” (0.10m), dirt 1’ 2” (0.35m), dip of seam 1in4, met old gob and heads, Manager RS Swallow (1664)
  • Pentrich (Hartshay outcrop) (Pentrich Colliery Co Ltd), Deep Hard dip 1in 4, Inlet and Outlet adits and shaft 20 feet (6.1m) not finished, heads 6 feet (1.98m) wide met old gob, Manager RS Swallow (1664 First Class Cert endorsed) Pickles (Pickles Colliery Co) Coal Aston, Silkstone
  • Pond Farm (P Botham) Newbold, Deep Hard, from outcrop in one area coal gone except for a few pillars, other area met old works, 10 Mar 1927, Surveyor Hubert Blackshaw (780)
  • Quarry Farm (Draycott and Clark) Newbold, Piper, met old works, 31 Mar 1927, Surveyor Hubert Blackshaw (780) Shady Hall (Potters and Ibbotson) Bramley, Blackshale from outcrop, entrance and heads to hole in field, Surveyor WH Burgin
  • Shipley Field closed after 110 years
  • Silkstone Old (J and G Wells) (shown)
  • Sinking (Hinchcliffe Bros and Co Ltd) at Oakerthorpe, abandoned
  • Sitwell (Pearson and Co Chert Ltd) adit, abandoned 1927
  • Stanton (J and N Nadin and Co) Burton on Trent, Stockings, Eureka, Kilburn and Stanhope, water had broken into the Woodfield seam in 1918, at a constant flow until now
  • Stone House (William Orwin) Newbold, Piper, 29 Jul 1927, single entry short wall working 1925 – 29th July 1927, shaft 8 yards (7m) deep, old workings to northeast, unprofitable and death of owner, Surveyor W Alsop (526)
  • Strawberry Lee (Pickford, Holland and Co Ltd) Totley, between Bolehill Lodge and Harefield Farm, Halifax Hard 1’ 0” (0.30m), ganister 2’ 6” (0.76m), several adits, met old workings, headings under Totley Railway Tunnel, abandoned 3 Mar 1927, Surveyor WA Baxter (792) for Coke Turner and Co MEs
  • Thornsett Brows or Aspenshaw (James Morton) Yard 3’ 4” (1.01m), rock roof, fireclay floor, 10th July 1926-6th Apr 1927, 3 day eyes, met old works, 3 separate areas, dip 1in7, Surveyor John Mort (187) c/o George Eagle
  • Tinkersick (Hall Bros) Brimington, Deep Hard
  • Wethercotes Farm (James Morton) Yard, June
  • Vernon Wollaton (Charles Robinson), Waterloo, 2 adits and one air shaft, water problem, 31st Dec 1927, Surveyor: Edgar R Jones (810)
  • Whittington Silkstone Old (see above). An ancient working in Top Hard known as Glews Wood was close by.
    There were many old pits to the west and south at Bramcote Moor.

Birley Gate (Thos A May and Co) drift mine, no coal worked due to dispute over leases with owner of mineral, (Levi Robinson, Manager and Surveyor) - date?
Church Gresley (South Derbyshire) Block or Jack Denis found unsuitable June 1927, abandoned, Surveyor FH Liptrot (182) dated 16 Feb 1915. WB Brown HMI.
Denby Hall (Derbyshire) (Butterley Co Ltd) Low Main abandoned 30 Sep 1927, the Surveyor was John Holbrook (long service 883) and Jack Bircumshaw (2144) Mining Agent.
Newcastle (Nottinghamshire) (Babbington Coal Co Ltd) Hazel (Low Bright) abandoned 6 Feb 1927, Surveyor to Co Lewis H Spencer (517).
New London (Nottinghamshire) (Digby Colliery Co Ltd) Silkstone seam abandoned 15 Jul 1927, Surveyor John Rigby, shaft 217 yards (198.5m) to Tupton, dip 1in8½.
Snibston No2 Coalville (Leicestershire), Yard seam 2’ 10” (0.86m) fin 29 Jan 1924? abandoned 31 Mar 1917, 2 shafts both UCs to Roaster 729 feet (222m), Surveyor George Bragge (766)
Woodside (Derbyshire) (Shipley Collieries Ltd) Piper seam at 248 yards (226.75m) abandoned 30 Jun 1927, Surveyor E Wheldon (838).

Maximum Manpowers

At Rufford the maximum number of persons employed reached 2,547 (2,084 underground). At neighbouring Clipstone colliery the maximum ever employed reached 2,390 (1,962 underground), and at Mansfield Crown Farm the manpower was still around 2,400 (1,960 underground).

All three pits were in Nottinghamshire, owned by the Bolsover Colliery Co and all were working the thick good quality Top Hard seam that had steam coal, gas coal, coking coal and could be used for industry and household.

High Park Joins Moorgreen

The 2nd Waterloo seam was worked from High Park until now when a very steep drift about 1in2 was driven at Moorgreen to
 access the workings there (Barber, Walker and Co).


A Division of the St Johns Ambulance Brigade was formed at Pleasley in 1927 and by 1928 a motor ambulance was in use at the pit. It was now possible to transport injured men to hospital quickly.

Fatal Accidents 1927

  • Blackwell B Winning, James Jackson (58) fall of roof 6 Jan 1927
  • Coppice, Alf Brown (31) fall of roof 5 May 1927
  • Coppice, Charles Shelton (21) run over by tubs 29 Jun 1927
  • Manners, John Smith (58) fall of ground on 28 Jun 1927, died 9 Jul 1927
  • Manners, James Farnsworth (54) fall of coal 11 Aug 1927
  • Mapperley, Sam Bostock Cook (45) injured hand, septicaemia, died 16 Jul 1927
  • Pilsley, Edward Willett (16) crushed by tubs 13 Jul 1927
  • Shipley, Cyril Hutsby (48) crushed by tubs 12 Jun 1927
  • Shipley, Percy Cope (37) fell from a building on the surface on 5 May 1927, died 7 Aug 1927
  • South Normanton, Alfred Chalkley (56) fall of roof 25 Jun 1927
  • Swanwick, William Henry Taylor (54) fall of coal on 20 Jun 1927, died 21 Jun 1927
  • Swanwick, William Henry Howe (22) caught in a coal cutter 20 Jul 1927.


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Pit Terminology - Glossary