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The Decline Of The Industry Continued
After Nationalisation 1947


  1957    1     2     3     4  

1957 - Page 4

Drive For Large Coal

More Officials were set on at pits as the drive for ‘large coal’ continued.  Rubber belting in the chutes was placed at transfer points gaumers to reduce breakage.  Due to many pits using shearer machines the product had degraded, and large coal for consumer use was scarce and in demand.  In the meantime demand for coal had fallen sharply and the NCB began to take drastic action by reducing production, including the closure of pits, restrictions on recruitment etc. At some pits, ‘large coal’ Overmen were set on as mentioned previously, their duty being to ensure that wherever possible coal was not shattered at each relevant transfer or loading point before being wound out of the mine. One solution was to have pieces of old conveyor belting fastened in the delivery chutes where coal was loaded from one conveyor to another.

Renishaw Park

At Renishaw Park, (Derbyshire) the Deep Soft worked mainly by pillar and stall was abandoned in July 1957.  A dam was constructed inbye to retain 130lb/sq in of water pressure.  The seam was previously worked to Mar 1879, to Apr 1893, to May 1914 and July 1929 (Furnace Hill colliery).

Surveyors included:  John E Bellis from 1922 on re-opening, later appointed Area Surveyor, Yorkshire.

Rescue Station Personnel

Rescue Station Officers’ examinations were introduced in 1957 whereby previously only experience was required.

NCB Liable For Repairs

Under the Coal Mining (Subsidence) Act 1957, the NCB are liable for the full cost of remedial works under the Agreement between British Transport Commission and NCB 1949 and amendment in 1953 regarding workings within areas of support for railways.  The Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire Coalfield were riddled with railways.

Petroleum Regulations

The Petroleum (Production) (Amendment) Regulations 1957 came into force requiring a licence for natural gas extraction.

Thoresby Colliery

In Sept 1957 Arden A Bowker, the East Midlands No3 Area General Manager, at a presentation to mining veterans at the colliery stated that Thoresby Pit was the best in Europe.


The Dunsil seam at less than 3 feet (0.9m) thick was abandoned at Sherwood (Nottinghamshire), having been worked since 1916

Sutton Explosion Inquest

The jury stated that the findings of the Sutton Colliery Explosion in February 1957 was declared an open verdict.


On 17 October 1957 only 90 Hungarians now remained at the Forest Town Hostel out of the original 400. The NCB was paying £5 to £8 per week despite a country wide NUM ban on Magyar labour.

Shaft Sinking And Deepening

Shaft sinking The first 24 feet (7.31m) diameter shaft at Bevercotes (Nottinghamshire) was completed at 941 yards (860m) deep on 15th November 1957.   A total of £8m had been spent on developing the new colliery. Town and Country Planning permission was now needed for underground workings.

No5 shaft was sunk at Hucknall No2 colliery (Nottinghamshire).

The Alfreton No1 shaft (Derbyshire) at 15ft (4.57m) diameter (to Deep Hard 3’ 6” at 170 yards (155m) was deepened to Low Main at 260 yards (238m).

Training Centre

Ernest Jones President of the NUM officially opened Grassmoor Training Centre on 30th October 1957. 400 boys were to be trained every 16 weeks.

Daily Bonus

In November 1957 the 5-day weekly bonus shift for miners was now paid on a single shift basis.  Previously 5 days had to be worked before the bonus was paid.

Kirkby sfFirst 1 Million Tons

On 9th December 1957 Kirkby (Nottinghamshire) produced its first one million tons for the year, although the mine had been open since 1890 and had always employed a large manpower.


Underground Fire At Bilsthorpe

Bilsthorpe (Nottinghamshire) was closed temporarily from 15th to 19th December 1957 due to a conveyor fire on 69s double unit panel in the Low Main seam. There were 2 intake gates and a centre return gate. Stoppings were erected during this period to seal the district off.  It was re-opened during the annual holiday in 1958.

Fail Safe Pull Wire

Davis of Derby developed a pull wire type cable with multi core conductors with high tensile steel braided plastic sheathed cable. If the pull wire broke the system failed safe.

Exploration Boreholes

Around 100 exploratory boreholes were drilled in the South Derbyshire Coalfield to prove seam thicknesses.

Lound Hall Training Centre

On the 30th December 1957 the first trainees passed out from Lound Hall Training Centre.

Record Tonnage for Division

A record 46,940,943 tons produced in East Midlands Division on 31st December 1957. One million tons of saleable coal was produced on 8 separate weekly occasions.

Opencast Sites

  • Alfred Sleet Main Bright 4’ 0” (1.22m), Low Brights 2’0” (0.61m), Two Feet, Brinsley Thin 2’ 6” (0.76m), High Hazel 2’ 0” (0.61m) 15/10/1956 – 30/12/1957
  • Argyle House Dunsil, 1st Ell
  • Ark 1st and 2nd Waterloo, Ell, Chavery, Flockton
  • Astain Top Hard, Dunsil, 1st  and 2nd Waterloo
  • Avenue/Bottle Mickley, Ashgate
  • Biggin Zone Top Hard, Dunsil, 1st and 2nd Waterloo, 2nd Ell; Low Bright, Main Bright 30/12/57
  • Brake House 2nd, 3rd, 4th Waterloo, Top and bottom Leaf, 9/8/57
  • Broad Lane 2nd, 3rd Waterloo, Moor coal, Dunsil
  • Calow-Herne Zone Deep hard, Tupton, Threequarter, Silkstone
  • Cock Alley Deep Hard, 1st Piper, Hospital, Tupton, Threequarter, Chavery, Deep Soft
  • Cowpingle Silkstone
  • Ditch  Lower Roaster (Ashby)
  • Crown Inn Deep Hard seam
  • Four Lane Ends
  • Gentshill off Straw Lane, 1st Piper 2’ 7” (0.79m) 1/10/1956-6/11/1957
  • Hobsic Coombe, Top Hard, Floor coal, Dunsil, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th Waterloo, 1st Ell
  • Holmgate Tupton, Threequarter, Yard, Cannel
  • Jubilee Zone Middle Lount, Lount, Nether Lount
  • Macfez I Combs, Top Hard, Floor, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th Waterloo
  • Moor Farm 1st and 2nd Waterloo, 1st Ell, 2nd Ell, Chavery, Flockton, Deep Hard, 1st Piper, Tupton, Threequarter, Yard, Silkstone
  • Muster Top Hard; Plastic Top Soft, Roof Soft, Deep Soft
  • New Higham
  • Northfield
  • Peacock Hotel
  • Poplar Farm seam above Top Hard, Top Hard, Coombe, 4th Waterloo
  • St Leonards
  • Saw Pit Top Hard, Floor, Dunsil, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th Waterloo, 2nd Ell (55,500t)
  • Sheep Lane
  • Spa croft Top Hard (54,000t)
  • Shirland Colliery (private site)
  • Shirland Quarry
  • Starvehim Valley Hospital, Deep Hard, Deep Soft, Tupton, Threequarter, Silkstone, Alton, Mickley
  • Sutton Springs 1st Ell, 2nd Ell, Deep Hard, 1st Piper
  • Tinklers Roof Soft, Deep Hard, Deep Soft, Tupton, Threequarter
  • Tramway Coombe, Top Hard, Dunsil
  • Upper Delves
  • Upper Delves Extension Deep Soft or Flockton seam
  • Warwick 2nd Ell fin 10th Jan 1957
  • Water Tower Coombes, Top Hard, Dunsil
  • Watson Top Hard, Dunsil, 1st Waterloo.

Number of Collieries and Manpower

There were 822 pits in the UK employing 704,000 men and boys (same as in 1947) but the output per man per year had risen to 300 tons.

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Pit Terminology - Glossary