1966 - Page 1
NCB Chairman Visit To Bestwood
Lord Robens Chairman of the NCB visited No6 Area HQ at Bestwood (Nottinghamshire) on 18th January 1966.
Meden Bank Rows Demolished
The rows of terraced housing at Meden Bank, Stanton Hill, built by the Stanton Ironworks Co for Teversal and Silverhill miners, were demolished. These were later replaced by Council housing.
Bernard Taylor, Labour MP for the Mansfield constituency since 1941 and previously a miner and union leader at Sherwood took the title Lord Taylor. Don Concannon (35), a mineworker at Rufford succeeded as Labour MP on 31st March 1966. He would continue to hold the seat for 21 years, at one time in the 1970s being Minister of State for Northern Ireland.
At High Moor drift mine (North Derbyshire) a new Axial flow fan was installed in March 1966, the old fan having to have the revolutions increased in the previous year. A further Aerex Radial fan of 360hp replaced this one later.
Stanhope Drift Mine Closed
Stanhope Drift mine (including Anglesey or Brizlincote), (South Derbyshire), was closed, Stanhope 1964, Kilburn seam production ceased 1966.
First worked 1874. Then worked from Bretby, Stanton and Thorntree Drift to 1940.
Sunk in 1955-1959 and re-opened 1959 by NCB was closed in March 1966 and abandoned in August 1966.
Position: SK43SW, 440000, 330000.
Two drifts from the surface to the Kilburn seam.
Originally the Kilburn was worked from Anglesey prior to 1868 and from Stanhope in 1869.
Bretby and Stanton worked the Kilburn 1918-1955.
The Stanhope seam, coal 4’ 6” (1.37m) plus 6” (0.15m) fireclay floor was first worked from drifts in 1873/74-1876 and again - 1930 and from Bretby colliery to 1940, and re-opened by 2 new surface drifts in 1958. However water in the floor caused closure on 12th May 1964.
Pithead baths were opened in 1966.
Tonnage and Manpower:
- 1960: 19,430 tons, 133 men
- 1961: 88,344 tons, 177 men
- 1962:139,336 tons, 262 men
- 1963: 161,759 tons, 287 men
- 1964/65: 207,929 tons, 296 men
- 1965/66: 141,689 tons, 262 men.
- Arthur Summers (4896) (died in his office).
Managers for Stanhope drift:
- Alec Hindmarsh (5417) -1964
- John A Pash (5758) 1964-1966.
NCB Reorganisation Again
Following the contraction of the industry from 1957 on, due to competition from other fuels, quite a few of the older pits in the western side of Derbyshire were closed and subsequently it was decided by the NCB Board to reorganise the coalfield once again 1966/67.
Eastwood Hall Closed Down
From April 1966, No5 Area with HQ at Eastwood Hall was closed down and the remaining collieries were transferred to No4 Area with HQ at Huthwaite, and No6 Area with HQ at Bestwood, except for Coppice and Woodside No1 which were under the authority of the Divisional Production Department until they closed later in the year. Most of the Staff at this HQ was distributed to other Areas.
WE (Bill) Martin (1523) started at Shipley Collieries in 1938 and qualified as a Mine Surveyor in 1945, transferring to Eastwood Hall HQ in 1947 and was appointed Area Chief Surveyor No5 Area until closure, and was transferred to Area Chief at Bolsover HQ until April 1967, when he was once more transferred as Area Chief South Nottinghamshire Area HQ at Bestwood.
Working Facilities And Support Act
Mines (Working Facilities and Support) Act 1966 was enacted. Any person having an interest in land that is not entitled to support or sufficient support for buildings or proposed buildings etc may apply for restrictions to be imposed on the working of minerals – coal. In determining whether restrictions should be imposed, the Court shall have regard to the value of the buildings or works or if damaged the cost of repair likely to be caused by mining subsidence as compared to the value of the coal, or to the importance in the national interest of the erection or preservation of the buildings or works in relation to the value of the coal.
Support of the roadway sides was required with the introduction of the Coal and Other Mines (Support) Regulations 1966, spelling the end of cambered girders, and wood, and the use of steel arches with covering sheets or fire-proof treated wood became the norm. This caused many problems at pits like Teversal where ‘cams’ (cambered girders) were used and old disused hand-filled coal face W bars and boards and mesh had to be bolted to the bare roadway sides to comply with the Regulations. However this system became expensive in manpower and materials and the older panels were soon abandoned. Prop free front increased to 6’ 6” (2m) from the 5 feet (1.5m) rule from gateside pack to face and between arches max 4 feet (1.22m).
New Titles Were Introduced
New titles were introduced for some management personnel later in the year. The title
- Enginewright became Mechanical Engineer
- Head Electrician became Electrical Engineer
- Group Surveyors became Senior Surveyors and moved to Area HQ from the Group offices in some Areas.
- Assistant Manager was now titled Deputy Manager, (Undermanager in law) who would deputise for the Manager in his absence. The later title Assistant Manager would generally refer to the person in charge of development at most of the mines, a position between Undermanager and Deputy Manager (Senior Undermanager). Because of the glut of qualified personnel the title Assistant Undermanager would emerge at larger collieries and spread later to all collieries.
Inrush Of Water At Grassmoor
There was an inrush of water at Grassmoor from the old Avenue pit (Derbyshire) flooding part of the workings, severely hampering production. Water erupted from the floor of a 2nd Piper seam face originating from old Tupton workings below from Avenue. Pumping was restored at Avenue No 9 shaft.
M&C Merged With AB
M&C merged with AB (Mavor and Coulson and Anderson Boyes).
The Blackshale seam was developed at Bentinck (Nottinghamshire).
Minister of Power, Richard Marsh (Lab), 6th Apr 1966-1968, replaced Fred Lee.
A new short-wall mining system was tried at Newstead (Nottinghamshire) and would assist the colliery to achieve the highest output ever at 1,285,461 tons in 1966-1967, with a manpower of 1,230.
Teversal Record Output
At Teversal (Nottinghamshire) the output record reached 12,841 tons in bull week, end of May 1966.
Remote Control Of Conveyors
The remote control of conveyors was introduced at several collieries
Fastest Million Tons In The Country
Thoresby (Nottinghamshire) recorded the fastest million tons raised for the year in the country in August 1966.
Safety Engineers with First Class Mining Certificates were appointed at the large collieries.
National Power Loader Agreement
On 6th June 1966 the National Power Loading Agreement (NPLA) was implemented. This guaranteed a fixed shift wage irrespective of the amount of coal produced and was the start of the phasing out of piece rates and contracts. It provided for a national shift rate by the end of 1971. Coal face workers in this region had their wages ‘held back’ as other parts of the country were given rises, even though the productivity rates were nowhere near the high rates achieved by the Derbyshire, Leicestershire and Nottinghamshire miners.
A night allowance was introduced for Daywage man for those working between the hours of 8pm and 6am.
NACODS Ban On WeekEnd Working
NACODS imposed a ban on week-end working from 26th June 1966 until 30th September 1966, when it was announced that an increase in wages was to be pursued for the Deputies etc. In December agreement was reached and the new rates were to apply from 1st January 1967 (not until then, because of the Government’s incomes standstill policy, announced in July).
Prior to this the Deputy had tremendous power and status, being totally responsible for all the activities on his district, including the authorisation of wage payments. It was not a good idea to try to overrule his authority and even the Undermanager and Manager treated him with great respect. Many of the tasks undertaken in a coaling district were subject to contract so he had a key role in the costing of the district. Now, the method of payment for work done at the face, from piece work pay to the new standard method of day wage pay, took away a major part of the Deputy’s authority. He now became more of a safety officer for the district, keeping an eye on general activities and doing gas testing and pre-shift examinations and reporting to district Overmen.
As the vast costs of a mechanised panel increased by the introduction of armoured face conveyors (AFCs), and panzer motors and Anderton shearers it became pertinent that a more certificated type of person be employed. Assistant Undermanagers (with First or Second Class certificate) began to be appointed at the larger mines, in preparation for possible Undermanagers’ positions in future but it was thought that production units that were now costing many thousands of pounds (£) and later millions of pounds (£) ought to be supervised on all shifts by a member of higher management. Other disciplines expanded also, such as mechanical and electrical to try to keep the new type machinery working at top efficiency.
Of course the other side of the fence led to some poor workmanship, knowing that the day’s pay was just the same whether it was a good job or a poor job, and there was the cry of …‘It was the other shift that left it like this!’ At most pits there were always some men who would be lurking about around the pit bottom well before riding time and Harry ‘Spike’ Jones, Assistant Manager at Ollerton at the time found great delight in catching these men and taking their tallies and therefore stopping their money. It was known for him to sit quietly in the side of a pit bottom roadway with his cap lamp light switched off and pounce on the men as they came by. This led to secret hideouts being made at the back of old engine houses or old roads etc!
Prices And Incomes Act
On 4th July 1966 the Labour Government introduced a Prices and Incomes Act, to put a brake on wage increases. From 4th October a pay freeze for 6 months was implemented, the announcement being made on 20th July.
Mobile Xray Unit
The Mobile Xray unit was based at New Hucknall (South Nottinghamshire) for all to have chest exams.
Merrylees Drift Mine Connected To Desford
An underground connection was made from Merrylees drift mine to Desford in 1966 and as the reserves at Merry Lees were limited it was absorbed into Desford (Leicestershire).
Dilwyn Richards succeeded W Freddie Gill (4065) as Senior District Inspector of mines. Geoff Weston and DA Bower were Inspectors.
Mines Rescue Station
Frank Heald (3274) Manager at Shirebrook (North Derbyshire) succeeded as General Manager at Mansfield Woodhouse Mines Rescue Station 1966-1976. He had started his career as a mining student on the survey line staff at Bilsthorpe.
John RM Wann (4708) transferred from Deputy Manager Pleasley (Derbyshire) to HQ Safety dept No4 Area, Huthwaite (Nottinghamshire).
The Co-operative stores at Clipstone and Edwinstowe were sold by the NCB. Originally 3 had been built by the Bolsover Co, the other being at Forest Town.
Mechanised mining was introduced at Oxcroft (North Derbyshire) in 1966 with the introduction of a double-ended conveyor mounted trepanner cutter loader machine.