1966 - Page 6
On 21st October 1966 there was a major disaster at Aberfan in South Wales. Torrential rain had weakened the dirt tip of Merthyr Vale Colliery which was on the hillside, and it suddenly gave way and like an avalanche smashed through some houses and engulfed the local school way below in the valley, with spoil and slurry, killing 116 children and 28 adults. The picture to the left shows the tip sliding down onto the village below and the picture to the right shows slurry engulfing a classroom at the school where all the children died. Following this, moves were made by the NCB to make sure such an occurrence could not happen again. Every tip in the country was assessed for stability. A £5,000 programme for improvement of derelict land would make 5 colliery spoil tips in Nottinghamshire safer and less of an eyesore. Legislation would follow, affecting every colliery, see 1969.
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Westthorpe (North Derbyshire) record output 16,507 tons for Bull week December 1966. Manager was Albert Wheeler (7349) who would eventually become Deputy Chairman of British Coal.
Also there was record face production at High Moor (on border of North Derbyshire and South Yorkshire), total output for year app 500,000 tonnes, manpower rose from 230 to 415.
Local Miners Losing Money
It was estimated that the NPLA (National Power Loader Agreement) holding back miners in Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire and Leicestershire were losing up to £7 a week whilst other mines in the country caught up. Before 6th June there were two systems of payment for men, the first being time and piece and wage structure 1.
Mines (Working Facilities and Support) Act 1966 passed.
Subsidence damage to Bonds Main Village, Derbyshire where approximately 100 terrace-type houses built around the turn of the 20th Century was so severe due to Deep Soft workings from Williamthorpe, extracting 59” (1.5m) of coal at 270 yards (247m) deep in 1966 that some families had to be re-housed whilst damage repairs were done, however eventually the whole village was demolished and the site re-developed by the Local Authority. This was an example where no precautions prior to mining had been done to counteract subsidence damage.
The Subsidence Engineers’ Handbook c 1963, built up by noting examples of the past and showing some ways of combating serious damage was issued to all Surveyors, however Mining Engineers were the last people to try to get interested or involved in the operation, mainly due to cost, when some predictions were only paper exercises and may never happen. It was only after such an example as above that notice was taken. (The book would be up-dated and re-issued in 1975 following extensive investigations and information obtained from collieries and specialists).
Teversal Surge Bunker
At Teversal (Nottinghamshire) a Hanmade surge bunker became operational underground regulating the coal to the Loading point on the South Level, near the pit bottom.
Previously to the conveyor belt being operational, full tubs were allowed to run down the gradient on 2 sets of rails to the pit bottom being arrested by men using stangers (long thick poles of wood with a wedge shape at the bottom) resting on one shoulder which was pushed under the front wheels of the tubs thus slowing them down to a crawl before being handled in readiness for being wound out of the pit.
On 1st December 1966 Sherwood Colliery Swimming baths, owned by the Trustees of the Sherwood Colliery Miners Welfare, was purchased by Mansfield Corporation for ?22,000.
- Blue Lodge 2nd St John’s, Clowne, Fox Earth, Sough, Furnace, Brinsley Thin, High Hazles 11th Nov
- Hamlet Top Hard, Floor, Dunsil 14th Apr
- Kenning Park (Martin Cowley Ltd), Yard seam and Cannel 21st Oct 1965 finished 28th Apr 1966
- Newman Spinney Clowne, Foxearth, Sough and Furnace 16th July 1962 – 18th Oct 1966
- Shortwood, Deep Soft, Top Soft and Roof Soft
Inspector's Report 1966
Richard Marsh MP Minister of Power made an underground visit to Steetley.
- Willie Whitehouse retired.
- Senior District RT Purvis.
2 complaints regarding working conditions from NUM officials and found to be justified and action taken.
78 pits and 4 in Yorkshire Area plus 10 licensed mines produced a total of 43,374,852 tons and 1,889,066 tons with 78,869 men on books.
Bevercotes roadways were driven and a ROLF face installed.
A 1,650 hp ground mounted double rope friction type winder commissioned at Shirebrook for men, materials with a counter-balanced cage down to Deep Soft horizon at 759 yards (694m).
Double deck winding commenced at Steetley.
Cross-measures drifts were driven at Sherwood and Creswell.
Schemes to centralise output handling at Markham 2, Markham 4 inter-connected to wind output at No2.
Desford and Merrylees were connected also Bagworth and Nailstone.
Underground work at Denby and Denby Hall continued to send all output to Denby Hall shaft.
Surface drift at Kirkby completed plus a new coal prep plant being built. The surface drift at Bentinck almost complete and a new coal prep plant there also.
New surface drift begun at Pye Hill.
Elimination of return gate stable holes continued.
23 men killed and 161 serious accidents (inc 5 on surface and 11 serious accidents).
13 pits now practicing firedamp drainage.
5 sudden emissions of firedamp.
5 new booster fans installed and 2 withdrawn.
Firedamp drainage practiced at 13 pits.
Introduction of fire resistant fluid into hydraulic installations.
Sand drags introduced for underground locos.
100 working places still with walking distances of plus 4,000 yards (3,660m).
500KVA air-cooled, flame-proof transformersin use close to face.
Assessment of 'approved' dust conditions drawn up.
National Joint Pneumoconiosis became operational 1/10/1965.
New Medical Centres at Harworth, Creswell and one under construction at Snibston. Total of 63 State Registered nurses.
8 fully reserved training faces.
522 horses, at 37 collieries, many now on light duties.
Rescue Stations 12 Officers, 39 permanent corps and 520 fully trained men at pits.