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The Decline Of The Industry Continued
After Nationalisation 1947


1970 - Page   1     2     3     4  

1970 - Page 4

There are approximately 85 known shafts in the Heanor district. These included:

  • Nelson Street
  • Heanor Hall
  • Heanor Church
  • Heanor Lane
  • West Hill
  • Heanor
  • New Heanor
  • Commonside
  • Whysall Street
  • Marlpool
  • Newcastle
  • Loscoe
  • Old Ormond
  • Ormonde
  • Bailey Brook
  • New Winning
  • Old Foundation
  • Coppice
  • Old Langley
  • New Langley collieries.
The Robey Adit Level or Loscoe Sough ran from Smalley to Ormonde and drained water from many old mines and when it was driven it allowed coal to be extracted to the rise side. Working to the dip side at the time was not possible due the lack of a pumping system.

There are around 90 shafts and several adits in the Langley Mill district.

These included:

  • Langley Mill
  • Dunstead pits
  • Corden
  • Corden Meadows
  • Cresswells and North Drift.

To the north of Aldercar lay Stoneyford and the Codnor Park ancient workings. Langley Mill was originally called Langley Bridge as the road passed over the River Erewash, the recognised border of the counties of Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire. A flour mill was opened and it is more than likely that the name originated from that.


Following the closure of Ormonde (Derbyshire), pumping ceased at the closed Bailey Brook, Salterwood, Denby, Ripley and Western pits and water was allowed to flow to Woodside which lies at the bottom of the Shipley basin. The water level there is maintained at about 600 feet (183m) deep to prevent the overflow to Lodge which is connected to Moorgreen at the Piper seam horizon. The major pumping station at the old Woodside mine, part of the American Adventure Theme Park, which collected water from the old surrounding mines had submersible pumps of 3,000 g.p.m. A Regional Pumping Committee was established to monitor the water problems, which were emerging in the Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire and South Yorkshire Areas and in particular water from Derbyshire pits migrating and affecting the deeper Nottinghamshire pits to the east. Water flows to Williamthorpe from Avenue, Grassmoor and Holmewood collieries. Morton pumping station receives water from Avenue also as well as Parkhouse, Clay Cross and Tibshelf. Blackwell A Winning pumping station receives water from Swanwick and Alfreton and if not pumped there can flow via Blackwell B Winning to New Hucknall and on to Bentinck.

Other pumping stations were set up at

  • Morton
  • St Johns
  • A Winning
  • Langton
  • Bentinck
  • Williamthorpe.

The Ell seam was discontinued at Markham.

Springfield Drift (Derbyshire) (Firthwood Collieries Ltd) sunk to the Deep Soft (coal 1’ 6½” (0.46m), dirt 9” (0.23m), coal 3’ 11” (1.19m) in 1954, was last worked in November 1970. Director R Gibbs up to 1st Nov 1970. Surveyor was A Green (1127). Open casting of the Ell seam was carried out.

Bramley Vale Drift Mine Merged With Glapwell

Bramley Vale Drift mine (North Derbyshire) driven in 1959 by NCB adjacent to Glapwell mine at Bramley Vale to the Clowne seam was merged with Glapwell, John E Hancock (6205) (Manager Bramley Vale) on 30th September 1970 under one management after being run separately for 11 years. The Clowne seam was thin and the working conditions wet, being in close proximity to the surface.

Fatal Accidents Bramley Vale Drift Mine:

  • Graham Marsden (24) fall of roof 28/3/1961
  • George Hurt (53) caught in a cutter 20/6/1963
  • George Brooks (45) caught in a cutter 14/1/1964.

National Coal Strike Averted

Nottinghamshire miners faced the prospect of suffering a national coal strike in 1970 for the first time since 1926. Len Clarke (2664) President of the NUM and Len Martin financial Secretary predicted that the Nottinghamshire NUM would vote by over the two-thirds majority needed for a national action. They were among the leaders in London dismissing a pay offer from the NCB. Nottinghamshire miners had demanded an immediate overtime ban from 24th September in a bid to ensure a pay demand was met. The National Coal Board had so far offered £1 17s 6d (£1.87½) to coal face workers to bring their basic up to £28 and £2 10s (£2.50) to surface workers to bring their basic up to £16 a week.

The NUM stated that the basic wage for surface men should be £20 and £30 for face men. Earlier the NUM had sought a further reduction of surface men’s’ hours to 38¾, however after discussions and following a ballot, accepted 40 hours inclusive of snap time.

By mutual consent the NUM and NACODS agreed that in future each body would be responsible for their own negotiations etc, and this enabled a new simplified agreement for Under-Officials to be negotiated.

Kirkby Engine Sheds Closed

The Kirkby Loco depot (sheds) originally for steam engines which since 1966 had been a diesel depot was closed down. The remaining sidings at the ex Kirkby colliery were closed also. The work was transferred to Shirebrook, Westhouses, Toton diesel depots and Bestwood sidings. The ex Midland line between Kirkby Junction and Annesley closed and the ‘Mutton Hill tunnel’ was filled with colliery waste, severing the direct link from Mansfield to Nottingham, thereby causing coal trains to travel from Annesley and Newstead to travel via Radford to the Leen Valley.

Overtime Ban Imposed

In October 1970, the NUM held a ballot and the result was in favour of strike action over the pay offer by the NCB. Roving pickets toured around, because the ballot only gave 55.5% in favour, and not the 2/3 majority required. 116 pits in the country came out on unofficial strike including Pleasley - but the strike collapsed by 19th November. An overtime ban was imposed from 9th October. Normal work resumed on 23rd November 1970.


Len A Clarke (2664) President of the Nottinghamshire NUM and ex Colliery Manager said that the miners were worried that although records were still being broken at Newstead there had been no reply from the NCB to his request as to whether the Coal Board could seek further reserves, and which seam would replace the High Main which could finish in about 5 years time at present rates. He went on to say that men would begin to leave the pit in greater numbers than at present if there was no guarantee of a long-term job. (As it so happened the High Main would be worked until 1983 then closed because of the ever-increasing dirt band in the seam).


Department of Trade and Industry created, Sir John Eden, (Con) Minister 15th Oct 1970. President of Board of Trade John Davies (Con) – 1972.


Throughout 1970 the weekly output record was broken six times at Teversal, (Nottinghamshire) culminating with the highest ever output of 15,170 tons week ending 28th November at 75.5 cwts OMS. Not bad for a ‘tater pit’ as it was referred to sometimes. I used to say jokingly that the day when I left Teversal the tonnage would go downhill and by chance it did!

Neighbouring pit Silverhill produced a record 17,300 tons although the tonnage for each pit was calculated from face advances due the coal from both pits being mixed and washed at Silverhill.

Teversal (Nottinghamshire), the highest ever yearly output of 643,683 tons with 806 men was produced from the 1st Waterloo seam. The highest manpower at Teversal under the NCB was in 1953 with 941 men, then in the Dunsil seam, under Stanton Ironworks Co, 952 in Top Hard in 1923.

Most of the coal produced at Teversal was transported by internal rail to Silverhill and processed in the washery, mixed with the Silverhill coal (Nottinghamshire). Every week of course there was an argument between the two Managers of the respective pits as to the amount of saleable coal produced from the original raised and weighed figures! Figures produced by the Surveyors at each pit, from weekly advance measurements and extraction sections, were used to achieve an amicable agreement. I was the one who usually filled the book in at Teversal for the Manager George Noble who generally came back smiling because we had proper documented proof of output for every panel and heading every week but Silverhill survey staff did not seem to have a system.

High Moor Drift

The output at High Moor Drift mine reached 481,115 tons with 3 machine faces and a manpower of 406. The pit was served by FSVs underground road borne transport only on the surface.

Chairman Of The NCB Visited Ollerton

On 9th December 1970 Lord Robens, Chairman of the NCB visited Ollerton colliery to congratulate the management and workforce for their outstanding achievements. During the year a major reconstruction had been carried out. Area, National and European records had been broken.


Thoresby produced 1,291,755 tons in 1970 with 1,593 men. Average earnings £5.11 per shift. From 1955 to 1970 throughout the country 551 pits were closed.

Pye Hill

A panel from Pye Hill (Nottinghamshire) in the Silkstone or Blackshale seam finished on 31st December, exactly underneath Eastwood Hall and did some minor damage.

Dust Sampling

MRDE gravimetric sampling instruments for dust, re pneumoconiosis were in general use at all pits, first introduced in 1964.

HM Inspectorate

James W Calder was appointed Chief Inspector of Mines (1970-75), replacing Harold S Stephenson.

Opencast Working

Blue Lodge Extension Sough, Furnace, Brinsley Thin, High Hazels, Thin coal, 1st and 2nd St John’s (R McGregor and Sons Ltd)

Calleywhite Lane (Firthwood Collieries Ltd) Piper 4’ 0” (1.22m) finished Oct 1970

Cromford Canal North Extension Coombe, Top Hard, Dunsil, 1st, 2nd, 3rd Waterloo, Waterloo Marker (Currall, Lewis and Martin Ltd)

Parkhouse Clay Cross Soft, Deep Hard (Robert McGregor and Sons Ltd)

Salterwood 1st Piper, Hospital, Tupton, Threequarter, Yard, Silkstone (Robert McGregor and Sons Ltd)

Springfield Deep Soft, 1/11/1970

Steadmill ½ mile North of Alfreton 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th Waterloo, Waterloo Marker, 1st and 2nd Ell, Coombe, Top Hard, Dunsil (Shephard, Hill and Co Ltd)

Upper Delves underlying seam, 6/1970.

At the Shipley Lake Opencast site in the Shipley Wood area (Derbyshire) open casting of the Top Coombe, Lower Coombe / Top Hard was begun by RA Huthwaite in January 1971

2 Ruston-Bucyrus mechanical shovels and a Lima 2400 dragline excavator stripped the overburden. 

Old pillar and stall workings were exposed in the Top Coombe and sledges were found.

The Newcastle pit worked the Top Coombe and Parkers Field pit the Top Hard; Deep Field, Old Woodside, Woodside and Coppice pits had worked Waterloo, Deep Soft, Deep Hard, Piper, Low Main, Mickley and Kilburn. 

14 old shafts were found and they were all timbered and 5 feet square.  One area showed that the stalls had been on fire.  The timber used was oak, spruce, ash and silver birch. 

48 other shafts were found sunk down to the Top Hard and in the old workings artefacts that were uncovered consisted of wooden ladders, parts of sledges and leather harness straps, hog skin boots, iron wedges, picks and shovels and a wooden drainage pump and drain blocks. 

Some of the area had been open casted previously as a War effort in 1942, but the latest attempt to recover as much coal as possible was completed by Feb 1974

Mild Winter

1970-1971 was a mild winter, but bad news for the coal industry as sales fell.

Inspector's Report 1970

73 NCB pits and 24 Licensed mines and 9 Pumping shafts.

Output in the Division was 50,849,709 tons, almost all power loaded. North Nottinghamshire Area produced over 12m tons and Ollerton achieved a record of 16,688 tons off an advancing single-ended Shearer face in 6' 6" (2m) high Top Hard seam. This was an Area record that would last for 8 years.

produced 1.5m tons and there were 11 pits that produced over 1m tons in the year.

Ormonde and Williamthorpe / Grassmoor closed.

Bagworth and Ellistown in Leicestershire merged underground.

No2 shaft at the new Daw Mill colliery in Warwickshire was completed.

In North Derbyshire a twin-boom ripping machine was installed in a heading.

In North Nottinghamshire there were 24 ripping machines at Airway lips.

At Blidworth a packing system using a slusher was in use.

Bilsthorpe installed skips and reorganised the pit bottom and a modernised Coal prep plant was operational.

Trials at a North Derbyshire pit with a self-advancing roadway powered support, to work with a boom ripping machine, but it was not a success.

17 men were killed and there were 219 serious accidents. 1 of the fatal accidents involved a pony driver who sustained a non-reportable accident in 1969 when he was trampled on by a pony that had bolted past an upturned tram. The ganger returned to work after 6 weeks but collapsed and died at the mine some 4 weeks later.

At Dominic's Heath drift mine a Technical supervisor making a regular inspection for the purpose of measuring the water flow went underground alone. The owner, Walter Lavin the previous owner's son was informed that he had not returned so he went back into the mine with a workman accompanying him to search for the supervisor. He was found lying alongside a vee-notch water measuring box set in the entrance to a water level which was not positively ventilated. The mine owner climbed down beside the collapsed man with the intention of giving assistance but was himself rapidly overcome. As the workman attempted to lift the owner he realised that he was being affected by the atmoshere and retreated to give the alarm. The 2 bodies were recovered in half an hour by Rescue men wearing breathing apparatus. The roadway was completely fouled by blackdamp. The water level connected with untravable workings to the closed Ramcroft mine. Neither the NCB official nor the owner Walter Lavin carried a flame safety oil lamp and both had First Class Certificates of Competency.

There was an outburst of firedamp of considerable violence and the floor in the gate lifted 5 feet (1.5m) and a workman accompanying the Deputy was struck by a projected piece of material and received a back injury. On investigation there were pillars of coal in other seams above and below.

20 fires were reported underground.

96 horses at 11 pits. TJ Melody the HM Inspector of horses retired after 30 years in the job, at a time when it was almost the complete withdrawal of horses from underground.





Pit Terminology - Glossary