1980 - Page 4
(Teversal Colliery Closed After 111 years - Continued)
Two high-speed 2 stage electric turbine pumps of 100hp AC (British Electric Plant Co) were installed at Teversal shaft and lifted water 670 ft (205m) at 200 to 250 gallons a minute and the old steam pumps were taken out. Mackley pumps installed later pumped 27,937,500 gallons of water up No2 shaft in 1964 at about 250 gallons per minute.
200hp 2 speed engines running at 2 mph hauled coal up the plane roads and hauled men at 4 mph.
99 houses and a Mission Hall were built by Stanton Co for the miners in 1870. Later, a Welfare and extra ‘modern’ semi-detached housing was built along and adjacent to Fackley Road. The pit lay quite isolated up a lane off the road to Teversal Church and apart from ‘Howlish’ another Official’s house at the pit lane entrance, there were 3 Officials’ cottages verging the pit yard. No1 was for the Undermanager, No2 for the Surveyor and No3 for the Engineer. From 16/5/1884 to 13/6/1884 there was a strike at Silverhill, Teversal and Pleasley over wage rates.
Between 1917 and 1923 there were drastic changes at Stanton in management which had remained unchanged since 1888.
The Dunsil was developed and pan type conveyors and coal cutters installed. In both Dunsil and Top Hard seams wooden supports were replaced by steel in 1935 and wooden tubs replaced by steel in 1920.
Two 30hp Sullivan chain coal cutters and one 35hp crescent disc machine were introduced in Top Hard in 1922 and the bastard floor at times up to 2 feet (0.60m) thick which previously had to be got up by hand was able to be left down generally as the machines made their own floor. The faces using the machines were set out on end point. In the Dunsil seam three 22hp Hopkinson chain coal cutters and two Diamond jigging conveyors 100 yards long (90m) were installed. I spoke to some old colliers who had worked with them and they said that the noise of the eccentric jig moving the coal along was deafening and more so when empty.
Occasional pockets of water broke through from above to hamper working. The Top Hard seam working 30 yards (29m) above Dunsil was mechanised in 1930 with the introduction of AB 50hp coal cutters and 24” (0.61m) pan-type rubber face conveyors loading out onto 26” (0.66m) rubber gate conveyors to gate end loading points, a costly exercise at the time as the workings were by this time about 2 miles out from the pit bottom. This system was introduced into the Dunsil seam later.
Exemption was given by HMI for use of earthing conductors in flexible cables underground with a cross-sectional area less than 0.022 sq inches (for portable electric drills).
Mining Contractors Blandford and Gee were brought in to drive through the hard sandstone at the steep 1in4 North drift from the pit bottom Back Level in 1938 reaching the Waterloo seam where a junction was made, (the laborious levelling being carried out by the Surveyors using a 10ft (2.74m) long straight edge and spirit level as at that time the focusing on the levelling instruments was not good enough due to the short distances available! - Above photo, Shaker Pan and Top belt Loader.
Pit contractor Kennedy drove the steep 1in 5.8 drift for the split type manrider to the Dunsil seam from the Top Hard South Dips in 1947 where the cars met at a meeting in the middle then travelled back in the opposite direction.
The new NCB emphasis was on getting men to work in a reasonably fresh condition. A new pit bottom Undermanager’s and Overmen’s office was driven in the pit bottom by Doherty in 1946. Many of the ponies were redundant as the Top Hard finished leaving only between a dozen and twenty and some of the old stables were converted into other underground offices and workshops for fitters and electricians.
There was a chopping house for horse feed, consisting of hay cutting and grain bruising machinery. All the chaop was steamed before being sent down the pit to the stables. However the rats liked it also, the pit being riddled with them. They became quite a menace up to the late 1950s.
On the screens, one long picking belt 212 ft (65m) long and 4ft 6in (1.37m) wide manned in order to pick out hards or steam coal, brights or house coal and cannel coal and load by hand into wagons at the side of the belt. A noisy shaker screen 50 feet long divided coal and slack through 1⅜ inch (0.035m) holes and nuts through 2⅜ inch (0.062m) holes and cobbles onto another belt 59 ft 6 in (18m) long. The screens were improved later and a small washery plant was installed in the late 1950s to prepare blend, all the coal previously being transported by trucks pull-pushed by tank engine to the main washery plant at Silverhill.
A hybrid cone washer was operational in 1963, but the majority of the output was still transhipped to Silverhill mainly to be washed separately on night shift.
The brickyard consisted of 3 open type brick kilns, drying shed, brick press etc and the output was 25,000 bricks per week for colliery use from on site clay.
The steam raising plant for the winders consisted of three 30 ft x 8ft (9.1m x 2.4m) and four 30 ft x 9 ft (9.1m x 2.7m) Lancashire boilers, 3 of which were fitted with superheaters. The fire holes led to a tall cylindrical brick chimney adjacent. The boilers were later fan operated forced draught furnaces to improve consistency. The winding engines made by RJ and E Coupe, Worsley Mesnes Ironworks, Wigan had 30” (0.76m) bore cylinders with a 60” (1.52m) stroke and the drum was 13 ft (3.96m) dia.
The air compressors, one with 2 cylinders (steam 20” (0.50m) dia, air 22” (0.55m) dia x 24” (0.61m) stroke and one cylinder (steam 36” (0.91m) dia, air 38” (0.96m) dia) x 72” (1.83m) stroke. As stated the main fan was a Capell 16 ft (4.88m) dia x 6 ft 6 in (1.98m) wide, 127,000 cu ft air / min at 4” (0.10m) water gauge, 160 revs / min driven by 250hp AC motor, 2,200 v, 25 amps, 6 x 1⅜ in (0.037m) cotton ropes for drive (around 1890). The standby fan was a Waddle 30 ft dia driven by steam engine direct, 24” (0.61m) bore x 36” (0.91m) stroke, until a second Cappell fan was installed in 1935.
The electrical plant consisted of 2 mixed pressure steam turbines by Bellis and Morecombe, running on exhaust steam from winding engines, driving 2 Vickers alternators at 2,200v, 160 amps, 500kw, 50 periods and Korting condensers. This supplied power for the coal cutters and haulage for Teversal and the neighbouring pit Silver Hill, app ¼ mile to the west. There was an Electricians shop and stores, Blacksmiths shop containing punching, shearing and rolling mills driven by 50hp AC motor, 2,200v, 50 periods. There was also a Fitting shop, Carpenters and Saw shed. The Lamp house supplied the men with Ackroyd and Best Ltd lamps. There were General stores, Offices and an Oil store and a Kennicott Water softener.
At the shaft double deck cages with 2 trams per deck around 13 cwts per load. The winding rope was 1½” (0.04m) made of improved patent steel of 6 strands of 54 wires with hemp core and a breaking strain of 82 tons. The cage including chains etc when fully loaded with 4 tubs weighed about 7 tons. The cages ran on 4 steel guide ropes weighted in sump by 2 ton cheese weights. The above description of the colliery was made in 1923. The tubs were replaced by one ton one cwt capacity ones later in 1946 when No1 pit bottom was re-ripped and tub runround.
A new fan duct and 9ft (2.76m) dia single inlet Aeroform Radial flow with inlet guide vanes running at 543 revs per min driven by a 500hp motor giving 726³/s of 2,800pa was installed, with an identical one on standby. I remember Fred Daft Safety Officer, and Charlie Parker the Blacksmith’s striker and Les Parker the Joiner assisting Bernard and myself to examine and measure up the old fan drift prior to the new one being built and how we had to be roped together because of the depth of sludge that had been deposited over the past 90 odd years, and the lowness of the duct – it was yucky! And you couldn’t tell where the slope steepened to the shaft side! That was dangerous. Again the things you do. The new fan duct was built to the side as part of the modernisation scheme.
Trunk conveyors with several transfer points in the steep main roads had replaced the tub haulage by 1955 and gate belts were extended to load onto these. The pit bottom loading point was installed in 1964 with 36” (0.91m) conveyor belts from 2 bunkers of 220 tons and 500 tons static type. The tubs gravitated to the shaft assisted by Lofco feeders.
At the Shonkey or No2 shaft or Dunsil pit as it was called until nationalisation this shaft had a single open cage and balance weight, with only room for 5 men and due to the shaft leaking and busted garlands the ride was a wet one, and men used to leave a raincoat at the pit bottom after riding the shaft in, and leave the coat at the pit top after riding out. Although the cage was changed to a solid steel top and steel sided one to hold 13 men, it was still a single chair and a slow wet ride and when one got off the chair in the pit bottom it was like going through a waterfall. Men still hung a raincoat on a peg in the very damp misty atmosphere, due to the warm return air meeting the cold water. Until the late 1950s the shaft signals were mechanical by pulling on a wire operated by a big lever, not electrical like at most other pits. Due to being a shallow shaft one could easily hear the gong being struck at the top of the shaft.
The Dunsil seam was re-opened again in January 1936 after being worked for a short period from 1923-1927 and face shaker pans and conveyors installed. These shaker pans were extremely noisy as stated.
Pithead baths were built at Silver Hill for both Silver Hill and Teversal workers in 1937 with clean side lockers and dirty side lockers separated by the open showers and at that time were adequate for the total workforce, but as the workforce increased over the years, doubling up and occasionally trebling up of the lockers had to be done, unless of course like some, who preferred to travel backwards and forwards in their pit clothes and bathe at home in the zinc bath at the front of a roaring fire, screened by pit clothes hanging on a clothes horse. One never needed to be bothered about forgetting soap, for immediately you got into the shower, a big brawny collier would begin to scrub your back with his soapy sponge and then expect you to return the compliment. A solarium was attached to the baths where treatment was arranged to ease sore backs etc. The Stanton Co was concerned about the time a miner may have off work following accidents etc. A push and pull steam loco hauled an old 1903 LNER boarded up windowless bogie coach from a platform at Teversal to a platform at Silverhill to transport men to and from the pithead baths that were shared by both pits until 1954.
A paddy train was run from the Northern station on Outram Street in Sutton-in-Ashfield to Teversal station in the 1930s for miners at the two pits.
Two drifts from Top Hard South Plane Road at 1in6 and 1in3 were driven down to the Dunsil from June 1941-April 1942. The rock top was so strong that few supports were set. They cost money! Cambered Girders were gate supports and there were very few arches set in that seam prior to 1967 when Regulations requiring support of the gate sides was brought in. As an attempt to support the gate sides old w section bars were drilled and cross-laced to the sides. I don’t think the HMI thought this was adequate and it was not long before those districts closed.
The first face on the South side was opened April 1943 and worked up to the old No2/No4 Area boundary, the face having to be shortened down to follow the boundary edge. Prior to 1947 Sutton colliery was in No4 Area and Teversal in No2. Had this boundary not existed that panel could have been worked for years. The Top Hard seam, practically exhausted apart from 2 or 3 isolated areas was abandoned in April 1948.
£2.5m compensation was paid for the Stanton pits in 1954.
A series of 9 boreholes were drilled from the Dunsil workings down to the 1st and 2nd Waterloo seams from April to July 1955. The 2nd Waterloo at 2’ 4” (0.71m) was considered to be too thin to exploit and the southerly area of the take in the Waterloo seam was considered to have too much thick dirt in the middle to be worked.
Peake rotating turntables at 14 feet (4.25m) dia were installed at No1 pit top to mechanise tub handling in 1956. The tubs pulled off the chair ran down to the turntable and were directed in the opposite direction to the tub tippler. Ray Gunby and another Check weigher I remember used to sit in a small cabin near the shaft side at No1, weigh and book down the weight of each tub as it left the chair. It was a busy job as there was a quick turn over with regularly more than 60 draws to the hour being achieved. This system was changed with the reorganisation. Lofcos for tub handling in pit bottom installed 1960, to cater for the 1 ton capacity tubs with coal coming from two shearer faces in the 1st Waterloo seam as well as hand filled Dunsil faces.
In Jan 1958 Beethoven Dynamo Condenser type shot exploders were introduced at 40s scour. Water infusion blasting instead of explosives was tried on one Dunsil face, 100s panel with Airdox firing on 30s.
Allsops portable lamp gas detectors introduced in Mar 1961.
In the same month a mule haulage designed to pull empty tubs and divert them under the new loading point on the South level was put to work along with the reorganisation and run round in the pit bottom.
A record OMS of 40.9 cwts was achieved in Sep 1961.
The £1.25m modernisation scheme was completed with a new Aerex Aerofoam single inlet 500hp synchronous induction fan and fan drift, weigh office and airlock at No2 shaft built 1960/61.
A new loco shed for Diesel Shunting engine and new stockyard for materials 1961-1962. A new Lamp room and Time Office was opened in 1962 adjacent to the pithead baths and bicycle sheds built 1954-1955, the coal loading by merchants from trucks by hand continued adjacent to the weigh bridge and new offices built in 1962 were in use by 1963 and extra car parking surrounded the office block. Cycle sheds had previously dominated the scene.
3 more boreholes were drilled to 2nd Waterloo seam Dec 1963-Mar 1964. A gantry from the pithead baths / lamp room was built over the rail lines to the pit yard as previously you walked across the lines hoping a run of wagons wasn’t coming. In Nov 1960 a 1in3 short drift was driven up from Waterloo to North Dunsil plane road and later a short drift was driven up to South return road from 3s tail gate by a team of Geordies who had been transferred from a closed pit in the North and now lived at Welbeck village and were transported to and from work by van at later hours than the rest of the underground men. Another who had a split shift and rode down the shaft with us at 9.30am was a chap named Wombwell who was a borer for face shotfiring. He would be starting work boring as the colliers were finishing off their stints.
I am seen here with Gerrit Groeneveld from Enschede a Dutch friend of my Uncle Jack (taking the photo) following an underground visit in 1962.
Underground in the pit bottom the empty runround was regraded at 1in60 from near the top of the creeper and proper arresting of the tubs by lofco (Aug 1961) instead of the long wooden spring board. This was a long plank spragged down over a cross piece that just touched the axles of the tubs as they passed over at speed and slowed them down ready to be clipped onto the rope to take them inbye. Rams had been installed at the shaft side in July 1961 to push the full tubs onto the chair and push the empties off where previously it had been done by giving the full tubs a good push down the slight slope to the chair. Johnny Bacon a tall well built strong man was one onsetter who seemed to push the tubs on with one hand. This was semi-modernisation at last. A Butterley bunker was operational in 1962.
The last pit pony in the Waterloo seam used on materials handling from the end of the haulages up to the lip was withdrawn as longer endless haulages were installed. However ponies were still used in the Dunsil seam for several more years up to 1969, and on salvage work up to July 1970 and were the last ones to be dispensed with in North Nottinghamshire Area.
In Nov 1964, direction signs with distances showing the way out of the workings to the pit bottom were hung at strategic junctions throughout the pit. The emergency organisation was set up in Dec 1964. A Rescue and fire fighting practice was carried out on 22nd Feb 1965. Dowty Roofmaster supports to compliment the Bi-di shearer were installed in Jan 1965 on 4s, 13” (0.33m) then 24” (0.61m) Waterloo face in October. The pit yard was tarmacadamed in 1965.
Because of the shallow depth of the workings, up to 400 yards (365m) it was required that the Surveyor lay out a network of stations on the surface to be used in the event of an emergency to set out a point where a drill rig could be positioned above a gate to bore a hole should the event be necessary when all other means of reaching trapped men underground had been tried. Again this was extra work but pleasant, as some of the survey work was in Hardwick Park (permission had to be obtained from the Duke, oak pegs only to be left in the ground) and some took us along the railway branch line (permission being obtained from British Rail). It was an enjoyable exercise (on nice sunny days) done to the highest of standards with the hope being that it would never be needed, and fortunately it never was. It was the Surveyor’s task also to update the network of survey stations outside any subsidence area and occasionally check on the possible routes on the surface for heavy plant including drill rig to each coal face and gates. Again this was a pleasant task on a nice sunny day. We also made it possible that the area we were checking would coincide with a visit to the nearest pub for a cob and a pint.
A shaft survey and depth measurements was needed for the proposed new inset for a new pit bottom and in those days the only way for us to do it was to anchor the 30m (98’ 5”) band at the running on level, stand on top of the cage, lower down to the end of the tape, and by using a steel gong plate and hammer, send signals to raise or lower slowly, and stop, to the pit top Banksman when we reached a convenient point to hammer a steel hook into the shaft wall at the end of the 30m (98’ 5”) band. Hitting the gong once informed the Banksman to inform the engine man to stop the chair by a signal to him from the apparatus at the top of the shaft there was always a slight time delay and frequently, although what was to the engine driver dead slow, created an up and down yo-yo motion for us standing on top of the cage making us feel ‘wonderfully safe’ as Bernard and myself grabbed at the safety bull chains for comfort. After making sure that the mark was correct another one on the gong told him to raise the chair back to the surface, where we unhooked the tape and then carefully held it over the cage side, hoping it would not foul anything, remembering of course that whilst the chair was lowered back the end of the tape mark, following a signal of 2 on the gong, the steel band or tape could oscillate in the turbulent airstream. It got caught once but we realised quickly and freed it straight away. Another steel hook was hammered into the shaft wall at the correct distance above the mark, because the tape handles at each end of the band were not the start and finish of the 30m (app 98’ 5”) length. This procedure continued down to the pit bottom which was at about 219 yards (about 200m), so 7 times were necessary to complete the downward distance, at the same time we had to stop the chair every so often to do measurements to the shaft walls in various directions, using the cage rope and the cage balance ropes etc, and examine a small drivage between the 2 shafts at what appeared to be the High Hazles horizon, all I might add, with Les Parker the Joiner / Shaftsman, nonchalantly holding onto one or the other of us as we stretched across from the cage top to the horrible slimy shaft side to take measurements with a rod or tape if one could reach. At each strike of the gong, in such a small space, the shaft being only 10 feet (3.05m) dia, even with the upward draught of the air whistling by the sides of the solid chair one’s head was reeling after several strikes. To top it up, the garlands, which were channels around the shaft at periodic intervals, and were supposed to collect any shaft water and deliver it down to the sump in a series of falls in pipes were either broken, defunct or non-existent and so by the time we approached the pit bottom we were absolutely drenched! Of course calculations were necessary afterwards, including an allowance for elongation of the tape being held vertically for each length of tape, as it was imperative for us to mark out the new shaft inset position for the Area Tunnelling Team to break into and complete with new brickwork, girders etc, working from the top of the chair.
The job was a complete success as the new roadway driven from beyond the South level thirled through absolutely spot on. Jobs like that gave us surveyors great satisfaction to know that it was a job well done. I remember Harry Abell was one of the headers and you could not hear after half an hour at the side of an airleg boring machine whilst we were marking the centre line and various grade lines.