1986 - Page 24
At Ollerton as Surveyor I designed a new office in early 1972 in conjunction with the Architect, and agreed by David Rodden the Manager, created from the old Wages office at ground floor level, where previously the old Survey office was upstairs, since 1927. The first floor part vacated was to be changed to the Admin section.
The old office had one large drawing table to accommodate the large roll plans that were used for making the plans of the workings on 1/1584 or 2 chains scale from 1925 to 1950s. A smaller table was used by the Surveyor or Assistant.
It was a grubby, dismal and dirty office and rolls of plans too large to get into various ill designated drawers were just left on the table gathering dust. A dirty piece of old rubber conveyor belting was used for trimming prints (changed within days for a brand new piece, care of Ted Hodgson Surface Superintendent).
The Working plan was out of date and plotted in pencil, and hardly any surveys had been done or levellings for the past 12 months at least, all time being taken up by a 5m shaft deepening at No1 including a 1in3 sump drift plus the large thirling survey coupling the North side of the pit to the East side; the Ventilation, Electrical and Rescue and Firefighting plans were erroneous and hideous.
The Dirt tip plan was disgraceful and other statutory plans such as Stonedust zones plan were so poor, it was unbelievable.
Some plans were missing as information required from other departments such as Conveyors, Pumping etc or for outside bodies took a day minimum to prepare as there was only one negative of the workings and all information was marked on a plain print by hand.
All notebooks, none were referenced, were cast into a dusty old box under the table.
No Emergency Organisation was in hand.
There appeared to be no proper organisation either for plans or for information being supplied for the various plans.
The one thing that was good was a card referencing system.
I made a start from scratch within a few weeks firstly by surveying every gate on the working panels with a theodolite and measurements by the catenary method, using as a base the thirling survey traverse. That took 3 or 4 days a week underground.
I then made a new basic negative with all the roadways open at the time firstly on 6” to a mile then later on 1/10,000 metric scale.
Plastic Ozaloft transparency copies were made from these for various disciplines such as Conveyors, Deputies districts, Dust Zones, Pit-head sketch plan (means of egress) etc, titled and the data on them stencilled by the Lady Tracer.
Once they were completed with the information it was easy to keep them up to date and a copy could be taken in minutes then coloured if necessary.
A new master negative on 1/5,000 scale similarly had ozaloft copies.
A new Rescue and Firefighting Plan negative was constructed with the many squares and box references as before and I made some temporary cardboard covers from one I had from Teversal where the plans could be folded up like Ordnance Survey Plans.
I convinced the Group Surveyors who thought the idea was good and arranged for printed covers to be ordered with title etc on the front, only needing the colliery name to be stencilled on and inside the cover the list of symbols used.
Arthur Morley the Chief Surveyor agreed that this system was used in the old No4 Area from an idea of Jack Brown I believe, and only Silverhiill, Sutton and Teversal the 3 pits transferred into North Nottinghamshire Area had these folders. By using double sided sticky tape the folded plan could be stuck onto the cover and was easily opened to be used if necessary.
When replacing a new updated plan all that was necessary was to pull the old plan off and stick a new one on the cover again. These folders were ordered and distributed to all collieries in the Area. The previous system was cumbersome using plans that were rolled up, not practical at all.
There was an existing 1/5,000 plan on the Manager’s office wall in a wooden frame containing a very large and heavy thick Perspex transparent sheet that could be sketched on.
I made a new coloured plan and used to up-date it about every 2 weeks or so or weekly if visitors were expected.
That again saved lots of questions because the Manager could see on the plan what he wanted so there was no need to contact me.
Another master negative was made on 1/2500 scale and again ozaloft copies for Ventilation, Electrical, etc.
The Introduction of electricity into new areas plan didn’t seem to exist as I could find no previous ones.
Although one of the first pits to practice methane drainage in the Area no plan had ever been made.
All new boreholes were plotted weekly on the new Methane Drainage plan (it was part of the statutory Working plan) and information for the first boreholes was obtained from measurements taken by Area Ventilation department at Edwinstowe HQ who had monitored the exercise on panels on the South side of the pit from day one so they were able to furnish me with the approximate positions of the boreholes drilled.
I set up an emergency organisation with the relevant plan to show the various offices and boards with the designated names. From this an emergency underground exercise was arranged.
In the new large office I had 2 new identical colliery joiner-built large drawing tables made and covered with a soft pliable Rembroplast sheet, ideal as a base for drawing, and there were four large deep drawers to one end of each table, several stools and chairs for use by the Surveyor, Deputy Surveyor, Assistant Surveyor(s), Apprentice Surveyor, Lady Tracer and the old small table for use when doing calculations or copying up records etc, and used by the Surveyor’s Assistant (WPIS) and up to 6 underground Linesmen for updating books, daily work record and discussions etc re the following day’s work.
Around 12 drawers for the numerous cross referenced plans kept as listed previously, in rolls of only 5 plans per roll now and numbered 1-5, 6-10, 11-15 and so on up to about 1,600 in respective drawers numbered 1-50, 51-100 etc; I had a flat roofed brick extension built later, on the site of a narrow old rotting wooden conservatory-type building where all surveying tackle was kept.
The new semi-fireproof safe accessed from the drawing office the entrance having been made where a window was, had shelving all round to store all the linen covered referenced note books in numbered solid cardboard brown boxes.
I personally referenced every old book back to 1925, new books being referenced as used; the valuable survey instruments i.e. theodolites, dials and levels on bottom shelf along with steel bands. The tripods, staves etc were kept in a special rack in the new print room.
On another shelf was an electric Facit calculating machine (courtesy of the Wages dept). This replaced the old manual Facit machine.
A hand-held Hewlett Packard HP65 programmable calculator with accessories was purchased for us by Area Survey dept (each pit having one, cost about £400 each – the Manager went mad at the thought but calmed down when shown a couple or three old girders lying about unused costing about the same price).
There was a Planimeter, Bocking protractor.
3 steel cabinets with drawers for calculations, information and correspondence and some drawers for personal tackle for my Assistants and Apprentices; the large steel box fireproof cabinet with lid (in use previously) to house the sectional Working plan of the mine in plastic fronted folders hung vertically, for all seams (or copy of such if abandoned and deposited at Mining Records office); a Store cupboard for general tackle such as string, shot firing wire, chalk, note books, pens, pencils, stencils, personal 3m tapes, 20m tapes, line bubbles etc.
A Printing machine and ammonia-based developer kept originally in main office but later moved to the ante room with exhausting fan, due to the smell of the ammonia fumes, plus a new trimming machine.
A stock of rolls of printing paper was necessary.
There was a room adjacent to the safe and was the back door way of entering the office, (it became a passageway for a selected few people such as Safety Engineer, Ventilation Officer etc from the Green hut as a short cut to other offices. I got to know up to date info by allowing this).
A personal office for myself as Surveyor comprising desk with drawers, telephone, a chair and visitor’s chair, cupboard and bookcase for various survey books, geological information, leaflets for survey instruments etc, Mines and Quarries Act, various Regulations, Statutory instruments and Area instructions etc and other allied books.
A boxed set of scales 1:2,500, 1:1,584, 1:500(0), 6” (1:10,560), 1:10,000 and others such as 1/8th scale e.g. for use on the variety of plans encountered.
Equipment held included a Wild T16 theodolite (1970s), 4 tripods, 2 targets, optical plummet (transferred from a closed mine); Watts 20” theodolite (1969), 3 tripods, 2 targets and an optical plummet; Wild T2 theodolite and accessories; AGA Geodimeter 220 EDM (electronic distance measurer) (1970s); Kern self-reducing Tachymeter and 2 extendable staves plus one aluminium tripod; Kern auto level and a tripod; Kern auto level (transferred from Pye Hill) (1970s); CTS S300 level (transferred to Welbeck); CTS S400 level (1960s) and tripod (transferred from Creswell); 4m surface staff; 2 staff bubbles; 14ft imperial staff; change point plates; 50m steel bands (adjusted on surface base line that had been set out using an invar band) plus brass measuring heads (carrots) used for catenary measuring; two 50m Stilon tapes; large plumbob for shaft work; small plumb bobs (Colliery made) for all members of staff; two Watts 5 minutes of arc dials with adjustable tripods, including a small set for face or low work etc; aluminium tripods (exemption granted by HMI for underground work); sight square; ranging poles; measuring plates; measuring pins; old instruments returned to HQ included CTS (Cooke, Troughton and Simms) Rand vernier theodolite (1930s); CTS 1 minute ‘bomb’ dial in domed aluminium case; Casartelli glass topped ‘horsehair’ dial (1920s) and non-adjustable wooden tripods. As you can see I begged, borrowed and scrounged a goodly selection).
Office equipment comprised: Sets of various drawing instruments, parallel rules, set squares, French curves, railway curves, stencils and pens, various grades of black and coloured pencils, various coloured rubbed up inks and bottled ink for painting, stipple brushes, set of colouring brushes, a number of covered lead weights for holding roll plans flat or for holding tracing linen, plastic or tracing paper etc.