1986 - Page 27
In 1962 to 1964 I had attended evening classes several times a week at Mansfield Technical College to study for the Royal Institution of Surveyors’ Certificate when courses began to be run by several practising Surveyors and lecturers, Ron Hays, Eddie Betts, Charlie Shadbolt, Charlie White, Granville Frost and a couple of Building Surveyors.
Only No4 Area Huthwaite students in the East Midlands Division were unable to have day release post certification, whereas No1 Area North Derbyshire, No3 Area Edwinstowe, No5 Area Eastwood and No6 Area Bestwood and No7 Area South Derbyshire and Leicestershire were.
Some other Divisions had day release also.
I did write to complain about the situation and was told that not all Areas in the country allowed qualified persons to progress further.
The classes were well attended for the first few weeks then apathy must have set in and the classes were abandoned due to the lack of numbers attending when there were only 3 students left, including me.
The College would not run a course unless there were more than 4 in the class.
There were several main subjects such are Local and National taxation and quite a lot of legislation regarding Working Rights of the NCB, firstly withe the acquisition of working rights and the contractural rights of working and prescriptive rights.
Then there were special Acts regarding railways, highways, waterworks requiring protection from mineral working.
Docks, harbours, gasworks etc also came under the Code.
Canals were given rights later in 1959 under the British Transport Commission Agreement with the NCB.
The Inclosures Acts re various lands.
Approach notices under the Coal Acts 1938 and 1943 and the conditions re ownership and lease and severance of the minerals etc.
Under the Mining Code before workings can proceed, needed 30 days notice under the Railways Clauses Consoloidation Act 1845 for distances agreed, similar distances and time for Waterworks Clauses Act 1847, Public Health Act 1873 for sewers, Mines Working Facilities and Support Act 1923 and compensation etc, etc.
The Water Act 1945 re boreholes, pumping stations, waterworks etc.
The Town and Country Planning Acts and Regulations for permission re buildings on the pit premises, along with dirt tips, and after 1948 for proposed underground working areas.
The Coal Mining Subsidence Act 1957 and liability for subsidence damage.
Compulsory Purchase Order areas.
Various claims that the NCB had to deal with included claims under title deeds, claims under common law, Section 33 interests, Working facilities orders, Properties in Paragraph 6 and Mining Code interests.
Counter notices could be served.
All other manner of things including Ancient monuments etc, etc, etc.
As one can see the subject is very in depth with legislation built up over a hundred years.Many if not most in the industry would be quite unaware of the problems of mining coal before a blow is struck with a pick or a machine.
I passed the internal exams set by the tutors and had already completed the theodolite survey and prepared my notebook, calculations and coloured plan that was required to be presented as part of the exam.
I was deeply disappointed.
However the course started up again and as before it folded and this I think there were only 2 of us left.
Again I passed the internal exams set but nobody at the time advised me to apply to sit the exam at Leeds and I never thoght about it.
Of course I did learn a lot of information that would stand me in good stead later but of course I did not achieve to be a Chartered Surveyor.
This was probably my deepest disappointment ever during my working career.
I know it was only an exam, but at the time I felt capable of passing it, but who knows? Things could have been different.
Even some Unit Surveyors in No4 Area took a course on Saturday mornings!!! I think they took the half day out of their annual leave at the time.
My boss Brian took a correspondence course and Malc another managed to finish it off at work because things were slack for him at Teversal because I was doing all the surveying work underground as well as plans in the office!.
At Ollerton after passing their Surveyor’s M&Q exam most were allowed to attend a day release course for RICS and at one time I had both a Deputy and an Assistant off every week on the same day! One thing the building part of the course did, was to give me insight into the whys and wherefores of construction etc and I was able to become ‘honourable architect’ at Teversal and Ollerton villages and Welfares for years and I constructed many plans in my spare time then and after I retired from Bitish Coal, for submission for Building Regulations and Town and Country Planning throughout the years for people and I added them up once only a few years ago and it was just over 1,000.
I was no good at running a business and many were for friends, relatives, friends of relatives, friends of friends, friends who ran their own businesses and building firms, you name it.
Sometimes it was for free, sometimes barter for a bag of apples, potatoes, a portrait, a few bricks, a few pints, a dinner out, tins of paint, the list went on.
However as with my surveying job I enjoyed doing it and above all, helping people.
At a working mine a Surveyor must be appointed within 28 days of a vacancy.
There could be a time delay of 72 days when making the appointment of a Manager under the M and Q Act, unless an Inspector allows otherwise.
All names and addresses of statutorily appointed persons at a colliery were sent to the Mines Inspector via the Area Staff Manager.
A Manager’s Job
The Manager’s position is an all seeing eye so to speak, and to manage men, with everyone appointed at the mine being under his control, therefore I suppose that is the main function as each one has a specific duty to perform.
To know all the relevant Rules and Regulations laid down by various Acts and to authorise others to carry out duties so called within these rules.
To read and sign all the relevant Deputies daily reports etc and act on any short comings or otherwise.
To follow all Area Instructions and make sure that all subservient staff is aware also and to hold weekly meetings with the relevant Unions, such as the Consultative Meeting on Fridays, where all grievances were aired; and to fix or adjust various norms and payments.
Have on hand the yearly books issued regarding payment or otherwise for the various jobs at the mine.
Fix contracts etc between workmen and management agreed and signed by both and included union officials also.
Arrange for various tasks to be monitored by Method Study branch.
Hold daily meetings with immediate staff.
Call special meetings for all staff to attend.
Attend Area HQ accompanied by the Surveyor on the annual Accountability Meetings held by the Area Director and also with the Surveyor on 10 year and 5 year planning meetings held by the Deputy Director for signing of the plans.
Report to a Production Manager and Deputy Director and be accountable.
Attend monthly meetings called by the Production Manager and arrange for other relevant staff to attend.
Meet Her Majesty’s Inspectors on their visits to the mine and accompany them underground to working panels and developments or surface installations and take heed of any remarks made to improve safety.
Generally attend the Inspector of Mines on fatal or very serious accidents or incidents accompanied by the Surveyor who would measure up the scene in order to produce a plan and various sections of the site.
Attend a Coroner’s Court at various venues (depending upon the location where the deceased had been taken) following a fatal accident at the mine with the Surveyor accompanying him usually with a few copies of the plan of the fatality for perusal by the jury and Mines Inspector who would invariably attend also.
He would say a few words of condolence to the bereaved family after the verdict had been given by the Coroner.
The Manager would meet the Workmen’s Inspectors after their visits underground or surface and note their complaints or otherwise and instruct the various personnel to improve matters as a copy of those reports would be sent to the local Mines Inspector.
Accompany the Production Manager, or Chief Mining Engineer or Deputy Director or Director or any other high official such as the Chairman of the Board and visiting dignitaries from other countries on visits underground or surface.
Of course much of the semi-relaxing part was entertaining these people to lunch.
To meet with the various Union officials etc periodically.
Assess the management staff yearly or otherwise.
The Manager’s job is to produce the projected amount of coal safely, stick to monetary budgets, follow the letter of the law and other instructions laid down from time to time and control and supervise all men at the mine.
In practice one such as a Deputy Manager (Senior Undermanager in Law) stands in for holidays etc, or if one leaves the job a temporary Manager succeeds until a permanent one is appointed.
To meet daily to discuss results of the day shift with the Undermanager(s) who run the underground production side, assisted by Junior Undermanagers and/or Overmen and Deputies on all shifts.
Also meet with the Assistant Manager, again aided by Assistant Undermanagers who supervise the development / salvage side of the underground work.
Phone up at the end of the afternoon shift for results and later for the proposals for the night shift and of course first thing in the morning for the results or otherwise.
Meet with the Mechanical Engineer (used to be Enginewright up to 1966) who is assisted by Deputies who have had a large team of technical and practical workmen (doing all mechanical things, including steam winding engines and boilers, Fitters, Blacksmiths, Shaftsmen, Welders, Joiners, Painters etc, all headed by a foreman).
Likewise meet with the Electrical Engineer (Head Electrician up to 1966) for all electrical aspects, (including Power House, electric Winders, Lamp Room etc).
These last two were responsible for any breakdowns causing lack of production and any major breakdown amounting to loss of output was allotted to one or the other and reported up the line to Area personnel.
They would ensure that the Planned Maintenance system was efficient.
He would also meet with the Safety Engineer who would outline the various daily routine matters as well as any person injured or incident or any dangerous site that needs workmen to put it right etc.
The Surface Superintendent looks after surface activities, Yard men and tips, with the Coal Preparation Manager seeing to the coal washing and truck loading etc.
Weigh clerks tote up the tonnage sent. Keep constant watch on Cost Accountants/clerks who see to daily running of the finances and similarly for the Stores department, re orders and issues of equipment. His is the final signature for authorising anything.
‘A’ calls (urgent) for a replacement machine, motor, spare part etc must be authorised by him.
The Chief clerk (or other titles, Administrative Officer, Assistant Manager Personnel etc) sees to the daily running of the correspondence, Clerks, Cashier, Time clerk, Canteen etc.
On the safety side a Safety Engineer and Safety Officer, Fire Officer, Ventilation Officer, Methane Drainage Officer and other relevant staff. Ensure that the Colliery Nurse and medical centre assistants have sufficient facilities.
A Production Manager at HQ oversaw several collieries and could stand in should a Manager be off work. Of course there are the numerous phone calls and queries daily.
This is a very generalised account and could differ pit by pit to some degree and after Privatisation again in 1995 a different system applied where titles were once more changed, some jobs disappeared as manpower levels were reduced and an Undermanager at some pits became an Underground Manager for example.
Some of these titles existed in the 1800s! An Overman became an Underground Shift Manager!!!
I never did find out what a Deputy Manager did other than to try to find me work to do for them instead of trying to do it themselves. Four out of the five I dealt with attained a Manager’s position.
Fortunately three of them were practical men and didn’t want silly bar charts for everything or plans for 10 years time etc. I never argued with them when they were in charge of course, when the Manager was off.
I would imagine 99% of those who passed their First Class or even Second Class Certificate of Proficiency forgot practically everything they had learnt within days, because it was easier to pick a phone up and ask somebody else for the answer instead of working it out for themselves.