1988 - Page 6
Mansfield Closed After 83 Years
On 31st March 1988, Mansfield, (Nottinghamshire), (locally known as Crown Farm or Crownie), sunk by the Bolsover Colliery Co 1904-1905, at Forest Town to the east of Mansfield was closed after 83 years.
The shafts were 586 yards (536m) deep and 18 feet 9 inches (5.8m) diameter to the Top Hard horizon.
The Permo Trias water-bearing measures were 468’ 0” (142.6m) thick.
There were 20 seams of coal varying from a few inches (cms) to 2’ 6” (0.76m) down to the Main Bright 2’ 2” (0.66m) at 1244’ 0” (379m), 2 seams then High Hazles 3’ 9” (1.14m) at 1418’ 0” (432m), 5 more thin seams, Comb coal 1’ 2 “ (0.37m) dirt 3“, Top Hard 5’ 2” (1.57m) at 1631’ 6” (497.3m), Dunsil 2’ 2” (0.66m) at 1690’ 0” (515m), sump.
The photo shows the gang of sinkers with the kibble at the surface beneath the pitchpine headgear. Sinking commenced 1/2/1904.
Copious amounts of water flowed from the strata and for a time shaft sinking was slow. In the pit yard a well complex with several tunnels and levels was hewn out of the red sandstone and one heading reached the side of No2 shaft.
The Top Hard was reached at 545 yards (498.3m) deep. Production commenced in 1905 and by 23/3/1906 had reached 500 tons per day.
Successive tonnage increases were 1,000 tons 22/5/1906, 2,000 tons 31/1/1907, 3,000 tons in 10 hours at one shaft 24/9/1907 and 4,000 tons a day achieved 29/9/1908 when both shafts were in operation winding coal. Over 1 million tons was produced in 1909. A record 4,601 tons 18cwts was produced on 19/8/1910.
The checkweighmen were J Tomlinson, S Benton and deputy H Street. 19 Deputies and shotfirers, 1,100 coal getters, datallers, rippers, onsetters, repairers, corporals totalled 380 and 174 boys under 16. On the surface 37 men and 99 boys plus 20 weekly paid clerks.
Two shifts were worked 7am 3pm and datal 9am 5pm.
Underground stables were built to accommodate 120 horses/ponies.
A model village was built in 1908 but only consisted of several rows of terraced houses called the Avenues.
In 1923 coal cutters were installed.
In 1930 development of the High Hazels commenced. Output was restricted by single shift working in 1931 due to the recession. The High Hazels was fully mechanised by 1932. By 1935 conveyors had been installed.
A new washery plant was operational by 1936.
Pithead baths were opened in 1937.
Exploration of the lower seams was carried out from 1940 to 1942.
At one time in the early 1900s Mansfield was the largest coal-producing mine in the country as output reached 4,900 tons per day.
Shaft positions: SK56SE,
- No1 DC shaft 457092, 361449, equipped with double deck cages used for men and materials
- No2 shaft UC 457038, 361456, at 121m above sea level used for coal winding in 9.5 tonne capacity skips.
An inset had been made at the Brinsley seam horizon some 442 yards (404m) deep and 287 yards (262m) below the breccias but the seam had not been exploited and was abandoned 9/11/1959. The High Hazles lay at 473 yards (432m), Top Hard at 544 yards (497m).
Both winders originally operated by steam were electrified.
No1 DC shaft had double deck cages for manriding and materials with 3 ton mine cars on bottom deck. There used to be different rail gauges for different seams, which could be confusing when organising materials into the pit.
The electric winder had one direct coupled DC motor 1,680hp (1,253 Kw) with a clutch drum to enable winding from High Hazles or Top Hard horizon. No2 UC shaft had 9 ton skips and had an electric parallel drum with 2 direct coupled DC motors 1,900hp (1,417 Kw) each, locked coil winding ropes and flat balance rope.
A major reorganisation was carried out from 1944-1953. Diesel locos were introduced underground for coal haulage and in 1968 these were replaced by trunk conveyors. No1 electric winder was installed in 1949 replacing the steam engine and No2 electric winder in 1951.
A 4m scheme for 1985 modifications at the No2 coal winding shaft and 1986 modifications for a new winder control at No1 men and materials shaft.
Coal prep plant commissioned in 1953 for 500 tons per hour.
There were goaf connections in Top Hard to Clipstone, Rufford and Shirebrook and roadway connections to Clipstone Top Hard from High Hazles and Sherwood at Deep Hard / Piper horizon.
Surface railway engines on 4’ 8” gauge: Sir Henry 0-4-0, 1908, Mansfield No2 0-4-0, 1914, Thoresby No1, 1925 0-4-0, Diana 1937 0-4-0, Victory 1947 0-4-0 all side tank engines. R1 0-4-0 Diesel, 1958, D11 4 wheel Diesel, 1966, D21 1961, D10 1966.
Underground locos at 3’ 0” gauge, twelve diesels at 0-6-0 and two at 0-4-0 1945, 1946, 1947, 1948, 1959. Two 4 wheel battery locos 1985 and two 4 wheel - 4 wheel battery bo-bo locos 1987.
Seams worked: The thick combined Deep Hard/Piper entry 1984 and production started Jan 1987 - 24th Mar 1988 short wall single entry method of working with 49 yards (45m) faces and 60 yards (55m) pillars being left had proved successful, but production was exceeding development.
Entry into the thin Main Bright seam by 2 rising drifts from High Hazles in 1985, production started in Aug 1986 but was not successful and was abandoned on 17th Mar 1988.
The Top Hard seam 1905-1952 had been exhausted.
Extensive working in the High Hazles, mudstone, carbonaceous mudstone 1” (0.13m) batt 4” (0.10m) coal 2’ 10” (0.86m) dirt 1” (0.02m) coal 10” (0.25m) was complete, 1931-29th May 1987, and Deep Soft, mudstone, coal 1” (0.04m), coal and dirt (0.05m), coal 123m, seatearth, coal 3’ 3” (1.0m) thick, developed by cross-measures drift from Top Hard and High Hazles, production began 1957-May 1987 abandoned 26/3/1988.
A 3rd drift for ventilation and materials was driven from the High Hazles 1960-1961 and a 4th drift in 1980 for ventilation and Low Main developed by drifts from the Deep Soft 1980-1982, production began June 1982 - Jan 1988, but reserves were limited due to areas being sterilised due to subsidence costs and only 4 faces were worked. There was a heating in Deep Soft near a roof roll in Aug 1972 at 128s finish face line. There had been 2 other heatings occurring where the Roof Soft came down onto the Deep Soft seam.
The picture shows a boy ganging supplies with a horse in the pit yard in the 1920s. This was a job that my father had for a time. He loved it.
The first colliery sports day was held in 1909.
The Bolsover Company was very keen to take interest in their workforce and provide entertainment to keep them happy.
From the day after the colliery closed I was seconded by the Area Surveyor to complete the plan work etc and check details in readiness for shaft filling and abandonment of the mine. I carried out the majority of this work in ‘my spare time’, generally 2 or 3 afternoons per week and some weekends completing plan work and hand stippling and colouring plans for 5 seams. I organised the equipment and supervised the check measuring of both shafts using an EDM (Electronic Distance Measurer) from pit bank by Deputy Surveyor Keith Briggs and another Assistant to the pit bottom horizon, where a target was held by me on top of the cage. I examined the shafts for detail from on top of the chair whilst descending one shaft and ascending the other. Both shafts were check measured below this horizon to the base of the sumps using a steel tape by self and Ian Shore, Assistant Surveyor clambering down the steel ladders in one shaft and up the other, assisted by Bob Childersley, shaftsman, which was fortunate for us as for a time we were all trapped between the 3 doors between the shafts at sump level due to the air pressure and the seal on the doors was only broken by us pulling and prising the door open using a steel bar found by the shaftsman lying under the dust and sludge, obviously kept between the doors for that reason. As the last one to climb out of the sump on the rusty old ladder a rung broke away and for a second or two I was left dangling. Phew! It could have been very nasty.
As at all shafts it was imperative to know of any obstacles etc, to be able to calculate the amount of fill needed from the density of the material using the area by volume and because 5m of concrete was poured to seal the shaft bottom, followed by limestone chippings up to a level 2m below any inset, which was to have substantial walls built to receive concrete fill to 3m above the inset level and then the shaft was filled with the limestone chippings (about 2” (0.05m) dia) to the top or in the case of the UC shaft to just below the fan drift level which was treated as an inset.
A steel tube was set up over the shaft with a conveyor at the mouth and the material loaded by bucket onto the conveyor, weighed by a belt-weigher was tipped into it. Extreme care was taken to check for gas for it was possible for the material when falling down the shaft to strike something and create a spark after the fan was switched off.
Water began to rise up both shafts just prior to start of filling which began Friday 17th Feb 1989 and a difference of concrete fill at the High Hazles horizon was noted by me on Sunday 26th Feb.
Measurements over the shaft fill period, including weekends, were taken at the beginning and end of every shift by me or mainly by Ian Shore, Assistant Surveyor by lowering a mercury switch pump float on a pre-marked twin electric (shot-firing) cable on a winch with a small pulley over the shaft to determine the distances referred to, and to note any abnormality should one occur. A figure of 2% -3% was allowed before any action was to be taken. When the float lowered onto the shaft fill material it would tip over and a buzzer would alert the operator on the winch. Several readings were made by raising and lowering the float down the shaft onto the heap, which was known to have an angle of repose, and a mean measurement would be marked on the wire by a piece of tape. The wire was then winched out of the shaft and the wire cable, which was checked periodically for stretch due hanging down the shaft, was then run out on the pit yard over the pre-determined marks and thereby the distance down the shaft was obtained and booked by the Surveyor. This was checked against the amount of stone needed to fill such a distance, knowing the diameter of the shaft. Of course at the end of each shift the measurements became smaller.
On 10th March the filling tubes down each shaft were blocked reason unknown at the time, but found to be that the tubes should have been raised higher up the shafts as the fill approached the base of them. The blockages were eventually cleared at both shafts by unbolting the steel tubes partway down the shafts, leaving the blocked portion in situ. Shaft filling then continued and extra care was taken by those in charge afterwards. The various measurements were plotted by either Ian Shore or me on a vertical section for each shaft, with the time and date allowing one to see the progress of the fill etc. By 17th March the shafts were filled to the Top Hard horizon and completely filled to the surface by 20th March 1989. Similarly the Yard well, with several tunnels hewn out of the water-bearing sandstone at different levels only accessed by a ladder, with one tunnel reaching to one of the shafts side. It would appear that no plan existed for these tunnels so I had to set to and make one. It was a fascinating place but whilst surveying by simple correlation for each direction and measuring the tunnels for height, width and length after first having had the well pumped out, it was soon noticed that the level began to rise quickly and me and my assistant Ian Shore were soon paddling in water and had to get out sharpish before being trapped. Of course there were only us two down there.
This well complex was filled on 21st March 1989. Concrete cappings were put over each shaft with a vent and grate should any topping up be necessary in the future! The Field well near the allotments to the Avenues was left open but secured. The MQB 212 Notice of abandonment of the mine prepared by me was signed by Peter A Chambers (8313) Deputy Area Production Manager, Mine Planning and Survey and previously Manager for Mansfield 1984-1986) and sent by accompanying letter to Ken L Twist (9499) Mines Inspector for the District on 23rd March 1989.