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The Decline Of The Industry Continued
After Nationalisation 1947

Book 6

1990 Pages   1     2     3     4     5     6     7     8     9  

1990 - Page 9

New Village To Be Built For Residents Of Arkwright Town

British Coal approached the villagers at Arkwright town with a view to moving out to allow approximately the houses to be demolished and 1,000 acres of coal to be opencasted. A new village would be built nearby.

Britain and Europe

Britain joined the European Exchange Rate Mechanism in October, tying the sterling to other European currencies,


John Major (Conservative) succeeded Mrs Margaret Thatcher as Prime Minister from 28th November 1990 until 2nd May 1997. During her term of office from 1979-1990, 115 pits were closed. Secretary of State for Energy, John Wakeham (Con) 28th Nov 1990-1992 (replaced Michael Howard who was transferred to Home Secretary). Secretary of State for Environment, Michael Howard (Con) 28th Nov 1990-1992. Environmental Secretary Michael Heseltine 1990-1992.


More Photos in Shanes Pages

Ollerton produced 23,386 tonnes from a Parkgate seam face.
Annesley had a record production of 32,496 tonnes from a 3 leaf Blackshale face both in weekending 24th November 1990.

During December 1990, 125 yards (114 m) of advance was recorded for the week in a development heading at Asfordby.

On 8th December 1990 an output record of 20,014 tonnes was produced from an Abdy seam face at Calverton, with a total colliery output of 31,500 tonnes, the highest since 1963. At Bilsthorpe during the same week a
record 31,309 tonnes was produced from a Low Main face.

Bretby And The Vache Closed

From 1st December 1990, the Technical Department of British Coal at Bretby near Burton on Trent was relocated to Eastwood Hall. The Vache Staff College at Chalfont St Giles was closed and relocated at Bretby Training Centre (to be ready by April 1991).

All top officials from Area HQ and Colliery Managers, Engineers, Surveyors etc were sent on 3 to 6 week courses, including me in 1978, for a so called melding exercise to project joint leadership. For those doing the lecturing it was obviously a good thing, because everyone ended up with a top job.

The place was idyllic, accommodation good, meals superb, some lectures good, reasonable or which way. Team leadership was found by each of the 7 in each group having to plan a project and put it into action, sometimes working late into the night.

A favourite trick of theirs was to wine and dine you then after dinner when youd had a couple of pints give you a project to do that was to be presented by one of the group at 9am next morning. That was to see how you would react under pressure. All this was done with an overall seeing eye of one of the tutors, in my case Adrian Alderton, the senior lecturer and my mentor who went on to be the Boards top man in Coal export. Mike Goldsby (8208) was another lecturer, ex Manager of Creswell, who was then promoted to Deputy Chief Mining Engineer South Nottinghamshire Area. (He would become one of my bosses when I was at Nottinghamshire HQ. I didnt get on too well with him as he was always pestering me for trivial things.) Unfortunately in the surveying field at that time there were no chances of advancement due to stagnation, followed by further cuts or closures in the industry, as is seen.

Power Failure Leaves Men Trapped Underground

On the same day, there was total loss of power to Ollerton colliery (Nottinghamshire) caused by heavy snowfalls. It lasted from 9.20am on the Saturday morning until 5pm on Monday 10th December when the power supply was restored.

Men were trapped underground and also at Clipstone, Thoresby and Rufford also. Of course no workmen were allowed underground because the ventilation fan was stood.

The men were wound out of the mine using a gravity system with heavy weights to lift the cages to the surface.

9 pits were closed in the area due to the snow. This was a dangerous occurrence and reported to HM Inspector of Mines, who monitored the situation.

The great white-out of 1990 left around million people in Nottinghamshire and an unknown number in Derbyshire without power and it was the worst snowfall for 5 years and strong blizzards spread many inches of snow across the two counties aggravating coal production and movement.

Vehicles were abandoned on the M1 motorway and hospitals were forced to rely on their own generators to carry on. Severn Trent pumping stations were running dry and all in all the two counties almost ground to a halt!

Only Nottinghamshire Pits Making A Profit

Overall British Coal made a huge operating loss, but Nottinghamshire pits made a profit.

A Further Pay Rise

A further 2 years pay and conditions was negotiated by the UDM and British Coal.

Colliery - Based Training

There was a move from Training Centres to Colliery-based training and the remaining Colliery Training Managers were appointed.

Opencast Working

  • Sheepbridge Tip, various seams, 17/12/1990.
  • Crown Farm 3km NW of Chesterfield, Silkstone and Ashgatre (Fitzwise)
  • Dixon 3.5km NE of Chesterfield, Chavery Upper, Chavery Lower, Sitwell, Unnamed, Deep Hard Rider, Deep Hard, 1st Piper, 2nd Piper, Cockleshell, Tupton, Threequarters, Blackshale, Ashgate, Mickley Thick, Brampton High, Brampton Low (Coal Contractors Ltd).
  • Furnace Hillock Remainder, North Wingfield, Dunsil and 1st Waterloo (Site and Field Equipment)
  • Godkin, Heanor, 1st waterloo Lower, Waterloo Marker, 2nd Waterloo Lower, 3rd Waterloo, 4th Waterloo, 1st Ell, 1st Ell, Brown Rake, Top Soft Rider, Top Soft, Roof Soft, Deep Soft (AF Budge (Contractors Ltd).