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Book 8 The 21st Century


Chimneys

  2015 Pages 

2015 - Page 4


Thoresby Colliery

- Continued -

Following undercut handfilling and Meco-Moore cutter loaders various rope-hauled floor-
mounted coal cutter-loading machines were replaced by conveyor-mounted chain-hauled (such as a Trepanner shown) until latterly various chainless machines using spiral drums were installed along with face lighting, automatic cable handlers and automatic move over of the chocks with the machine driver using a remote control thereby allowing him and the other small number of men on the coal face to be ultra safe under a canopy of steel. This was a far cry from the early days of the colliery when the coal was worked by stalls and coal was loaded into tubs on the coal face.

From 1951 onwards Thoresby colliery in North of Nottinghamshire always vied with Newstead colliery in South of Nottinghamshire as to which pit would be first to produce the one million tons in the year until Newstead went into decline in the 1980s. Heading men in 144s Loader gate using Dosco twin-headed MD1100 transverse boom machine broke European record by tunnelling 212m in a week, setting 176, 16 x 10 ft delta arch square work, the first to break the 200m barrier. They twice achieved setting 24 rings in a day peaking at 13 rings in a shift. The previous European record of 188.1m was held by Thoresby also.

Connections were made to Welbeck in the Parkgate horizon in 2004. In early 2005 Welbeck was threatened with closure, but reviewed when the men and unions agreed to work 2 x 12 hour shifts! In July 2005, 44s Parkgate retreat panel in the area of the Ollerton take averaged 21,000 tonnes per week, with a best of 42,000 tonnes from 78 strips. 40 men (20 workmen, 8 electricians and 12 mechanics were transferred from Harworth and Welbeck).

Dust Control Officer Trevor Harrison, invented a portable cold compressed air shower providing a cooling down effect for workmen carrying out dinting and other outbye operations in 2005 for miners working in the very hot conditions of 31C in the Ollerton area of the mine, a portable pit made device, approved by the Mines Inspector.

A new sonar system, the first in the country, which tests the integrity of safety critical rock bolts was implemented at the pit in May 2005. Ground Anchor Integrity Testing or GRANIT has been developed by Aberdeen University and AMEC Civil Engineering allowing results of the remote monitoring technique to be relayed back to the colliery within 24 hours. It shows a true picture on the quality of the anchorage and how much load is on the roof bolt in tonnes ensuring that potential failure can be identified in advance. The job is monitored by Geotechnical Engineer Jon Bowler. The information is so accurate now that practically all roadways are driven with the only supports being rock bolts and meshing as supports however in 2012 due to conditions in the Deep Soft seam some arches are set as extra support. The colliery pioneered a flexi-bolted salvage system for heavy duty faces. The Osborn Strata flexi-bolts were inserted up to 5m above the roof, with drilling by a series of connecting rods, so that they were anchored in the much more stable ground of the upper strata.

In May 2005 there was a £23,000 windfall for beating safety targets, to be shared by the workforce. Some men were transferred from Harworth in Sept 2005 when it was announced that Harworth was to close or be mothballed. Some men had transferred from Ollerton and later in 2009/2010 some others were transferred from Welbeck as that colliery wound down. In previous years some men were absorbed from pits in South Nottinghamshire such as Newstead. In the 1960s when Bevercotes was closed temporarily due to shaft repairs men were transferred from there but refused to transfer back again when Bevercotes was re-opened. Over the years it would appear that working conditions were better at Thoresby than at other pits hence the records.

Development advances using ABM25s around 100m a week with a best of 103m and planned to increase to 120m a week in 2006. A best advance of 139m was achieved in early 2006 using an ABM 20 machine in 45s development.

In December 2007 a statement from UK Coal announced that the pit would be able to work 12m tonnes of reserves in Deep Soft seam that are available, beginning near to the shafts. An investment of 55m would ensure work for a further 10 years as a deal with EDF Energy has been signed. Development headings into the new area of Deep Soft were well ahead by 2009. Again a ‘sacrificial lamb’ was sought, this time Welbeck, as some of the reserves mentioned were in the Welbeck take. The existing Parkgate workings in the old Ollerton take would be worked out by 2009 but 57s retreat face actually lasted until 2010 due to bad work caused by dirt intrusion and a swilley. When working the Deep Soft seam manpower numbers were expected to drop from around 500 to about 400 in 2009, but actually increased to 535 in 2012.


Sadly It Was Announced In April 2014 That £10m Was Required To Keep The Pit Open

Sadly it was announced in April 2014 that £10m was required to keep the pit open. The Chancellor George Osborne (Cons) had visited the mine earlier in 2014 and pledged support. The money was arranged but on the proviso of closing the pit down over the next 18 months. DS5s retreat face began production approximately 3 months late, on or around 9/6/2014 as DS4s reached the planned stop position. All development then ceased and over the first 2 weeks in June 2014 more than half the workforce, including development men, Deputies, Electricians and Fitters was made redundant. A skeleton team for repairs etc was kept on. I would suggest at this time (May 2014) that with the first hiccough in production that closure date would be sooner than later and the panel would not reach its planned finishing position of around July 2015. However I was wrong and the planned date for closure was 15th July 2015.


Management Team Discussing Strategy

(in the late 1970s)

David Betts, (10958) Assistant Undermanager, another one later to return as General Manager; Brian Wright (9913) Deputy Manager (promoted from Sherwood, later General Manager Thoresby, promoted to Production Manager, then a Director), Jack Storr Surveyor (3094), Terry Wheatley (8348) General Manager (promoted to Production Manager later a Director) Ken Fidler (10993) Undermanager (later Assistant Manager promoted to Deputy Manager Ollerton, General Manager Mansfield then Thoresby), Keith Raynor, Safety Engineer, Carl King, Electrical Engineer to rear (later Group Electrical Engineer).

Record heading advance of 153.9m in 56s PG dev during March 2008 using an ABM25 bolter-miner and setting straps at 1.2m centres in a 5.5m x 3.2m gate achieved by working extra 3 shifts at weekends over 27 hours from Twilights on Friday to Sunday night shift. This team was nicknamed the ‘Weekend Warriors’.

Booster fans were installed at Parkgate 50s and South East return. Remote control of rope-hauled manrider and haulage system is done with the use of inbye cameras relaying pictures to an operator who remotely drives the engine.

Manpower and Tonnage since sinking: Bolsover Co:

  • 1925 0 u/g, 192 s/f
  • 1926 101 u/g, 166 s/f, (267 total)
  • 1927: 127 u/g, 170 s/f , (297)
  • 1928: Top Hard seam 44 u/g, 141 s/f, (185)
  • 1929: 43,962 tons, 399 u/g, 210 s/f, (609 inc 49 boys)
  • 1930: 278,542 tons, 1,074 u/g, 323 s/f , (1,397 inc 148 boys)
  • 1931: 1,190 u/g, 275 s/f
  • 1932: 1,253 u/g, 290 s/f
  • 1933: 1,200 u/g, 285 s/f , (1,485)
  • 1934: 1,099 u/g, 280 s/f
  • 1935: 624,370 tons, 1,183 u/g, 287 s/f , (1,470 inc 98 boys)
  • 1936: 1,084 u/g, 295 s/f
  • 1937: 1,080 u/g, 299 s/f
  • 1938: 1,082 u/g, 293 s/f
  • 1939: 1,100 u/g, 300 s/f
  • 1940: 765,381 tons, 1,123 u/g, 322 s/f, (1,445 inc 53 boys)
  • 1941: 1,109 u/g, 323 s/f
  • 1942: 1,158 u/g, 353 s/f
  • 1943: 1,143 u/g, 348 s/f
  • 1944: 1,147 u/g, 345 s/f
  • 1945: 845,788 tons, 1,083 u/g, 341 s/f, (1,424 inc 12 boys)
  • 1946: 776,920 tons, Top Hard 425 on coalface, 625 elsewhere underground and 325 surface giving a total of 1,375 men and boys producing 3,300 tons per day.

Tonnage and Manpower: NCB No3 Area EMD:

  • 1947: Top Hard seam 756,177 tons, underground and surface 1,497 men
  • 1948: 781,057 tons, u/g 1,249 and s/f 371 (1,635 men)
  • 1949: 795,221 tons, u/g and s/f 1,655 men
  • 1950: 829,457 tons, 1,300 u/g and 364 s/f, 1,628 men
  • 1951: 1,120,159 tons, u/g and s/f 1,598 men
  • 1952: 1,215,019 tons, u/g and s/f 1,646 men
  • 1953: 1,116,435 tons, u/g and s/f 1,690 men
  • 1954: 1,101,773 tons, u/g and s/f 1,731 men
  • 1955: 1,167,554 tons, u/g and s/f 1,832 men
  • 1956: 1,203,967 tons, u/g and s/f 1,816 men
  • 1957: 1,197,793 tons, u/g and s/f 1,784
  • 1958: 1,051,348 tons, u/g and s/f 1,787 men
  • 1959: 952,266 tons, u/g and s/f 1,765 men
  • 1960: 925,961 tons, u/g and s/f 1,689 men
  • 1961: 1,096,468 tons, u/g and s/f 1,664 men
  • 1962: 1,315,804 tons, u/g and s/f 1,745 men
  • 1963: 1,468,138 tons, u/g and s/f 1,806 men
  • 1963/64 1,463,337 tons, u/g and s/f 1,798 men
  • 1964/65: 1,440,562 tons, u/g and s/f 1,770 men
  • 1965: 1,488,807
  • 1965/66: 1,488,864 tons, u/g and s/f 1,714 men
  • 1966/67: 1,520,587 tons, u/g and s/f 1,683 men
  • North

Nottinghamshire Area:

  • 1967/68: 1,393,287 tons, u/g and s/f 1,698 men
  • 1968/69: 1,432,495 tons, u/g and s/f 1,676 men
  • 1969/70: 1,367,939 tons, u/g and s/f 1,661 men
  • 1970/71: 1,291,755 tons, u/g and s/f 1,593 men
  • 1970: 1,291,755 tons
  • 1971/72: Top Hard only 1,138,242 tons, u/g and s/f 1,621 men
  • 1972/73: Top Hard and High Hazles 1,409,847 tons, u/g and s/f 1,589 men
  • 1973/74: Top Hard and High Hazles, 1,114,883 tons, u/g and s/f 1,483 men
  • 1974/75: Top Hard and High Hazles, 1,375,554 tons, u/g and s/f 1,465 men
  • 1975/76: Top Hard and High Hazles, 1,227,253 tons, u/g and s/f 1,470 men
  • 1976/77: Top Hard and High Hazles, Parkgate, 1,269,355 tons, u/g and s/f 1,438 men
  • 1977/78: Top Hard and High Hazles, PG, (1,418,089 tons), 1,440,849 tonnes, u/g and s/f 1,420 men
  • 1978/79: Top Hard and High Hazles, PG, 1,500,034 tonnes, u/g and s/f 1,384 men
  • 1979/80: Top Hard and High Hazles, PG, 1,607,041 tonnes, u/g and s/f 1,382 men
  • 1980/81: Top Hard and High Hazles, PG, 1,709,739 tonnes, u/g and s/f 1,435 men
  • 1981/82: 1,639,502 tonnes, u/g and s/f 1,442 men
  • 1982/83: 1,800,845 tonnes, u/g and s/f 1,467men, (profit £25.596m)
  • 1983/84: Top Hard and High Hazles, PG, 1,836,920 tonnes, u/g and s/f 1,414 men, (profit £27.669m)
  • 1984/85: Top Hard, Parkgate, High Hazles finished, TH, PG, 1,504,819 tonnes, u/g and s/f 1,375 men, (profit £21.851m)
  • 1985/86: Top Hard, Parkgate 1,914,332 tonnes, u/g and s/f 1,405 men, (profit £34.441m)

British Coal:

  • 1986/87: Top Hard finished, Deep Soft dev, Parkgate, 1,654,839 tonnes, u/g and s/f 1,359 men, (profit £25.997)
  • 1987/88: Deep Soft dev, PG, 1,931,535 tonnes, u/g and s/f 1,263 men, (profit £29.072)
  • 1988/89: Deep Soft dev finished, Parkgate 2,307,419 tonnes, u/g and s/f 1,231 men, (profit £39.986)
  • 1989/90: Parkgate 2,249,557 tonnes, u/g and s/f 1,130 men, (profit £34.100m)
  • 1990/91: Parkgate, 2,470,567 tonnes max, (120s retreat 28,000 tonnes and 142s advance 23,000 tonnes) u/g and s/f app 1,125 men, first pit to produce 1m tonnes in the year
  • 1991/92: Parkgate, 2,222,107 tonnes, u/g and s/f 1,111men and at 28th March 1992 there were 996 u/g, 135 s/f plus 95 under officials and 42 WPIS: Coal face 234, Development 131, Roads 77, Salvage 67, Others 566, Surface 167.
  • 1992/93: Parkgate, 2,211,226 tonnes, u/g and s/f app 1,000 men
  • 1993/94: 1,658,647 tonnes, u/g and s/f 910 men, and at 20th November 1993 there were 741 u/g, 110 s/f plus 19 contractors u/g, 38 s/f, 84 under officials and 39 WPIS and by 22nd January 1994 the number of contractors had increased to 64 u/g and 85 s/f
  • 1995 RJB Mining: 1,846,000 tonnes, 813 men
  • 1996: Parkgate, 1,902,000 tonnes, 702 men
  • 1997: Parkgate, 1,980,000 tonnes, 602 men
  • 1998: Parkgate, 1,824,002 tonnes, 528 men
  • 1999: Parkgate, 1,665,309 tonnes, 533 men
  • 2000: Parkgate, 1,700,000 tonnes
  • 2001: UK Coal 1st May 2001: The mine continued to produce around 1.500,000 tonnes from Parkgate per year on the retreat system, with less and less manpower as various efficiency schemes was brought into practice.
  • 2002: Parkgate, 1.500,000 tonnes
  • 2003: Parkgate, 1.500,000 tonnes
  • 2004: Parkgate, 1,104,775m tonnes
  • 2005: Parkgate, 1.400,000 tonnes
  • 2006: Parkgate, 1.500,000 (operating cost £53.4m)
  • 2007: Parkgate 1,400,000 tonnes (operating cost £50.7m)
  • 2008: Parkgate 900,000 tonnes
  • 2009: Parkgate and developing Deep Soft 800,000
  • 2010: Parkgate finished Dec and Deep Soft 1,000,000 tonnes app, 450 men app
  • 2011: Deep Soft (retreat panels) + 1,000,000 tonnes
  • 2012: Deep Soft 1,191,000, tonnes, (loss £11m), 535 men
  • 2013:

Top Hard seam: worked from 1928 firstly as advancing hand got stalls with tubs/trams being filled at the coalface then attached to main endless rope haulages to the pit bottom where they were raised up the shaft. These stalls radiated out from the pit bottom, then in 1930s AB15 coal cutters undercut the coal which was then bored and fired and filled out onto face conveyors and gate conveyors to loading points in the loader gates and into tubs. From mid 1950s gate conveyors were extended to load onto trunk conveyors in the main roads then to a central loading point for diesel loco-hauled mine cars to 1986. Panel Nos: 1s, 2s, 3s, 5s, 6s, 6s, 2s, 4s, 5s, 3s, 4s, 5s, 4s, 4s, 1s, 2s, 3s, 1s, 2s, 3s, 5s, 3s, 6s, 7s, 8s, 1s, 5s, 7s, 1s, 2s, 5s, 3s, 5s, 1s, 9s, 9sA, 9sB, 9sC, 9sD, 9sE, 4s, 7s, 8s, 8s, 8s, 2s, 8s, 8s, 11s, 15s, 17s, 19s, 30s, 31s, 32s, 33s, 34s, 35s, 37s, 38s, 39s, 40s, 41s, 43s, 44s, 45s, 46s, 48s, 49s, 50s, 51s, 53s, 54s, 55s, 56s, 59s, 60s, 61s, 62s, 64s, 65s, 67s, 68s, 69s, 71s, 73s, 76s, 78s, 80s, 81s, 82s, 83s, 84s, 85s, 87s, 89s, 91s, 93s, 95s, 200s, 201s, 202s headings.