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Calendar
1990 2000 2010 2015


Pit Closures
Prime Ministers With Dates

Bob

Attlee 1947 to 1951 Labour
Churchill 1951 to 1955 Conservative
Eden 1955 to 1957 Conservative
Macmillan 1957 to 1963 Conservative
Home 1963 to 1964 Conservative
Wilson 1964 to 1970 Labour
Heath 1970 to 1974 Conservative
Wilson 1974 to 1977 Labour
Callaghan 1977 to 1979 Labour
Thatcher 1979 to 1990 Conservative
Major 1990 to 1997 Conservative
Blair 1997 to 2007 New Labour
Brown 2007 to 2010 New Labour
Cameron 2010 to 2015 Coalition with Liberal Democrats
Cameron 2015 to Conservative

Colliery Closures Since 1947

It is interesting to note that in the 3 counties during the 4 Labour party periods of Government 1945-1951, 1964-1970, 1974-1979, and 1997-2010, 30 pits were closed in North Derbyshire, 18 in Nottinghamshire and 12 in South Derbyshire / Leicestershire, making a total of 60 closed. (Welbeck (Nottinghamshire) was planned before the change in Government and closed early May 2010).

Harworth (Nottinghamshire) ceased production in September and was put in ‘mothballs’ from October 2006awaiting a buyer or an injection of money up to £200m for UK Coal or a private enterprise to redevelop the pit. The chosen few men on maintenance must have had a ‘bobby’s job’ for there were no underground production pressures. Gas being pumped out of the mine workings and up the shaft was used to convert into electrical power, most being fed into the National Grid. The roadways around the pit bottom and the shafts were still being examined daily. The cost of keeping the surface fan running and other operations was costing plus £1m per year. The UC heapstead was demolished in mid 2014 and in November 2014both shafts were capped and the mine abandoned.

During the 4 Conservative party periods of Government 1951-1964, 1970-1974, 1979-1997 and 2010-2015, 12 pits were closed in North Derbyshire, 27 in Nottinghamshire and 19 in South Derbyshire / Leicestershire, making a total of 59 closed. During the period 1951-1997, 6 new mines were opened.

Maltby (Hargreaves) in South Yorkshire was closed in Jan 2013 due to eruptions of hydro carbons. 
Daw Mill (UK Coal) in Warwickshire was closed Feb 2013 due to underground fire out of control. 
Hatfield (Hargreaves) in South Yorkshire was closed in June 2015 due to lack of orders
Thoresby (UK Coal) last pit in Nottinghamshire was closed in July 2015
Kellingley (UK Coal) last deep mine pit in UK was closed December 2015, again due to lack of orders.

The price of coal being imported was at around £30 a tonne. UK Coal could not mine it for that price and had asked for Government funding so as to compete. However the £338m was not forthcoming, only a few £m to assist closing down the mines. 

Moorside Drift mine (Moorside Mining) at Eckington, Derbyshire, work suspended 2013 due to monetary problems but restarted again under new owner / management in 2014. 
Aberpergwm
 and Unity (South Wales) small Anthracite drift mines continue, and
Several very small drift mines in the Forest of Dean continue to work also at 2016.

However, overall from a total of 1,250 pits in 1947 to the present day, 522 mines were closed throughout the UK by Labour and 728 by the Conservatives, including several hundred small licensed mines.

By Comparison the large collieries closed since 1947 under the various Prime Ministers.....

Prime
Minister
Deep Pits
Closed
Since 1947
Political Party Years in
Government
Running total of deep pits closed
Attlee
Churchill
Eden
Macmillan
101
78
35
246
Labour (1945)
Conservative
Conservative
Conservative
1947-1951
1951-1955
1955-1957
1957-1963
101
179
214
460
Home
Wilson
Heath
Wilson
24
235
26
18
Conservative
Labour
Conservative
Labour
1963-1964
1964-1970
1970-1974
1974-1977
484
719
745
763
Callaghan
Thatcher

Major
Blair
4
115
55
**12
Labour
Conservative
Conservative
New Labour
1977-1979
1979-1990
1990-1997
1997-2007
767
882
937
949
Brown
Cameron
Cameron
1
2
3

371
582
2
New Labour
Con/Lib Dem Coalition
Conservative
Labour
Conservative
Con/Lib Dem Coalition
2007-2010
2010-2015

2015-  
6 terms
8 terms
1 term  
950
952
955

No matter how painful it is, the results show that

  • Clement Attlee closed 101 pits
  • Churchill 78
  • Eden 35
  • Home 24
  • Heath 26
  • Major 55

Harold Wilson closed 253 pits as against Margaret Thatcher’s 115, more than twice as many. However because there were fewer pits left it is without doubt that Yorkshire was decimated by Thatcher in the ratio of about 1 Labour closure to 10 Conservative.

The one who closed the most pits in one 6 year term from 1957 to 1963 was Harold Macmillan with 246, and ‘nobody noticed’, not even me until I researched the figures.

Kellingley in North Yorkshire was the last deep mine in Britain and closed in December 2015 bringing to an end at least 1,000 years of underground coal mining. No doubt surface opencast working will continue for the next few years as sites become available and coal imports will continue also but it is possible that coal burning at power stations will cease from 2025.