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World War 2 - Page 6


Coal Mining In the Second World War 1939-1945

World War II and up to Nationalisation

All Had To Register For War Service

Coal Mines Nationalisation Bill

The Coal Mines Nationalisation Bill was published on 20th December 1945. Two major proposals: to transfer mines from private to public ownership and to create a National Board of 8 members and a Chairman to run it.

Control of Labour

Control of labour ended on 20th December 1945.
Output of opencast coal

  • North Midlands 2.246m tons
  • South Midlands 0.85m tons.

Output for 1945: deep mines

  • North Derbyshire 13.2m tons
  • South Derbyshire 1.4m tons
  • Nottinghamshire 15.1m tons
  • Leicestershire 4.25m tons.

Ponies Checked

At all pits the ponies were checked for glanders. This disease could be transmitted to humans. A special survey had found that ponies generally were only worked for one shift.

Price of Pit Ponies

The price of pit ponies now varied from £27 to £32. The animals were still a major necessity for materials handling at quite a few pits in the area.

Bread was Put on Ration After the War

Bread was put on ration from 21st July 1946 due to a world shortage of wheat and would last for 2 years. Again questions were asked by the populace...’Who won the War? Sandwiches were a recognised lunch for the majority of workers in all occupations, particularly miners where special snap tins were made with a rounded end to accommodate the shape of a loaf. Also being rounded with a clasp at the other end one could fasten it to your belt round your waist and the rounded end would not dig into one’s thigh like a square edged one could do.

World Record Advance at Mansfield

At Mansfield Colliery (Crown Farm), (Nottinghamshire) (Bolsover Co), A World Record Advance Of 80 Yards (73m) Of Solid Drivage In The High Hazles Horizon Was Achieved In 7 Days, During The Week Ending 22nd October1946.  The Heading Was Bored And Fired And The Debris Loaded Out Using A Gathering Arm Joy Loader.

Pithead Baths at Annesley

Pithead baths were opened at Annesley (Nottinghamshire) in December 1946. These were the 20th in Nottinghamshire and the 353rd in the country, and the first to be built since the end of the War. The miners at Annesley had voted against such baths in 1929. The colliery was now part of the NH and B Collieries Ltd, which was an amalgamation of the New Hucknall Colliery Co and the Blackwell Colliery Co in that year.

Pit Head Baths Nottinghamshire 10 open, 6 under construction, 6 with canteens, 20,0746 employed.
North Derbyshire 10 open, 3 under construction, 8 with canteens, 19,218 employed.
Leicestershire 2 open, 1 with canteen, 1,938 employed.
South Derbyshire - No pit head baths.

Dowty Mining Equipment

Dowty Mining Equipment was formed, and the first hydraulic props were installed at Ramcroft colliery (Hardwick Colliery Co Ltd), spearheading the production of over 4 million props. The factory set up by George Dowty the industrialist, was based in a disused warehouse situated at Ashchurch near Tewksbury, Gloucestershire and had access to the main Birmingham to Bristol railway. (see 1953)

Nationalisation Act was Passed in July 1946

The Nationalisation Act was passed in July 1946, and on ‘Vesting Day1st January 1947 the Mines were nationalised. From that day on, some 960 deep mines plus around 400 licensed mines were managed by the National Coal Board (NCB), with Headquarters based in London at Lansbury House, later at Hobart House under the Chairmanship of Viscount Hyndley, who had been appointed in July 1946. Compensation was paid to the former owners of the mines, amounting to £164.66 million, with a grand total of around £388 million including all the other assets acquired. The assets vested in the NCB were valued by the Greene Tribunal and by district valuation boards appointed by the Minister of Power. The Lord of the Manors interests vested in the Coal Commission by the Coal Act of 1938 now passed to the NCB, and the Copyholders interests acquired by former colliery concerns became vested in the Board. However the NCB did not acquire any of the former Copyholders interests in coal or mines of coal. The coalmines were bankrupt under private ownership. The pits, which had given profits for the owners in the past, now had an abysmal efficiency and safety record and equipment was out of date. Many collieries would have to close and the larger more efficient ones would have to have major reconstruction projects, costing millions of pounds. Prior to this Act of 1946 it was common practice for coal and other associated minerals to be subject of a Lease granted by the mineral owner to the Colliery Co concerned. For the purposes of the vesting provisions of the Coal Act 1938 the term coal included not only bituminous, cannel and anthracite but also other minerals if they were comprised in a Lease subsisting at 1st January 1939 and which conferred the right to work and carry away such coal and other minerals and substances.

Gas and Electricity

Gas Works using coal to turn into gas for domestic use: Alfreton, Ambergate (Bull Bridge), Ashbourne, Bawtry, Beighton, Bingham, Bolsover, Bottesford, Buxton, Burton, Chesterfield, Clay Cross, Clown, Derby, Eckington (Mosborough), Glossop, Kirkby-in-Ashfield, Long Eaton, Mansfield, Measham, Newark, Nottingham, Retford, Riddings, Ripley, Southwell, Sutton-in-Ashfield, Swadlincote, Tideswell, Tuxford, Whitwell, Wirksworth, Worksop. There were hundreds throughout the country.

Similarly there were hundreds of electricity supply undertakings. Bolsover, Burton-on-Trent, Buxton, Chapel-en-le-Frith, Chesterfield, Derby, East Retford, Mansfield, Newark-on-Trent, Nottingham, Trent Valley and High Peak, Worksop to name those in our region - all dependant on coal for generation.

Domestic Coal Merchants

The number of domestic coal merchants was almost unbelievable (over 10,000, but had been 28,000 in 1919 throughout the country) – practically every house at the time relied on coal for heating and every town and village had depots. A few merchants listed: James Acton and Sons, Daybrook Station, Nottinghamshire; EK Adams, Dunkirk, Nottingham; SW Adcock Mapperley, Nottingham; J Alvey, Huntingdon St, Nottingham; Ernest Armstrong, Stoney Street, Sutton-in-Ashfield; BSN Coal Sales, St Mary’s Gate, Chesterfield; Bailey Bros, Newark; Co-op Society, Bakewell.

There was a coal depot at many railway yards (Sutton-in-Ashfield Northern Station) or colliery sidings (Teversal) for example where coal had to be off loaded by shovel from coal trucks by hand onto the Merchant’s cart (with horse) or lorry and taken to the delivery point and tipped, sometimes onto the road or if fortunate to have a cellar or coal house directly into that.


Practically every pit in the region supplied household coal. Note the demise of the merchants as gas, oil or electric heating took over. Another loss for house coal at the pits.

Coal Exporters

lorryCoal exporters and shippers were also numerous and all to disappear, including a few in this region:-

M Attrill Ltd, 42 Holywell St, Chesterfield
S Barratt, Radcliffe-on-Trent
T Black, High St, Sheffield
G Clower, 572 Mansfield Rd, Sherwood, Nottinghamshire
Elstone and Co, 97 Woodborough Rd, Nottingham
Foster and Co Castle Meadow Rd, Nottingham
Haydon, Molineaux and Co Ltd, High St, Sheffield
Mapperley Colliery Co Ltd, 39 London Rd, Leicestershire
Thrutchley and Co Ltd 4 St Peter’s Church Walk, Nottingham
HR Word and Co Ltd, Mitre buildings, Trent Bridge, Nottingham.

Various Acts

Various Public General Acts which have incorporated the Mining Code Provisions of the Railways Consolidation Act 1845 (the Old Railway Code): Small Holdings and Allotments Acts 1908 and 1926;

Development of Road Improvements Funds Act 1909
Public Libraries Act 1919
Forestry Acts 1919 and 1945
Local Government Act 1933
Education Act 1944
Housing Act 1936
Town and Country Planning Acts 1932, 1962 (Consolidating Act)
Restriction and Ribbon Development Act 1935, amended by Trunk Roads Acts 1936 and 1946 and Highways Act 1959
Distribution of Industry Act 1945
Acquisition of Land (Authorisation of Procedure) Act 1946. Working rights have to be investigated for all those mentioned and any unauthorised working may only be revealed to the owner of the surface when signs of damage appear!


1939 … 51 killed by explosions,  400 by falls of roof or coal, 20 fatal accidents in shafts, 172 on haulage operations, miscellaneous 69. Deaths underground 722, surface 61. Total deaths 783. Seriously injured 124,776.

1940 … 31 killed by explosions, 513 by falls of roof or coal, 21 fatal accidents in shafts, 193 on haulage operations, miscellaneous 78. Deaths underground 836, surface 87. Total deaths 923. Seriously injured 146,388.

1941 … 72 killed by explosions, 502 by falls of roof or coal, 19 fatal accidents in shafts, 190 on haulage operations, miscellaneous 55, Deaths underground 838, surface 87, Total deaths 925. Seriously injured 158,445.

1942 … 99 killed by explosions, 440 by falls of roof or coal, 22 fatal accidents in shafts, 168 on haulage operations, miscellaneous 64. Deaths underground 799, surface 78. Total deaths 877. Seriously injured 166,639.

1943 … 21 killed by explosions, 380 by falls of roof or coal, 27 fatal accidents in shafts, 159 on haulage operations, miscellaneous 68. Deaths underground 655, surface 58. Total deaths 713. Seriously injured 173,716.

1944 … 19 killed by explosions, 335 by falls of roof or coal, 19 fatal accidents in shafts, 146 on haulage operations, miscellaneous 54. Deaths underground 573, surface 50. Total deaths 623. Seriously injured 176,847.

1945 … 13 killed by explosions, 305 by falls of roof or coal, 21 fatal accidents in shafts, 115 on haulage operations, miscellaneous 51. Deaths underground 505, surface 44. Total deaths 547. Seriously injured 165,000 est.

Wages Per Shift in the Coalfields

Scotland 1939 … 11s 10d, 1940 … 12s 7d, 1941 … 14s 6d, 1942 … 17s 0d, 1943 … 18s 4d, 1944 … 20s 7d and 1945 …21s 9d.

Northumberland 1939 … 10s 2d, 1940 … 11s 8d, 1941 … 13s 4d, 1942 … 16s 0d, 1943 … 17s 7d, 1944 … 21s 3d, 1945 … 23s 2d.

Durham 1939 … 9s 11d, 1940 … 11s 8d, 1941 … 12s 11d, 1942 … 15s 4d, 1943 … 17s 1d, 1944 … 20s 3d, 1945 … 22s 2d.

South Wales & Monmouth 1939 … 11s 2d, 1940 … 12s 4d, 1941 … 14s 2d, 1942 … 16s 9d, 1943 … 18s 3d, 1944 … 20s 5d, 1945 … 21s 6d.

Yorkshire 1939 … 12s 9d, 1940 … 14s 2d, 1941 … 15s 11d, 1942 … 18s 5d, 1943 … 20s 0d, 1944 … 22s 2d, 1945 … 23s 9d.

North Derbyshire 1939 … 12s 3d, 1940 … 12s 10d, 1941 … 15s 9d, 1942 … 21s 7d, 1943 … 20s 9d, 1944 … 23s 8d, 1945 … 25s 2d.

Nottinghamshire 1939 … 15s 1d, 1940 … 16s 6d, 1941 … 18s 9d, 1942 … 21s 7d, 1943 … 23s 5d, 1944 … 25s 11d, 1945 … 27s 5d.

South Derbyshire 1939 … 11s 0d, 1940 … 13s 6d, 1941 … 17s 5d, 1942 … 20s 10d, 1943 … 23s 1d, 1944 … 25s 11d, 1945 … 27s 0d.

Leicestershire 1939 … 12s 9d, 1940 … 15s 0d, 1941 … 17s 9d, 1942 … 21s 2d, 1943 … 24s 4d, 1944 … 27s 1d, 1945 … 28s 1d.

Cannock Chase 1939 … 11s 0d, 1940 … 12s 8d, 1941 … 14s 5d, 1942 … 16s 2d, 1943 … 17s 6d, 1944 … 19s 10d, 1945 … 21s 2d.

Warwickshire 1939 … 14s 6d, 1940 … 16s 0d, 1941 … 17s 2d, 1942 … 19s 9d, 1943 … 21s 11d, 1944 … 24s 1d, 1945 … 25s 4d.

Lancashire & Cheshire 1939 … 11s 4d, 1940 … 12s 10d, 1941 … 14s 10d, 1942 … 17s 4d, 1943 … 19s 0d, 1944 … 21s 4d, 1945 … 22s 8d.

North Staffordshire 1939 … 12s 2d, 1940 … 13s 5d, 1941 … 15s 4d, 1942 … 17s 10d, 1943 … 19s 9d, 1944 … 22s 3d, 1945 … 24s 1d.

Cumberland 1939 … 10s 11d, 1940 … 12s 4d, 1941 … 14s 5d, 1942 … 17s 2d, 1943 … 18s 10d, 1944 … 22s 1d, 1945 … 24s 2d.

North Wales 1939 … 10s 8d, 1940 … 12s 2d, 1941 … 14s 0d, 1942 … 16s 5d, 1943 … 17s 10d, 1944 … 20s 5d, 1945 … 21s 10d.

South Staffordshire  1939 … 10s 3d, 1940 … 11s 8d, 1941 … 13s 2d, 1942 … 15s 4d, 1943 … 16s 11d, 1944 … 19s 10d, 1945 … 21s 5d.

Shropshire  1939 … 10s 4d, 1940 … 11s 0d, 1941 …13s 10d, 1942 … 16s 8d, 1943 … 18s 4d, 1944 … 21s 4d, 1945 … 23s 2d.
Forest of Dean … 1939 …10s 6d, 1940 … 11s 11d, 1941 … 13s 11d, 1942 … 16s 5d, 1943 … 18s 1d, 1944 … 20s 9d, 1945 … 22s 0d.

Bristol & Somerset … 1939 … 9s 5d, 1940 … 10s 10d, 1941 … 12s 5d, 1942 … 15s 0d, 1943 … 16s 7d, 1944 … 18s 10d, 1945 … 20s 1d.

Kent … 1939 … 12s 10d, 1940 …14s 1d, 1941 …16s 7d, 1942 … 19s 4d, 1943 … 20s 8d, 1944 … 23s 1d, 1945 … 24s 10d.