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Mines Rescue - Page 1
Mansfield Rescue Station
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Before 1906, rescue work was left to volunteers from the colliery at which the disaster occurred, led by mining engineers from neighbouring collieries.

A Royal Commission appointed in that year recommended that Central Rescue Stations manned by full time brigades should be provided in every coalfield by the owners, and that each colliery should also have part time rescue brigades of trained men.
This became law in 1912.

One of the first central rescue stations was at Mansfield Woodhouse. This was maintained by a company in which all the local coal owners had shares. Later, after nationalisation, it was taken over by the NCB, like all similar stations.

Mansfield Mines Rescue 1909. The Miner's Rescue Station opened in Mansfield Woodhouse in 1909 and moved to Leeming Lane in 1958.

I am not sure if the Ilkeston station had an underground fire pump but the Mansfield Station did and the stations were very similar. The fire pump was for dealing with underground fires, an "Elswick" double acting hand pump was installed.

This pump weighed 35 lbs and measured 13-in. x 7-in. x 17-in. and was capable of delivering 25 gallons a minute at 125 double strokes per minute. It could throw a 3/8 -in. jet of water about 40 feet vertically. Suction was taken from an ordinary water carrying tub or a small canvas portable dam measuring 3 feet x 18-in. x 18-in. The delivery hose was 1½-in. internal diameter and suction hose 2½-in. The valves were entirely of metal. Staff. There was a resident corps of nine men, including a motor driver mechanic, employed at the station. Five men were always immediately available for emergency work.


Permanent Corps Rescue Brigade at Mansfield Woodhouse, about 1914 with their engine. As can be seen, the early brigades were modelled on the fire service.

Early rescue work was left to volunteers like the St John's Ambulance Brigade which miners were encouraged to join. In 1906 the Permanent Corps Rescue Brigade was set up, and by 1912 became compulsory.


Mansfield colliery rescue team No 3 (c1911) in Meco breathing apparatus, and with a canary. In the 1980s the colliery had an aviary of 22, while the rescue station had 18. As the birds warned of carbon monoxide gas, two accompanied the team on each call out, and were only replaced by electronic detectors in the 1990s.

Click here for more information about breathing apparatus

The miner on the right, seated, is John Thomas Rigley.
He was My Grandfather, Val Canning
Third from the left on the back row is Billy Anderson.

Click for breathing apparatus

Babbington colliery No 1 Rescue Team (c. 1911 ) on one of their training days at Mansfield Woodhouse Rescue Station. By 1911 each colliery had to have a part-time rescue team to cover each shift. The station superintendent is there in uniform and the dog sometimes accompanied the Brigade on emergency calls.

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