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The Decline Of The Industry
And Nationalisation 1947



Government Took Over The Mines

The Government had taken over the running of the mines and mineral resources in February 1917 due to the War.  The mining industry passed into the hands of the Board of Trade from the Home Office by a regulation made under the Defence of the Realm Act.  Managers and owners were subject to the directions of a Government Official, the Coal Controller, who was assisted by an advisory committee of 7 coal owners and 7 workers’ representatives.  The Government took 80% of the excess profits, but the balance was now divided between the Coal Controller 15%, and the relevant company 5%. 

War Bonus

There was a further increase of the War bonus on current earnings of 4.2% in February 1917. In September 1917 there was a flat rate increase of 1s 6d (7½p) a day for everyone over 16, and 9d (3¾p) a day for boys.  There were 4 pits in the area producing over 1 million tons a year, making a profit of 3s (15p) a ton, 8 pits producing over ½ a million tons making an average profit of 2s 10d (14p) a ton and 14 pits between 100,000 and ½ a million tons making 2s 5d (12p) a ton profit. 

The Coal Controllers share went into a pool from which deficiency payments were made to owners who failed to achieve profits.  The Coal Controller also influenced all wage negotiations during the period to 31st March 1921.


In January 1917 a boy of 15 was fined 7/6 (37.5p) for leaving a door open underground affecting the ventilation current.


Babbington Colliery Company fined a ganger 10/- (50p) for causing the death of a pit pony when it was run over by tubs on a drift incline.

Men Released From Mines

In April 1917 the Government released 20,000 men from mines throughout the country.  The Council of Derbyshire Miners Association suspended absentee committees; however they would be re-established in June 1918.


Norman D Todd from Blackwell A & B Winning Collieries appointed to Teversal Collieries (Stanton Iron Works Co.) when Jonathan Piggford retired at the end of May 1917.

T. H. Elliott, the manager at Langwith Colliery was appointed to Blackwell Collieries in his stead.

In June 1917 T. Warton, from Dinnington, to manager of Glapwall, he was succeeded at Langwith by the son of Warton, who was the manager of Glapwall.


By 1917 all the underground haulage and pumping had been electrified at Silver Hill and Teversall (Stanton Ironworks Co).  The existing endless rope haulage system was steam or compressed air driven and had now extended some 2 miles.  A new underground price list was issued in September, following a strike threat at the Stanton Ironworks pits.

Price Of Beer

The price of beer in Nottingham was fixed at a minimum of 5d (2p) in July to come into effect on the 1st August 1917. Many miners slaked their thirst by downing several pints after a heavy days work.


Harworth Colliery was registered, on 2nd July 1917, as a Limited Company by Robert Barber (Barber Walker)

 Further Zeppellin Raids

On 26th September 1916 there had been a German Zeppelin raid on Sheffield and on 19th October 1917 at Kiveton Park (Derbyshire) work was halted as a Zeppelin was hovering over the colliery, however no damage was done. Again this was thought to be a practice run.

Strike at Sutton

There was a strike at Sutton (Nottinghamshire) in 1917 after the owners had wanted to employ non-union labour.  To end the strike in November, the Blackwell Colliery Co agreed to refuse employment to non-unionists.


Coal cutters were introduced at Kirkby Summit (Nottinghamshire) (Butterley Co), but shaker conveyors were not introduced until 1918.  Steel props were also introduced and there was a strike threat by the colliers who reckoned that they were not as safe as wood!   The colliers were used to the timber supports creaking when weight came on and the new supports did not give any warning of this and sometimes flew out under pressure causing serious accidents. Rubber conveyors were introduced much later in 1924.  The first screening plant had been introduced at No2 pit top earlier to select coal by different sizes.

Fire at Welbeck

On Wednesday 3rd July 1917, on the surface, a stack of pit props caught fire, rendering them unusable for supports.


There had been a huge fire in the lamp room in January when 700 lamps and 2 cleaning machines were destroyed. Lamps had to be borrowed from neighbouring collieries.

Electric Battery Hand Lamps

The New Hucknall Colliery Co was one of the first companies to issue electric battery hand lamps to the workforce, and all the miners had one by 1919.

The company owned New Hucknall, Bentinck and Welbeck collieries in Nottinghamshire. The owners had agreed to install efficient lights due to the high incidence of nystagmus. There was a general complaint about double gauze lamps required by the Home Office.

Creation of Forestry Commission

Seams Closed

The shortage of timber for roof supports imported from Scandinavian countries was due to ships being sunk by German raiders or submarines during the War. This led to the creation of the Forestry Commission that would ensure home grown timber in future.

Old Winterbank colliery (Derbyshire)  (South Normanton Colliery Co Ltd), with the wooden headstocks, became a pumping station, 2 men underground and 2 on the surface.

Prosecuted By Grassmoor Colliery Co.

In August 1917 James E Mitchell, Albert Brown and Leonard Wheeldon were each fined £3 for breaking 3 safety lamps in the pit.

Ilkeston Rescue Station

Ilkeston Rescue Station was the third one to be completed and was opened in August 1917. The other 2 were at Mansfield Woodhouse and Chesterfield.

Mickley Colliery Co.

In August 1917 Mickley Colliery Co. went into liquidation.

Collieries Sunk or Opened in 1917

  • Arden 2 (JW Swindell) opened 30th Nov
  • Calow Colliery Footrills, magnetic meridian June 1917, Blackshale, old ironstone shaft to south and shaft 62 yards (56.5m) to Blackshale
  • Ellybank adit or No2 Bankend (North West Derbyshire) SL Williamson and Son Ltd) New Mills, adits, Yard mine, Jan
  • Moss Ganister (Pickford, Holland and Co Ltd) Dore, Coal and ganister
  • Worthington (S Derbyshire) new pit sunk to Main seam at 43 yards (39m). 
    (5 Pits)

More Mines Were Closed in 1917

  • Bank End No1 (SL Williamson and Son Ltd) New Mills, Yard 3’ 0” (0.91m), 1916-Apr 1917, see 1921
  • Farfield (Samuel Shaw, Brick Manufacturer), Ilkeston, Deep Soft and Roof Soft
  • Mickley (Mickley Coal Co (Dronfield) Ltd), Mickley Thin seam 67/22, HJ Atkinson (would re-open 1925 to 1926 as New Mickley or Mickley New)
  • New Dunston (ED Fawcett) Deep Soft, 7/1917, 5 adits and 11 shafts, some got by opencast
  • Newthorpe (Newthorpe Colliery Ltd) sunk 1913, closed
  • Norman (Dawes, Moses), Ilkeston, abandoned 6/1917, Soft and Deep Soft Roof, 8/1, FG Meacham (1781)
  • Portland 2 (Jerry pit) (Butterley Co) Top Hard discontinued but shaft kept open for ventilation
  • Salterwood (Denby Iron and Coal Co Ltd) Ell seam, Blackrake ironstone immediately above the coal worked previously and attempts to work 4’ 0” (1.22m) of coal under was dangerous
  • Turnoak 1 (Turnoak Colliery Co), Chesterfield, 21/5, Deep Hard or Potters, shafts 42 yards (38.5m) and 44 yards (40m) met old works, 21 Jul 1917, William Deakin Wadsworth Surveyor, position E437950,N369450
  • Turnoak No2 (New Turnoak Colliery Co) sinking discontinued
  • Walton (James Pearson Ltd) Chesterfield, Tupton and Wilday Green (Kilburn Coal Co, Walkers) Barlow, Kilburn or Walker’s seam 4/3, 2 adits and one shaft, met old workings, William D Wadsworth Surveyor
  • Staunton (Worthington or sometimes called Newbold) the Roaster seam at 104 yards (95m) stopped
    13th Mar 1917 and clay working was stopped due to shortage of men
  • Old Whittington Silkstone colliery Blackshale, ED Swanwick Esq royalty, worked to outcrop, full dip 1in4, 27 Jul 1917, Surveyor Arthur H Booth (300). 
    (11 Pits)

At Silver Hill the Silkstone seam with dips of 1in4 to 1in5 was closed by the Stanton Ironworks Co as unprofitable in September, section - blue bind roof, top coal 10” (0.25m), middle coal 9” (0.23m), dirt 2” (0.05m), bottom coal 1’ 5” (0.43m), clunch floor, total 3’ 2” (0.97m), Surveyor Richard Wardle (917 service certificate).

Birchwood (The Butterley Co) Low Main exhausted 29 May 1917, section 1’ 3” (0.38m) Jerries, 3” (0.08m) hard list, 1’ 6” (0.46m) Low Main, 4” (0.10m) hard lists, 2” (0.05m) minge, Total 3’ 11” (1.19m).

The School Leaving Age Was Raised To 13 in 1917

Mines Rescue

During 1917 a Mines Rescue Apparatus Research Committee was set up.

Buy Out

The North Wingfield Colliery Co bought out Alma No1, No2, and No3 colliery owned by G Chambers.


Sale of Mickley Colliery (Dronfield) in Nov 1917 raised £283 for the effects. The Colliery had lost between £15,000 - £20,000.


There had been a general deterioration of conditions in the local pits during the War due to the pits running at reduced manpower.  Emphasis was on coal turning and bye work was pushed to the back of the queue.

Fatal Accidents 1917

  • Bolsover, John Roger Havenhand (63) run over by tubs 17 Jul 1917
  • Bolsover, Sam Wyer (28) fall of roof - Aug 1917, died 13 Sep 1917
  • Bolsover, Percy Chas Norton (16) crushed by wagons on the surface 31 Oct 1917
  • Coppice, John Taylor (65) fall of roof on 7 Feb 1917, died 9 Feb 1917
  • Coppice, Mathew Durrow (19) coal fell down shaft and struck him 21 Sep 1917
  • Cotes Park, Thomas Wall (47) fall of roof 14 Nov 1917, died 18 Nov 1917
  • Creswell, Arthur Buxton (32) fall of roof 24 Apr 1917
  • Creswell, Henry Trinder (47) fall of roof ? Jul 1917
  • Denby, George Daniels (30) fall of roof on 17 Mar 1917, died 22 May 1917
  • Glapwell, Sam Holmes (20) run over by tubs 24 Sep 1917
  • Glapwell, George C Turner (53) fall of roof on 6 Nov 1917, died 16 Nov 1917
  • Hartshay, Joseph Beighton (17) crushed by tubs 24 Feb 1917
  • Hartshay, Samuel Barlow (21) hand injury 24 Jul 1917, died 10 Aug 1917 of toxaemia
  • Hartshay, Fred Sheldon (15) crushed by tubs 12 Dec 1917, died 14 Dec 1917
  • Kilburn, John William Murfin (53) fall of roof on 7 Apr 1915, died 10 Nov 1917
  • Langwith, William A Broadhurst (81) scalded by a boiler on the surface 31 Jan 1917
  • Ormonde, Enoch Stevens (36) fall of coal 26 Mar 1917
  • Oxcroft, Albert Edward Cross (16) run over by tubs 3 Jan 1917
  • Pleasley, Henry Haywood (14) crushed by tubs 23 Jan 1917
  • Salterwood, Charles Briggs (41) fall of roof 20 Oct 1917
  • Shirebrook, Richard Dillon (18) run over by tubs on 15 Jan 1917 and died 16 Jan 1917
  • Shipley, George Wood (27) overcome by blackdamp gas 11 Oct 1917
  • Shirebrook, Charles Cross (15) fell down shaft 1 Oct 1917
  • South Normanton, George William Bacon (16) fall in a roadway 8 Aug 1917
  • Swanwick, George Folkard (34) fall of coal 17 Feb 1917
  • Swanwick, James Edwd Elliott (23) fall of roof on 26 Feb 1917, died 13 Mar 1917
  • Swanwick, George Holmes (42) fall of roof 9 Jun 1917
  • Swanwick, Sidney John Trevelyn (40) shotfiring accident 28 Jul 1917
  • Swanwick, Cyril Lambert Whittle (24) fall of roof 30 Jul 1917
  • Tibshelf, George Wilbourne (58) buried by slack coal on the surface 29 Apr 1917
  • Waingroves, Francis John Burgin (45) crushed by tubs 5 May 1917
  • Waingroves, James Watson (20) fall of roof 19 Jun 1917
  • West Hallam, Charles Plummer (46) fall of roof 6 May 1917
  • West Hallam, George Smith (53) fall of roof on 26 Apr 1917, died 9 May 1917
  • Woodside, John Mousely (17) fall of roof 30 Aug 1917.


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