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The Decline Of The Industry Continued
After Nationalisation 1947


1930 - Page 1

Collieries Opened in 1930

There Were Now 2,091 Pits Employing 931,000 Men And Boys

  • Blue Clay mine (C Purdy), Unstone, Ashgate seam
  • Butterbank (Butterbank Colliery Co Ltd) Yard seam, Winding shaft 15 yards (14m), Air pit 10 yards (9m)
  • Doe Lea drift mine was opened at Heath by Dominic Lavin (385), an ex Manager and Undermanager at nearby Ramcroft. The pit worked the Top Hard seam and went under the local name Dominics or Heath pit
  • Ford Lane Silkstone (Messrs Kay and Kay) at Eckington adit driven to Blackshale or Silkstone, hit old works
  • Harewood (J Hawksworth) another mine at Holymoorside opened in December
  • Lodge Farm (JE Adlington) closed previously in Dec 1926 was re-opened in Oct 1930, see closures 1930
  • Marsh Quarry, Bole Hill, Eckington, cutting made for new adit Jan-July to Flockton seam 1930
  • Newthorpe (Newthorpe Colliery (1931) Ltd) re-opened, been stood since 1917
  • Watnall (Messrs Barber Walker) opened the Hazel seam, Surveyor George H Whitehouse 17 Jun 1931.

Shaft Ran In

The Hill Croft shaft at Denby Hall at 112 yards (102m) deep, ran in at the surface on 7th January 1930

Hand Held Drilling Machines

The use of the hand-held electric drilling machines for boring holes for the use of explosives at the coal-face and ripping lips came into general use. Locally these were known as ram’s heads. However many colliery companies still relied on ‘hand power’ as seen in the photo.


The depression in the mining industry increased during 1930.

Chief Surveyor Died In Post Aged 81

The Chief Surveyor of Butterley Co John Holbrook died in post in January 1930 aged 81, after 65 years service. There was no proper retirement age in those days.

Development of Ollerton

The development at Ollerton colliery (Nottinghamshire) from sinking 1923-1925 is shown below. Major roadways were driven out from the pit bottom in the various directions and girders with wooden legs were set as supports. The working was by hand filled tub stalls radiating out from the pit bottom. The coal was first undercut or chopped out by the colliers using a pick and the coal was broken down and the large pieces hand loaded into wooden jotties in the stall and hand trammed to the gate end where the tubs or jotties were ganged to the pit bottom or main haulage road by lads ganging ponies. Smaller coals no less than about 4” (0.1m) were then loaded out by screen (forks) as only coal above that size was paid for and along with dirt was not allowed to be sent out of the pit. The penalty for sending such was not being paid for the particular tub containing dirt or small coal or dust.

The butty of the stall or district would try to ensure this did not happen as it affected his share of the coal paid contracted for with the management.

There must have been a change of policy in 1929 because the West district was stopped by a large fault, the larger face in the South district was stopped but new drivages were made through the big fault to develop a new South West area. Possibly this was due to manpower shortage because in 1929 there was well over one mile of coal face open and up till then was expanding every year. A further policy change would occur in 1932 when a major change over from stall working to panels with cutters and coal face conveyors was begun.

At Ollerton the trial headings in the 2’ 7” (0.79m) thick Dunsil seam were abandoned. A set of plans show the expansion of the Top Hard workings at Ollerton from opening out the pit bottom in 1925 to the end of 1930.

First Aid Regulations

The Coal Mines General Regulations (First Aid) 1930 came into force on 11th February.

Outburst at Creswell

At Creswell Colliery (Derbyshire) (Bolsover Co) on 30th March 1930 there was an outburst of methane gas in the Top Hard, the second such happening at the pit.

Overwind at Langton

There was an overwind at Langton (Nottinghamshire) (Pinxton Collieries Ltd). The engineman had accidentally put the engine into reverse and the cage instead of going down the shaft, was lifted into the headstocks and held by the King’s patent safety device.

The non-too-pleased occupant was the Manager, John Mullins (1552)! Fortunately he was quite safe, although it would have been frightening, wondering whether or not the device would hold. John King of Pinxton had invented the safety device in 1867.

Job Smith (1846-1930) had started work at Pinxton No1 pit (Derbyshire) in 1858. The tubs were drawn by chain, no guides. He was a stallman in Deep Soft at No1 pit in 1869. In 1870 he transferred to Langton No8 Top Hard. After a period as a Deputy he was appointed Undermanager 26th October 1882 and was granted a long service certificate Sep 1887. Ben Madew was General Manager 1900-1911. No7 shaft was deepened to Deep Soft and No8 to Top Hard to Waterloo, then in 1908 sinking of Brookhill shaft to Low Main and Silkstone at 417 yards (381m) which opened in 1910. Smith was Undermanager there till 1912 when E Stokes succeeded at Brookhill, he transferred back to Langton as Undermanager.

Oxcroft Colliery Co

The Oxcroft Colliery Co acquired Oxcroft No 3 colliery and developed the High Hazel seam (originally sunk as Barlborough by the Staveley Coal and Iron Co in 1873 to the Top Hard seam).

Coal Mines Act

The Coal Mines Act, 1930 was passed on 1st August after a Bill had been introduced some 8 months before. It passed the 7½ hour day despite strong opposition from the owners, and also attempted to enforce the compulsory amalgamation of companies.

Limits On Outputs

The Midland (Amalgamated) District (Coal Mines) Scheme 1930 limited outputs from the various 5 regions that consisted West Yorkshire, South Yorkshire, Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire, Leicestershire and South Derbyshire.


The manpower at Harworth (Nottinghamshire) (Barber, Walker and Co) exceeded 2,000 by 1930, as the workings in the thick Barnsley Bed increased in distance from the pit bottom. The ‘Harworth Spark’ a Communist pit newspaper was forecasting the problems to come.

Anderson Boyes Coal Cutters

Anderson Boyes of Motherwell, AB 50 hp chain-jib undercut coal cutters were introduced at Teversal, Silver Hill and Pleasley (Stanton Ironworks Co Ltd).

New Hucknall Faced Closure

New Hucknall colliery (Nottinghamshire) (New Hucknall Colliery Co) was threatened with closure in 1930, due to the depression in the industry. The miners were on a 3-day week. The quota system of regulating the output was inadequate for the tonnage being produced.

However following a meeting with the Government department on quotas, and questions being asked in Parliament, no increase in production was allowed after all.

The company decided to keep the pit open on a reduced output and some men and boys were finished and the Waterloo seam abandoned. As at most pits in the area pit ponies were used for taking timber supplies to the coalface and would be one of the last pits in Nottinghamshire to do so.

Summit St Johns Ambulance Brigade
Kirkby Summit colliery
Kirkby Summit colliery

Kirkby Summit colliery (Nottinghamshire) (Butterley Co) Ambulance Division of SJAB won the Fenwick Challenge cup. Most of the larger collieries had a St John’s Ambulance Brigade and competition between the pits was intense.


NMA Union

The Nottinghamshire and District Miners Industrial Union now had around 5,000 members in Nottinghamshire and South Wales. As at most of the pits if not all the NMA were not offered facilities on the pit premises and at Ollerton the Secretary of the union was sacked and was forced to leave his house, however he still continued to collect union dues of 6d (2½p) a week from the remaining members’ houses. He was replaced by a Spencer Union Secretary as checkweighman.


Alternatives To Explosives

Cardox shells were introduced at Bestwood (Nottinghamshire) (Bestwood Colliery Co) as an alternative to shotfiring by explosive.

The steel tubes had a small renewable steel disc that ruptured under a pre-determined pressure of carbon dioxide gas. Holes were bored into the coalface about every 10 yards (9m) to a depth of about 4 feet (1.22m). The shells were inserted and fired as per an ordinary shot. The release of the gas brought down the coal in fairly large sized lumps. The shells were then taken out of the pit and refilled with gas for re-use. They would be introduced at other collieries in the region. Hydrox shells were an alternative.


Thomas Eric Boswell Young succeeded John Evans as Agent for Bolsover Co on 1st November 1930 (to 1st October 1937, when he was appointed a Director. He would later be knighted (Sir Eric Young) and appointed to the National Coal Board at Hobart House in 1947).

Coal Winding Ceased At Brinsley

Coal winding at Brinsley (Nottinghamshire) was abandoned in 1930, the output being raised at Selston (Barber, Walker and Co). The shafts were kept open for ventilation and manriding.


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Pit Terminology - Glossary