Information and photographs submitted by subscribers are posted in good faith. If any copyright of anyone else's material is unintentionally breached, please email me

The Decline Of The Industry
And Nationalisation 1947



Longwall Stall Working

Up to January 1946 longwall stalls of 30 yards (27m) were still being worked in a part of Langton pit (Nottinghamshire) (Pinxton Collieries Ltd). The coal was machine cut and then handfilled into tubs at the face and ganged to the main haulage rope by pony. This was a really old fashioned system but was necessary in order to extract the area of coal because to have installed conveyors etc the cost would have been prohibitive.

Seam Abandoned

The Piper seam was developed at Sutton (NH and B Collieries).

The First Sod Was Cut At Calverton Second Shaft

The first sod was cut for the second shaft at Calverton (Nottinghamshire) in January 1946 (BA Collieries Ltd). Arthur Wadsworth was Sinking Captain.

Water At Clifton

During January 1946 there was a problem at Clifton colliery where water was issuing in great quantities at Calladine’s drift. Harold Saul a Mining Engineer was consulted to give a solution to the problem.

Output at Clifton (Nottinghamshire) for the final year under privatisation (Nottingham and Clifton Colliery Ltd), although under Government control would only reach 254,534 tons produced by 899 men and boys. The total wage bill was £275,881 13s 4d (£275,881.67) and the number of clerks and salaried staff had increased to 25. I think it was the first pit to be nationalised.

Manton Preparation Plant

New coal preparation plant built at Manton (Nottinghamshire).

Electric winders installed and new pit bottom. No4 shaft sunk to Flockton (Deep Soft) horizon and Parkgate seam at 1,040 yards (951m). No2 shaft deepened also and converted to DC shaft.

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 a day.

Sinkings 1946

  • Butterley Co continued driving a new surface adit called Butterley Drift at Denby (Derbyshire)
  • Thorntree No2 Drift (J and N Nadin) (South Derbyshire) surface adit started.

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.
Babbington Deepening

Work began on widening and deepening a further 202 yards (185m) the No4 shaft at Babbington (Nottinghamshire) to the Deep Soft seam at 18ft 2in (5.53m) dia.

Seam Reopened At Pleasley

At Pleasley (Derbyshire) (Stanton Iron Works Ltd) the Deep Hard seam closed in 1927 was re-opened in September 1946, and the pit output was 1,065 tons a day from Top Hard, Dunsil, Waterloo and Deep Hard seams with 920 men underground and 256 on the surface.

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.

Diesel Locos Introduced

Hudswell Clarke 100hp diesel locos were introduced underground at Moor Green (Barber, Walker and Co).

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

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.

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.

Output At Kirkby Summit

In 1946 the output at Kirkby (Nottinghamshire, Butterley Co) was 545,053 tons produced by 1,237men and boys, working underground and 413 on the surface. The High Main seam at 3 feet 4 inches (1.02m) thick was being further developed. The depth to the seam at the shaft was only 76½ yards (70m).

Collieries Closed in 1946

  • Beighton Fields (PT Bullions), Barlborough, 2/1, Top Hard, July
  • Brimington (Brimington Silkstone Colliery Co Ltd), Blackshale, July
  • Brimington Silkstone (Brimington Silkstone Colliery Co Ltd)

Main Bright Accessed At Ollerton

At the Butterley Co’s Ollerton mine (Nottinghamshire), the Main Bright seam at around 3 feet (0.91m) thick that had been accessed from shaft insets about 100 yards (91m) above the Top Hard pit bottom in 1943, was closed in Feb 1946 after about 300 yards (275m) of development headings had been completed. However the headings were wet due to the close proximity of the water bearing strata above. Rumour has it that the seam was only opened by Butterley Co to be able to claim compensation for the whole colliery take in that seam, for only one proper pit bottom had been constructed, whilst at the other shaft there was only a hole in the shaft side for access. The abandonment plan was not deposited (Overlooked ?) until 1980 when it was included by me with the Top Hard seam after a thorough check survey and levelling had been carried out prior to bricking the shaft accesses up.


A Manrider Some 2,400 Yards (2,195m) Was Installed On 2s Mainto Transport Men To 1s & 3s Districts In The Top Hard Seam.

Collieries Closed

Brockwell Road closed after ? years
Dore (JW and EJ Thorpe) Halifax Hard 1’ 10” (0.53m) and 2’ 3” (0.69m) ganister, 5 adits 1915-22 met old works, finished 5 Dec 1946, Surveyor RD Armstrong (890) 5 Dec 1946)
Handley No2 (Handley Collieries Ltd), Eckington, Flockton, Dec
High Holborn (Butterley Co) sunk 1848, closed after 98 years, H Radcliffe (..?) killed 28 Nov 1894
and Marsh Lane (J Morton) the last mine in the North West of Derbyshire near Beard Hall was closed.

Broxtowe shaft was filled (over tipped with colliery waste later).

Old Mines

Old Mines In The NW Of Derbyshire Situated Between Furness Vale And Hayfield Included: -

Ardern, Ardern 2, Bank End 1 & 2 Or Ellibank, Aspenshaw, Bank End, Barn Or Dolly, Beard & Bugsworth,Birch Vale, Blind Pit, Bullbower, Burnd Edge 1, Burn’d Edge 2 Or New Pit Pingot, Burnd Edge 3, Burnd Edge 4, Burnt Edge Or Berry Edge, Butterbank, Chain, Deans Piece Pit, Hague, High Lee, High Lee(2), Ladder Pit, Lady Pit, Little Mine Pit, Lark Hill, Lower House, Mellor Or Broadhurst Edge, Noon Sun, Old Dolly, Ollersett Hall Or Brocklehurst, Park, Pingot, Pingot Clough, Red Moor Lane, Shaw Marsh,Thornsett Hey Or Cave Abdullum Or Broom’s Pit, Thornsett Brows And Wethercotes.

Old collieries closed previously in the Eckington area were:
Arborlands, Barker’s Main, Bole Hill, Chesterfield Road, Coldwell, Eckington, Eckington Gin Whymsey, Fern, Handley, Hornthorpe, Plumbley No3, Marsh, Marsh Farm, Marsh Lane Quarry, Mossbrook, Penny Engine, Plumbley, Plumbley ‘Seldom Seen’, New Plumbley, and some Bell pits.

To the west at Marsh Lane and Bramley Moor, pits known were:
Bramley, Bramley Hall, Bramley Moor (several); Chandler and Hudson, Ford, Ford Lane, Gleadall’s, Havenhands, Lightwood, Marsh Lane, Plumbley, Shady Hall, Staton’s, Summer Hill, Sandy Dale.

Around Whittington the known pits were:
Ballarat, Campbell, Grasscroft Wood, Grasscroft Glasshouse, Handley Wood, Hollingwood, Hopewell, Hundall, Mouse Park Wood, Park Wood, Park Wood, Speedwell, Waterloo, West Staveley, Whittington, Whittington Forge and New Whittington.

Butterley Company

The Butterley Co was still making a good profit at £179,317 and £1 shares were quoted on the Stock market at 53s (£2.65). The company owned 2,366 houses also and all had been equipped with electric light, baths and a large garden.
Members of the Board of Directors of the Butterley Co Ltd since its incorporation:

  • Francis Beresford Wright 1888 - 1911
  • Fitzherbert Wright 1888 - 1910
  • Albert Leslie Wright 1888 - 1938
  • Philip Wright 1888 - 1909
  • Arthur Fitzherbert Wright 1891 - 1937
  • Henry Fitzherbert Wright 1902 - 1944
  • Alfred Melville Wright 1909 - 1938
  • Godfrey Fitzherbert Wright 1911 - 1926
  • Ernest Beresford Fitzherbert Wright 1911 - 1930
  • Kenneth Hepburn Wright 1912 - 1928
  • Henry Eustace Mitton 1927 - 1946
  • Fitzherbert Wright 1930 - 1945
  • Edward Fitzwalter Wright 1930 -
  • Francis John Kingdom Hull 1938 -
  • Arthur Philip Coote 1938 -
  • Montagu Francis Melville Wright 1938 - 1946
  • Harry Denis Melville Wright 1945 -
  • Leslie Ross Honeywill 1945 -
  • Philip Norman Wright 1947 - ?

The General Manager and Director of the Company Montagu FM Wright (1124) transferred to the operational side of Butterley Brickworks. The company rewarded 287 of its employees who had retired after 50 years service or more with 4 loads of coal per year.

Bolsover Company
  • Bolsover Colliery Co Ltd (1890) made an extremely good profit of £441,200 in 1946
  • Grassmoor Co Ltd profit £119,086
  • Hardwick Colliery Co Ltd profit £27,265
  • Sheepbridge Coal and Iron Co Ltd profit £140,338
  • Shipley Collieries Ltd profit £73,838
  • Shireoaks Colliery Co Ltd profit £3,027
  • Staveley Coal and Iron Co Ltd profit £305,535
  • Wigan Coal and Iron Co Ltd profit £9,551.

Barber Walker And Co
Barber Walker and Co held the following mines:
  • Brinsley 267/67 Selston 242/52 and Moor Green 462/85, Manager Jack Hanman (3115), Agent John R Harrison
  • High Park 303/71, Watnall 339/81, Manager C Potts (93), Agent John R Harrison
  • Harworth 1527/403, Manager William L Boon (1096), Agent William Wright (271)
  • Bentley 2403/525, Manager John Lea (84), Agent SJ Temperley.

Chairman of the Barber Walker Company Major Thos P Barber DSO,
Directors: Major WF Barker, Major ICR Walker-Munroe, and Captain Sir TA Bradford DSO. General Manager: CW Phillips.

Wigan Coal And Iron Company

Wigan Coal and Iron Co Ltd (registered 1865) held 12 pits in Lancashire and Manton in Nottinghamshire, 1,580 Top Hard / 385 s/f. Shares 10s (50p).




Page 2

Pit Terminology - Glossary