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The Decline Of The Industry Continued
After Nationalisation 1947

 1950    1    2    3    4    5    6 

1950 - Page 2

Pinxton Colliery Closed After 120 Years
- Continued -

Brookhill Shaft

Managers for Pinxton:

  • Joseph Machen Viewer / Manager in 1830s
  • ?
  • Sam Alsop (432c) - Jan 1896 (retired ill)
  • Henry Stevenson (1575) 1896-Dec 1899, previously Manager at Portland and Mexbro (left to Linby @ £500 per annum salary)
  • Bernard Madew (2404) General Manager Mar 1900-1911, (from Manager Bentinck, promoted to Managing Director in 1905 at Longwood Hall, left to South Africa)
  • Henry Stevenson (1575) Agent and General Manager 1912-1923 (returned from Butterley Co where he had been Manager for Portland and Mexbro pits)
  • Percy F Day (3295), (transferred from Bentinck), Apr 1923-1946, died in post, resided at Longwood Hall
  • F Donald Severn (977) (appointed General Manager and Agent for Pinxton Collieries in 1946)
  • Horace Wenman (3254) (transferred to Brookhill then B Winning)
  • Alex L Middleton (3342) transferred to New Hucknall, then promoted to Sub-Area Manager). 

Undermanagers for Pinxton:

  • Charles Hancock (287s)
  • William Marriott (289s)
  • Jno Oldfield Taylor (285s) Sleights
  • Edward Johnson (2nd)
  • William Ward (2nd)
  • Henry Shacklock (2nd)
  •  Fred Harrison (2nd)
  • JE Holmes (2nd)
  • F Donald Severn (977) (promoted to Manager)
  • John Mullins (2nd)
  • W Beardow (2nd)
  • Horace Wenman (3254) promoted to Manager)
  • WH Tideswell (2nd).

Surveyors included: 

  • Les H Watson (578) (previously Chief Surveyor at Manners colliery).

Fatal Accidents at Pinxton included:

  • Joseph Knighton (22) 30/8/1858, shaft accident
  • John Lee (12) 13/2/1861
  • George Holmes (..?) 1/2/1863
  • Isaac Gascoyne (33) 10/3/1880
  • William Hodkinson (49) 15/6/1882
  • William Booth (13) 3/7/1884
  • Sam Townsend (65) 16/7/1885
  • Thomas Williams (38) 16-20/10/1886
  • William Goddard (17) 10/5/1887
  • John Bingham (20) 10/6/1887
  • James Wardle (36) 24/11/1887
  • Geo Webster (31) 2/10/1888
  • Enoch Gibson (59) 25/2/1897
  • Sam Marshall (?) 29/6/1900
  • George Beers (35) 7/8/1901
  • Sam Widdowson (19) 16/1/1903
  •  - Marriott (15) 5/2/1903
  • William Gunn (36) 26/1/1904
  • George Platts (17) 24/1/1906
  • Herbert Chapman (29) 20/2/1906
  • Walter Smedley (46) 13/11/1906
  • William Gunn (33) 28/1/1907
  • Henry Palmer (41) 30/7/1908
  • William Henry Poole (25) 12/9/1908
  • John Hemstock (55) 28/10/1908
  • William Percy Truman (18) 20/1/1909
  • William Witton (..?) 2/10/ continue 

Pinxton pit merged with Brookhill.

Furnace Hill No3 (Derbyshire) (H and C Hartshorne), Oakerthorpe, Low Main, coal 6” (0.15m), brights 1’ 0” (0.30m), coal 2’ 9” (0.84m), dicks 3” (0.08m), closed 21st June 1950, uneconomical due to bad faulting, 1 Low Main, 1 s/f.  Naked light pit.


  • William M Erskine (1518) (qual  Mar 1943)


  • 1944: 15 Low Main, 2 s/f No2
  • 1945: 7 LM, 2 s/f
  • 1947: No3 discontinued 1 LM, 1 s/f.

Grassmoor Colliery Merged With Williamthorpe

Post Card Image Kindly Supplied by Malcolm Scott Hill

Grassmoor (North Derbyshire) was the last sunk in 1875-1878 by Messrs Barnes was merged with Williamthorpe in August 1950.  (see 1967).

The surface manpower is one of the highest, if not the highest in the region, culminating in 809 for the year 1920. E441120 N367440, E441205 N367686. Grassmoor is situated 2 miles West of Temple Normanton. Williamthorpe is situated near to and South of Temple Normanton.

A Training Centre was established in 1952 when coal turning was finished at that site. The existing one at Williamthorpe was closed down. A new modern Training Centre was opened in 1972.

The Grassmoor Colliery Co was founded by Alfred Barnes in 1846 but continued to use the name Barnes. An old pit named Grass Moor was closed in 1845 and a new pit was sunk. Barnes obtained mining rights from the Duke of Devonshire. No4 UC and No5 DC shafts sunk in 1852. There was a sinking accident in 1846 and 2 sinkers were killed by a fall of ground. There was another sinking in 1878. The Grassmoor Co took over from Alfred Barnes in 1879. In 1881 The Grassmoor Co reverted back to AE Barnes. The Otto coking ovens built in 1846 were replaced in 1934. Gas was piped to Mansfield, Chesterfield and Shirebrook. The company faced liquidation in 1928.

  • No1 shaft 16’ 0” (4.9m) dia, 450 yards (411.5m) deep to Blackshale. 43/4120/4676. The steam winding engine had 2 cylinders of 30” (0.76m) dia x 5’ 0” (1.52m) stroke. It was fitted with Owen and Oliver steam reversing gears and parallel drum at 18’ 0” (5.48m) dia. Steam brake as well as foot brake. There were 8 boilers at 100lb pressure. Double deck cages to hold 2 tubs each deck. Covered wooden headgear. A compressed air engine with 2 cylinders at 16” (0.40m) dia hauled coal from dip district on a single rope, the empties drawing the rope inbye on the return journey.246.9m) deep to Deep Soft.
  • No2 shaft DC, 10’ 0” (3.0m) dia, 270 yards (246.9m) deep to Deep Soft. Winding engine had 2 cylinders 22” (0.56m) dia with 4’ 0” (1.22m) stroke fitted with hand gear. Parallel drum 12’ 0” (3.65m) dia fitted with foot brake. Double deck cages with one tub per deck. Steam raising was achieved by 2 boilers at 70lb pressure. Covered wooden headgear added some protection for workers.
  • No3 shaft DC, 10’ 0” (3.0m) dia 270 yards (246.9m) to Deep Soft. Winding engine had 2 cylinders at 28” (0.71m) dia x 4’ 6” (1.37m) stroke, hand gear, parallel drum 12’ 0” (3.65m) dia, footbrake. Double deck cages with one tub per deck. A second drum used, with a balance rope which ran into the pit and boxed off. Headgear of wood with open bank. Steam was obtained from No1.
  • No4 DC shaft 15’ 0” (4.57m) dia, 450 yards (411.5m) to Blackshale. 43/4108/6675. The winding engine had 2 horizontal cylinders at 36” (0.91m) dia with 6’ 0” (1.82m) stroke. Owen and Oliver steam reversing gear, parallel drum 21’ 6” (6.55m) dia, steam brakes, doubled deck cages with 2 tubs per deck. Headgear was iron but covered in. Steam obtained from 10 boilers at 80lb pressure.

An engine with 2 cylinders at 14” (0.35m) dia fitted with Fisher and Walter rope wheels and clutches worked 3 endless ropes, one reaching 2,000 yards (1,830m) inbye. Fisher clips were used with the rope passing under the boxes. A Guibal fan at 36’ 0” (10.97m) dia x 12’ 0” (3.65m) wide at 54 revs created 260,000 cu ft / min at 2.7 inches Water gauge. There were 180 beehive coke ovens. The gasworks with 3 benches of retorts, a 40’ 0” (12.19m) dia gas holder. The lamp cabin held 2,000 Marsaut oil lamps and was staffed by 18 men and boys. Pumping was effected by a Cornish engine with a 5’ 0” (1.52m) dia cylinder and a 7’ 0” (2.13m) stroke and worked 7 pumps.

Nos 1, 2, 3, 4 pits open. No1 397’ 0” (121m) deep to 1st Waterloo. No4 shaft 387’ 6” (118m) to 1st Waterloo.

A strike over the Company lessening the hours of work by ½ hour a day and by 1¾ hours on Saturdays collapsed after a fortnight and the ring leader was sacked. It seems very odd that workers would not want to work less hours, like today, but at that time the payment of wages depended on the amount of coal produced and sometimes the coal face was some distance away from pit bottom and travelling time was not paid for but coal production was, so a drop in hours meant less pay.

In 1884 the Company sought limited liability with a nominal sum of £200,000.

The Dunston seam was abandoned at No2 in 1884. The Tupton seam was abandoned at No1 shaft in 1886. Tupton Threequarter or Lees was abandoned in 1887.

With the opening of a new seam average hours of work was 7 hours, travelling time 10 minutes.

The Grassmoor Colliery Co took over Nos 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 pits from Barnes in 1893.

By 1896 there was 60 miles of underground roadways and 6 miles of coal face.

Gas jets were used underground for lighting in the same year. This system had been pioneered by Thomas North at his Cinderhill colliery. However in Aug 1896 1,000 men were thrown out of work when half the Tupton seam faces were closed. The First Piper seam was abandoned in Dec 1888 and No8 shaft was being sunk. The Piper seam at No1 had been re-opened but closed again in 1900. No9 shaft was sunk in 1901. All the pits were closed in Aug 1904 except No1. The Top Hard seam was abandoned in July 1905. No5 pit was closed in 1908. The Two Foot seam was opened and in the Ell seam there was one long benk. No2 shaft filled in 1909. The First Piper was abandoned again in 1911. Ell seam worked at No3 shaft. In 1916 Nos 11 and 12 shafts were sunk to the Waterloo and Piper seams. Nos 6 and 7 shafts were filled during 1919.

The surface manpower was extremely high: at

  • No1 shaft
  • No2 shaft
  • No4 shaft
  • No8 shaft
  • No11 shaft
  • No12 shaft

Following the return to work in July 1921 after the strike there were many roof falls.

In 1922 the men were locked out until they accepted a 20% reduction in getting rates.

At No11 pit the 2nd Waterloo was stopped. It was said that had oil been found at Hardstoft in quantity then the pit could have closed.

No11 shaft was closed leaving shafts 1, 2, 4, 8 and 12 open in 1925.

In 1928 the Grassmoor Co went into voluntary liquidation and a new company was formed with the same name!

Steel props were introduced in 1929 and as at all the pits where steel props were introduced the men were unsure as to their usefulness as when using wooden props it was generally known when the weight was coming on, as the wood would creak and split beforehand giving the miner chance to move away whereas with steel it was not unknown for the props to fly out with no warning.

Ponies were used underground for coal haulage and supplies and were ganged by boys.

The price of a pony was now down to about £12.

The first pithead baths in Derbyshire were opened at Grassmoor on 7th December 1929 by Ben Turner, Minister of Mines.

Hours of work generally were 7½ a day.

In the depression of the early 1930s wages were low and men were laid off.

There was an explosion at No8 pit attributed to a broken electric cap lamp igniting some methane gas. It happened at 2am on 19th November 1933 in the Deep Hard seam workings and 14 men were killed and 31 injured 8 seriously.

The Education Act 1936 raised the school leaving age to 14.  This was raised to 15 in 1944.

Coal exports from the pit amounted to just less than 1% of the total exports for Britain in 1938.

No8 pit closed Deep Hard Aug 1938.

Holidays with Pay Act 1938 passed.

From May 1940 the Emergency Powers Act was implemented, the industry being controlled by the Minister of Labour.

Grassmoor was the first pit to supply full meals in the canteen during 1941, in the Second World War 1939-1945.

Miners were forced to stay in their job and those who had volunteered for the forces were sent back to the mines under the Coal Mines (Release) Essential Works Order 1941.

Rationing was implemented throughout the hostilities and beyond when the War had finished.

Bread was rationed in 1946 (the wheat harvest failed on the Canadian prairies). Rationing of fats, meat, etc did not come off ration until 1954, some 9 years after the War had ended, Rationing had taken place during the First World War also 1914 - 1918.

In 1941 the Top Ell at 2’ 3” (0.69m) thick and at 185 yards (169m) deep was abandoned for the second time.

The Government took over the running of the mines during the War but not the ownership. They had similarly done so in the First World War.

In June 1943 Derbyshire miners were the first to win an output bonus of 6d (2½p) a shift.

The first holidays with pay came in 1943 and the 1944 rates were £5 5s 0d (£5.25) for over 21, £4 4s 0d (£4.20) for 18-20 years and £3 3s 0d (£3.15) for under 18.

Bevin boys were conscripted to work in the mines from 1943 to 1946 when they began to be released just like the forces.

There was a Derbyshire County strike in 1944 lasting 6 days.

PAYE income tax was introduced from 6th April 1944.

The NUM took over the MFGB from 1st Jan 1945.

Control of labour ended 20th Dec 1945. Absenteeism had become a big issue. However miners had worked hard during the War and the elderly labour force was worn out. The pit conditions were terrible and safety was ignored as it was coal at any price as other industries relied on it.

When the mines were nationalised from 1st Jan 1947 Nos 1, 4 and 12 pits were at work with 1201 men and boys in 5 seams, Piper, Tupton, Silkstone, Threequarter and 2nd Waterloo with 441 on the surface.

The Company made a profit of £119,086 in 1946 the last year before nationalization.

The winter of 1947 was very severe with large falls of snow giving icy conditions. Production and distribution was affected badly. It was referred to as the Hardwick Unit.

The colliery was merged with Williamthorpe via underground connection and coal turning was carried out at Williamthorpe.

A Training Centre had been established there in 1947. The shafts at Grassmoor were kept open until 1952 and a new Training Centre was established and the inadequate one at Williamthorpe closed. An up-to-date Training Centre was opened at Grassmoor in 1972 when the one at Markham was closed. This centre then accommodated all trainees starting work in the North Derbyshire mines.

From 1957 no boy under the age of 16 was allowed to work underground.






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Pit Terminology - Glossary