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The Decline Of The Industry Continued
After Nationalisation 1947

1951   1    2 

1951- Page 2


The Colliery Officials and Staffs Association union, COSA was formed out of 7 separate unions.

Mines Rescue

AJG Coulshed succeeded as General Manager at Mansfield Woodhouse Mines Rescue Station, 1951-1966.

Reorganisation and Sinking

A major reorganisation was carried out at Bestwood during 1950-1951. Calverton No2 sinking No2 shaft. No1 shaft sunk in 1938 as a satellite shaft for Bestwood (South Nottinghamshire).

Sinking at Manton No3 was completed by NCB, begun in 1946 by the Wigan Coal and Iron Co.

A new surface drift was driven at Renishaw Park, (North Derbyshire) for coal turning, to replace the shaft sunk in 1860.


The Low Main seam at Shirland (Derbyshire), a naturally wet pit was abandoned on 16th March 1951.  The seam had been worked since 1880.


Minister of Fuel and Power P Noel Baker (Lab), Feb 1951-Oct 1951
President of Board of Trade Harold Wilson (Lab) 29th Sep 1947-1951 (resigned), succeeded by Sir Humphrey Shawcross (Lab), 24th Apr 1951 – Oct 1951.

Annesley Abandonment Plan

At Annesley (Nottinghamshire) the Deep Hard seam was stopped in February 1951.  Surveyor, Les H Watson (578), No4 Area Surveyor signed the abandonment plan. Charles Shadbolt (2499) was the appointed Surveyor, but with less than 3 years post certificate experience and under the supervision of a Sub-Area Surveyor.

National Record OMS

In May 1951, a National record output per man shift, (OMS) of 50.92 cwts was achieved at Clipstone.  

Alfreton Manpower

Manpower at Alfreton (Derbyshire) reached the highest ever at 964, (men and boys) but the output for the year was only 380,778 tons.

Waffler Machine At Brookhill

A Waffler cutting machine, which was an AB 15” (0.38m) high coal cutter with a swan neck jib, was introduced at Brookhill.  A single ended trepanner was installed at Lodge colliery.

Multi Disc Cutter At Silverhill

A Multi-disc cutter was on trial at Silverhill (Nottinghamshire), where the  Low Main seam at about 5 feet (1.52m) thick was re-entered again, to work an area of coal steeply uphill, about 1in4 on the Brimington anticline towards the abandoned Tibshelf pit (Derbyshire), and the district was referred to as the ‘Tibby’ Low Main. I assisted on several surveys and particularly on the final survey when 100s district was abandoned.

Records at Donisthorpe

Donisthorpe in No7 Area won the National Competition sponsored by the News of the World, Sunday newspaper and backed by the NCB for Britains best pit, when Area and National output records were broken.

Coke Rationing

Coke rationing was introduced in August 1951.  This must have been one of the finishing touches to end the Labour GovernmentClement Attlee was Labour Prime Minister, but not for much longer.

HM Inspectorate

Harold C Roberts was appointed Chief Inspector of Mines (1951-1958).

New Chairman of NCB

From 1st August 1951 Sir Hubert Houldsworth was appointed Chairman of the NCB


A Conservative Government was returned to power from 26 October 1951 until 1964 with the aging Winston Churchill as Prime Minister until 7 Apr 1955 when Anthony Eden succeeded until 1957 when Harold Macmillan was appointed Prime Minister until 1963, when he in turn was succeeded for a short period by Sir Alec Douglas-Home (previously Lord Home) 1963-1964.

Minister of Fuel and Power, Geoffrey Lloyd (Con) 31st Oct -1951-1955. President of Board of Trade, Peter Thorneycroft (Con) 30th Oct 1951-1957. From January 1947 to October 1951 the Labour Government closed 165 pits in the country and reorganised some Areas.

Town and Country Planning

Under the T and C P (General Development) Order 1950 the local planning authority had to consult with the NCB before granting permission for the construction of any building in the area likely to be affected by mining subsidence.  As can be imagined, in areas where coal was being mined in Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire and the multi working of several seams this became a major problem for the NCB.

The T and C P (Town and Country) Planning (NCB) Regulations, 1951 provided the basis for compensation should permission for working be refused or conditional previously under the Ministry of Town and Country Planning and now under the Ministry of Housing and Local Government (from 1951-1970).  In 1951 (to 1964) a Minerals Division was set up to deal with the supply and demand of minerals and to govern mineral extraction, disposal of spoil and subsequent restoration of the land.

Pollution Act

The Rivers (Prevention of Pollution) Act 1951 was enacted, to raise or improve the quality of the rivers.  Among other things it excluded mine water raised or drained from any underground mine into a stream or river in the same condition as it was raised.  As you can imagine there were lots of pits doing so.

Harringay Horse of the Year Show

A pit pony called ‘Star’ was entered at the Harringay Horse of the Year Show in October.  He had worked underground at Williamthorpe (Derbyshire) for 4 years and had gained 5 prizes to date.

Pay Rates Increased

Pay rates were increased from November 1951

  • Minimum underground rate was raised by 2s 3d (11¼p) a shift to £7 0s 6d (£7.00½) a week and for surface work
  • 1s 11d (9½p) a shift to £6 1s 6d (£6.07½) a week.  The increase also applied to pieceworkers. 
  • The 2s 8d (13⅓p) flat rate was increased to 4s 11d (24½p) per shift for underground
  • by 4s 7d (23p) a shift for surface pieceworkers.

6,000 local job descriptions were reduced to 400 by the NCB and classified.

Thoresby Shaft Incident

Incidents: There was a shaft incident at Thoresby (Nottinghamshire) in November 1951 when the winding rope broke at No1 downcast shaft. The cage crashed through the baulks into the sump. No one was injured and production was not hampered. The men were brought up No2 upcast manriding and materials shaft. At the time a group of 4 Turkish journalists were visiting the mine and toured workings underground accompanied by the NUM Branch Secretary Harry Fletcher and the President Bernard Evans. A slack winding rope can be seen on the far left headgear.

Wingerworth Coking Plant

On 3/10/1951 work started on building an £8m coking plant at Wingerworth (Derbyshire).

Coppice Colliery

Fatal Accidents 1951

  • Coppice, Stanley Fletcher (24) fall of roof 4/1/1951
  • Coppice, Arthur Weston (39) hit by roof support 14/2/1951, died 22/2/1951
  • Coppice, Arthur Hallam (41) fall of roof 3/7/1951
  • Shipley Drift mine, Henry Ivan Mellors (25) run over by tubs 27/1/1951
  • Stanley, Cyril Cottingham (27) fall of coal -/1/1951
  • Stanley, Thomas Stevenson (59) fall of roof 22/8/1951
  • Woodside, Robert Tate (59) fall of roof 2/11/1951


In December 1951, Gedling (Nottinghamshire) produced over a million tons in a year for the first time.  Other pits to produce a million tons were Bestwood (Nottinghamshire) with the new Lancaster surface drift operational.  Thoresby (Nottinghamshire) also produced its first one million tons for the year with a total of 1,120,159 tons by 1,598 men, an improvement gained by the recent shaft deepenings and introduction of diesel locomotives and mine cars in the new horizon.

Glapwell Colliery

Glapwell (Derbyshire) output reached over 1m tons for the first time also with 1,080,317 tons.

The first trials with 4 Gullick hydraulic props built into a frame with a top member as a canopy and a projecting cantilever girder built in was tried underground at Rufford (Nottinghamshire) 1951/52, and transferred to Ormonde (Derbyshire).
The Waterloo seam was abandoned at Pleasley (Derbyshire) on 22nd December 1951 and at Silverhill (Nottinghamshire) the Threequarter seam at 2 feet 9 inches (0.84m) thick was abandoned after only 2 years production (21s and 22s panels, I think.  As a trainee in 1953 I went as a ganger for a couple of shifts for a team of men drawing off arches (supervised by one of the Training Instructors of course).

Opencast Sites

  • Ballarat Cottages SK440200, 376000 and 440250, 375750, Deep Hard, 1st Piper, 2nd Piper, Tupton, Threequarter
    29th Oct
  • Cinnery; Eureka seam
  • Foreclose Farm Belper Lawn, 1st Feb
  • Gilt Hill Top Hard and Coombe 30/10/50-5/9/1951
  • Grove Cottages 1946-1951 Stanhope seam and Eureka seams, (South Derbyshire)
  • Hemlock Ashgate and Mickley
  • Kennel Rock 2nd Waterloo, 13th Oct
  • Swingbridge Threequarter
  • Gilt Hill Coombe, Top Hard and Waterloo, Gloves Lane (Derbyshire) Top Hard, 19th June
  • Grove Piddocks Woodfield seam; Sep
  • Grove Cottage and Piddocks Deep Soft or Flockton seam
  • Grove Cottages Eureka, 24th Nov
  • Office 40ac 536,833 tons, Middle Coombe, Top Coombe, Top Hard old workings, lots of gates exposed
    27/1/1949 - 13/7/1951
  • Scarsdale Hall Sough, 13th Jan
  • Silverhill Top Hard, Dunsil, and old works, 1st Waterloo, 2nd Waterloo and 3rd Waterloo, 1in5 dip, 22/7/1948 - 21/12/1951. Altough the workings were worked from Silverhill shafts they were shown on the Teversil working plan.
  • Spring Lane Nether, Middle Lount, 21st June
  • Springwell Hill Deep Hard, SK440300, 377000, Parkgate, 31st Dec
  • Swingbridge (Nottinghamshire) Hospital, 2nd Piper, Tupton, 23rd Feb
  • Whitecotes, Kennel Rock, Moor Farm, Brim and Duckmanton Moor

Opencast workings begun in 1949 opposite Silverhill colliery (Nottinghamshire) came to a close on 21st December 1951.  Areas of Top Hard, Dunsil, 1st Waterloo, 2nd Waterloo and 3rd Waterloo seams were extracted.  Old Top Hard and Dunsil workings were exposed and only irregular shaped pillars of coal were left in some areas.  Ancient workings in the Top Hard finished in 1781 and Dunsil workings began in 1780. These were the workings that were found in 1875 from the original Silver Hill sinking. Various artefacts such as a wooden shovel, bits of candles and the skeleton of a donkey were uncovered. It would appear that very few supports were set. I remember adding the Top Hard and Dunsil workings to the Working plan of the mine later.

Exempt From National Service

The Government exempted miners and other allied personnel such as Apprentice Surveyors from compulsory national service (although one had to sign on) but not surface office personnel such as Cost Clerks etc, they had to go.  In 1954/55 I signed on for service in HM Navy Submarines as a navigator – the idea being at the time that one could ‘survey under water’, similarly as ‘under land’!  It seemed a good idea at the time!


A scheme was devised for the recruitment of Italians and a lot of the pits in the area had one or two eventually after they had been on a language course and training etc.

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Pit Terminology - Glossary
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