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The Decline Of The Industry Continued
After Nationalisation 1947


  1959    1     2  

1959 - Page 2

Riley Lane No1

Riley Lane No1 (H and C Hartshorne) finished working Low Main 5th Dec 1958
Surveyor, Richard Robb (2539).

Seams Abandoned

The Top Hard seam at 5 feet (1.52m) thick was abandoned at Sherwood (Nottinghamshire) after 56 years working. 

The Deep Soft seam at Mapperley (Derbyshire) was finally abandoned as old shafts in the area lay in front of the proposed workings.  The seam consisted: Roof Soft 4’ 6” (1.37m), clunch or Dunns 11” (0.28m), Deep Soft 4’ 10” (1.47m), clunch 11” (0.28m) and coal 5” (0.13m). 


Willow Ley opencast site (Derbyshire) had excavated down to the old workings earlier in 1953.   Whiteborough opencast site (Nottinghamshire) (Horace Taylor (Whatstandwell) Ltd) was completed by July 1959.  1st Waterloo at 2ft (0.6m) thick and 2nd Waterloo at 3ft (0.9m) thick was worked.  The Bastard seam or Waterloo marker outcropped near Whiteborough Farm at the ‘City of Whiteborough’, a strange name as there were only a couple of cottages there.

Demarcation Points

Two underground connection roadways, between Blackwell A Winning and B Winning (Derbyshire) in the Threequarter seam, 2’ 1” (0.63m) thick were approved by the Inspector in March and demarcation points between the respective collieries established.

New Ventilation Fans

Newstead collieryAnother new surface fan was commissioned at Langton (Nottinghamshire) and at Newstead (Nottinghamshire) a new modern fan was commissioned replacing the old Guibal fan.  Originally both the downcast and upcast shafts were at the same level and to create an airlock the cage reaching the surface would lift up a lid that fell back down again into position when the cage was lowered.

This unusual arrangement was demolished along with the old fan.  A new pit bottom had been built the year before. Under the reorganisation at Newstead costing £1.8m, 3½ ton mine cars were installed. 

Ancient Monuments

The NCB gave an undertaking in 1959 to give warning to the Ministry of Works when mining operations were likely to affect ancient monuments etc (under Sec 9 of Coal Mining (Subsidence) Act 1957.  The Minister for Public Building and Works is required under the Ancient Monuments Acts 1913 to 1953 to prepare and publish from time to time a list of those things thought to be of national Importance.  This again created a terrific amount of work for the Survey department, who had to liaise with Planners, and other departments etc for certain information due to the numerous so called monuments etc in Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire as details of mine workings proposed to work under or adjacent to such had to sent in, such as depth of seam, thickness, plan of proposed workings showing dates, brief details of past workings under the site and information if any, possible future working with approximate dates if known, and an indication of the degree of damage expected. These so called ‘notices of approach’ were numerous in Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire and Leicestershire, on top of approach notices to work under Electricity undertakings, major Gas pipe lines, entering Parishes, railways, major roads and on and on.  As one will be aware there are quite a number of these in the three counties.

Town and Country Planning For Tips

Also under the provisions of the Town and Country Planning Act 1959, the NCB had to put a publication in the local newspapers of any proposed development for a new tipping site. (note the effect this would have on Kirkby Summit colliery (Nottinghamshire) later in 1968).

Welbeck Coal Preparation Plant

A new coal preparation plant was commissioned at Welbeck (Nottinghamshire). 

Festival At Berry Hill Park

A 3-day Festival was organised at Berry Hill Park, Mansfield by CISWO (Coal Industry Social Welfare Organisation) in September. Many families of miners and others attended, and various collieries put on exhibits. The new NUM Nottinghamshire Area Offices had opened there in June and the old office at Basford closed,

Bernard Bailey, Surveyor at Teversal and me, his Assistant, stood on a stall exhibiting plans and surveying instruments etc and answering questions from interested parties.

Further Cuts

Further cuts in staffing at the collieries were underway to reduce costs.


Minister of Power, Richard Wood (Con), 14th Oct 1959-1963. President of Board of Trade, Reginald Maudling (Con) 14th Oct 1959-1961.

Plan For Coal

The revised Plan for Coal was published in October 1959.


The NCB terminated its agreement with Hostels Corporation, set up in 1956, and by the end of the year all were closed.

NCB And BTC Agreement

The 1959 Agreement between the NCB and British Transport Commission on 30th November 1959 applied to the majority of canals (for the first time under the Mining Code).

Notice was to be given 90 days in advance of intended working for railways also as before. Of course in our region there were no canals transporting coal now as in the past.  Some were being used for leisure and the Grantham Canal near Cotgrave was defunct. However now, the NCB were to subscribe 70% of actual cost of remedial works to BTC for damage by authorised working. The BTC to compensate the NCB at 2s (10p) per ton for all coal sterilized inside the half depth area, by service of a counter notice. Section 33 conditions of the Coal Act 1938 were not to apply to minerals formerly vested in the railways and canals, therefore consent was not required and normal notice to be given, but in the event of a counter notice being served, the Section 33 coals to be excluded from the assessment for compensation.  This may seem highly complicated to the lay man, however to Surveyors this albeit complication due to the number of railway lines in the area was something of just a ‘bit of bread and butter’ to sort out.

Inspector's Report 1959

Ministry of Power HM Inspector of Mines and Quarries new salary rates from October 1959:

  • National salary scale £2,020 x £110 - £2,350 for Inspectors joining the Civil Service Commission and would be expected to start at the minimum salary!
    Previously the salary was £1,950 x £100 - £2,150.
  • District Inspector Grade £2,450-£2,650 (previously £2,150 - £2,350)
  • Senior District Inspector £2,850 (previously £2,550)
  • Divisional Inspector £3,100 (previously £2,800)
  • Deputy Chief Inspector £3,450 (previously £3,100)
  • Chief Inspector £4,350 (previously £3,700) per annum.

Candidates for the post of Inspector of Mines to be not less than 27 years of age and to possess a First Class Certificate of Competency under the Mines and Quarries Act 1954 and to have been not less than 2 years as Manager or Undermanager at a mine within the last 5 years. Candidates to be British subjects and to have 4 named referees, 2 referees on one’s qualification for the post and 2 for character reference. Interviews for the post of Inspector were to be in London and the Commissioner’s decision to be final.

  • Travelling expenses after the first 7s 6d (37½p) from one’s residence to be refunded.
  • Hours of work to be variable, but minimum of 42 hours per week including some weekends.
  • Annual leave would be 5 weeks (25 working days) per year.
  • Disturbance allowance for moving to various parts of the country would be between £50 and £135, as a lump sum, depending upon grade.

Million Tonners

Bestwood, Gedling, Kirkby, Thoresby and Newstead (first time) produced over 1 million tons of saleable coal for the year 1959.  For many years afterwards Newstead would vie with Thoresby to be the first to produce 1 million tons in the year. These were all Nottinghamshire pits.

Fire At Linby

There was an underground fire at Linby (Nottinghamshire) during the year hampering production.

New Stable Hole Machine

A spiral vane drum (Mining Supplies) Dranyam vertical drum stable-hole machine was installed at Donisthorpe (South Derbyshire).

Start Of Buyer's Market

Coal stocks began to increase at most of the collieries in the region as sales began to plummet. This was the start of a buyer’s market.

Holmewood And Silverhill

The highest manpower ever at Holmewood reached 1,410 men and boys. 

Silverhill (Nottinghamshire) stripped the Holmewood (Derbyshire) workings in the Low Main seam in 1959-1960 as they had the Sutton workings in 1955, it being an excellent seam.

Price Of Pit Ponies

The price of pit ponies now varied between £38 10s 0d (£38.50) and £41.

Oil well Nodding donkey 1Oil Wells

There were now 262 oil wells in the country with 241 in Nottinghamshire, 101 at Dukes Wood, 40 Kelham Hills, 36 Egmanton, 31 at Eakring. Total output 80,000 tons per year. Nodding donkeys were everywhere.

Powered Monorail

During 1959 the first installation of a powered mono-rail was installed at Nantgarw in South Wales. It was a German invention and would be installed in quite a few pits where conditions allowed.

A British manufactured Becorit one would be installed at Granville colliery (South Derbyshire) later carrying materials (in this case a canch of props) inbye for 1000 yards (915m) easily through some difficult areas where previously off-loading etc and transporting supplies by ponies had been done.

Opencast Sites

  • Barlow Deep Hard 31st Oct
  • Birk Hill 13/10/1958-8/5/1959 Chavery, Deep Soft, 33,120 tons
  • Brim site 1st Waterloo, 1in3 1/7/1959
  • Crown Hill Low Main seam
  • Elm Terrace Top Hard 4’ 5” (1.34m), Floor coal 1’ 0” (0.30m), Dunsil 1’ 9” (0.53m), 1st Waterloo 1’ 2” (0.35m), dirt, 1’ 8” (0.51m) 22/7/1957-19/9/1959
  • Moor Lane 1st and 2nd Ell seams 25/7/1959
  • Mulberry Wood Threequarter seam 2’ 5” (0.74m) 10/11/1958-9/3/1959
  • Nethermoor Yard seam
  • Ogston Ford Kilburn seam
  • Old Tupton First Piper seam
  • Shipley Common Coombes 1’ 9” (0.53m), Top Hard 8’ 0” (2.44m), Dunsil c2’ 6” (0.79m)
    good quality 17/10/1957-5/7/1959

From HMI Report for 1959 for East Midlands Division of the NCB

88 mines plus 13 small licensed mines. Total output 44,877,472 tons at 40.0 cwts oms as against 1958 output of 45,741,126 tons at 38.38 cwts oms. The 4 pits in North Nottinghamshire:-
Shireoaks, Manton, Firbeck and Steetley
were administated by North East Division and they produced 1,677,864 tons.

22 Fatal Accidents
in 1959 as against 42 Fatals in 1958.

Total length of face line open 118,740 yards (108.576m).

Bestwood, Gedling, Kirkby and Newstead produced over 1m tons for the year.

At Bevercotes work continued on driving pit bottom roadways and new electric tower winders.

Tower mounted multi-rope friction winding completed at Warsop No1. A connection had been made through to Clipstone as a second means of egress whilst the shaft work was done.

At Teversal a new winding house was built for electric winder at No2. Reconstruction in pit bottom continued.

No5 shaft was sinking, now at 453 yards (414m) with a further 169 yards (154.5m) to go. Repairs continued in No4 shaft.

Cadley Hill No1 surface drift was 1,025 yards (937m) long and connected to underground workings.

At Cotgrave tubbing had to be installed in both shafts through the water-bearing strata, skip pockets built and Tower winder at No2 with multi-rope friction electric winding engine.

In the Division 22 underground boreholes were drilled and 29 surface boreholes drilled for exploration.
A system of support at a lip without using a lip support girder was tried at South Leicester.

Electrical and electronic experiments for remote operation of equipment was carried out at Merrylees and another type at Donisthorpe. At Rufford and Warsop the winders were operated automatically. The number of multi-rope friction winders had increased.

A diesel powered monorail designed to run on a single rail for transport of materials at Donisthorpe. Also an overhead single rope haulage for transport of materials.

At Oxcroft a modified system to prevent compressed air hose fractures was in operation.

There were 617 trained Rescue personnel. There were 11 call outs for underground including 10 for heatings and 17 surface incidents 15 of which were cooling down coal stock heatings plus one coal outcrop on fire.

Pumping of water from old and unknown workings continued at Balloon Houses and High Holborn shafts. Also reparations at Nuthall Wood to protect development of workings at Cossall. Daily pumping continued at Tibshelf and South Normanton and 15 other shafts in Derbyshire.

There were 70 fully staffed Medical treatment centres and 3 medical units staffed by nurses. 11 medical officers, 1 senior nursing officer and 72 state registered nurses. A new centre was opened at Mansfield Colliery. The mobile X-ray unit visited 18 collieries and out of 21,493 men, 17,618 men were X-rayed. Also 2,800 new entrants and re=entrants.

Tom J Melody was the HM Inspector of horses and made 178 underground and 88 surface visits to collieries and 29 joint underground and surface at 75 coal mines. plus 2 licensed mines.

There was a total of 1,142 horses at work.

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