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The Decline Of The Industry Continued
After Nationalisation 1947



1968 - Page   1     2     3     4     5     6     7     8     9     10     11     12  

1968 - Page 7

Kirkby Summit Colliery Was Closed 1968, After 80 Years

(More about Summit - Chris Kidger)

Kirkby colliery (South Nottinghamshire) sunk in 1888-1890 by the Butterley Iron and Coal Co, at East Kirkby and locally known as Summit being at the highest point of the old tramway from Pinxton to Mansfield was closed in July 1968 after 80 years. It was 11 miles north of Nottingham and 3 miles south west of Mansfield. 2 shafts 100 yards (91m) apart and 15 ft dia (4.57m) were sunk to the Top Hard at 340 yards (311m), with approximately 92 yards (84m) of cast iron tubbing in the North shaft (depth to sump 380 yards (347.5m) and 110 yards (100m) in the South shaft (total depth to sump 641 yards (586m) deepened from 353 yards (322.8m) in 1912 to Blackshale seam. Shaft positions: SK55NW, No1 shaft 450415, 357101, No2 shaft 450394, 357013, 505’ 3” (154m) above sea level.

Low Moor shaft ....section:

  • Permo-Trias measures were 120’ 7” (36.75m) thick to the coal measures. 2 thin bands of coal
  • High Main 3’ 8” (1.12m) at 231’ 0” (375m), 8 thin bands of coal
  • Abdy coal and dirt 5’ 2” (1.57m) at 690’ 0” (210m), 4 thin seams
  • Comb 1’ 1½“ (0.76m), dirt 1’ 6” (0.46m)
  • Top Hard 4’ 0” (1.22m) at 1031’ 0” (314.2m)
  • Dunsil 2’ 3½“ (0.70m) coal and dirt at 1088’ 2” (331.7m), 3 thin seams
  • Waterloo 4’ 10½“ (1.49m) at 1195’ 6” (364.4m), 8 thin seams
  • Deep Soft 4’ 8” (1.42m) at 1532’ 0” (467m), 1 thin seam
  • Deep Hard 2’ 4” (0.71m) at 1586’ 5” (483.5m)
  • Sump at 1588’ 0” (484m). Continued at North shaft:
  • Piper 1’ 10” (0.56m)
  • Tupton 3’ 5½“ (1.05m)
  • Threequarters 1’ 10” (0.56m)
  • Yard 2’ 6” (0.76m) bad coal
  • Blackshale 2’ 7” (0.79m) top leaf? At 871’ 0” (265.5m) below Top Hard seam.

The Lowmoor pit was run as a separate colliery and had a separate Manager etc until it merged with Kirkby Summit in 1939. All 3 shafts were used for winding coal but for emergency egress from the Deep Soft, a Shonkey mid-shaft winder was installed in No2 UC shaft at 20 yards (18m) below Top Hard and could operate 2 single deck cages. In 1942 the High Main seam at 80 yards (73m) deep was exploited, but due to the close proximity of the water-bearing Permian strata problems were experienced and a system of 50% extraction was worked. Rooms 10 yards (9m) wide were worked forward for 100 yards (91m), with wooden props for supports, from Loader Butt entries at seam height, at 200 yards (183m) intervals off the main headings and a similar pillar left before another Room was set out. Counter Butts were for return air. Short-wall coal cutters with 7ft (2.1m) jibs loaded onto small scraper conveyors which delivered onto main conveyors. A ‘good’ room could produce 100 tons per day when several cuts would be made. A mistake by the Surveyor’s linesmen caused one of the major butts to go off line causing a problem. They were of course severely dealt with, I think sacked. Another mistake had been made at the pit bottom Waterloo horizon earlier but that seam was not pursued.

In 1955 as the depth from the surface increased a longwall face was set up with an Anderton Shearer loader and gradually the Room and Pillar work was phased out by March 1956.

Usually at shift times the winding engineman would use the clutch on the steam engine to lap the rope so that 2 cages could be used to ride the men in and out at the High Main inset instead of at the usual Top Hard pit bottom level.

A major reorganisation was started in 1954 and a surface drift begun in November with a Sullivan slusher loading into 2 ton drop bottom mine cars.

Great difficulty was experienced as feeders of water entered the heading from the Permian strata after 30 yards (27.5m).
Air leg boring and Polar Ajax un-sheaved explosive was used in 25 to 35 holes to get 6 feet (1.8m) pull using milli-sec delay detonators.
A counter drift from the High Main was set out to meet it in May 1955 and the heads thirled successfully in alignment and on grade on 16th December 1955. It was 420 yards (384m) long at 1in4 with 13 x 9 arches.

The change over to the steel plate conveyor from shaft winding was during the Easter holiday 1956.
The old No2 shaft was dispensed with in 1964 but kept open for ventilation.

After a £4m reconstruction scheme (a colossal sum at the time), and entry into the Blackshale and Low Main (or Tupton seam) had proved excellent results, another surface dog-leg drift was driven to Threequarter at 1in4, and another successful thirling in 1966, a credit to the Surveyors at the pit for both drifts as I realise probably more than most the extra extremely accurate surveying work involved as well as doing the routine surveying at the pit.

The new surface Coal Preparation plant was almost completed, public opposition over the necessary proposed new dirt tip and slurry pond extension took the NCB to a public inquiry. The proposed site for the extension was adjacent to the housing estate at Sutton Junction and had created public furore. No longer were all the houses adjacent to colliery land owned by the Board, with people employed at the pit or used to be, and the people in private houses on the Sutton Junction Estate were in no doubt that a waste tip was not going to be built next to them, as the saying goes ‘not in my back yard’. The Planning Application was turned down.

The mine was connected underground to Langton and Low Moor and with its 3 shafts and 2 surface drifts was destined to become one of the biggest producing mines in Europe.
Production in the previous year had been in excess of 1m tons with 2,258 men.

The NCB decided to close the colliery as it was soon to be a problem of where to create slurry beds.

The new Coal Preparation plant built in 1967/68 including a lift, was dismantled almost immediately upon completion, and transported and re-erected at Markham in Derbyshire.

Water from underground was pumped to the surface and discharged into a brook which led to Sutton Reservoir however on closure water overflowed through a connection into Newstead.

An ex Midland Railway 4F engine is getting ready to haul some coal trucks and in the background are 2 of the 3 pyramid McLane tips. The Kirkby engine sheds were adjacent to the mine and as I remember East Kirkby always seemed to look misty what with the many engines being fired up and the two pit chimneys for the boilers for the winders at the pit all belching black smoke out and it seemed to settle over Kirkby Folly Road particularly.

High Main seam room and pillar workings

Seams worked:

  • Top Hard 1888-Mar 1956 abandoned 30/6/1957
  • High Main dev 1942-1943 from No3, (longwall opened 1943, 1944, 1946 and 1953 but unsuccessful due to water from the Permian measures 40 yards (37m) above), 1946-1968 (extensive area of 50% partial extraction, room and pillar, using the American mining system Sep 1943-June 1956 to 1 mile E of shafts. By 1946 these rooms were producing 2,400 tons per week. Winding of High Main ceased at No2 shaft in 1956 and coal was then conveyed up the 1in4 cross-measures drift (completed 1955) to the surface and the final area worked 1955-5/4/1968 by longwall advancing panels now that the interval between the seam and the Permian had increased. There was a further intersection of the High Main seam in July 1965 (when a temporary connection was made to 30s LH Gate for ventilation purposes)
  • and also drivages in the 2nd Waterloo to SW 1950-1955, High Hazles -1920, Low Moor Cannel -1919 and Deep Hard exploratory headings from 1in4 drift from Deep Soft in 1922 and again 1968 in pit bottom
  • Deep Soft roadway driven from No2 shaft to No3 shaft 1913-1915, then seam worked 1915 Apr 1939 (finished due to Butterley quota) and (resumed because of demand for coal) 1941-24/5/1968
  • Tupton exploratory headings Sep 1918-21/1/1919 and Apr 1963-July 1968, from 1in4 drift from Deep Soft to Threequarter
  • in 1963 these 1918 roadways were exposed in the pit bottom Threequarter seam headings. A further connection 6/6/1966-1967 from the Deep Soft/Threequarter surface drift
  • Blackshale seam first opened from Langton in 1941 with a connection with Brookhill 15/7/1942. After Oct 1944 all coal wound up Langton No7 shaft and Brookhill workings were then under the jurisdiction of Langton management. The Blackshale was worked at Langton until June 1958 when production reverted back to Brookhill. Development from Langton No7 to Kirkby in Aug 1967 by means of Langton 10s to Kirkby No8 heading in the Blackshale. The demarcation line between Kirkby and Brookhill was amended in June 1968 when the shafts and curtilage of Langton surface became the responsibility of Brookhill, then amalgamated with Bentinck on 16/8/1968. The seam was worked at Kirkby to 12th July 1968 when the colliery ceased production.

First one million tons produced in a year was 1957, 1,053,941 tons with 1,710 men at 2 tons o.m.s. (output per manshift), 1m tons in 1965 with 1,650 men at 37 cwts o.m.s. and last and highest output 1967/68, 1,088,264 tons with 2,258 men. As can be seen although the pit employed a high workforce it took 67 years to acheive a million tons in one year and highly mechanised working was employed, but partial extraction in the High Main seam by room and pillar system was high in manpower. Ponies were used in Top Hard and Deep Soft on supplies and salvage work but were dispensed with during the 1960s as more haulage engines were introduced. Manriding underground was introduced in 1943. Pit ponies were used on ganging duties.

In 1932 a dry cleaning process was installed sorting 3½ inches to ½ inch coal at 130 tons per hour. By 1935 the Deep Soft working mechanisation was introduced and by 1937 the seam was fully mechanised. In 1939 the 20 feet (6.1m) dia No3 Lowmoor shaft sunk to the Deep Hard horizon was closed due to quota restrictions but by 1943 had been reopened due to the war effort. Output was raised from 512 yards (468m) in 1 ton tubs. A flocculation plant for coal preparation was installed in 1941. Pithead baths costing £34,000 for 2,000 workers was opened by E FitzWalter Wright, Managing Director of Butterley Co. A canteen was opened also. A clinic with an attached solarium and uniquely a Turkish bath was opened in 1942. The company thought that to treat a man who had injuries would soon be back at work. It would cost the men 4d per week (app 2½p) per week for all this but many men complained and thought that it ought to be free. The terrace housing built by Butterely Co opposite the pit had bathrooms. Later more modern semi-detached houses would be built to accommodate the increasing workforce. A large Welfare building with all the usual facilities was built on Kirkby Folly Road. More modern sem-detached housing was built around it. A group of ladies are shown on an underground visit on 23rd September 1964.




Page 8

Pit Terminology - Glossary