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The Decline Of The Industry Continued
After Nationalisation 1947

Book 6

1986 Pages   1     2     3     4     5     6     7     8     9     10     11     12     13     14  
    15     16     17     18     19     20     21     22     23     24     25     26     27     28  

1986 - Page 1

MP For Sherwood Made Early Underground Visit At Ollerton

On 2nd January 1986 Andy Stewart MP (Cons) for Sherwood made an early (5am) underground visit to Ollerton Parkgate 16s Panel. He also remarked on the part reclamation of the waste tip which by now amounted to 12 million cubic metres over 640 acres.


Over 1,000 former members of NUM’s clerical workers COSA (Clerical Officers Staff Association) have formed a new section of the UDM.The UDM had 40,000 members by now but the new section would retain its autonomy within the national union.

UDM Financially Sound

Nottinghamshire, South Derbyshire and other sections of the UDM in the Coalfields were in better financial shape than at any time in trade union history, the reason being that Arthur Scargill no longer has the right to claw the major share of their weekly subs into the Sheffield coffers. In the past each area sent 79p out of each individual subscription straight to NUM HQ in Sheffield. Now each section contributes only 25p per week for each member to the UDM nationally.

Death Threats Continued

On a more sombre note Roy Lynk the UDM General Secretary continued to receive death threats, the latest one in a letter by an anonymous writer. The police were informed.

More Intimidation

Also UDM members at Bolsover and Shirebrook had car windows smashed as they suffered continued intimidation. At Whitwell there was a particularly sinister incident where a member’s locker was broken into and razor-sharp needles were implanted just below the surface of his bar of soap. What has that to do with democracy? It is just evil.

European Weekly Record

Silverhill 3s face smashed the European weekly record for thin seam mining by producing 15,437 tonnes at 5 times the national average per manshift. The Colliery’s 1,150 men broke 9 productivity records in a week.

Bevercotes First One Million Tonnes

Bevercotes (North Nottinghamshire) recorded the first 1m tonnes in the year 1986-1987 with a total of 1,041,400 tonnes and a manpower of 1,335, however the UDM members joined a strike called by the NUM on 25th February 1986. Around 170 men out of the 400 day shift work force did not turn up for work in protest at the sacking of a Union official.

Collieries In Nottinghamshire Area 1985-1986


  • Albert Wheeler (7349), (22 pits), 27,202 men, turnover £800m. Output 18,667,644 tonnes.
  • Jack E Wood OBE (4395) Director North Nottinghamshire since 1980, retired, died Nov 2007.

Chief Mining Engineer:

  • R A (Tony) Caunt (8028)


  • Albert C Mapp (7959) (Mining)
  • Mike Goldsby (8208) (Mine Planning and Survey)

Production Managers:

  • David S Widdowson (8857)
  • Terry E Wheatley (8348)
  • Brian C Wright (9913)
  • Roger Bexon (9393).
  • Annesley, 830,000 tonnes from Deep Hard, Tupton and Blackshale, 955 men
  • Bentinck, 580,000 tonnes from 2nd Waterloo and Blackshale, 1,145 men, new £6m coal preparation plant to deal with Annesley, Bentinck and Newstead outputs
  • Bevercotes, 1.05m tonnes from Parkgate and Top Hard, 1,320 men, developing Deep Soft and Low Waterloo seams
  • Bilsthorpe, 1.1m tonnes from Parkgate and Low Main, 1,150 men, electric winders
  • Blidworth, 580,000 tonnes from High Hazles and Abdy/Brinsley, 940 men, run of mine stockpile commissioned
  • Calverton, 925,000 tonnes from Low Bright/Brinsley and High Hazels, 1,465 men
  • Clipstone, 950,000 tonnes from Low Main, Yard and Deep Soft, 1,370 men, improvements to ventilation and haulage systems completed in 1985
  • Creswell, 700,000 tonnes from Threequarter, 1,030 men, ventilation improvements completed in 1985
  • Cotgrave, 1.2m tonnes from Deep Hard and Blackshale, 1,635 men
  • Gedling, 860,000 tonnes from High Hazles, 1,450 men
  • Harworth, 1.2m tonnes from Deep Soft and Haigh Moor, 1,145 men
  • Hucknall, 800,000 tonnes from Blackshale, 1,300 men, linked underground to Babbington, all operations for the complex are now concentrated at Hucknall
  • Linby, 560,000 tonnes from High Hazels, 910 men, one of last steam winders in the country now replaced with an electric winder
  • Mansfield, 800,000 tonnes from High Hazles, Deep Soft and Low Main, 1,390 men, developing Deep Hard/Piper partial extraction and Main Bright
  • Newstead, 490,000 tonnes from Tupton and High Hazles, 750 men, coal raised at Bentinck
  • Ollerton, 1.0m tonnes from Parkgate, 1,175, new drift and vertical bunker
  • Rufford, 750,000 tonnes from High Hazles, Yard and Low Main, 1,400 men, new mine fans and a 3,000 tonnes surface stockpile
  • Sherwood, 830,000 tonnes from Deep Hard/Piper, Yard and Blackshale, 954 men, both winders electrified recently
  • Silverhill, 740,000 tonnes from Piper and Blackshale, 1,130 men, skip installed, vertical bunker and surface merry-go-round rail link and rapid loading bunker
  • Sutton, 470,000 tonnes
  • from Deep Hard and Piper, 625 men
  • Thoresby, 1.9m tonnes from Top Hard and Parkgate, 1,380 men, one of largest producers in the country
  • Welbeck, 1.2m tonnes from Top Hard and Deep Soft, 1,230 men, methane extraction plant and boiler plant installed and recently commissioned.

Collieries in North Derbyshire Area, 1985-1986

Deputy Director

  • Edward (Ted) Horton (8325), replaced Ken Moses (8366) as Director.
  • Robert G Siddall (9974)

Production Managers:

  • Alf Merrington (8179)
  • John H White (8350)

Chief Mining Engineer:

  • John G Town (7579)

DCME (Mining):

  • Keith J Otter (8932)

Senior Mining Engineer (Planning and Survey)

  • Phil M Davies (9672) changed over to Production Manager. (9 pits), 9,000 men, £300m turnover:
  • Arkwright, 500,000 tonnes from Deep Soft, Tupton and Threequarter, 530 men
  • Bolsover, 675,000 tonnes from Tupton and Threequarter, 860 men
  • High Moor, 672,000 tonnes from Clowne and Two Foot, 630 men, 4th drift continued
  • Ireland, 550,000 tonnes from 1st Piper and Threequarter, 660 men, merged with Markham 1986
  • Markham, 1.6m tonnes from 2nd Waterloo, 1st Piper, Threequarter and Blackshale, 2,100 men
  • Renishaw Park, 500,000 tonnes from Deep Hard and 1st Piper, 530 men
  • Shirebrook, 1.9m tonnes from Clowne, Main Bright, Deep Soft, Deep Hard and Piper, 1,950 men
  • Warsop Main, 1.07m tonnes from Clowne, Main Bright and Deep Soft, 1.000 men
  • Westthorpe, finished production March 1984, 2 cross-measures drifts connecting Westthorpe Chavery workings to High Moor Two Foot workings (started late 1985)
  • Whitwell, 570,000 tonnes from Clowne and Two Foot, 760 men.

Eight of the nine pits in the North Derbyshire Area were making an operating loss at this time.

Output For 1985-1986

  • North Derbyshire Area 6,214,709 tonnes, 9,701 men and 3.04 tonnes OMS.
  • South Derbyshire pits 1,386,417 tonnes, 2,542 men, 2.06 tonnes OMS.

South Midlands Area

The new South Midlands Area was formed with the amalgamation of the remaining pits of South Derbyshire and Leicestershire and Warwickshire and later Kent.

  • Director John CH Longden (9134)
  • Deputy Len Harris (7388)
  • CME Alan Houghton (8957)
  • Senior Mining Engineer David Drake (8100)
  • Production Manager Len Collier (7222)
  • Surveyor and Minerals Manager J Alan Ratcliffe (3296)
  • Safety Engineer Barry Carlisle (6058).

John H Rippon BSc Area Geologist North Derbyshire transferred to new South Midlands Area based at Coleorton 1986, later promoted to Head of Geological Services South Wales Area, Llanishen (1986-1989), later Head of Mining Geology, British Coal Technical Services and Research Executive, Bretby (1989-1994).

Asfordby: (Leicestershire)

  • Manager Robin HP Dean (10897)
  • Deputy Manager -v-
  • Undermanager Gordon P Betts (9445) (promoted to Deputy Manager), developing Deep Main.

Bagworth: (Leicestershire)

  • CGM: W John Bond (6307)
  • Deputy Manager Harry S Baker (6795)
  • Undermanagers David N Hancock (8621)
  • Services, Brian R Poole (11347), PNA Gray (10849), Aftar S Bains (Sikh) (10850),
    Minge, Five Feet and Splent, 701 u/g, 161 s/f.

Cadley Hill: (South Derbyshire)

  • Manager Keith McCarthy (9457)
  • Deputy Manager John Quimby (8397)
  • Undermanagers: Barry J Thumwood (10923), Jack A Fancourt (10443 / 2nd), Ray Whittaker (9715)
    Main, Woodfield, Stockings and Kilburn 849 u/g, 166 on s/f.

Donisthorpe: (Leicestershire)

  • Manager Brian A Finch (8614)
  • Deputy Manager Granville Fowkes (8391)
  • Undermanagers Ken J Tunnicliffe (10450 / 2nd)
  • R Peter Williams (10848)
  • Thomas Albert English (8610)
    Main, Lower Main, Woodfield, Stockings and Kilburn 1,033 u/g, 135 s/f.

Ellistown: (Leicestershire)

  • Manager Terry F Gregory (7955)
  • Deputy Manager Lawrence Doody (8160)
  • Undermanagers Mick G Brookes (9979)
  • Services, Ian G Betteridge (10734), Ken Smith (11067),
    Five Feet, Splent and New Main 496 u/g, 61 s/f.
  • Surveyor David A Woodward (5399), previously John A Brewin (4433) (transferred to Planning dept)

Measham: (Leicestershire)

  • Manager Barry A Finch (8614)
  • Deputy Manager Derek Johnson (7696)
  • Undermanager John RE Leigh (11137)

Rawdon: (Leicestershire)

  • Manager Mick E Skelding (7563)
  • Deputy Manager W Owen Cashmore (8441)
  • Undermanagers John Ashmore (11137)
  • Paul Campion (11285)
  • Derek Massey (7960)
  • Gary J Whitehouse (9722)

Services, Main, Upper Kilburn, Little Woodfield 795 u/g, 225 s/f.
Previous Undermanager Alfred H Henson (transferred from Cadley Hill).

  • Surveyor Ray T Gould (2363).

There were 4 other mines in Warwickshire:

  • Baddesley
  • Birch Coppice
  • Coventry
  • Daw Mill

And 3 in Kent Sub-Area:

  • Betteshanger
  • Snowdown
  • Tilmanstone (a team would fly down from Coleorton HQ to Kent periodically for meetings etc).

Methane Gas Leak

There was a methane gas leak at Loscoe in March 1986 followed by an explosion which flattened a bungalow.  It was thought that due to the local pit being wet, water had built up and forced out the gas to the surface, unfortunately in the wrong place at the wrong time.

RMP Scheme

The Government introduced a further Redundant Mineworkers Pension Scheme from March 1986 to March 1987.

Cost Of Living Increase For Pensioners

The UDM won a cost of living increase for all mining pensioners. The annual cost of living increase was frozen at the end of 1985 because of a shortfall of £120 million in the fund caused by the lack of contributions by striking miners during the year-long strike.


Anthony Wedgewood Benn MP was made an honorary member of the NUM. It is ironic that when he was Energy Secretary in the last Labour Government 32 pits were closed and he gave the go ahead for the channel link under the sea from France for electricity to flow to Britain

Colliery Newspapers

Each colliery began to produce periodic newspapers or bulletins giving facts about the mine, in an effort to promote good relations between workforce and management.  For example, ‘Rufford Review’ was one such example and the first edition was published in April 1986.  Ollerton’s paper was the ‘Ollerton ‘oller.’
The ‘Bilsthorpe Bulletin’ stated that contractors Caledonian Mining were to start work on a 1,600 tonne vertical bunker in the pit bottom.  A profit of £9m from a production of 1,034,427 tonnes at an OMS of 3.97, the most successful year the colliery had had. The Manager David W Baldwin (10132) was installed as President of the St John’s Ambulance Brigade.


Further training packages were developed to support changing technology to retrain mineworkers.

To Sell Off Remaining Housing

A major plan of the NCB was to sell off the remaining housing stock over the next 3 years.

Colliery Allowances

Allowances for staff personnel working at a Colliery were increased on 1st April 1986 from £1,160 to £1,220 for Grade A, £865 to £915 for Grade B and £580 to £610 for Grade C (Surface).

'The Nottinghamshire Miner'

Article published in the UDM newspaper The Nottinghamshire Miner April 1986......Solicitors acting for UDM men injured by NUM thugs during the 1984-1985 strike have won over £2,000 damages from the Criminal Injuries Board in 2 recent cases. A coach driver received £750 compensation for eye injuries sustained when a brick was thrown through his windscreen as he braved a picket line. In another case a miner was beaten up by striking NUM members and received over £1,500 following a successful action by the lawyers. The solicitors were actively pursuing common law claims against the NCB for UDM members.

NCB Name Changed To British Coal Corporation

The National Coal Board changed its trade name to the British Coal Corporation on 1st May 1986 when the Coal Industry Nationalisation Act expired.

Robert Haslam  Chairman of British industry giants British Steel then British Coal.

He started as a mine worker and rose through the ranks. Robert Haslam Chairman designate of British Coal 1986 - 1990 was to work closely with Ian McGregor (preceeding Chairman born in Scotland but immigrated to Canada). Having been knighted in 1985, Haslam retired in 1990 and was created a life peer taking the title Baron Haslam, of Bolton in the County of Greater Manchester.