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Book 8 The 21st Century


  2010 Pages 

2010 - Page 1

Searching For Clean Fuel Technology

Energy and Climate change Secretary Ed Milliband (Lab) 3 Oct 2008 to 11 May 2010 was looking at ways of clean fuel technology. He would become New Labour Leader of the Opposition.


Coalition Government

David Cameron Conservative Prime Minister from 28th November 2010 won the General election by ousting Gordon Brown (Labour) but was only able to have a majority in Parliament by forming a Coalition Government with the Liberal Democrats (Leader Nick Clegg as Deputy).

New Secretary of State for Energy and climate Change was Chris Huhne (Lib Dem) 12 May 2010 3 Feb 2012.

Ed Davey (LibDem) Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change 3 Feb 2012-
Charles Hendrey (Con) Energy Minister 2010-2012.
John Hayes (Con) Energy Minister Sep 2012-

Thoresby Drivages

Jan/Feb 2010. Thoresby had two 70 tonnes ABM25 heading machines to drive development gates 2,530m to the face line for the first retreat face 1s. After driving the face line the machines were salvaged by reversing out back down the gate piggy back style in 3 weeks. The time saved was great because normally to strip a machine is 15 days. The face was set up with twin AFC motors boosted to 2,293 hp. The face machine was a Joy 7LS ranging drum shearer capable of cutting 7,200m in a 6 hour shift. Total cost for the new face was £9.2m.

In March 2010 there was talk of a possible merger or takeover by Hargreaves Ltd who were mining coal at Maltby (Yorkshire). However nothing came of it but later it emerged that Hargreaves were to own the mining machinery.

Women in Undergroud Mining Again

It was the Equal Opportunities Commission of 1988 that opened the door, so to speak. Nottinghamshire miners opposed the move to allow women workers underground at that time. The 1842 Coal Mines Act had banned all females and boys under 10 from working underground, however that act was repealed in 1992 but took 10 years before a woman was employed.

The first woman was Jillian Wright, an Australian was a graduate in environment and Mining Engineering and worked at the Baal Bone Drift Mine. She had experience in labouring jobs and coal cutters. She began work at Clipstone Colliery in Jan 2002 under UK Coal as a Rock Bolting Engineer until the mine closed in April 2003 when she transferred firstly to Welbeck and when that was closing in 2010 moved to Thoresby. (She used the nurse’s bathroom at Clipstone and the managers bathroom at Thoresby).

First Female Apprentice

Among the 27 young people selected from around 300 applicants in 2004 to train as mechanical or electrical engineers is the industry’s first female apprentice, and second female in the country, Kim Whetton (20), (later Mrs Whitton on marrying a coalface worker) assigned to the electrical department at Welbeck. She transferred to Thoresby as an underground electrician in 2009. She was partway through the HND course then left in 2014 to complete it.

Planner / Interpreter

At Thoresby a Polish woman Planning Engineer, Patrycja Reichel, was based in the Survey Office. She went underground as she too had a certificate in Mining Engineering. She was an interpreter also for the underground Polish men working there and made various notices etc., for instructions in the mine, as well as planning in conjunction with the Surveyor and the Geologist.

I was told that Jillian Wright went back to Australia after the mines were closed and so did Patrycja Reichel.

More on Women in Mining

Change Of Management

Stuart Oliver spokesman for UK Coal stated that a change of management was needed! The previous Manager Jim Daykin (11..) being drafted in less than a year before for the same reason! However within 2 days of the appointment of Keith Williams (11489) it was announced that Welbeck was to close with the loss of 520 jobs. Some men were earning up to £900per week and a selection of the younger miners were already being offered jobs at Harworth. Sherwood MP Paddy Tipping (Lab) and Mansfield MP Alan Meale (Lab) had warned UK Coal that it should not ‘cut and run’ with the money given by the Government, but it was stated that UK Coal had to find 70p of every £1 invested. A further announcement was made by the company on 25th February that following agreement with the remaining workforce to change the working shift pattern, i.e. to continually work the face around the clock except for brief periods for maintenance the pit would remain open for the foreseeable future providing that the coal could be cut and produced at a profit and markets could be sustained! The agreement was to work 12 hour shifts, through the week and to go on salary of about £32,000 p.a. I honestly believe that Welbeck was the sacrificial lamb for Thoresby as was Ollerton in 1994. Had these collieries continued then the life of Thoresby colliery would have been shortened dramatically and could actually have been closed.

Welbeck Closed After 95 Years

Welbeck colliery (Nottinghamshire), 2 shafts at 20ft (6.1m) dia were sunk in 1913-1915 to 716 yards (655m) and 723 yards (661m) with 138 yards (126m) and 122 yards (112m) of tubbing.

Sinkers are shown in the photo.

Top Hard coal reached in December 1914.

Shaft positions: SK57SE, No1 shaft 458035, 370277, No2 shaft 458108, 370282, 218 feet (66.5m) above sea level, to the north of the River Meden.

A village was created for the workforce called Welbeck Colliery Village, by the New Hucknall Colliery Co on land purchased from the Duke of Portland in 1911. It was re-named Meden Vale in the 1980s.

  • 1946 output from Top Hard was 530,831 tons produced by 1,447 men
  • 1954 output 785,087 tons with 1,644 men
  • 1963 output 1,003,456 tons with 1,534 men
  • 1985/86 1,194,486 tonnes with 1,255 men.

The mine was another very profitable one in No3 Area of NCB to 1967, then North Nottinghamshire Area, later British Coal, RJB Mining then UK Coal.

The colliery was closed by UK Coal on 12th May 2010 when the last face in the Deep Soft seam cut out at the planned final position. Limited reserves had caused the closure. The heading teams had moved earlier in the year when development had finished. The remaining 410 men were all offered jobs at other collieries in the Group such as Kellingley in Yorkshire giving men living in the village about 60 miles round trip to get to work and back, Thoresby the neighbouring colliery where the journey would be about 9 miles and Daw Mill in Warwickshire where round trip of 125 miles would be necessary. The planned transfer of most of the men to Harworth was not possible as that pit was still in mothballs awaiting a buyer that was unavailable. Harworth finished producing coal in October 2006. That journey there would be around 40 miles round trip assuming the workforce lived in Meden Vale village. Some men were kept on to salvage equipment to be transferred to other collieries before moving and some decided to try to find other work accepting redundancy and others decided to retire.

Seams worked were

  • Top Hard 1915-1992 coal 4’ 1” (1.24m), dirt 2” (0.05m), coal 1” (0.03m), dirt 3” (0.08m), coal 3” (0.08m), dirt 6” (0.15m)
  • Deep Soft coal 2’ 6” (0.76m), inferior coal 4” (0.10m), coal 3’ 0” (0.91m), mud 1’ 0” (0.30m), coal 5” (0.14m) discontinued 31st Aug 1995; Initially not very successful, re-entry into the Deep Soft seam was planned for 2002, 22 million tonnes of reserves, however the development for retreat working fell behind due to geological problems and an advancing face had to be set out instead. Free steered vehicles handled supplies. Manriding was by double deck 2 way conveyor.
  • Parkgate seam, 2m thick, 6 million tonnes of reserves was accessed by drifts in 1989.

In 1927 shaker pan conveyors were introduced at the gate end loader.

A second shaft cable was installed in 1944 as extra power was required in readiness for new machinery.

Trials were made with a Meco Moore cutter loading machine in 1945.

In 1946 machines working by compressed air was discontinued.

Further Meco machines were introduced into the thick Top Hard seam and by 1948 six machines were at work.

The ventilation was effected by a Howden single inlet radial flow fan 4.1m dia, 275 revs per min, 156m/s at 2.350Pa, adjustable blade tips, 560kw motor, 1955, standby 1958. Booster fan to East side Top Hard.

In 1967 No2 UC shaft existing steam engine was replaced complete with a second-hand AC drive and mechanicals, ex closed Clockface Colliery.

In 1968/1969 No1 DC shaft existing steam winding engine was replaced with new electric winding engine, new AEI MG set drive, DC motor and gearbox and using existing BCC mechanicals.

New surface fans were installed in Dec 1983. 36” (0.91m) trunk belts, 500 tonnes storage bunker in No1 pit bottom, North district 150 tonnes capacity static bunker, East side 250 tonnes capacity static storage bunker incorporating overspill.

Manriding was by diesel locos (transferred from Ollerton) July 1971 and extended July 1973. Crude oil began issuing from the strata on 15s panel and headings 1973-1975. North side Top Hard had manriding and haulage by endless rope.

Surface locos 4’ 8” gauge:

  • Welbeck No5 0-6-0 ST 1914
  • Welbeck No6 0-6-0 ST 1919
  • Violet 0-6-0 ST 1895
  • Dowell 0-4-0 ST 1901
  • Welbeck No7 0-6-0 ST 1917
  • Welbeck No8 0-4-0 ST 1950
  • No2 0-6-0 DM 1958
  • No3 0-6-0 DM 1958
  • 4wDH 1964; D7 0-4-0 DH 1964.

Underground locos 2’ 4” gauge:

  • 4wDMF 1949;
  • No1 0-4-0DMF 1950
  • No2 0-4-0DMF 1950
  • No3 0-4-0DMF 1950
  • No4 0-4-0DMF 1950
  • No5 0-6-0DMF 1957
  • No3 0-6-0DMF 1957
  • No6 0-6-0DMF 1957
  • 4wBEF 1975
  • No8 No4 0-6-0DMF 1962
  • No9 No7 0-6-0DMF 1964
  • No17 0-6-0DMF 1964
  • No2B 4wBEF 1980
  • No3B 4wBEF 1980
  • 2w-2wBEF 1979
  • No4B 4wBEF 1983
  • No5B 4wBEF 1983
  • 4wBEF 1983
  • 4wBEF 1985
  • 4wBEF 1985
  • 4wBEF 1985
  • 4wDHF 1986
  • 4wDHF 1986
  • 4wDHF 1986
  • 4wDHF 1986
  • 4wDHF 1986
  • No2 Kestrel 0-6-0DMF 1954
  • 4w-4wBEF 1986
  • No9 4w-4wBEF 1987, rebuilt 1991
  • No10 4w-4wBEF 1987
  • No11 4w-4wBEF 1987
  • 4w-4wBEF 1988.

Methane drainage practiced.

In 1979 a 6-year modernisation programme costing £18.3m was begun.

Computer control of 10 conveyors in 1980, and 1,750 yards (1,600m) long drifts to Deep Soft at 900 tph on long life steel cord conveyor (first of its kind in Nottinghamshire).

Return drift double track 15mph men/materials rope haulage. Underground storage bunkers, and methane drainage. The coal prep plant was commissioned in 1958 and could handle 670 tons per hour. The 7.5 tons (8.1 tonnes) capacity mine cars introduced in 1957 were replaced by 10.2 tonnes skips at No1 shaft in Aug 1980 to replace the surface side traverser equipment.

The above photo shows pit ponies released into the field during the miner’s strike of 1926.