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Book 8 The 21st Century


  2015 Pages 

2015 - Page 2

Thoresby Colliery Closed

Chris Upton Photographer - Click Photo To Go To His Site

(I wrote the introduction for the book of photographs by Chris Upton)

Bringing To An End Around 1,000 Years Of Coal Mining In Nottinghamshire

Within a fortnight of Hatfield Colliery closing, Thoresby Colliery was closed when production ceased on 10th July 2015 after 87 years of production. This was the last deep mine in Nottinghamshire bringing to an end around 1,000 years of coal mining in the county. It is a sad end to what was a great industry that was the start of the Industrial Revolution. Unfortunately as I have stated before, not only does it mean that many miners have been made redundant but many others, such as mining engineering firms as well as others will suffer, due to lack of orders for their goods. Many of these redundant miners need to obtain work in other industries, should vacancies occur, and although very skilled in mining activities have never worked outside the pits before, so it will be very different.


I was interviewed by Dominic Heal of East Midlands Television on 22/6/2015 at Bilsthorpe Heritage Museum about the demise of the mining industry and that after around 1,000 years Thoresby was the last deep pit in Nottinghamshire to close.  It was screened on East Midlands To-day when Thoresby colliery closed.

Norma Gregory
Norma Gregory

I was also contacted by reporter Norma Gregory Author, Jamaicans in Nottingham, Director, Nottingham News Centre CIC regarding West Indian miners, particularly Jamaicans who worked in the pits around Nottingham.

Sandish Shoker
Sandish Shoker
I was contacted by Sandish Shoker, Journalist for BBC News Online East Midlands who published my interview with her on the web site, regarding colliery closures etc, also on 10th July 2015 and immediately lots of interest was received she said.

On 12th July 2015 I was interviewed by presenter Natalie along with Alan Beales at the Nottingham TV studio in a live broadcast at 5.30 pm. Their program is screened on Channel 8. A team of reporters from there expressed a desire to visit the Bilsthorpe Museum for further interviews on 26th August.

On Wednesday 19th August 2015, a team from Nottingham University is visiting the Museum in order to accumulate a list of mining terms for a publication. There is a list in Book 8 under Terminology of which I have collected around around 1,500 of them.

Thoresby Colliery

Thoresby colliery (Nottinghamshire) situated app 11.3 km to the North East of Mansfield.

The mine was the last of 6 to be sunk by Bolsover Colliery Co 1925-April 1928.

Sinking was suspended during 1926 due to the strike and resumed in 1927.

Shaft positions: SK66NW, No1 shaft 463526 367595, No2 shaft 463533, 367522, 228 feet (69.5m) above sea level on the edge of Sherwood Forest.

The colliery housing was built in 1931 adjacent to the old village of Edwinstowe for the workforce.

A sports field and Welfare hall were included. Edwinstowe House was used by the Bolsover Co for their social activities as they were very keen to encourage the workforce to participate in all sporting activities as well as bands, dancing, football, cricket, horticulture, SJAB etc. In 1947 the House was taken over by the NCB for the HQ for No3 Area.

The pit lies isolated about quarter of a mile up a lane towards the forest from the A6075 road leading to Ollerton roundabout and access to the A614 and A616 trunk roads.

It is probably the most successful mine overall in the whole country and continues to operate in 2012 and is the last mine in Nottinghamshire. The mine was set up with electric winders from the onset, so unlike all the other mines in the district there was no need to convert from steam winding to electric. There were no boilers to raise steam or a tall boiler flue chimney, as it was decreed that no smoke was allowed to drift across the forest.

Earl Manvers of Thoresby Hall wanted the mine to be called Edwinstowe Colliery but the name Thoresby was chosen.

Royalties paid to him was 8d (3p) per ton.

The mine was fully mechanised by 1931.

Single shift working along with other Bolsover Co pits began in 1932 and a pulverised fuel water tube boiler plant installed.

In 1933 a 100 tons/hour washery for 6" to 0 was operational.

A Meco Moore cutter loader installed as an experiment in 1942.

A Sullivan slusher introduced in 1944 along with an Eimco-Findley loader and a Joy loader.

In 1945 a newly designed improved Meco machine was introduced improving the output.

Following the end of the Second World War a major redevelopment of the colliery began. The shafts sunk to the Top Hard at 539m were deepened 1946-1950 to 690m at No2 shaft with a new loco circuit pit bottom at 638m, the reorganisation being completed by 1953. Pithead baths with 1,583 clean and dirty lockers to cater for 1,892 men built 1948-49 and opened 21/11/1949 along with an adjoining medical centre and canteen.

New surface fan and drift was operational in 1954. The surface layout was always well maintained and tidy, unlike most other collieries.

A new coal prep plant was operational in 1959/60.

In 1947 this was another Bolsover Colliery Co colliery allocated to NCB No3 Area till 1967, then North Nottinghamshire Area to 1985, followed by Nottinghamshire Area to 1986, British Coal to 1990, RJB Mining to 1994 then finally UK Coal the Company operating the mine today.

Both shafts are equipped with parallel drum electric motors.

No1 DC 1,119 Kw motor used for men and materials with double deck cages holding 22 men on each deck or one 3.6 tonnes capacity mine car or trams on the bottom deck.

No2 UC with a 1,491 kW motor equipped with 10.7 tonnes skips.

Main ventilating fan was an Aerex 895 kW motor with variable pitch blades, with a capacity of 260m cubed air per second at 3,000 p.a. An identical standby fan is maintained. There were booster fans inbye in the Top Hard North and North West districts until the seam was abandoned and also booster fans were installed in the Parkgate seam. These fans were necessary to keep sufficient air traversing the workings as they extended several miles from the shafts.

There was a run of mine stockpile with overspill hopper, photo above, to cater for production surges before being sent to coal prep plant at 560 tonnes per hour.

Dirt disposal was by overhead bucket system until replaced by load haul dump trucks and bulldozer and finally layer tipping by TSB scrapers.

The large tip facing the tree-line wide lane entrance to the pit was re-graded and grassed in 1974. Tipping today was hidden by part of the Sherwood Forest but the adverse effect of producing more dirt than coal unfortunately increased the height of the dirt tip such that it can be seen from vantage points many miles away.

A weighing machine for large lorries is situated on the pit lane with an attached security office.

Like most other collieries steam tank engines were used for surface shunting duties until replaced by diesel engines. The rail outlet loop from the colliery leads towards Ollerton and onto the main line.
Surface locos 4’ 8 ” gauge:

  • Top Hard 0-4-0 ST 1932
  • John 0-4-0 ST 1939
  • Rufford No2 0-4-0 ST 1919
  • Rufford No1 0-4-0 ST 1912
  • 0-4-0 ST 1950
  • D12 4wDH 1966
  • D16 4wDH 1967
  • D23 4wDH 1964
  • D24 4wDH 1966
  • collision damage repaired 1973
  • D25 4wDH 1964

Underground Locos 3’ 0” gauge:

  • No1 0-6-0DMF 1949
  • No2 0-6-0 DMF 1949
  • No3 0-6-0DMF 1949
  • No4 0-6-0 DMF 1949
  • No5 0-6-0 DMF 1949
  • No6 0-6-0 DMF 1949
  • No7 0-6-0 DMF 1949
  • No8 0-6-0 DMF 1947
  • No9 0-6-0 DMF 1947
  • 0-6-0 DMF 1947
  • No10 0-6-0 DMF 1956
  • 0-4-0 DMF 1954
  • No11 0-6-0 DMF 1956
  • No14 0-6-0 DMF 1968
  • No15 0-6-0 DMF 1948
  • No16 0-6-0 DMF 1967
  • No17 0-6-0 DMF 1946
  • No2 0-6-0 DMF 1974
  • No4 0-6-0 DMF 1974
  • No6 0-6-0 DMF 1974
  • No18 0-6-0 DMF 1974
  • E1 4wBEF 1977
  • E2 4wBEF 1977
  • E3 4wBEF 1977
  • A1 2w-2wBEF 1979
  • E4 4wBEF 1979
  • E5 4wBEF 1979
  • E6 4wBEF 1979
  • E7 4wBEF 1979
  • E8 4wBEF 1981
  • E9 4wBEF 1981
  • E10 4wBEF 1981
  • E11 4wBEF 1981
  • E12 4wBEF 1982
  • E14 4wBEF 1982
  • E15 4wBEF 1983
  • E16 4wBEF 1983
  • A2 4w-4wBEF 1983
  • No1 4w-4wBEF 1985, rebuild 1991
  • No2 4w-4wBEF 1985
  • No3 4w-4wBEF 1985
  • 4w-4wBEf 1987, rebuild 1988
  • No4 4w-4wBEF 1987, rebuild 1989
  • 4w-4wBEF 1989
  • 4w-4wBEF 1989
  • 4w-4wBEF 1990.

50 gallons of mine water per minute was pumped to surface at No1 shaft from 682m deep, below the Loco horizon, and discharged into the nearby River Maun.

A Holman drilling rig was introduced in 1975.

Huwood diesel locos hauling 5 carriages hauled men inbye to the working districts and outbye at shift end introduced in 1959.

Some conveyors were also used for manriding as well as coal.

Two way manriding conveyors were installed down the Parkgate seam access drifts driven in 1976.

The first DERD Shearer at the mine was installed in 1976.

Major alterations to the coal prep plant carried out in 1977 to accept coal from the Parkgate seam.

A pit bottom vertical bunker for 1,000 tonnes was constructed in 1977/78.

A rope-hauled manrider was operational to the Parkgate seam in 1977.

Battery locos for shunting duties introduced in 1978.

A 2,500 tonnes surface rapid loading bunker was operational in 1978 also.

No2 electric winder was replaced in 1980 as up rating of the engines was necessary as 13 tonnes capacity skips are used for raising coal in the No2 UC shaft whereas No1 DC shaft was equipped with double-deck cages for carrying men and materials, the latter being wound to the lower loco horizon, therefore No1 electric winder was replaced in 1981.

If my memory serves me correctly in 1982 a new wash box and screens were fitted in the cpp
Derek Scaysbrook