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Book 8 The 21st Century


  2015 Pages 

2015 - Page 5

Thoresby Colliery

- Continued -

Meco-Moore cyclic cutter-loaders trialled at Bolsover Co pits Rufford and Clipstone were introduced successfully from Sep 1943 to the 1960s. However at the time the cyclic system was unable to equal the output of 20 tons a man loaded out by shovel. As at other collieries various types of trepanner as well as fixed drum Anderson rope-hauled shearers were introduced. These were superseded by various types and sizes of single-ended and double-ended ranging spiral drum shearers. Among other machines Eimco shovels, Dosco Roadheaders and side discharge loaders were introduced. The seam was abandoned in July 1986 after working 102 panels or districts. Methane drainage was practiced on all panels from the 1960s. Workings were curtailed in the Bothamsall area due to the oil field.

Dunsil seam: exploratory 350m heading, abandoned as the seam thickness was too thin compared with the 6’ 0” (1.83m) of Top Hard.

High Hazles seam: developed in 1970 by drifts up from Loco horizon below Top Hard. Only 6 panels worked 1972-1976. Section... coal top 0.15m, coal 1.0m, seat earth 0.05m.

  • 1s South West worked from 9th Oct 1972-May 1976
  • 2s South East Dec 1974-Nov 1978
  • 7s North West Mar 1976-May 1980
  • 8s South East June 1976-July 1979
  • 16s South East Aug 1979-Aug 1981
  • 22s South West Aug 1981-May 1983.
    Seam abandoned 1983.
    Methane drainage practised on all panels.
Crushed Gate
Crushed Gate, with water pipe and floor lift
Parkgate seam: start 1977
  • first panel 100s North East
  • 100sA North East
  • 101s North West
  • 102s South East
  • 103s Retreat South East
  • 104s South East
  • 105s North West
  • 108s South East
  • 109s North West
  • 110s Retreat South East
  • 111s North West
  • 112s South East
  • 114s South East
  • 115s North West
  • 116s South East
  • 117s North West
  • 119s Retreat South East
  • 120s South East
  • 122s South East
  • 123s North West
  • 125s
    Armoured Face Conveyor (Panzer)
    Double Strand Chain
    Retreat South East
  • 127s North West
  • 129s North West
  • 140s Retreat South East
  • 141s Retreat South East
  • 142s North West
  • 143s Retreat South East
  • 144s Retreat North West
  • 145s Retreat North West (gate to left)
  • 146s Retreat North West (gate to right)
  • 147s Retreat North West
  • 149s Retreat South East
  • 159s Retreat North West
  • 170s North West
  • 172s Retreat South West
  • 173s Retreat South West
  • 175s Retreat South West
  • 184s Retreat South West
  • 186s Retreat South West
  • 188s North East

Ollerton reserves:

  • 42s Retreat South West
  • 43s Retreat South West
  • 44s Retreat South West
  • 45s Retreat South West
  • 55s Retreat North East
  • 56s Retreat North East and last panel
  • 57s Retreat North East (7 miles app from pit bottom) poor advance due to dirt increase in seam split and running along a swilley 2009-2010.
    (Total of 47 panels).

Methane drainage practiced on all panels. All modern shearer cutting machines were used in this seam achieving most remarkable outputs. Of course all this new high powered machinery needed up-rated electricity feeds as the first cutters were using 500 volts on the coalface whereas now 6,600 volt pressure is used. Similarly for gate drivages for panels and development headings where originally these were bored and fired and hand-loaded onto conveyors various types of ripping and heading machines were tried. Arched roadways were the norm with wooden cover boards, later changed to metal sheeting and then roof-bolted roadways were created in readiness for retreat panel working. Various machines and ideas were tried such as chainless haulage (Rackatrack etc) and twin strand AFC, finally heading machines encompassing integral roof boring were introduced. However as seen in the photo above gate conditions were poor when arches were used for retreat working. To the right shows a gate in good conditions.

Deep Soft seam: Development headings 2009. Retreat working.
First panel DS1s started producing in 2010, DS2s, DS3s

First in the industry to use tiny micro-chips on high speed Parkgate 1in11 drift conveyor not normally used for manriding. These chips are used by supermarkets etc to track DVDs to prevent thefts. A credit card sized tag is attached to every lamp battery and prior to going underground is checked through a tag checker to ensure that the tag is active before getting on the conveyor. Each tag has a unique ID that can be picked up by a RFID antenna reader placed at the alighting station platform, so that if any man passes beyond the platform an alarm sounds and stops the conveyor. New cap lamp batteries weighing 1kg exchanged for old ones at 1.3kg. New nickel-metal-hydride battery as used in mobile phones and lap top computers, to last 100,000 hours or 1,200 charges. Swipe cards were introduced replacing the brass motty system of deployment.
Large 3 bogie Co-Co battery locos used for supplies.

Earnings per manshift:

  • 1929: 0.63
  • 1930: 0.89
  • 1935: 0.74
  • 1940: £1.14
  • 1945: £2.09
  • 1950: coal face £2.57, overall £1.77
  • 1955: c/f £3.38, overall £2.65
  • 1960: c/f £4.53, overall £3.34
  • 1965: c/f £5.62, overall £4.13
  • 1970: c/f £5.97, overall £5.11.

Wage rates increased substantially following the 1972 and 1974 National strikes, the first since 1926. Towards the end of British Coal management special contract rates were offered to teams to improve performance so much so that some men were able to earn up to £1,000 in a week. Today some men work only 2 shifts at the weekend, Saturday for maintenance and Sunday for coaling.

Heading teams still work 5 weekday shifts with much overtime in order to drive the headings out to the planned distance prepare the face line in readiness for retreat working. Only one face at the colliery is worked at any one time. Years ago up to 8 or 9 faces would have been producing for a similar amount of tonnage per week.

Tip space running out and to aggravate it the vend of coal to dirt has increased in the Deep Soft seam in 2012. However Town and Country Planning permission granted in 2013 to heighten and extend the tipping area.


  • Thomas Eric Boswell Young Agent 1930-1937 (later Sir Eric Young, NCB member)
  • Wilfred H Sansom (858) Agent 1937-1945 (promoted from Clipstone)
  • Peter L Richardson Agent (3242) 1945-1947
  • Alfred E Naylor (1928) Agent 1950-1952.

Nottinghamshire collieries operating in No3 Area of the NCB in 1947 with HQ at Edwinstowe. Area General Manager:

  • Wilfred H Sansom (858) (began at Newstead apprentice to TG Lees, during the First World War was commissioned in the Sappers, 1919 to Bolsover, later Agent, later became East Midlands Divisional Production Director to 1959)

Production Manager:

  • Edwin W Lane (856) (later Area General Manager No1 (Manchester)

Sub-Area Managers:

  • John T Rice (816)
  • John A Hayes (2352)
  • Peter L Richardson (3242).
    Total output 5.5m tons.

Area Chief Surveyor

  • Tom W Bush (845) appointed from Chief Surveyor Bolsover Co)
  • Assistant Edward Hinde (appointed from Bolsover Co).

For comparison outputs for No3 Area pits for week ending 17th May 1947:

  • Rufford 16,258 tons
  • Harworth 16,132 tons
  • Blidworth 15,670 tons
  • Thoresby 15,498 tons
  • Ollerton 15,134 tons
  • Clipstone 14,485 tons
  • Welbeck 13,077 tons
  • Bilsthorpe 10,541 tons
  • Mansfield 10,535 tons.

Sub-Area Managers / Group Managers / Production Managers:

  • Peter L Richardson (3242) Sub-Area Manager No3 1947-50 (promoted from South Derbyshire)
  • Charlie W Ringham (2199) Group Manager No3 1951-1962
  • Jack Hanman (3115) Group Manager 1962-1965
  • Charlie C Clarke (3684) No4 Group Manager 1965-1966 (killed in a car crash on way to Harworth)

Colliery self standing for a time then
Production Managers:

  • Robert (Bob) Anderson (5547) 1974-1985
  • Terry Wheatley (8348) 1985-1989
  • David S Crisp (9601) 1989-1994.

Managers for Thoresby: Bolsover Co:

  • Charles Edgar Woodward (4009) Manager (transferred from Clipstone for the new sinking) 1926-1948 died in service

NCB No 3 Area:

  • Ivor George Elmer Leek, Manager (2823) 1948-1950
  • Sam Thorneycroft (2499) (transferred from Manager Ollerton), Manager 1950-1959 then Agent Manager 1959-1965, then Colliery General Manager 1965-1967

North Nottinghamshire Area:

  • Robert (Bob) Anderson (5547) General Manager 1967-1974 (transferred from Agent Manager Warsop, promoted to Production Manager North Nottinghamshire)
  • Terry E Wheatley (8348) General Manager 1974-1984 (promoted from Deputy Manager Welbeck, promoted to Production Manager North Nottinghamshire, later Assistant then Director Midlands and South Wales)
  • Brian C Wright (9913) General Manager Oct 1983-1986 (promoted from Deputy Manager, promoted to Production Manager, DCME and later Assistant Director South Wales, Director of Closed collieries and finally Nottinghamshire Area Director)

Nottinghamshire Area:

  • Albert E Littler (9307) General Manager 1986-1988 (transferred from General Manager Bilsthorpe, transferred to Mansfield for closure, and worked for Caledonian Mining for a while) died shortly afterwards in 1991
  • Ken G Fidler (10993) General Manager 1988-1991 (transferred from Mansfield), retired
  • David J Moult (11244) 1991 (transferred from Rufford)
  • David M Betts (10958) 1991-2001 RJB Mining from 1995 (General Manager transferred from Clipstone)

UK Coal: In 2001

  • David M Betts (10958) was appointed as new Deputy Director of Mining for UK Coal (for RJB Mining, May 2001) replacing Kevin Irvin (11453)
  • Phil Garner (11386) from Riccall, Yorkshire appointed Manager in his stead. He too was promoted within a short time to Group Operational Director
  • John Alstead (11...) was appointed Manager - Sep 2005, transferred to Daw Mill (aged 48) to replace David Vint (aged 47) who had decided not to extend his 4 year contract
  • Robert (Bob) J Hallam (11252) (aged 49) Sep 2005-2006 transferred from Maltby, (South Yorkshire) having been Manager there for 7 years, left the company
  • Stuart Hoult (11...) was acting Manager from May 2006, and was subsequently appointed permanently - Jan 2010, (transferred to Director Group Safety)
  • Derek Main (11650) (transferred from Manager Welbeck, previously Manager Rossington) 2010 - 2015.