Information and photographs submitted by subscribers are posted in good faith. If any copyright of anyone else's material is unintentionally breached, please email me

A Comprehensive History Of Mining In The Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire And Leicestershire Coalfields - Page 20


  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     29     30     31     32  
  33     34     35     36     37     38     39     40                                  

Anthony Bullin - Looking For info about John Bullin, the Master Sinker of Bestwood Colliery
Peter Erman - I am the great, great, grandson of John Bullin, Master Sinker
Russell Murday - Ormonde Colliery
Keith Eveson - Information Wanted, My Father Charles Eveson, Worked As Deputy At Silverhill Colliery
Demelza Davies - Archive Inquiry - My Grandfather, Henry David Saywood, was a Miner
Ann Featherstone - Portland Road, Cotmanhay, Ilkeston, Derbyshire
Richard Warren - My grandfather Joseph Harrison Warren lived in Church Gresley, South Derbyshire until 1926

Anthony Bullin
8 May 2017
Looking For info about John Bullin, the Master Sinker of Bestwood Colliery
Hi there,
Do you have any further information on John Bullin, the Master Sinker of Bestwood Colliery please?

Thanks and Best Wishes

See Email Below From Peter Erman
Also Bestwood Colliery Closes

AustraliaPeter Erman
26 Sep 2015
John Bullin, Master Sinker
John Bullin
John Bullin Master Sinker

I am the great, great, grandson of John Bullin “Master sinker” . . . can you tell me what this means?  What is his claim to fame?

I can’t add anything about John Bullin other than to say that his son Hugh was a coal miner and so was his grandson Ralph Sidney Bullin, all at Bestwood.  Ralph went to France as a sapper in March 1915 digging under the German trenches.  He survived the war and returned to the mines after it.  I don’t suppose that you would have any information about which unit he would have been in? The military records are not very helpful.


Peter Erman (Sydney Australia)

A sinker is a man in a team excavating a mine shaft. John Bullin was a Master Sinker so he was in charge of the team.

John Bullin

The only reference I have of John Bullin is at Bestwood in 1872-1878 where he was Master Sinker, i.e. in charge of all sinking operations on all shifts. He would have organised the men, materials and method of sinking, he was also responsible for the verticality of the shafts in conjunction with the Surveyor who would set up the initial centre point where a plumb line could be situated and also keep a log of the various strata passed through, the depth and the thickness of each, again passing the information onto the Surveyor who would check the depth frequently so that an accurate section could be drawn and annotated.

There is no doubt that he would have sunk several if not many shafts before being employed by the Bestwood Coal and Iron Co and again no doubt would have been recommended as a skilled man. Where he came from though I have no knowledge and neither where he went to.

However I hope this brief information will assist you with your quest.

Ralph was probably in the Sherwood Foresters, tunnelling corps, several ex managers were put in charge.

Bob Bradley

Keith Stone
29 Sep 2017
John Bullen "Master Sinker"

I was browsing the net looking for info on John Bullin and came across an email on your site from a Peter Erman (See above) form Australia dated 29 Sept. 2015 who was also looking for this man. I have found the following info which may be of interest.

From the 1881 Census
Living in Bestwood Park Nottingham     (Adjacent to Bestwood Colliery site)

John Bullen,  Head of household Born 1834 Shevington Lancashire
(born before the National BMD records system began)
Alice Bullen, Wife Born 1846 Blackburn Lancashire
June quarter 1846 BMD ref 21-18
Hugh Alexander Bullen, Son Born 1864 Born March quarter of 1864 in the West Deby registration district ref 8b 377
John Bullen, Son Born 1869 Lenton Nottinghamshire
Basford registration district BMD ref 7b 154
Robert Bullen, Son Born 1871 Laxton  (Lenton??)
Ralph Bullen, Son Born 1879 Bestwood Park, Nottingham
William Bullen, Son Born 1880 Bestwood Park, NottinghamHugh Alexander born March quarter of 1864 in the West Deby registration district ref 8b 377

John Bullen died Basford records district of Nottingham September quarter of 1898 ref 7b 135 aged 63.
Alice appears to have gone back to Blackburn and died March quarter of 1896 ref 8c 246

Hope this might be able to be passed on to Peter Erman

Keith Stone

Ann Featherstone
1 Sep 2015
Portland Road, Cotmanhay, Ilkeston, Derbyshire

Good morning!
I'm trying to discover a little more about the Granby 2 pit on Portland Road, Cotmanhay, Ilkeston. In particular, the deep shaft which appeared in the gardens of 5, 7 and 9 Portland Road in December 1978.

I've emailed the Coal Authority to see if there is an official report. I've looked at your excellent website and see that there was a tramway along Cotmanhay Road to Portland Road. Would Granby 2 Pit be a full, working pit or was it a subsidiary of Granby Pit? And why did the shaft open up (depth of 540 feet I think) in 1978? What causes mine shafts to open up after so many years?

Many questions - I'm hoping you have some answers or can point me in the right direction!

With thanks
(Dr) Ann Featherstone

What Causes A Mine Shaft To Collapse After Many Years Of Being Closed?

The old shafts prior to NCB (1947) many before 1900 and no matter the depth were only filled with rubble or dirt tip material for say the top 10m to 25m (variable as to how much material the Company had on site, such as a small dirt tip from the shaft sinking strata, as hardly any dirt was sent out of the pit in those days of hand was stowed underground behind the coal face in the goaf or gobbing.)

Wooden baulks, usually large timber joists would be fastened in to the sides of the shaft at that particular depth and other wooden planks etc. would be placed across these and the rubble filled on top. Over the years the rubble would subside leaving a shallow depression. Water from rain or other sources would seep down the shaft and eventually the timbers would rot and invariably collapse and the shaft walling (probably only one brick thick, mortared or un-mortared) and rubble would fall to the bottom of the shaft creating a large hole, generally larger than the size of the original shaft as the surface around the shaft would slump with the drag of the material as it fell. For example if an old shaft was 7 feet (2.13m) diameter it is possible to have a slumped hole at the top of 20 feet (6m), or more. Invariably acid loving plants such as nettles, some types of grass and dock leaves grow well on old weathered pit shale etc. One should be careful if this situation is found when in a well-known mining area. This can be very dangerous and over the years the NCB / British Coal, and since 1994 the Coal Authority, have made hundreds of coal shafts safe by finding them or in the case of a hole, proving that the hole is a coal mine shaft (not lead or other mineral) and then drilling down with a portable drill rig on a frame across the shaft for safety to see what depth the fill is and then completely filling the shaft if open with limestone chippings around 2" (5cm) diameter. It is possible for a hole twice as big to appear and maybe some clay and concrete used to stabilise it and then finally constructing a thick reinforced concrete cap over the top plus a safe distance around it. Prior to new rules under NCB in 1960/70s it was only necessary to make a mine shaft safe, e.g. putting a secure fence around the shaft.

New Granby or Granby No 2 was sunk by the Butterley Co in 1854 and was closed in 1887. There were several small shafts close together in that area. As outlined above this is where one shaft collapse or a large hole from some shallow mining in the area also due to a deep one collapsing which possibly may account for the hole covering No 5, 7 and 9 gardens on Portland Road in 1978? There are numerous known old shafts in the vicinity....are there any unknown ones?

New Granby, a colliery in its own right was sunk approximately 400 yards to the north of Old Granby, which would have closed before or when New Granby started. Of course invariably some or all of the best workforce would transfer but of course not all at the beginning, because the new mine would have to be developed and have new coal faces opened out, usually by skilled sinkers / heading men.

There was as you can see a name change as such. The first pit was called Granby but when the New Granby pit was sunk it was referred to as New Granby or Granby No 2, then the first Granby pit would be referred to as Old Granby to differentiate....mind boggling and confusing if you do not understand the reasoning.

A Pit Bank

A Pit Bank generally referred to the immediate area around the top or mouth of the shaft. A man called a Banksman was in charge of letting men in and out of the pit via the cage and operating the signals for such and sending materials into the pit in tubs or trams etc.  Another Banksman was at the other shaft where coal was wound.

Fires smouldering on a pit heap or waste tip away from the pit top were caused by spontaneous combustion of the small pieces of coal that were discarded amongst the dirt, as only large pieces of coal were in demand. In the past these fires were allowed to burn because the result was red shale that was able to be sold for roadway foundations or driveways etc....a profitable byproduct but with an obnoxious smell and was very dangerous because of the production of carbon monoxide, a lethal gas created from the incomplete combustion of the coal over a long period.


Noises would be the puff puff and hissing of the small horse power whymsey winding engines, boiler fired and steam operated, some of which had chains on the engine, clanking no doubt. These chains were to assist the engine when raising coal up the shaft using hemp ropes.

Steam would be exhausted into the air. Other noises would have been when moving tubs or carts and possibly another engine for the gang line to a coal wharf nearby where coal would have been loaded into carts pulled by horses. That is until steam operated railway engines were used...again this could have added to the general noise of voices shouting instructions when winding as that was the signalling system, then superseded by bells being sounded for each and every wind in the shaft for coal, men or materials.....a right mayhem at times I would of course general chit chat among the men....shouting!


Smells would be from the boiler fire grates and the ashes when raking out. The smouldering could be where the ashes, unburnt coal and clinker from the grates were tipped nearby and could have smouldered for quite some time before extinguishing, creating horrible foul smoke that no doubt drifted everywhere according to the wind. Of course no doubt other loads would have been tipped on the same site. Sometimes this residue was used to fill in ruts in cart tracks etc.

No account whatever was made to protect the people living nearby and I would imagine some living close by would have suffered most and indeed became ill......various chest diseases.

Hopefully this will answer most or all of your queries.
Regards Bob Bradley

Dear Bob
Wow! Thank you so much. I hadn't expected a response so full of information. You've answered a question that's been bothering me for donkey's years - how they filled in a mine shaft before the age of concrete! No wonder there have been so many collapses. I feel I've got a much better understanding of it now. And, as you've explained the history of the 2 Granby Collieries, it does make sense.

I'm attaching a copy of the 1887 (I think) OS map showing the New Granby Colliery. Portland Road ran through the middle of it. Ash Street was directly opposite Portland Road. I would think that numbers 5, 7 and 9 were located around numbers 168 and 170 on the map. I will know better, I think, when the Coal Authority sends me some information I've requested - as long as they don't want to charge me too much. Apparently there are some photographs, too.

With many thanks and best wishes,

Russell Murday
21 Sep 2015
Ormonde Colliery

I am in the process of adding detail to my family history and wanted details about my father’s employment with the Coal Board. I found your site and could only trace him at Ormonde Colliery. I can’t be sure of the dates, although I do know we moved from Marlpool (almost in Coppice colliery yard) to Codnor in the summer of 1964 so Dad may have moved to Ormonde before you suggest, but you do have his name wrong, it was Jack Murday.

Prior to that he was Assistant/deputy manager at Coppice and before that he was under manager at Woodside and Mapperly (the latter from about 1957 onwards).

After the war he had gone through the DPT scheme to achieve his qualifications.

Hopefully the relevant instances are 1958 - 1961 - 1966 - 1967 - 1970

The source I use for information re management personnel and their progression is the Guide to the Coalfields books. There are errors occasionally but 99 per cent is o.k.

From his certificate number 5850 he passed his First Class around 1954/55. He could have passed the Second Class before then but not necessarily and then been Deputy, Overman on DPT and Assistant Undermanager before being appointed Undermanager.

The first time he is mentioned is 1958 when he was Undermanager at Woodside No2 Collier but could started in 1957?

By 1961 he had been promoted and moved to Coppice as Deputy Manager and in 1964 he  transferred as Deputy Manager at Denby Hall where he remained until 1967 when he was appointed acting Manager, and when that pit closed he transferred to Ormonde but as Assistant Manager, the post of Deputy Manager already filled. He remained there until after the pit was closed in 1970.

There is no further mention of his name at colliery level in the books after this date, but he would not be if he if he had been sent to HQ in Safety dept etc, but did he 'retire or made redundant '?

I hope this will assist you.
Bob Bradley

AustraliaKeith Eveson
13 Sep 2015
Information, Charles Eveson, Worked As Deputy At Silverhill Colliery

My father, Charles Eveson, worked as Deputy at Silverhill Colliery all his working life, is there any information regarding him.

I now live in Perth Australia, I would be extremely interested.

Thank you in anticipation.

See Photos, Daren Haywood - Shane Phillips - Stuart Tomlins

Will ask round to see if anyone remembers him. I am sure someone does.

Could do with more information though, date of birth or age when he died, what years was he working there etc, etc. in fact as much info as possible.

Bob Bradley

USADemelza Davies (Northern New Jersey)
2 Sep 2015
Archive Inquiry - My Grandfather, Henry David Saywood, was a Miner


My name is Demelza and I came across your site hoping to find out more information on my Grandfather, who was a miner. I was wondering if you had any resources or sites that can perhaps find photos, documents, and other related information on my Grandfather and/or the mines he worked.

His name was Henry David Saywood. My mother, his daughter, is Roberta "Bobbie" Davies (Saywood).

Thank you for your site and any information is greatly appreciated.


Richard Warren
17 Aug 2015
My grandfather Joseph Harrison Warren lived in Church Gresley, South Derbyshire until 1926

Good evening.
I hope you can help, or point me in the right direction.

I am trying to find information regarding my grandfather.

Name Joseph Harrison Warren.  He lived in Church Gresley, South Derbyshire until 1926, when he moved with his family, to Sheffield. I assume he worked at the local colliery.

I know the information is very sketchy, but anything will be of great help.


Richard Warren

Sent from my iPad

Possible:- Joseph Harrison Warren aged 23 in 1911. Coal Miner and Hewer, still living at home, 26 Windmill St, Church Gresley, Nr Burton/Trent. Father Joseph Warren, 47, Coal Miner and Hewer, mother Rhoda, 51 - Siblings - Samuel Henry Warren 20, Coal Miner and Hewer - Ernest Warren 17, Coal Miner and Pony Driver, - Hannah Warren, 13 and Rhoda Warren, 10.

Magic AtticThe place to go for research is 'The Magic Attic' at Swadincote. It is located in one of the old brick making kilns near the town centre. Their records are in depth and no doubt they may be able to point you to the relevant newspaper item recording his death. They are only open certain hours in the week. I suggest you contact them on their site. I have only been once but was very impressed.