The Surveyor’s Job At A Coal Mine
2 Or More Fans In The Same Airstream
A plan showing any area where 2 or more fans would be required in the same airstream had to be sent to and approved by the Inspector. This plan would show the fans, exhausting or forcing, with horsepower etc and the direction and amount of air traversing the place and any gas content. Several copies required. Information supplied by the Ventilation Officer and approved by HQ. Liaison by Senior Surveyor.
Plans Showing Details For The Exemption Of More Than 9 Men In A Heading
Also plans showing details for the exemption of more than 9 men in a heading for the Inspector. This plan would show the ventilation arrangements in detail and a list of the relevant personnel by job description. On occasion for special jobs an Inspector would allow up to 22 men in a blind heading or a closed pit with only one shaft open provided that a list of jobs and personnel was designated.
Introduction Of Electricity Plan
An Introduction of Electricity plan was also required to be sent to the Inspector. This was a plan showing the area of the mine where proposed development was to be carried out and where no electrical power existed in that part. The proposed development headings with the relevant power cables and switchgear would be shown, together with the proposed completed face in the future. All details of the electrical apparatus would be shown and listed, together with a schematic drawing and also the ventilation at the development stage with fans, and at the proposed face working stage. The Electrical Inspector for the district would scrutinise this plan in detail before allowing the development to proceed. Several copies required. Information supplied by the Electrical Engineer.
Surface Demarcation Plan
A Surface Demarcation plan signed by the Owner (or Area / Group Director for British Coal). This was a plan, a copy of the Ordnance Survey, showing the extremities of the surface lands belonging to the colliery, for which the Manager was responsible. Two copies made. Amendments made3 by the Surveyor on occasions.
Surface Firefighting Plan
A Surface Firefighting plan showing all pipes and fire hydrants and valves, hoses plus extinguishers, water tanks, reservoirs etc, together with information regarding the nearest public Fire Service. Information supplied by the Fire Officer and measurements by the survey staff.
A Composite plan of the mine shows all the seams that have been worked at that mine or from adjacent mines surrounding it. This plan could be rather complicated and care would be needed in colouring the different seam workings, eg up to 9 seams could be worked (for example Silverhill / Teversal / Sutton area). The newer coalfield pits would only have 2 or 3 seams.
Water Action Plan
A Water Action plan. This plan showed where all water was obtained from, ie from town water supply, well water or pit water pumped out. Flow diagrams supplemented the main surface plan, showing the usage. Rainfall on areas of concrete or tarmac or buildings would be shown also. Details were also given as to the discharge points, along with quantities etc. The Severn Trent Water Authority would be involved. Rating would be assessed from these.
Borehole Plan Of The Colliery Take
Borehole plan of the colliery take and its surrounding area, showing the positions of all surface and underground boreholes drilled for exploration over the years, with their relevant names date and coding and filling. Detailed geological sections of the same would be kept with particular reference to coal seams and thickness. Other scientific detail of the seams from borehole samples or block extractions would be kept also. Information re position would be given to the Coal Survey department and the sampler would invariably seek assistance from the Survey department to the site. An Approach notice would have to be sent to the Manager if a coalface or heading was going to pass through the position of a borehole drilled either from the surface or underground. This plan would further have to be passed on to HQ via the Senior Surveyor who would monitor the progress and obtain signatures of higher officials.
Subsidence plans would be made for specific areas, if required, to monitor the surface and document the results in tabular form corresponding to a plan of the area. Area involvement would commence should any form of support to buildings etc be required.
Other Surface Plans
Other surface plans could be many and various, including stores compound and relevant tackle, explosives store position and its possible damage area; plans of workshops and offices; car parks; coal-stocking sites with relevant calculations; bunkers for coal or dirt; grassed areas; secure radio-active component stores - used for sensors; electrical cables and telephone layout plans; culverts; coal preparation plant layouts; railway sidings; reservoirs and ponds; housing; fencing; tree-planted areas; engine-houses and other pit top buildings; emergency winder sites; Welfare activity plans, fishing club, canteen or special notices etc. Flow diagrams for the Coal Preparation Plant / Washery; security fencing; surface plans with each building named. The list is endless.
Other Underground Plans
Other underground plans included a Compressed air plan, showing the layout of the respective pipes and compressors and receivers etc, with the relevant information.
Special plans for engine houses, sub stations, bunkers, seismic survey sites, UNOR cable or Tube Bundle plan, showing the various pipes containing air samples pumped from inbye districts.
Other Ad Hoc Plans
Many other ad hoc plans would be requested such as roadway supports plan showing all the various different types, from un-supported solid rock, wooden legs, cambered girders, various arches from 2 piece to 4 piece round and Cathedral type junctions, fireproofed areas etc. Yearly mileages of open roadways in the mine would also be kept. The relevant types would be measured by survey personnel.
Cross-Sections Of Drifts
Cross-sections of drifts from one seam to another or through a fault plane. Various shotfiring patterns for headings or stable holes. Water infusion and airdox systems. Work with shaft recorder PADS for position of the cages.
Also many notices would be produced for other departmental heads. These were referenced in a book so that further copies could be produced and covered with clear plastic as and when required.
Development Layout Plans
Development layout plans of course were agreed and signed by the Surveyor and the Manager of the mine as well as other departmental heads, to signify that the proposed working was deemed to be safe to work. This would follow an agreed Layout Plan and signing Meeting at Area HQ, when the Surveyor would accompany the Manager and senior management would then counter sign after agreement. Liaison with the colliery Planner in the early stages would tend to agree the sites. Bearings for the best position to work panels between faults or to take due consideration of the cleat of the coal would be agreed.
A check list by the Surveyor or Senior Surveyor would be used to note whether a new layout would be affected by various things such as churches, Special sites of Scientific Interest (SSSIs), large electrical sub-stations etc which would require notice being sent to that authority of the intended working.
Junction And Roadway Design Drawings
Junction and roadway design drawings, engine-houses, switch-houses and others would be designed and agreed. The requisite steel would be ordered by the Surveyor via the Storekeeper. Liaison with local firm representatives where strategy etc would be arrived at in the survey office. Plans prepared.
Progress plans were made and updated weekly for various departments, from the various measurements taken by the Surveyor’s underground survey Linesmen. These plans showed the advance per week on every coalface and development heading. Several copies were updated and a travelling copy supplied to HQ for use by Planning department and other departments.
It will be noted that many plans required several copies, taken off on an ammonia-based printing machine, and many needed colouring also, using crayon or water paint. Over a year the number of plans produced would be several hundred. Visitors from foreign countries would invariably take home copies of the colliery plans. Sometimes the Surveyor would escort visitors underground or on the surface.
Many other departments were supplied with information also on a weekly basis from measurements taken underground eg: weekly advances and average seam sections to the Costs department to calculate the tonnage, measurements of all gate roads and coal faces to allow bonus payments to be paid by the Time and Wages office, various distances and positions of hydrants, valves, stone dust barriers, engine return wheels, rails, transformers, conveyor belt tensions, pumps etc to the Safety department, Engineers, Undermanager etc. Progress advances to the colliery Planner. Norm change information to Administrative Officer or other relevant official so that incentive pay figures could be adjusted.
Other jobs besides setting out and maintaining centre lines and gradient lines in various development headings and then panel gate roads, included face line surveys on a regular basis to determine the straightness of the coal face and panzer creep, checking loco gradients and profiles of roadways and off-set surveys to determine the straightness of conveyors or rails, arch distortion, floor lift or gate crush, monitoring manrider roadway clearances, roadway bunkers, obtaining water samples when required and well depths, setting out seismic survey positions, routine dial surveys and levellings of workings, theodolite surveys, check surveys, subsidiary surveys, shaft surveys when necessary, turn outs or rail crossing information so that blacksmiths or outside firms could manufacture same, likewise information to the welders to create special arch swan necks for junctions etc, check measure marks, conveyor lines, setting out machinery, installing laser beams in drivages for direction and gradient, monitoring tell tales in boreholes in roof bolting drivages, plans and sections of fall areas, information to Claims Inspectors re past accidents, assisting photographers, Long Service and Retirement certificates, pollution reports, preparing sketches for pipe bends or cut girders etc, observing and preparing plans and sections for mining interaction; instruction to potential Deputies, Junior Officials and other students (Royal School of Mines), information for face conferences, including charts, graphs etc.
Surface triangulation work such as observations and the flagging of various surrounding trig stations. Various calculations for excavations etc would be done frequently. The location of pipes cables etc, would be expected at the drop of a hat!
Location Of Any Borehole Drilled In The Colliery Take
On the surface, the location of any borehole drilled in the colliery take would be carried out as well as the starting level from a stable bench mark in the locality. Similarly a borehole underground and a location plan with co-ordinates, level and depths would be constructed. Sometimes fossils of flora and fauna would be collected for various interested parties.
Isopachyte plans showing the most probable seam thickness would be constructed from nearby workings or borehole information. Contour and levels plans would also be kept.
These activities could vary pit by pit. I personally was the Water Officer, Relics Officer and Laser Safety Officer and was responsible for those activities as part of my job. At my last colliery as Senior Assistant in the 1960s I was a Radiac Officer to monitor nuclear fallout for Civil Defence purposes. The monitoring of known old shafts periodically in areas of shallow working and the investigation into old workings, as in the Meden Valley near Teversal was undertaken also. Later this job fell to the Senior Surveyor and many shafts were searched for using a drilling rig and safety frame, and all those found and excavated were filled with debris and/or graded stone and finished with a concrete cap. A plan and record of all shafts is kept in a special folder.