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Sam Towle
2 September 2009
Bilsthorpe Colliery Explosion 1934

Hello Fionn

Is there any information on line regarding the 1934 Bilsthorpe Colliery explosion

Thank You

Sam Towle

Mansfield, Nottinghamshire. 26th July, 1934.

The Pit

Bilsthorpe Colliery - Shane Phillips

The colliery was owned by the Stanton Iron Works Company Ltd. and was about eight miles from Mansfield. It had been getting coal only since August 1927 when the Top Hard seam was reached by shafts 482 yards deep. There were two shafts 20 feet in diameter and both were equipped for coal winding but only the Top Hard seam was worked. The colliery employed 1,250 persons below ground and 260 on the surface.

Mr. N.D. Todd was the General Manager and Agent for the whole of the mines of the Stanton Company and the colliery Manager was Mr. L.T. Linley and the Undermanager Mr. A. Holmes.

The colliery was worked on the longwall system with some coal being got by hand and by cutting machines. The filling on all the faces was done by conveyors. The disaster occurred in the North West No.6 district which was worked by three shifts. The day and night shifts got coal and filled and the afternoon shift moved pans, ripped, timbered and packed. There were no coal cutting machines in this district. Shots were fired to bring down the face ripping in the gates but no coal was got by firing shots.

The coal was from five feet nine inches to six feet thick and one foot three inches of Coombe coal was left as a roof. In the loader gate the ripping face was five feet three inches to five feet six inches thick including the Coombe coal was taken down which gave a height of almost twelve feet and the road was twelve feet wide between the packs. Wood chocks were erected opposite each waste in line with the packs and these advanced with the packs and the back line of chocks were withdrawn daily. The rate of advance of this face was about ten yards per week.

The No.6 district had a face 300 yards long which was approached by two main roads, the haulage road, which was the intake and the supply gate, which was the return, was the No.5 road. On the left of the loader gate the face was 100 yards long and the right 200 yards long and each had a conveyor delivering coal to the loader gate and then delivered the coal into tubs at a loading point 200 yards away from the face. At the ends of the face there were two auxiliary airways, one as an intake to the face and the other as a return connecting the loader and supply gates.

The ventilation entered the district down the haulage road, up the airway to the left end of the face, along the face and down the airway to the supply gate. From there it passed down a cross-gate to join the currents from the Nos.3 and 4 districts and then to the main return. In the loader gate there was a brattice sheet to direct the ventilation up the left airway.

The daily reports of the fireman showed that there was firedamp in the No.6 district over the three months before the explosion. There had been eight reports from the 5th to the 8th May. There had been a heavy fall and gas was coming from the top of this but it was stated that the ventilation was good enough to clear the gas. The fall was cleared on the 8th May and from that date to the explosion no firedamp had been reported in any part of the district.

Pit Terminology - Glossary


Page 2
The Disaster