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Thoresby colliery closure

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It was the Clean Air Act first instigated in London in the late 50's or early 60's I believe that started the death knell for the pits.

However, the shutdown certainly was hastened under Maggie, who saw it as a perfect way to crush the unions as Scriv so rightly says.

Sad but inevitable.

That, and the modernisation of the railways; which effectively removed their second biggest customer after the power stations. I don't think that Thatcher picked the fight with the primary intention of dismantling the unions though; subsequent history has proved that the unions were perfectly capable of doing that for themselves with little help from the government. Again, Labour had thirteen years to roll back those union reforms and did very little about it. For the record, before anyone accuses me of being a rabid Thatcherite fascist etc. I'm a card-carrying union member meself. I also inhabit the real world.

One other point; who, nowadays, would encourage their children to go "down t'pit" even if such work was available?

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Smack on Scriv !!!!

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I wouldn't Scriv, but my long dead Grandad wouldn't recognise a modern colliery, in this case thick seam mining, he'd call them coal factorys. In my latter days in the industry in NSW, we had potable water piped underground, chemical toilets that were emptied regularly, we had "Cribrooms" large mobile sledge with steel tables and fixed wooden benches to sit on, all well lit. Also on the back was an electric tea urn and pie heater, we washed our hands before eating too!!

Conditions were excellent, heavy dust suppression was used on machines and conveyor transfer points, safety was continually pushed on us by management.

Transport by rail, pretty close to the face, so little downtime per shift through walking a mile or two.

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#26 Scriv.

ive been waiting for someone to say 'who wants their kids to work dahn pit' .I can understand that old community spirit and all that went with it,but what a God awful way for man to earn a living (and a fortune for the old owners) many members of my family and old School mates worked in the Pits,and i never envied them,when we left Sec.school in Bestwood it was almost expected we'd want to do it,...........not on your Nelly comrade.

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When I was at Angus Place, visitors were usually restricted to U/G visits on the "swing shift", reasons being only face crews were working underground, no supplies etc to worry about, so safer for the visitors. They still had to be accompanied by an employee though.

It always amazed me when they arrived on the face, their jaws would drop at the sight of how we produced the coal. They expected everyone to have a pick and shovel!!! They were in awe watching a 500HP shearer churning out tonnes of coal a minute and at how fast it travelled. They expected wood props on the face, not 30 tonne full shields that yield at 480 tonnes each.

They had a demonstration on how we "batched" advanced up to eight shields from one operation, the rest done in sequence by automation.

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Conditions down the mines cotinued to improve all the time , in recent times they had stopped sending ten year olds undergound, used high power machinery to cut coal not pick & shovel anymore.

Some of the finest trade training anywhere in the world was there for the taking.

Sadly that also is no more.

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One experience I had down here in Wales a few years ago made a deep and lasting impression on me. I delivered sheep feed to a customer in Cymmer, a former mining town deep in the heart of the Rhondda Valley; he had worked down the mines for many years and now had a smallholding. It was always a pleasure to deliver to him as he was the most hospitable of men and you never left without the offer of a cup of tea and a bacon sandwich.

During our conversation after unloading, we came round to the demise of the industry, which decimated employment in those areas; His view was that it was inevitable; after all, he said, coal like any other mineral is a finite resource and if you looked back in history, there were many instances of mining for stuff like iron ore and silver lead ore which at one time occupied great swathes of the landscape but had now virtually gone back to nature. He pointed out of his kitchen window, which overlooked the valley. "See that river down there?", he said." Crystal clear now, you can fish in it. When the mines were running it ran black, all day every day; nobody ever painted anything in bright colours, it was a waste of time and paint. This valley looks a damn sight better green than it ever did black, boyo. History will judge that shutting those mines will turn out to have been a good thing".

It's taken far longer than it should have; but a visit to the Valleys today will show you that better transport links have made it a worthwhile choice of home for many who work in Cardiff. Parts of it, as Merthyr Imp will no doubt testify, are still run-down dumps, but to be fair some were like that when the mines were still working. We've seen enough of that in Nottinghamshire.

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When I first went to work at Boulby in North Yorks, we had a council house supplied and it was in the small village of Skinningrove, which was in a valley down a small lane from the main road.

Just outside the village heading to the main road was an old disused iron ore mine, the beck that ran through the village was a bright orange colour most of the time from mine water escaping.

The whole area was littered with old iron ore mines, from a day when it was considered to be the highest quality in the world, all long gone and replaced by imported iron ore from Sweden.

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A few comments about the coal industry in which I worked for 35 years.

The coal industry was being run down for many years before nationalization and this continued under the NCB/BCC.

Any extractive industry to continue has to provide for continuing production out of current income or else it has to borrow more money thus worsening the economics of the industry. Many colleries couldn't do this.

The best coal for mining was worked first, costs increased with the workings getting further from the shafts and from less favourable seams being worked.

The NCB couldn't fund the developments of new collieries or the spending of money on devlopments at many collieries without borrowing from the Government. This borrowing was limited by Government.

There was a hidden subsidy of the industry by the CEGB paying more for NCB coal than the price it could import coal.

It was a good job the house coal and railways markets reduced in the 1950's & early 1960's as the large coal they required would not have been there. Mechanised mining could not produce the large coal, the machines chewed it up. Trepanners were better than shearers for large coal.

There was a continual conflict between production and selling. Production wanted tonnage Marketing wanted quality. In many seams the roof was difficult and the floor was soft, the machine worked better with a layer of coal left in the roof and tended to dip cutting into the soft floor, result less coal more dirt. In some seams the coal left in the roof was good quality the bottom coal was poorer.

Inherently the quality of the coal was better at some collieries was better than at others, this affected the profitability of the individual collieries.

These are just musings of an elderly man who has found the industry to be a most interesting one to have worked in. I worked in the Scientific Dept at Cinderhill Laboratory for 10 years, I did basic underground training at Hucknall No.1, and also went underground for sampling purposes at Babbington, Bestwood, Calverton, Cotgrave, Gedling, Hucknall, and Linby, and in addition to the surface of those collieries and also Clfton, Radford, Wollaton, Moorgreen, Pye Hill, and Selston.

I then worked for the Midland Region Marketing Dept, at Eastwood Hall for five years. followed by 20 years in the HQ Marketing Deartment at Hobart House in London, where I was involved in the pricing of coal and the proceeds from selling the coal. While in the Marketing Department I had dealings with the CEGB, the Energy Ministry, Coalite & Rexco, the Domestic & Industrial coal trade, and all of the coalfields in the UK.

Brian.

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I read somewhere that the ideal thing would be to keep a few pits on care & maintenance when it's not economic to work them, then bring them back to life when the world price goes up. The cost of C&M would be classed as an insurance policy for when a world coal shortage happens. This option of course is no longer available, so when the world coal shortage happens we will be in the brown stuff. Of course the higher ups know what they're doing, don't they?

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You'll be needing coal again soon, global warmings finished, we are heading into a mini ice age over the next 15 years...Doubt I'll be around to have a good laugh though...

We heard all this BS in the 60's and 70's..

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They're now saying the new 'ice age' thing isn't true, & global warming will resume as normal soon. "We'll see" is all I can think..

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Our winters have been getting longer and colder where I live, last year we had a snowfall of 14 inches, early November, which is unusual, we don't normally see snow until late Dec into Jan...Our normal snow average is around 6 inches a season.

When we first moved down here, I'd be in shorts from March to late November, been at least three years since I did that.

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Once Big K closes this month, that's it, no more deep mined coal in the UK. Hatfield closed a week back, unable to produce coal to keep it in the black...Coal is around $45 a ton on the spot market at present, Hatfield couldn't cut coal for that. They were told to stop cutting coal, clear the pit. By the end of the week shafts were starting to be filled in, all equipment left!!

i went past hatfield on train to hull pit is right next the track i havent been past for 6 months ididnt know that it had closed ,reilly surprised me .

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