MINING AROUND RIPLEY - 1830 TO 1845

Smith's Plan of 1830;
A plan by J Smith Surveyor, Kidsey Park, dated 1830, of Stoney Ford (Charles V Hunter Esq) near Aldercar Hall shows pits No1 and No2 in Broom Close, No3 in Near Little Close, No4 in Far Close above Urserly’s, Nos 6, 7 and 8 in Far Over Close, and Nos 9, 10 and 11 in Back Side field. The pits were leased to Fletcher and Wood. Deep Hard seam closed.

Extract from Glover’s ‘Derbyshire’ of 1831.
M Fletcher (b 24/1/1740) and other owners of collieries at Heanor, Smalley and Denby having been accused of monopolizing the sale of coals, deny and offer to supply any coals at 2s 6d (12½p) to 3s (15p) per ton, 40 years to come and to give security for the performance of the same.

Collieries closed 1833:
Crich Cliff (owner unknown);

Collieries sunk or opened in 1834:
Eastwood (Dr Manson to 1839) 108 yards (99m) to Deep Soft, 122 yards (111m) to Deep Hard, 170 yards (156m) total depth;

In 1835 Edward Miller Mundy was sending coal from his mines at Shipley in Derbyshire via the Grand Junction Canal and its connections to Newport Pagnell, Buckingham and London.

In the West Hallam area after Close pit (Cann’s) and Close pit (Hallam’s) had finished, the workings were carried on at Stoppards pit at far end, Brickhill pit, Orchard, Coppice and Simonfield 1 & 2 pits. Piper Dogtooth and Furnace coals were worked at some and at the Wood pit the Brownrake ironstone bed was worked also; Coppice No16 pit was worked by Wm & Matt Warren; Engine Close pit (Thos Gregory); Wharf Close (Wm Lings). Railway gang lines ran from these pits to Wharfs by the canal. Lewcote Gate pit was situated on High Lane. Charles Ling’s Engine Ground was S of pit opposite Lowcote Gate with Robert Evans’ Engine Close on the NE side of High Lane, midway between Moor’s Bridge and Lowcote Gate. Gin Ground pit was in the same area.

John Boots Plan;
Turkey Field colliery (Thomas Webb Edge) is shown on a plan dated 1835 made by John Boot, Mineral Surveyor of Skegby. There is mention of a horse back fault to the south. Another pit mentioned was worked by Thomas North and Thomas Wakefield at Strelley, probably the one called Strelley Park colliery, previously worked by Barber Walker.

George Sanderson's Map and Twiggs Survey of 1835;
A Surveyor named George Sanderson surveyed an area of 20 miles radius around Mansfield in the early 1830s and published a very detailed map in 1835. All known pits closed or open at the time and other features such as toll bars, railways etc were shown on the plan,
Belper pit, Mount Pleasant; Shipley colliery, coal wharf; pit to S of Shipley Hall, coal by railway to wharf; Smalley, pit to NE of village; and another SSW of Heanor; West Hallam pit to N and pits at Simon’s Field and NE at Moorbridge Lane;
Unfortunately most of the colliery names were not stated, only the positions, whereas in Twigg’s plan of 1835 it denoted the following pits in the Denby area: Blind Foundation; Brook pit; Engine pit sunk 146 yards (133m) on fault; Mount Pleasant; Old Alder; Old Brook; Rough Close; 2 pits sunk to Minge coal at 42 yards (38m); Old Stonehouse; Bye pit and Engine pit; Hell Croft; One Rope pit was 70 yards (64m) deep to the Soft coal; Quon pit was 6 yards (5.5m) to Hard coal; Robey Field; Wagtail 130 yards (119m) to Hard coal; There was another Wagtail pit at Denby Common and also a Whymsey pit; Yew Tree pits mentioned also.

Collieries sunk or opened in 1836:
Loscoe (Goodwin & Co) – claiming ancient ‘Zouch’ coal.

Some fatal accidents noted at this time:
Denby area, Wm Horsley (11), fall of roof Jan; At Shipley, person by the name of Hardy (9), overcome by gas Mar 1836.

Butterley Co sank Butterley Park No5 High Holborn about this time.

Thomas North’s original lease for pits at Babbington etc was for a period of 21 years in 1838. This was to be followed by a further lease for 21 years from 29/9/1858.

Collieries sunk or opened in 1839:
Denby colliery (Denby Colliery Ltd);

Collieries closed in 1839:
Hard Coal pit; Lower Hartshay (CV Hunter or Butterley Co?), Deep Soft, Deep Hard; Padley (CV Hunter).

Codnor Park Pits 1839/40
The Rev’d Leigh Hoskins was Master of mines at Codnor Park at this time, (leased to the Butterley Co). John Woodhouse was Viewer. Listed from north to south were Coke pit, Hope pit, Bye pit, Engine pit, Pit 82 yards (75m) deep, Sow pit, Pit 95 yards (87m) deep, Pit 84 yards (77m) deep, Pit 67 yards (61m) deep, Pit 60 yards (55m) deep and Golden pits and Nailer pits opposite the Old Codnor Castle.
Pits running N of the Castle included Nailer, a cluster of 5 pits, Golden (60 yards or 55m), Coke pit 67 yards (or 61m), 84 yards (or 77m), 95 yards (or 87m), Redgates Foundation pit 82 yards (75m), Engine and Bye pits, Furnace coal Engine pit No1, old workings laid on by Mr J Smith’s directions, DC shaft 40 yards (36.5m), note – dialled (surveyed) on 25/11/1840.

In 1840, Awsworth at 50 yards (45m) deep and owned by Thomas North was one of the largest collieries in the district, with 90 boys being employed in one pit and 40 at the other.

About Butties and Miners circa 1840;
Most pits in Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire were working 14 hours a day or more and it was common practice to pay wages out in Public Houses on Saturday night, at fortnightly or even monthly intervals, the Butty insisting drinks were taken first! Later the paying out from the ‘tin’ would take place at the mine where the men would sit round and the Butty would apportion the money according to the job done, keeping the ‘lion’s share’ for himself of course. He more than likely would have taken some money out for himself in the first place before arranging the payout. These Butties, experienced miners, set on by the ownwer of the mine to produce coal at the cheapest rate were not only powerful but quite well off and were able to buy houses, something unheard of for a common mineworker.
Young boys were beaten as a matter of course, for not being fast enough with their haulage work. Some employers such as Lord Middleton and Thomas North decreed that they were not to be beaten but they were in the minority.
The Bond system was still in evidence locally in 1840, as two boys, brothers named Hawkins were bound or tied to a Butty for a period of 12 months. A Butty was a person who contracted to the Owner or Manager to produce coal, pay the men and arrange for the mine to be supported etc. Prior to this date very few pits employed above 50 men and boys as stated previously.

The Babbington Coal Co was inaugurated around this time, where Turkey Field (SK44SE 449870, 342390) and High Holborn (SK45SW 442110, 350500) pits were being worked between Kimberley and Cossall nearby the hamlet of Babbington from where the company name was formed.
Collieries sunk or opened in 1840: Barber Walker & Co sank Robbinett (Robinet) colliery in 1839-40; Butterley Co sank Rutland at Ilkeston;

Collieries sunk or opened in 1841:
At the newly opened Robbinett pit at Strelley, and at Twiggers or ‘The Flying Nancy’ nearby at 50 yards (46m) deep (both owned by Thomas North), ponies were generally used in 4 ft to 3 feet 6 inches (1.22m to1.07m) high. The ponies were replaced by asses, although stronger and more difficult to control, when the seams got thinner (i.e. when the headroom got lower), no doubt they would have to bend their heads or some scufting was done. The gateways underground at all pits were kept as low as possible to save taking out the roof above the coal seam which was un-saleable and as much of the dirt as possible was kept underground and stowed. The dirt tips at most old collieries were very small, generally comprising only the shaft-sinking and pit bottom excavation dirt. Many of these small hillocks are now covered by mature self-set trees and bushes.

Thomas North and his partners Thomas Wakefield and Jas Morley had several mines at this time, 4 at Babbington, 4 at Greasley and Newthorpe Common and 2 at Awsworth, Stanton and Strelley Park. At Babbington possibly100 to 150 men and boys, at Greasley possibly between 150 and 200 and at Awsworth more than 200, only about 30 at Stanton and say max 75 at Strelley. Butties were employed to run the pits and were responsible for coal production and manpower. They were also responsible for all aspects relating to the getting of coal such as pit props, lights for the men, ponies for haulage, door boys etc and transport. The owner was responsible for the capital outlay arranging the lease and any wayleaves and sinking the shafts, supplying engines or whymseys, ropes, trams / tubs etc, drainage of the mine and development. North paid his butties 2s 5d (12p) a ton for lump coal and about 2s 0d (10p) for cobbles and slack. Average price at the pithead was around 5s to 6s a ton (25p to 30p). Charles Straw, Thomas Straw and Henry Fulwood were three such butties.

Collieries closed in 1841:
Denby (WD Lowe) Deep Soft, Deep Hard, Minge or Ell.

The Coal Mines Act of 1842;
This act banned all women and girls and boys under 10 years of age from working underground. Girls were employed at Kirkby Fenton’s pits at Underwood. They were cheaper than employing boys. Another site was on the border of North Derbyshire where the Shirtcliffe Brothers employed females.

Collieries sunk or opened in 1842:
Bailey Brook (Butterley Co) 2 shafts at 8 ft dia (2.44m) sunk 80 yards (73m) apart to Deep Soft and Deep Hard; Old Birchwood at Alfreton; Pentrich colliery, 3 shafts A, B and C sunk at 8 ft dia (2.43m) in 1842 by WC Haslam, Manager Wm Walker. ‘A’ shaft 180 yards (165m) to Low Main or Furnace coal, but coal raised from Deep Soft inset at 75 yards (69m), ‘B’ pumping shaft, water raised from 120 yards (110m) and ‘C’ fan shaft, 95 yards deep (87m) at 26 yards (24m) from ‘A’.

Collieries at work in 1841/42 with Steam Winders included:
Babbington Rough (Thos North & Co) no bonnet on cage, 55 yards (50m) deep app, 3’ 6” (1.07m) headway; Williamson’s Eastwood 3’ 0” (0.91m) headway;

By 1869 the Butterley Co would have 13 pits working – Brands Hard, Brands Soft, Butterley Park, Codnor Park, Forty Horse, Granby, Loscoe, Marehay, Newlands, Ripley, Upper Birchwood, Waingroves and Whiteley. John Wardle was Chief Surveyor from 1842 to 1887.
Fitz Herbert Wright was Managing Director to 1902.

Colliery closures 1844:
Britain pit (Gabriel Britain) at Butterley Park, Hard coal;

Although it was illegal, the Truck system was still in operation at Haslam’s Pentrich colliery.

Collieries sunk or opened in 1845: Forty Horse (Butterley Co); Hermitage (Butterley Co) Codnor Park, sinking:

Collieries closed 1845:
Butterley No6 (Butterley Co) Deep Soft;

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