Nottinghamshire NUM Area History
Presidents of the Nottinghamshire Area
1881: Joseph Allen
1883: Joseph Hopkin
1884: Charles West
1888: Aaron Stewart
1897: W. Hardy
1899: John E. Whyatt
1907: Charles Bunfield
1909: William Carter
1910: John E. Whyatt
1912: George Alfred Spencer
1918: Frank Varley
1930: Val Coleman
1932: Bernard Taylor
1937: George Alfred Spencer
1945: Bill Bayliss
1982: Ray Chadburn
1997: Eric Eaton
1881: W. Kay
1884: Aaron Stewart
1887: William Bailey
1893: John George Hancock
1897: Aaron Stewart
1910: Charles Bunfield
1918: George Alfred Spencer
1926: William Carter
1932: Val Coleman
1937: Val Coleman
1977 Joe Whelan
1981: Henry Richardson
2010: Alan Spencer
1. ^ Hester Barron, The 1926 Miners' Lockout, p.3
2. ^ J. E. Williams, The Derbyshire Miners, p.763
Coal was probably being mined around Cossall and Selston in the 1270s. Mining at Selston in the reign of Edward I. Mining at Cossall in the mid-14th century. The Carthusian religious house at Beauvale had Interests with coal mining, at Newthorpe, Selston and Kimberley, in the reign of Richard II.
There was demand for coal from Nottingham by the 15th century. that opened up the market. In 1457 the priory of Lenton acquired from the Carthusians at Beauvale a portion of their coal at Newfield, on a lease for seven years. The Carthusians retained an interest in coal mining until the Dissolution of the Monasteries, when they were making money from a mine at Kimberley and taking rent from another at Selston.
From the sixteenth century new methods of mining enabled work to take place immediately below the surface, but it remained the case that mines were shallow, and only coal quite close to the surface was worked out. Miners simply moved to another area rather than mining deeper, partly because there were plenty of easily worked surface seams and partly because the technology, particularly for draining mines of water, remained primitive.
Mining developed towards the end of the 15th century in and around Wollaton, and during the 16th century coal was worked both at Wollaton and Strelley. The mines were sufficiently profitable to create tension between the Willoughby family of Wollaton, and the Strelley family, who began mining around their manor of Strelley c.1540.
Prior to the Dissolution of the Monasteries in the 1530s and 1540s, the prior of Lenton had allowed Sir Henry Willoughby, then lord of the manor of Wollaton and owner of a mine within the manor, to make a sough from his own coalmines through various lands of the priory in order to remove water from the mine. At the Dissolution the reserved rent was commuted to 12s a year and paid to the king by Sir John Willoughby.
Subsequently the Willoughbys accused the Strelleys of diverting water into their mines in an attempt to ruin their trade.
In the reign of Edward VI (1547-53), Henry Willoughby of Wollaton sought permission to make a new sough on land owned by the king and previously in the ownership of the Lenton Priory. In fact, he was significantly increasing the mining on his Wollaton land, and subsequently Sir Francis Willoughby helped to finance the building of Wollaton Hall by selling coal into Lincolnshire, partly in return for the Ancaster stone with which the hall was faced. The Strelleys were less successful and by 1620 had mortgaged their mines to London merchants who subsequently foreclosed on them.
Nottingham corporation funded some trial borings for coal on land owned by the corporation in the 1590s, and they were still hoping to find coal in the 1630s, prospecting on wastes and woodlands in their ownership. By the 17th century coal mining was one of the most important industrial interests in Nottinghamshire, with new mines opened in the Hucknall area.
Most coal was sold locally to domestic consumers, but efforts were made from the 17th century to use coal commercially. Glassworks were established at Wollaton in 1615, the aim being to use local coal in the glass making process. The glass was to be sold on the London market. It was calculated that it would cost £1 2s 7d to sell a ton of Wollaton glass in London. The enterprise was not successful and had closed by 1617.
In 1601 the Willoughbys leased their Wollaton pits to Huntington and Nicholas Beaumont, father and son, on a 21 year lease. Two years later the Beaumonts also leased pits in Strelley which had been acquired in 1597 by the Byrons of Newstead. In 1604 Huntington Beaumont undertook to deliver 7,000 loads of coal to Nottingham annually, but meeting this target proved impossible. Beaumonts financial backers pulled out and by 1618 he was imprisoned in Nottingham for debt.
Despite Beaumonts failure coal mining continued and the collieries at Cossall and Trowell were in production during the 1650s and 1660s. They declined after 1672 and mining was not resumed at Trowell until 1720. The Willoughbys were making £1000 a year or more profit in the early 1730s but rather less later in the decade.
In the middle of the 18th century, Charles Deering recorded that Nottingham was well supplied with coal from neighbouring pits, particularly those of the Middleton family: there are coal mines within 3, 4, 6 & 7 Miles, North-West and West of this Town, which being workd furnish to it Plenty of Coal, at a reasonable Rate, for they are never above 4d. to 6d per Hundred unless when a wet Winter Season has made the Roads very bad.
Coal has been worked in Nottinghamshire in some way or another for hundreds of years, it was mined from outcrops to the weastern part of the county, where the shallow coal seams come to the surface. Men women and children as young as six years old were being exploited in terrible conditions to make vast wealth for the coal owners. As shafts were sunk, usually the owners would work the first decent thickness of coal they came to usually over 3' 6'' although thinner seams were worked.
There were no concessions for working a bad stint on a face, if you were unlucky to hit a break or fault in the seam, then you had to work harder for a lot less in wages, as men were paid by tonnage, or how many tubs they had filled in a shift of 10-12 hours a day, six days a week. These were hard. Politically gloomy times if you were at the wrong end of the wages ladder, and the coal owners were tyrannical in getting every last drop of sweat out of there workforce. In 1842 the government under pressure from the union, sanctioned and bought into practice the childrens commission findings, it abolished some of these crude and cruel practices, and legislation and the law was changed on who could work in a mine.Women and children under the age of 10 could no longer work underground although many women still worked on the surface,grading the coal and tippling the tubs .
Accidents were a common everyday occurance, with poor safety regulations, inadequate supports, and management who ruled with fear.
BRINSLEY COLLIERY & HOPKINS PIT owned by Barber & Co was included in the 1842 Children's Employment Commission. With reports from:-
James Sisson - Engine Man
Thomas Sisson - Staver
Samuel Davis - Aged 6
John Limb - Aged 12
Rowland Henshaw - Aged 10
William Wardle - Aged 10
Thomas Platts - Aged 12
He is six years old and has worked for half a year and drives between the coal face and pony road, and has 9d per day. He lives a mile and a half from the pit and has to leave home at four o'clock, and gets home about nine. Last week they worked three-quarter days and he left home at four, and it was after five by the time he got back. He breakfasts before he goes and has dry bread and tea but he never gets any dinner. He has bread and tea when he gets home and never has meat excepting a little on Sunday, either bacon or meat. He is quite knocked up when he gets home. He has two brothers and three sisters. His brothers are older than he and one is grown up, but they will not work. His mother seams. His father was killed by a falling rock last year. He goes to Brinsley Church Sunday School and he has been there for three years. He learns how to spell "God". he cannot say his A, B, C.
It was not until the advent of the steam engine and the industrial use of steam power that started with Thomas Savery in 1698. He constructed and patented in London the first engine, which he called the "Miner's Friend" since he intended it to pump water from mines. This machine used steam at 8 to 10 atmospheres (120-150 psi) and had no moving parts other than hand-operated valves. James Watt was another steam entrapaneur that enabled mines to be sunk deeper, to work thicker seams of coal more productivly, One of the first thick quality coal seams that was reachable in the Notts area is the Top hard seam at about 5'8'' in height. The first ventilation fan in Notts, was fitted at High park colliery near Moorgreen reservoir, this pit was sunk in 1854, and the fan replaced the furnace system, that drew the air around the workings.The furnace system of ventilation was recognised to be a major contributor of mine explosions,and disasters, nationwide the unions petitioned through there representatives, after the North east's, Hartley colliery disaster, where 209 men lost there lives , this brought about a change in ventilation practices, and having the necessity of an upcast shaft as a means of ventilation and escape.
During the 1840s 50s and 60s the first sods of earth were cut in the circle, that were to become the new colliery shafts, of the South Notts coalfield. The pits started to produce coal about 3-4 years after sinking started, and were to supply the expanding railways, steel works, and cotton mills, hospitals, factories, cities and households of the county. The industrial revolution had seen great advances and coal was at the heart of it. Collieries were generally sunk in rural open places, or a couple of miles on the outskirts of a village. The huge estates of Dukes, Lords, and the upper classes of that time also sank shafts, and the housing and infrastructure for people wanting to work the mines came secondary and dwellings were built densely, two up two down, often with no garden and only an ash pit toilet outside.
In Nottinghamshire the first records of a union being organised was in the early 1840s about the same time as the chartist movement was petitioning and demonstrating, for the right for workers to be allowed to vote, but the union was a much isolated attempt, and the coal owners, would not recognise the union at the collieries,and the establishment wouldn't give the chartists any quarter either,The "People's Charter," drafted in 1838 by William Lovett, was at the heart of a radical campaign for parliamentary reform of the inequities remaining after the Reform Act of 1832. The Chartists' six main demands were:
Votes for all men;
Equal electoral districts;
Abolition of the requirement that Members of Parliament be property owners;
Payment for M.P.s;
Annual general elections; and
The secret ballot.
The Chartists obtained one and a quarter million signatures and presented the Charter to the House of Commons in 1839, where it was rejected by a vote of 235 to 46. Many of the leaders of the movement, having threatened to call a general strike, were arrested. When demonstrators marched on the prison at Newport, Monmouthshire, demanding the release of their leaders, troops opened fire, killing 24 and wounding 40 more. A second petition with 3 million signatures was rejected in 1842; the rejection of the third petition in 1848 brought an end to the movement and many were imprisoned and deported to Australia.
The burning embers of a union did however survive in the county, and gently smouldered with a small membership until 1863, when the Derbyshire & Nottinghamshire Miners Association was formed, it was involved in various strikes and lockouts. Then in 1880 the Derbyshire Miners Association was formed, and the Nottingham section reorganised itself into the Nottinghamshire Miners Federation'' in 1881.
In December 1885 Nottinghamshire again reorganised and changed its name to the Nottinghamshire Miners Association membership was only 500 members and 11 branches, the first agent for the NMA was a man by the name of Hopkin, after only a few months, funds were in such a state, that he could not be paid. In the autumn of 1886 he resigned and made way for a much respected charismatic councilor,and Methodist preacher, called William Bailey,who was both enthusiastic and had the drive to take the Association forward. He was full time agent and general secretary of the NMA, and membership levels rocketed from 500 to just over 19,000 from the years 1886 to 1895 under his guidance and leadership. This figure accounted for 84% of the miners in Notts being a Notts Miners Association member, out of a total workforce of 22,758 of which 4,707 were surface workers.
List of Mines worked under the Coal Mines Regulation Act, in Nottinghamshire, during the Year 1896.
Name of Mine Situation Owner and Postal Address Manager Under-
Manager Workers Minerals Worked Remarks (Seam of Coal worked, &c.)
Annesley Nottingham Annesley Colliery Co., Nottingham Henry Lewis John Poxon 1070 237 Coal, M & S Top Hard
Awsworth, "Nos. 1 & 2" Kimberley Awsworth Colliery Co., Kimberley, nr. Nottingham Joseph Cunliffe Samuel Henshaw 210 65 Coal, M, G & H Tupton, Silkstone, Kilburn
Bentinck, "No. 1" Kirkby New Hucknall Colliery Co., Mansfield Benjn. Madew John Blood 126 64 Coal, H Deep Soft
Bentinck, "No. 2" Kirkby New Hucknall Colliery Co., Mansfield Benjn. Madew Joseph Fletcher 3 3 Coal, G Silkstone
Bentinck, "No. 3" Kirkby New Hucknall Colliery Co., Mansfield Benjn. Madew Joseph Fletcher 7 2 Coal, M Tupton
Bestwood Nottingham Bestwood Coal and Iron Co., near Nottingham Jos. Cunliffe Isaac Marper 874 328 Coal, M & S Top Hard
Brinsley Eastwood Barber, Walker & Co., Eastwood, Nottingham W. Chambers John Henshaw 317 79 Coal, H & S Deep Soft, Deep Hard
Broxtowe Basford Babbington Coal Co., Babbington, Nottingham Geo. Fowler Samuel Starr 311 66 Coal, H Deep Soft
Bulwell Basford Babbington Coal Co., Cinderford, Nottingham Geo. Fowler Griffin Walters 136 45 Coal, M & S Top Hard
Cinderhill, "Nos. 1 & 4" Basford Babbington Coal Co., Cinderhill, Nottingham Geo. Fowler Samuel Kirk 608 248 Coal, M & S Top Hard
Clifton, "Nos. 1 & 2" Nottingham Clifton Colliery Co., Nottingham Henry Fisher Thomas Severn 649 198 Coal, M & H Deep Hard, Deep Soft
Clinton Eastwood P. Newton, 4, Albert St., Derby
E. Clarke 6 4 Coal, M Coombe
Cossall Ilkeston Cossall Colliery Co., Nottingham W.J. Hedley James Holding 454 103 Coal, H Kilburn
Digby Eastwood Digby Colliery Co., near Nottingham Granville Chambers I. Pilkington 185 28 Coal, H & M Deep Soft, Deep Hard
High Park Eastwood Barber, Walker, & Co., Eastwood, Nottingham Geo. Harrison H. Knighton 431 97 Coal, M & S Top Hard
Hucknall, "No 1" Hucknall Torkard Hucknall Colliery Co., near Nottingham A.S. Douglas Enoch James 526 130 Coal, M & H Tupton or Furnace, Top Hard
Hucknall, "No 2" Hucknall Torkard Hucknall Colliery Co., near Nottingham A.S. Douglas John Wright 582 109 Coal, H Top Hard
Kimberley Basford Babbington Coal Co., Cinderhill, Nottingham George Fowler William Clements 135 43 Coal, H Deep Soft
Kirkby Kirkby The Butterley Co., Alfreton B. McLaren John W. Elliott 453 126 Coal, M & S Top Hard
Langton, "Nos. 7 & 9" Pinxton Coke and Co., Pinxton, Alfreton H. Stevenson Job Smith 360 96 Coal, M & H Deep Soft, Deep Hard - Standing
Linby Nottingham Linby Colliery Co., Nottingham Henry Lewis M.W. Jennings 1012 263 Coal, M & S Top Hard
Moor Green Eastwood Barber, Walker and Co., Eastwood, Nottingham A. Chambers John Varley 648 102 Coal, H & M Deep Soft, Deep Hard
Newcastle Basford Babbington Coal Co., Cinderford, Nottingham George Fowler Francis Keeling 142 39 Coal, M & S Top Hard
New Hucknall, "No. 1" Mansfield New Hucknall Colliery Co., Mansfield S. Watson Jacob Wilson 246 70 Coal, M & S Top Hard
New Hucknall, "No. 2" Mansfield New Hucknall Colliery Co., Mansfield S. Watson W. Keeling 387 74 Coal, M Deep Hard
New Hucknall, "No. 3" Mansfield New Hucknall Colliery Co., Mansfield S. Watson W. Fidler 402 71 Coal, H Tupton
New London Eastwood Digby Colliery Co., near Nottingham Granville Chambers George Gittens 505 104 Coal, M & H Deep Soft, Deep Hard
New Selston Alfreton J. Oakes and Co., Riddings, Alfreton J.H.W. Laverick G. Searston 331 56 Coal, M & H Deep Soft, Deep Hard
Newstead Nottingham Newstead Colliery Co., Nottingham J.B. Smith J. Greensmith 1180 281 Coal, M & S Top Hard
Plumptre Eastwood The Butterley Co., Alfreton H.R. Watson Jas. Walker 381 66 Coal, M & H Deep Soft, Deep Hard
Pollington Alfreton J. Oakes and Co., Riddings, Alfreton J.H.W. Laverick William Wright 371 54 Coal, M & H Deep Soft, Deep Hard
Portland, "Nos. 1, 2, & 4" Kirkby The Butterley Co., Alfreton M. McLaren W.W. Jepson 286 147 Coal, M & S Top Hard
Pye Hill, "Nos. 1 & 2" Alfreton J. Oakes and Co., Riddings, Alfreton J.H.W. Laverick John Dean 357 63 Coal, M & H Tupton, Silkstone
Selston Eastwood Barber, Walker and Company, Eastwood, Nottingham W. Chambers John Lowe 366 71 Coal, H Deep Soft
Shire Oaks, "Nos. 1 & 2" Shire Oaks Shire Oaks Colliery Co., Worksop John Jones W. Cottingham, No. 1
W. Horsey, No. 2 690 181 Coal, M & S Top Hard
Silver Hill, "No. 1" Mansfield Stanton Iron Co., Teversall, Mansfield J. Piggford Thos. Machin 302 107 Coal, H Tupton
Silver Hill, "No. 2" Mansfield Stanton Iron Co., Teversall, Mansfield J. Piggford Thos. Machin 141 62 Coal, H Silkstone
Steetly Shire Oaks Shire Oaks Colliery Co., Worksop R.E. Jones Samuel Edwards 340 70 Coal, M & S Top Hard
Sutton, "No. 1" Mansfield Sutton Colliery Co., Mansfield J. Wroe
10 56 Coal, S & M Top Hard
Sutton, "No. 2" Mansfield Sutton Colliery Co., Mansfield J. Wroe
30 1 Coal, H Dunsil
Teversall, "Nos. 1 & 2" Mansfield Stanton Iron Co., Teversall, Mansfield J. Piggford Josiah Ball 544 154 Coal, S & M Top Hard
Trowell Moor Stanton Gate Dunn Brothers, Trowell, Notts Enock Prime James Kirk 275 52 Coal, H Kilburn
Tunnel Alfreton J. Oakes and Co., Riddings, Alfreton J.H.W. Laverick G. Searston 104 36 Coal, H Deep Soft, Tupton
Warsop Main Mansfield Staveley Coal and Iron Co., Chesterfield E.E. Booker Martin Cropper 132 127 Coal, S & M Top Hard
Watnall Eastwood Barber, Walker and Co., Eastwood, Nottingham Isaac Chambers Z. Clay 589 136 Coal, M & S Top Hard
Wollaton, "Nos. 1 & 2" Nottingham Wollaton Colliery Co., Nottingham Lot Hodgkinson James Granger 837 193 Coal, M & H Deep Hard, Deep Soft
Total 18051 4707
The National Union
Nottinghamshire Miners leader William Bailey died on 26 July 1896 at the age of 45 years old.He suffered greatley with asthma and would often turn out for meetings in terrible weather only to arrive exhausted and gasping for breath.Under his leadership membership grew dramatically.
Nottinghamshire Miners leader William Bailey died on 26 July 1896 at the age of 45 years old.
The first attempt at forming a national organisation. called the Miners Association of Great Britain and Ireland, took place in 1842.
In 1844 the Association led a heroic five-month strike for better wages; however, pressure from the coal owners and the Government crushed it out of existence by 1848.
It was succeeded in 1863 by the Miners National Union, an organisation which concentrated its efforts on representing mineworkers in the courts and in Parliament rather than involving itself in industrial action, and confronting owners over pay and conditions.
Meanwhile, the economics of capitalism (slump and boom) meant that mining communities were at the mercy of the market; lifted for brief periods from literal starvation to simple hardship, only to be dropped back into starvation whenever the marker collapsed into slump.
Whilst the District Unions did everything in their power, it was clear by the end of the 1880s that only a national union could effectively challenge the co-ordinated policies of Government and owners
NATIONAL COAL STRIKE 1912
"Are you in favour of giving notice to establish the principle of a minimum wage for every man and boy working underground in the mines of Great Britain?"
Ballot paper issued by the Miners' Federation of Great Britain, January 1912.
The National Coal Strike of 1912 was a direct consequence of the complicated wage structure which had evolved in the mining industry by the end of the nineteenth century. The old system of paying miners on the basis of a `sliding scale', relating wages directly to the selling price of coal, was largely abandoned in the late 1890's and the collier's money calculated in terms of the local "price-list", negotiated district by district between the Federation "Lodge" and the owners, plus a percentage agreed by a Conciliation Board under an independent chairman. These price-lists took account of the "cutting price", or standard rate per ton "got" from the face, and "measured-up" for other work, such as repairing timber or clearing "dirt", which was not directly productive. In most pits there was an additional "consideration" paid, often unofficially, for work in "abnormal places", places where variations in the seam, soft roof, water, occurrence of stone, etc., etc., made it impossible for a collier, however skilled, to earn a fair day's wage. Where these allowances were not fixed in the price-list, he was responsible for his own claim. Frequently managements allowed only small fixed sums to cover all claims, decisions between man and man were purely arbitrary and the small number of men involved from pit to pit led to easy victimisation. In 1910-11, 30,000 Welsh colliers struck over the issue and the struggle developed into a fight for a minimum day wage for all colliers. The M.F.G.B., attempting to negotiate nationally for the first time, would at first only sponsor the proposed minimum for "abnormal places", but in October 1911 resolved in conference "to take immediate steps to secure an individual district minimum wage for all men and boys working in the mines . . . without any references to the places being abnormal". Individual districts prepared schedules of minimum rates for each of the various grades of labour, Nottinghamshire, with Yorkshire, asking the top rate of 8s. for hewers and the Federation officially conceding a demand of 7s. 6d. The owners rejected the proposals almost unanimously, although most were now prepared to guarantee "abnormal places". The New Year opened "in anxiety and gloom" and in a national ballot well over half the M.F.G.B. membership voted for a stoppage.
Despite government intervention, and to national dismay, the strike began at the end of February. The strike opened at Alfreton in Derbyshire, one of the best conducted pits in the country, and spread slowly as local notices expired. `At the great majority of the Nottinghamshire collieries', it was reported on the first day, `the notices expire tomorrow, and at a few of the pits on Wednesday.
`At the collieries of Messrs Barber, Walker & Co. of Eastwood, where 3,000 men are employed, the miners have agreed to remain at work on Thursday. They have also acceded to the request of the managers to leave their tools and stock in the pit in the event of a stoppage'. The miners generally left work in a holiday mood, a fact which was quickly noted and exploited by the predominantly right wing press. In some localities, including Nottinghamshire `next to Derbyshire, the wealthiest district in the country' (and perhaps because, `according to a prominent manager', `over production would have compelled a stoppage of many pits early in March in any case') masters and men remained on good terms throughout the strike.
There was less confidence nationally. A civilian volunteer force was formed, police in the colliery districts generally were reinforced, and, as nerves began to fray towards the end of March, the army moved in.
Strike pay for the colliers, ten shillings a week for full union members, began on Tuesday 5th March. By the 23rd the Notts Miners' Association had spent about £50,000 out of their total funds of £220,000 and it was estimated that the men `could last out at least another ten weeks.'
Mine owners wanted to normalise profits even during times of economic instability which often took the form of wage reductions for miners in their employ. Coupled with the prospect of longer working hours, the industry was thrown into disarray.
Mine owners therefore announced that their intention was to reduce miners' wages, the MFGB rejected the terms: "Not a penny off the pay, not a second on the day." and the TUC responded to this news by promising to support the miners in their dispute. The Conservative government under Stanley Baldwin decided to intervene, declaring that they would provide a nine-month subsidy to maintain the miners' wages and that a Royal Commission under the chairmanship of Sir Herbert Samuel would look into the problems of the mining industry.
This decision became known as "Red Friday" because it was seen as a victory for working-class solidarity and Socialism. In practice, the subsidy gave the mine owners and the government time to prepare for a major labour dispute. Herbert Smith (a leader of the Miners' Federation of Great Britain) said of this event: "We have no need to glorify about victory. It is only an armistice."
The Samuel Commission published its report on March 10th 1926: it reccommended that in the future, national agreements, the nationalisation of royalties and sweeping reorganisation and improvement should be considered for the mining industry. The report also recommended that the government subsidy should be withdrawn and that the miners' wages should be reduced by 13.5% to save the industry's profitability. Two weeks later, the Prime Minister announced that the government would accept the Report provided other parties also did. A previous Royal Commission, the Sankey Commission, had recommended nationalisation a few years earlier to deal with the problems of productivity and profitability in the industry, but Lloyd George, then Prime Minister, had rejected its report.
After the Samuel Commission's report, the mine owners published new terms of employment for all miners. These included an extension of the seven-hour working day, district wage agreements, and a reduction in wages. Depending on a number of factors, the wages would be cut by between 10% and 25%. The mine owners declared that if the miners did not accept the new terms then from the first day of May they would be locked out of the pits. The Miners' Federation of Great Britain (MFGB) refused the wage reduction and regional negotiation.
Final negotiations began on 1st May, where an agreement was almost reached. However one million miners were locked out, impossible to get them back to work without firm assurances concerning their wages. A deal could not be brokered despite last minute attempts and the TUC subsequently announced that a general strike "in defence of miners' wages and hours" was to begin on 3rd May.
The leaders of the Labour Party were terrified by the revolutionary elements within the union movement and were unhappy about the proposed General Strike. During the next two days frantic efforts were made to reach an agreement with the Government and the mine owners. However, these efforts failed, due mainly to an eleventh-hour decision by printers of the Daily Mail to refuse to print an editorial condemning the General Strike entitled "For King and Country". They objected to the following passage: "A general strike is not an industrial dispute. It is a revolutionary move which can only succeed by destroying the government and subverting the rights and liberties of the people". When Baldwin heard of this, he called off the negotiations with the TUC by saying that this refusal was interfering with the liberty of the press.
King George V took exception to suggestions that the strikers were 'revolutionaries' saying, "Try living on their wages before you judge them."
The TUC feared that an all-out general strike would bring revolutionary elements to the fore. They decided to bring out workers only in the key industries, such as railwaymen, transport workers, printers, dockers and ironworkers and steelworkers.
The Government had prepared for the strike over the nine months in which it had provided a subsidy, creating organizations such as the Organization for the maintenance of supplies, and did whatever it could to keep the country moving. It rallied support by emphasizing the revolutionary nature of the strikers. The armed forces and volunteer workers helped maintain basic services. The government's Emergency Powers Act - an act to maintain essential supplies - had been passed in 1920.
On 4 May 1926, the number of strikers was about 1.5 - 1.75 million. There were strikers "from John o' Groats to Land's End". Workers' reaction to the strike call was immediate and overwhelming, and surprised both the Government and the TUC; the latter not being in control of the strike. On this first day, there were no major initiatives and no dramatic events, except for the nation's transport being at a standstill.
On 5 May 1926, both sides gave their views. Churchill (at that time Chancellor of the Exchequer) commented as editor of the government newspaper British Gazette : "I do not agree that the TUC have as much right as the Government to publish their side of the case and to exhort their followers to continue action. It is a very much more difficult task to feed the nation than it is to wreck it". In the British Worker, the TUC's newspaper: "We are not making war on the people. We are anxious that the ordinary members of the public shall not be penalized for the unpatriotic conduct of the mine owners and the government". In the meantime, the government put in place a "militia" of special constables, called the Organisation for the Maintenance of Supplies (OMS). They were volunteers to maintain order in the street. A special constable said: "It was not difficult to understand the strikers' attitude toward us. After a few days I found my sympathy with them rather than with the employers. For one thing, I had never realized the appalling poverty which existed. If I had been aware of all the facts, I should not have joined up as a special constable". It was decided that Fascists would not be allowed to enlist in the OMS without first giving up their political beliefs as the government feared a right-wing backlash so the fascists formed Q Division under Rotha Lintorn-Orman to combat the strikers.
On 6 May 1926, there was a change of atmosphere. Baldwin said: "The General Strike is a challenge to the parliament and is the road to anarchy". The government newspaper British Gazette suggested that means of transport began to improve with volunteers and blackleg workers, stating on the front page that there were '200 buses on the streets'.  These were however figures of propaganda as there were in fact only 86 buses running.
On 7 May 1926, the TUC met with Sir Herbert Samuel and worked out a set of proposals designed to end the dispute. The Miners' Federation rejected the proposals. The British Worker was increasingly difficult to operate because Churchill had requisitioned the bulk of the supply of the paper's newsprint so reduced its size from eight pages to four. In the meantime, the government took action to protect the men who decided to return to work.
On 8 May 1926, there was a dramatic moment on the London Docks. Lorries were protected by the army. They broke the picket line and transported food to Hyde Park. This episode showed that the government was in greater control of the situation. In a change of policy, the Army was chosen to move the lorries instead of the OMS. The volunteers who comprised the OMS were seen as reactionaries by the strikers and were often met with violence. Revisionist historians have claimed that use of the OMS in transport would have caused a revolution.
On 10 May 1926, the Flying Scotsman was derailed by strikers near Newcastle.
On 11 May 1926, the British Worker, alarmed at the fears of the General Council of the TUC that there was to be a mass drift back to work, claimed: "The number of strikers has not diminished; it is increasing. There are more workers out today than there have been at any moment since the strike began."
Also on this day, two unions took the TUC to court to prevent them being called out on strike. The unions won their case against the TUC, and Justice Astbury, the judge, concluded that the General Strike was illegal. This made the TUC and unions liable to huge fines from employers as they were now not covered by the Trade Disputes Act, which basically said that the unions were not liable to loss of work. This also meant that Government had the ability to confiscate all union funds. This became know as the Astbury Judgment, and many people believe that this was the main reason for the TUC calling the strike off.
On 12 May 1926, the TUC General Council visited 10 Downing Street to announce their decision to call off the strike, provided that the proposals worked out by the Samuel Commission were adhered to and that the Government offered a guarantee that there would be no victimization of strikers. The Government stated that it had "no power to compel employers to take back every man who had been on strike." Thus the TUC agreed to end the dispute without such an agreement.
 Aftermath of the conflict
For several months the miners continued to maintain resistance, but by October 1926 hardship forced many men back, especially those with young families. By the end of November most miners were back at work. However, many remained unemployed for many years. Those that were employed were forced to accept longer hours, lower wages, and district wage agreements. The strikers felt as though they had achieved nothing.
In 1927, the British Government passed the Trade Disputes and Trade Union Act. This act made all sympathetic strikes illegal, and ensured that trade union members had to voluntarily "contract in" to pay the political levy. It also forbade civil service unions from affiliating with the TUC, and made mass picketing illegal.
The effect on the British coal-mining industry was profound. By the late 1930s, employment in mining had fallen by more than one-third from its pre-strike peak of 1.2 million miners, but productivity had rebounded from under 200 tons produced per miner to over 300 tons by the outbreak of the Second World War.
DAY 8: Tuesday 11 May
The general atmosphere was filled with rumours of imminent peace. The Trades Union Congress (TUC) called a special meeting, but also called out on strike engineering and shipbuilding workers. It refused a request from print unions to allow some papers to be printed.
A court action was brought by the National Sailors' Union and the Firemen's Union, used to restrain officials from calling members of these unions out on strike. This led to a judgement by the High Court Judge, Justice Astbury, that the General Strike was illegal. The judgement also stated that the 1906 Trade Disputes Act did not protect those involved in a strike.
A.J. Cook (1883-1931) worked first on a farm in Somerset and then moved to the South Wales coalfield. On his first day in the pit, the man next to him was killed and the 16 year old had to carry the body to the surface and then back to his family. He was a Baptist preacher, but transferred his skill at public speaking to the Independent Labour Party (ILP) and socialism.
Between 1906-1918, he held various elected positions in the Rhondda No 1 District Lodge of the South Wales Miners' Federation and was active in the Unofficial reform Committee of 1910-11. He attended the Central Labour College, but was unable to complete the course due to financial difficulties. He was an active anti-war propagandist and was imprisoned for sedition. He was a member of the Communist Party 1920-21 and played a leading role in the Miners' Minority Movement. He was General Secretary of the Miners' Federation of Great Britain from 1924 until his death.
He was a very prominant speaker in the Nottinghamshire coalfield before,during, and after the 1926 strike, many thousands would turn out to hear him speak, he sometimes spoke two or three times in different corners of a recreational field, so that as many people as possible got the chance to hear his message.
In 1921 and spending another brief period in prison in the same year for incitement and unlawful assembly. In 1924 the Miners' Minority Movement was able to force Frank Hodges to resign his union office, and thus an election was held to determine the next leader of the movement. The South Wales Miners Federation nominated AJ Cook to replace him, and he beat a Yorkshire miner for the post by 217,664 votes to 202,297. Cook was then 39 years old. On learning of his election, Trade Unionist Committee general secretary Fred Bramley exploded in outrage against Cook's election, claiming him to be a raving Communist. Regardless, he was General Secretary of the Miners Federation of Great Britain from 1924 until 1931, a period that included the 1926 General Strike, about which he wrote the pamphlet "The Nine Days". He was also elected as secretary of the International Miners' Federation.
Although a member of the Independent Labour Party, Cook worked closely with the Communist Party after its formation in 1920 and the National Minority Movement from 1924 to 1929. Arthur Horner, a leading South Wales Communist and mining militant described Cook's tenure as General Secretary as a time for new ideas an agitator, a man with a sense of adventure.
He died of cancer in 1931, aged 47.
"Not a penny off the pay, not a second on the day".
I believe in strikes. They are the only weapon.
"Say what you will about the tenets of socialism, at least it is an ethos."
AJ Cook in Wales 1926
Following the betrayal of the miners by the TUC General Council in 1926, the miners fought on alone in dire poverty and deprivation surviving with the help of the Co-Operative society, donations, and organised soup kitchens in every town, they struggled on for another nine months, before the strike collapsed.
The collapse brought vicious victimisation, blacklisting of men and a purge on Trade Unionism.
On October 5th, at Digby and New London pit's near Eastwood, at a meeting at Hill top, men decided on a return to work. The significant thing about this meeting was that G A Spencer was present.George Spencer was MP for Broxtowe and Notts Miners Association official, he met with the owners at the men's request to get them their jobs back.Spencer did this.He also met with other colliery owners to see if they were prepared to take the men back. The next day this was reported back and the matter raised at a special conference of the MFGB, he was suspended from the Miners Federation of Great Britain for strike breaking. The outcome of this was the begining of a yellow, blackleg, organisation that would destroy the unity and collectiveness of the miners in Notts for the next twelve years. The so called Spencer Union was hand in glove with the mine owners. It was partly financed by thousands of pounds from the right wing seamans union leader J Havelock Wilson who was later expelled from the TUC for his actions.
The Digby delegate Cyril Pugh a communist party member from Kimberley, was also expelled from the MFGB at a special conference on 7th of October 1926 for his part in the return to work, (including himself) Realising his big mistake he then tried persuading men back out on strike to hardly no avail. He was eventually reinstated back into the Notts miners Association and in 1928 Pugh was elected to Kimberley parish council, he was most certainly victimised as he became a collector for the Notts Miners Association and he also became an executive committee member of the NMA. In the mid 1930s he became a tutor operating in Bulwell, Hucknall, and Mansfield Woodhouse, and was still a CP member during the 1960s .
It is also worth mentioning that in the county council elections of March 6th 1928 his brother James Holland Pugh a butty at Digby, defeated R A Hanson of (Hardy & Hansons brewery, director) in Newthorpe ward, Mr Hanson had held the seat for twenty years.His other brother William (Billy) Pugh was a Labour Party activist.
Also on 6th of March 1928 Tom Nally a Notts Miners Association committee member and Gedling miner defeated his employer, Colonel Sir Dennis Readett-Bayley, Chairman of Digby Colliery co for a county council seat at Kimberley -Eastwood, Nally had been sacked two weeks prior to the polling date,presumably on the closing date for withdrawal of his nomination, which he didn't do. He returned to Lancashire in 1930 and eventually became deputy leader of the labour group on Manchester city council.The local papers headlines were that of ''CLEAR CLASS ISSUES'' where the red candidates romped home and where Mondism and Spencerism were openly fought.Nally said it was a victory for A J Cook and a defeat for all his enemies whether inside the Labour movement or outside of it.
I928 Nottinghamshire County Council Election Results:
Mansfeld South C Pritchard LAB 1,655. F Hardy Citizens League 1,225
Mansfield Woodhouse A Wilcox LAB 1,702. C J Palmer 1,540
Huthwaite J Davies LAB 637. C H Coupe LIB 465.
Kimberley T Nally LAB 1,181, Sir H Dennis Bayley ,Coal owner 815.
Kirkby East & Annesley W Bayliss LAB 1,691
J W Blackburn 957
Kirkby South & West R Smith LAB 1,208. J W Colledge 746
Hucknall East G A Goodall LAB 1,055. E H Story IND 492
Hucknall West G Johnson LAB 1,528. R Taylor LIB 943
Eastwood W E Hopkin LAB 1,366. J Birkin IND 648
A good number of the Labour candidate gains were officials or members of the the Nottinghamshire Miners Association (NMA)and two weeks after the elections on a Saturday afternoon A J Cook spoke to a big crowd of miners and supporters on Hucknall Market place, thanking the candidates for all their hard work in gaining victory and a majority at County hall, he also made reference to '' the three mutineers Hodges,Spencer, and Wilson'' .
Also in 1927-8 a reorganisation of the NMA took place as they were no longer recognised by the coal owners,and had been hit hard financially by the 1926 strike and men were being victimised and frightened into joining the spencer union.
1929 saw Wall Street crash and so did our economy.
During the 1930s there was mass unemployment in Britain, the price of coal had dropped, pits were closed or working with skeleton workforces until viable to mine again. Miners were going from pit to pit to find a couple of days work. Shipyards were closed and industry was badly struggling. The hunger March from Jarrow made people in other parts of the country aware of the plight of the workers in the North East of the country.
This era was known as the great depression, but perhaps the greatest pain was inflicted on the women who were to bring up large families of children on a few borrowed pennys a week, shoes, clothes, and furniture, were pawned so that a family could have something to eat.
People were starving and in abject poverty.
Farmers would take milk to market to sell, only to return with it and throw it over the style wall for the pigs to have, so literally the pigs were being fed better than the farmer and his family, there are accounts of suicides in every town and village, to escape the daily mental torture they were enduring at this time.
Despite this and to encourage the survival of this Spencer organisation, the Notts Miners Association and the MFGB was virtually banned by the coal owners in the county of Nottinghamshire. In 1934 the Barber Walker company who owned Harworth colliery even imposed wage cuts on certain men, who were so frightened of loosing there jobs and stating there case they suffered silently.
Saturday February 2, 1935, M.F.G.B officials Ebby Edwards, Joseph Jones and Will Lawther were invited to Nottingham to attend a full delegate council of the Nottinghamshire Miners Association, in there report back to the M.F.GB they recalled a sad history, and told how the coal owners in Notts would only allow employment if men were willing to sign a form agreeing deductions being made to the Spencer organisation. This was still going on after a ballot had been organised in March 1928 by impartial bodies, the Nottingham miners voted 9 to 1 in favour of the Nottinghamshire Miners Association being the union to represent them in the area.
Nottinghamshire Miners Association 32,277 votes
The Spencer union 2,533 votes
The struggle between the two organisations was bitter and Harworth was destined to be the eye of the storm. The Harworth branch of the Notts Miners Association struck in support of a demand for union recognition. It was to be a bitterly fought campaign lasting 6 months, during which time the strikers faced the most severe police harassment, along with evictions and arrests.
It must be noted that not only did Barber Walker Co own half a dozen pits in Notts including Harworth but they owned the houses around the collieries in which miners lived, the Chairman of the company Major Barber was also Chairman of Nottinghamshire county council, and went on to scrutinise the heavy handed police actions at Harworth and determine the nature of the charges imposed at Harworth.
When the strike was over, the Union's branch president Mick Kane, was charged with riot and sentenced to two years imprisonment with hard labour. Of the seventeen charged with him, eleven miners and one women (who was a miners wife) were given sentences ranging from four to fifteen months jail with hard labour, the remaining five were bound over.
The strike served as a beacon of resistance in the Nottingham coalfield, which was already becoming aware that its moderation and non-unionism had made its wages even lower than the poverty level they were at elsewhere. However the struggle was not seen through, under political pressure from the Labour Party leadership the Miners Federation leaders sat down with the Spencer entity and opened up merger talks. The settlement terms allowed George Spencer to become president of the Nottingham Area of the MFGB. In 1937 the breakaway section re-merged with the Notts Miners Association, and despite successful joint nation-wide actions in 1972 & 74, history would repeat itself in 1984 with the help of archivists reserching the history of the Notts coalfield, for use by those with an axe to grind and a wedge to split, the Tory government used this knowledge to exploit the divisions once more in the Notts coalfield.
Lodge Colliery was at Giltbrook and was known by all as 'Billy Halls Pit'.
What a dreadful coalmine this was, none had a good name for it, but it was a job and people must have been glad to have one.
Newstead Colliery FC
Another good season for Newstead Colliery 1967/68 season.
Notts Combination K.O Cup winners
The colliery is in the background.
Happy times. Season 1968/69 Notts Junior Cup winners. Notts Combination League winners.
Miners walked out on strike on 9 January in their first national dispute for 50 years
1972: Miners strike against government
Coal miners walked out at midnight in their first national strike for almost 50 years.
Three months of negotiations with the National Coal Board ended in deadlock four days ago with an offer of 7.9% on the table and the promise of a backdated deal for an increase in productivity.
The 280,000 mineworkers signalled their determination to break the Government's unofficial eight per cent pay ceiling by refusing to put the offer to the vote.
They are looking for an increase of up to £9 a week - on an average take home wage of £25.
Miners have been observing an overtime ban since 1 November in support of their pay claim, which the NCB estimates has already cost the industry £20m.
Yesterday, the NCB announced it was withdrawing its pay offer as it became clear the miners were not happy to what was on the table.
We are determined to win this battle, however long it may take
South Wales miner
NCB Chairman, Derek Ezra, said: "If we had granted the £120m they had asked for and thus presumably satisfied the mineworkers, we would have landed ourselves in a very serious financial situation.
"The only way of recouping that money would then have been to put prices up and we would have had to put the price of coal up by at least another 15%."
Mr Ezra said the strike would mean up to £12m a week in lost revenue - and therefore calculations on which previous pay offers had been made were invalid.
The Trades Union Congress (TUC) is holding meetings at the weekend to discuss support for the strike among transport unions.
The General Secretary of the National Union of Mineworkers, Lawrence Daly, has predicted coal stocks will quickly run down.
"Industrialists in this country will be pressing the Government to get the door open for serious talks," he added.
Three-quarters of the electricity used in the United Kingdom comes from coal-burning power stations.
The strike comes at a time when the stations are facing long periods of peak demand during the cold weather.
All 289 pits across the country have been closed by the strike. Miners say they are prepared for a long fight.
A south Wales miner said: "We are going into this now, not thinking it's going to be over in a week or a fortnight. We are determined to win this battle however long it may take."
. They are demanding a £9 a week pay rise on top of an average wage of £25.
The government offered a 7.9% deal - just below its unofficial 8% pay ceiling - but the National Union of Mineworkers refused to put it to the vote. The National Coal Board has since withdrawn the offer.
On 9 February a state of emergency was declared. Two days later a committee of inquiry was established under Lord Wilberforce to investigate the miners' demands.
All 289 pits in England and Wales are closed and the miners say they are prepared for a long fight.
At 0100 on 19 February a deal was finally reached. The £95m package agreed was below the £120m the National Coal Board said the miners were claiming.
had wrung an extra 15 concessions from Number 10 over and above the Wilberforce inquiry recommendations.
They returned to work on 25 February among the highest paid in the working classes after a seven week stoppage.
Justice For Mineworkers campaign,
Hucknall No 2 Colliery
The Hucknall Colliery Company set up by Paget Ellis & Walker in 1861/2 sank Hucknall No1 and No2 collieries. The Sherwood Colliery Company then owned them from 1911 to 1947.
No 1 colliery which was situated on Watnall Road ceased winding coal in 1943 and mining was transferred to No2 colliery sited on Portland Road. Number 1 site, however, continued to be used for ventilation, manriding and materials.
Hucknall became publicly owned on 1st January 1947 and it was a major contributor to the NCBs East Midlands Division. Its upper seams were however approaching exhaustion and a major reconstruction began in 1957.
During the reconstruction period from 1957 to 1969 production from the upper seams ceased and access was obtained to the lower seams with production from the Deep Soft to the east of the shafts beginning in 1964. Two drifts were also driven to the Blackshale seam in 1967/68. The reconstruction transformed the appearance of the colliery above and below ground and with its completion Hucknall entered its most productive phase.
The first Blackshale coalface commenced production in 1970 and the following year the Deep Soft seam production ceased, and the Blackshale seam accounted for the entire output. Annual outputs for 1972/3 and 1974/5 exceeded 1 million tons and for the first time in June 1972 an all time weekly record of 26,050 tons was recorded with output per man shift exceeding five tons; well above the national average. The underground main roadways had lighting installed, and there was a methane plant on the surface that generated heating for the offices and hot water for the pit head baths. Hucknall closed in October 1986 after it was labelled uneconomic, this was after new screens/ preperation plant had been completed on the surface the year before, costing around £12.2 million,There were also geological problems underground but the management knew of those before mining that area of the seam.The management had taken the decision to work the blackshale seam on the south side of the workings that thinned out and had sandstone intrusions, but there were decades of reserves on the north east & eastern side's of the seam that were plentiful, high, and easy to work.The Blackshale seam had reserves estimated at 15 million Tons this did not include parcels of coal in the Tupton seam being worked by the Babbington men. There was a seam below the blackshale seam called the Ashgate seam, it has remained unmined and untouched in this area.
Hucknall was closed in the first round of pit closures after the dispute, but it wasn't just Hucknall that was a casualty so was Babbington colliery and it's miners, this colliery was linked underground with Hucknall to extract it's remaining reserves. Newstead was next to go in 1987 then Linby a few months later, the Leen valley coalfield had only one remaining pit left working, this was Annesley it worked the Blackshale seam until closing in the year 2000, local men now had to travel to work further afield to North Nottinghamshires pits, in some cases enduring as much as a 70 mile round trip,to pits like Harworth that included a physically demanding shift underground. History was repeating itself. With the assistance of the Tory government, and a young barrister who would become Attorney General under a labour government. Management at the collieries were instructed to turn back the clock 50 years and not recognise the National Union Of Mineworkers at any colliery, where its members were in the minority. This was the case in all of the Notts pits after the strike, when the breakaway organisation came into being. To be a member of the new organisation you didnt have to do anything adminastrative, but to become a member of the NUM you had to fill in forms at every verse end, going to see the admin man, instructing wage clerks, etc, this of course was meant to cause confusion and obstacles were put in the way of people re joining the NUM. Men who worked through the dispute were told by Arthur Scargill that there was a place for every miner in the NUM. So the NUM recruited with vigour at every mine in Notts, within three months there was a significant dent in the new organisations membership, At Hucknall colliery out of the 42 men on strike for the whole twelve months, they had recruited just under 300 men back into the NUM by the time the announcement was made to close the colliery in the summer of 1986, approximately a third of the workforce had signed over to the NUM, this was bolstered when Moorgreen and Pye Hill collieries closed, and the NUM gained more men that had become disillusioned and disgusted at promises made to them that there pit would be safe. The reality of the situation was now kicking in with those who had not supported the call to defend jobs, pits, and communities in 1984-5.
This time it was to be Ollerton & Bolsover Collieries at the forefront of this recognition struggle, fifty years on from the Harworth riots. In 1986 the Ollerton NUM branch, led by Jimmy Hood, Mick McGinty,Arthur Jackson and a core of staunch NUM loyals were only a handful of recruits short of being the second majority Notts NUM pit, but management immediately imported in members of the other organisation from other collieries to counter act the NUM gains. It was bitterly disappointing and another tactical defeat had been carried out, on instruction by high management.
Other collieries had also suffered the same fate, as soon as the membership of the NUM was getting close to a majority the pit was either shut or men from the other organisation were transferred into that colliery, under no circumstance were the management and the leaders of the other organisation going to allow majority NUM pits in Notts.
(Extract from The Guardian May 2005
Michael Clapham, MP for Barnsley West and the NUM's legal officer at the time, said yesterday: "I realised when I saw the dates of the documents in your paper that Lord Falconer's advice came just a few days before the union was informed that British Coal was ending the important industry conciliation scheme - effectively tearing up 40 years of agreements covering disputes.
"This was done so they could recognise the breakaway Union of Democratic Mineworkers - even though at the time it did not officially exist - and negotiate an inferior deal." The papers show that Lord Falconer was a junior barrister advising the coal board on how it could open negotiations with the fledgling union whose working members in Nottinghamshire had broken away from the NUM. His advice was backed by Peter Walker, then energy secretary, who was keen to break up the NUM. )
More Pictures of Newstead Colliery
No2 Headstocks being demolished,this was the dowcast shaft, January 1988.
No1 headstocks being demolished, this was the upcast shaft, 7 February 1988.
Last production shift at Newstead colliery, 19 March 1987
To Date 2006
Annesley Colliery headstocks, this is a prime example of latticed iron work headstocks, it is probably the only surviving one, standing in Britain. There is currently a local campaign to save the headstocks as a lasting memorial to the workforce, over the pit's long history.
At one time there were five men working underground who were destined to go on to play for England - including the legendary "bodyline'' pace-bowling partners, Harold Larwood and Bill Voce.