Notts NUM Area History Part 1

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 – Len Clarke – 1982: Ray Chadburn – 1992:Keith Stanley – 1997: Eric Eaton

General Secretaries

1881: W. Kay – 1884: Aaron Stewart – 1887: William Bailey – 1893: John George Hancock

1897: Aaron Stewart – 1910: Charles Bunfield – 1914: – 1918: George Alfred Spencer

1926: William Carter – 1932: Val Coleman – 1937: Val Coleman – Len Martin

1977: Joe Whelan – 1981: Henry Richardson – 1997:Keith Stanley – 2010: Alan Spencer


1. ^ Hester Barron, The 1926 Miners’ Lockout, p.3

2. ^ J. E. Williams, The Derbyshire Miners, p.763

Miners’ Federation of Great Britain (MFGB) and National Union of Mineworkers (NUM)


1889: Pickard · 1907: Enoch Edwards · 1912: Smillie · 1922: Smith ·

1929: Richards · 1931: Ebby Edwards · 1932: Lee · 1934: J. Jones ·

1939: Lawther · 1954: Ernest Jones · 1960: Machen · 1960: Ford ·

1971: Gormley · 1982: Scargill · 2002: Lavery

Vice Presidents

1889: Woods · 1909: Smillie · 1912: Harvey · 1914: House ·

1917: Smith · 1922: Walsh · 1924: Richards · 1929: Ebby Edwards ·

1931: Lee · 1932: J. Jones · 1933: Davies · 1934: Lawther ·

1939: Bowman · 1950: Ernest Jones · 1954: Edward Jones ·1960: Collindridge ·

1962: Schofield · 1972: McGahey · 1987: Thompson · 1989: Vacant ·

1992: Cave · 2002: Stanley · 2010: Wilson

General Secretaries

1889: Ashton · 1919: Hodges · 1924: Cook · 1932: Ebby Edwards ·

1946: Horner · 1959: Paynter · 1968: Daly · 1984: Heathfield ·

1992: Scargill · 1992: Vacant? · 2002: Kemp · 2007: Kitchen


1889: Enoch Edwards · 1907: Abraham · 1918: Robson · 1921: Richardson

MFGB Affiliates

Bristol · Cleveland · Cumberland · Derbyshire · Durham · Forest of Dean · Kent · Lancashire and Cheshire · Leicestershire · Midland Counties · Northumberland · North Wales · Nottinghamshire · Scotland · Somerset · South Derbyshire · South Wales ·Yorkshire

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 Carthusians 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 Willoughby’s 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 Willoughby’s leased their Wollaton pits to Huntington and Nicholas Beaumont, father and son, on a 21 year lease. Two years later the Beaumont’s also leased pits in Strelley which had been acquired in 1597 by the Byron’s of Newstead. In 1607 Huntington Beaumont undertook to deliver 7,000 loads of coal to Nottingham annually, but meeting this target proved impossible. Beaumont’s financial backers pulled out and by 1618 he was imprisoned in Nottingham for debt.

Despite Beaumont’s 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 Willoughby’s 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 worked 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 western 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 children’s 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 occurrence, 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
Samuel Davis
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.

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