This account is dedicated to all the stalwart men who worked in the Teversal Colliery from 1862 to 1980 represented here by just a few of their colleagues.
The earliest reference to coal mining in the Teversal area is in the register of St Katherine's Church where, in 1610, a baby girl was baptized and described as a daughter of a collier.
The earliest coal workings were in quarries, or where a seam outcropped on the surface. When these sources were exhausted small shafts were sunk to reach the seams. These shafts closely resembled wells and the coal was worked around the bottom of the shaft until the sides were in danger of collapsing.
As the shaft bottom workings went deeper and deeper, the pit assumed the shape of a bell and hence were known as bell Pits
Straightening a girder arch
A group of officials and workmen
Filling in Report Books
The Molineux family at Teversal were closely connected to the "winning" of the coal in the village and several shafts were on their estate, one of the first to be worked was known as the "Top Hard"
About 1703 Sir John Molineux instigated the driving of a sough in his pit. Soughs were cut above the coal seam to drain water away from the coal face. Water was always a problem and in winter work was often impossible for many weeks owing to flooding.
Before soughs, water collected in the well of a sump shaft and was removed in a primitive way with a device similar to an old mangle with a bucket and rope, a task known as "wallowing."
Soughs were extremely expensive. The Molyneux sough was not completed until 1773 being over 5 miles long when finished, the Dukes of Newcastle and Devonshire finally helping with the finance.
The Molineux pit passed into the hands of the Carnarvon family and in 1855, the Countess of Carnarvon leased the colliery to 2 Sutton tradesmen John and German Buxton, eventually being taken over by James Eastwood of Derby.
The Molineux pit closed in 1878.
Teversal Colliery was commonly known as Butcherwood, as it was sunk in the area of woodland known by that name
The colliery was sunk between 1862 and 1867 by the Stanton Ironworks Co. Ltd by the Derbyshire banker and ironmaster George Crompton. Two shafts were put down to a depth of 246yards. To advise on the sinking of the shafts the Stanton Co. engaged the services of J.T. Boot of the famous Huthwaite family of mining engineers Coal production commenced in 1868, the main output going to the company's ironworks. This gave the Teversal miners a greater degree of security over the men working at other collieries. Nevertheless they still suffered from periodic lay-offs and reductions in wages that were so common at that time.
In 1877, the village of Stanton Hill and 99 houses and a mission hall were built on what we now know as Meden Bank to house the expanding work force and their families. The new collieries at Silver Hill and Sutton-in-Ashfield were in full production by 1878, and men were attracted from Derbyshire, Leicestershire and Staffordshire so more houses were built in Carnarvon and Crompton streets to house them.
New markets opened up in 1877 when the Teversal mine was linked to the growing national railway network.
In the mid 1880's times were hard, profits slumped and the miners protested in vain against the increase of 3d on their weekly rent and 3 shillings a ton for their concessionary coal.
The coal industry was expanding rapidly nationally at this time with nearly 3000 pits producing 100 million tons of coal in 1868. Despite this, coal was in short supply and just after Teversal opened prices touched £1 a ton a figure not reached again until the desperate need for coal during WW1.
Men at this time were attracted by the wage of 5 shilling a shift when farm labourers were lucky to get £1 a week. During the 112 years of coal production 3 seams were worked at the Teversal mine, the Top Hard, Dunsil and the First Waterloo. The Top Hard seam was worked continually from 1869 to 1948 when it was exhausted. The Dunsil seam was worked spasmodically from 1868 to 1968.
The First Waterloo seam commenced production in 1957 and was the last to be worked. It was the first face to be fully mechanized to include power loading, previously the machine cut coal was loaded by hand.
Conveyors to carry coal along the trunk roads to the pit bottom, where it was loaded into tubs for surfacing were introduced in the 1950's.
The last pony to work at the pit retired in 1963 several years after ponies had ceased to work underground.
Teversal was always a profitable pit producing 300,000 tonnes per annum in the latter years, most of which went to the power stations. This profitability could only be achieved through the close co-operation of all employees at what was a "family pit"
At it's closure 5000 tonnes a week were being produced and 300 men attended the welfare for the final "wake" after the final shift had been completed.
To quote John Lynes, medical room attendant "It's sad when a colliery closes, not only for the workers but for the community as a whole.Teversal men have worked hard and brought out coal to the profit of £1.3 million in the final year"
"Teversal will be remembered as one of Britain's best pits, it is sad that it should have to be the first in the North Nottinghamshire area to close."
With grateful thanks to Malcolm Roebuck who provided the photographs and gave permission for their use.