Industry => Mines & Quarries => Topic started by: jonesnet57 on June 25, 2009, 20:59:49

Title: Betteshanger Colliery
Post by: jonesnet57 on June 25, 2009, 20:59:49
I was loaned this bore tonight by my father, it is from the first one made prior to the Colliery at Betteshanger being built and possibly dates from about 1924

(http://i773.photobucket.com/albums/yy16/jonesnet57/bettshanger/CRW_1232.jpg)

(http://i773.photobucket.com/albums/yy16/jonesnet57/bettshanger/CRW_1229.jpg)

(http://i773.photobucket.com/albums/yy16/jonesnet57/bettshanger/CRW_1228.jpg)
Title: Re: Betteshanger Colliery
Post by: jonesnet57 on June 25, 2009, 21:27:19
This is part of the drill bore taken before the colliery was "sunk" into the ground, the original bore would have been a few hundred feet long for them to establish where the coal was
Title: Re: Betteshanger Colliery
Post by: Islesy on March 18, 2010, 22:43:47
Opening in the late 1920s Betteshanger was the largest of the Kent collieries. It had two shafts of almost 2000 feet, and plaques can still be seen where the shafts were once sunk. Betteshanger had a tradition of union militancy; it was the first pit to come out on strike during the second world war and took active part in the miners' strikes of 1972, 1974 and 1984/5. It was the last Kent colliery to close, closing for good in 1989.

No.1 Shaft - 687.65 metres
(http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4058/4444256194_6dcd7df6a7.jpg)

No.2 Shaft - 739 metres
(http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2799/4444255160_d6eefb0c29.jpg)

On 10 July 1940 the government introduced Defence Regulation 58AA allowing the Minister of Labour to ban strikes and lockouts, and force compulsory arbitration. Order 1305 then allowed the Minister to refer any dispute to existing arbitration structures or the National Arbitration Tribunal - either alternative was to be binding. But as the Chief Industrial Commissioner recognised ?The Order has a substantial deterrent effect but it is an instrument which would probably be shown to be useless if any considerable body of workpeople chose to defy it.? He was right.

On 9 January 1942 miners at Betteshanger Colliery in Kent struck over the level of allowances for working difficult seams. The Ministry of Labour decided to prosecute 1,050 miners for contravening Order 1305. Three local union officials were imprisoned, the men working difficult seams were fined ?3 each, and 1,000 other miners were fined ?1 each. Betteshanger continued their strike and other pits came out in sympathy. On 28 January they won, and in February the Home Secretary dropped the prison sentences. By May, only 9 miners had paid their fines. Most fines were never paid.

On 11 February 1942 in Parliament, Sir J. Mellor asked the Secretary for Mines, Mr. Grenfell, for an estimate of the coal production lost to the nation as a result of the unlawful stoppage of work at Betteshanger colliery. Mr. Grenfell replied that it was estimated that the total loss of production due to the Betteshanger dispute between 10th and 28th January was about 21,000 tons. (Source: Hansard)
Title: Re: Betteshanger Colliery
Post by: seafordpete on March 19, 2010, 14:32:09
They also "infected" 172 Tunnelling Coy RE, who mostly being ex miners had mixed with the Kent lads presumably at the "welfare" . Having heard how much they were earning against the 2/- a day the sappers were getting they were on the verge of mutiny when they arrived at Newhaven according to Lt Dennis Day then section OC.
Title: Re: Betteshanger Colliery
Post by: unfairytale on March 20, 2010, 16:20:35
The Colliery in the 1940s.
(http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4033/4448262896_689c4f60b5.jpg)
Title: Re: Betteshanger Colliery
Post by: ellenkate on October 02, 2010, 11:22:44
Betteshanger  Colliery - toasting the sinking, 1924:

                     (http://i817.photobucket.com/albums/zz93/ellenkate1/dover%20-%20collieries/Betteshangertoastsstartofsinking1924.jpg)
Title: Re: Betteshanger Colliery
Post by: detmold on November 05, 2010, 14:43:16
Betteshanger Social club

(http://i1112.photobucket.com/albums/k487/detmold2002/ClubSteward-1950.jpg)
Title: Re: Betteshanger Colliery
Post by: detmold on November 05, 2010, 14:46:05
View of the bathouse i believe?

(http://i1112.photobucket.com/albums/k487/detmold2002/ViewofBetteshangerBaths-1950.jpg)
Title: Re: Betteshanger Colliery
Post by: detmold on November 08, 2010, 20:32:03
Social club Christmas dinner 1950s

(http://i1112.photobucket.com/albums/k487/detmold2002/ClubDinner-1950.jpg)
Title: Re: Betteshanger Colliery
Post by: detmold on January 01, 2011, 09:44:33
I note that the Betteshanger pit attracted a large number of union men who were unable to get work in their home pits up north and in Wales after the 1926 General Strike.
Title: Re: Betteshanger Colliery
Post by: unfairytale on January 01, 2011, 10:08:12
I note that the Betteshanger pit attracted a large number of union men who were unable to get work in their home pits up north and in Wales after the 1926 General Strike.

I think that applied to all the kent pits. A lot of blacklisted miners from northern and Welsh towns had little choice but to move south, although a lot of the pits down here were first manned by northern and Welsh workers, the locals weren't experienced enough in mining at the time.
Title: Re: Betteshanger Colliery
Post by: doug on January 01, 2011, 20:04:14
Kent miners were good at striking, even doing during ww2.
Title: Re: Betteshanger Colliery
Post by: zany_duckboy on March 15, 2011, 10:55:22
Doug.
The Kent Miner and his family were good at many things.
 May I remind you that there are always 3 reasons needed for a strike? The workers involved, the complaint for the dispute and the managementís reaction to the workers complaint. Simply talking of the act of striking or date of striking and not taking into account the reasons or history of the dispute, makes your comment inappropriate.
Two things you have not commented on during the war period was a).That most miners wanted to leave the pits, join up and fight for their country in the war and were stopped. That led to the management seizing the opportunity to implement dubious and sometimes dangerous practises on its workforce, at a time when they thought they could get away with it. A shameful act, that backfired on them.

b). That, the Germans dropped a bomb on Betteshanger, wiping out the fan & winding house, leaving a whole shift of men underground. After the men were rescued the management decided to close the colliery for safety reasons, not because the Germans might bomb it again but due to the fan being out of action. The men complained and asked to be allowed to continue producing coal for the cause and it was agreed, a certain amount of men, with health & safety officials keeping them safe, they continued to produce coal. Brave men donít you think?
The Kent Miner and his family should be remembered for much more than his ability to go on strike. 

Title: Re: Betteshanger Colliery
Post by: Bryn Clinch on March 15, 2011, 14:55:27
When I registered for National Service, a very unfriendly individual pushed a leaflet on coalmining in front of me which I immediately pushed back to him. He then told me to read it which I refused and told him my Mother came from Tonypandy in the Rhondda Valley and that her father and brothers suffered from poor health due to working in the pits, and an uncle who had lost a leg, to which he didn`t reply. Poor pay and dreadful conditions which, without doubt, shortened their lives by many years. I find it difficult to believe that coalmining was offered as an alternative to National Service - I thought that it had all ceased when I registered. I met a few lads in the army who had `signed on`solely because anything was better than `the pit`. 

Title: Re: Betteshanger Colliery
Post by: unfairytale on March 15, 2011, 19:00:35
My Great Grandad worked at Betteshanger, my Grandad and two of my Great Uncles worked at Tilmanstone. My Grandad's Father and his Brother were both killed there in the late 50s; their job was to remove the pit-props from exhausted seams so they could be used elsewhere, I think this process was called Drawing-out, they died together when the ceiling came down on them. As for my Great Grandad, he eventually died of silicosis after years down the pit.
   An Uncle of mine worked at Snowdown and he was caught in  Pit collapse, when he eventually got out, he vowed never to go down there again and he didn't. I think it took a lot of guts to go down the pit and even more to go on strike at that time.
Title: Re: Betteshanger Colliery
Post by: smiler on March 13, 2012, 08:33:10
Kent miners were good at striking, even doing during ww2.
    In February 1960 400 miners went on strike at Betteshanger in protest at the NBC decision to sack 140 men.The 400 stayed below ground for 160 hours in an attempt to get the dismissal notices suspended.
Title: Re: Betteshanger Colliery
Post by: smiler on March 13, 2012, 08:41:36
(http://i1018.photobucket.com/albums/af310/smiler2/Images%20for%20Kent%20forum/scan0017.jpg)

From Kent a chronicle of the century by Bob Ogley.
Title: Re: Betteshanger Colliery
Post by: PaddyX21 on July 12, 2012, 09:16:16
My grandfather worked at Betteshanger colliery after the war, and remains in Deal now.
He moved down here from Sheffield after leaving the Navy.

I must get him to relate some stories for me
Title: Re: Betteshanger Colliery
Post by: IanDB on August 24, 2012, 09:23:07
Retained my authorisation to operate an Eimco bucket loader after transfer from Chislet to Betteshanger colliery.

(http://i16.photobucket.com/albums/b6/bettesh/scan0004.jpg)
Title: Re: Betteshanger Colliery
Post by: Adrianmidwales on September 02, 2012, 17:06:35
My Grandad spent most of his working life at Betteshanger
(http://i1102.photobucket.com/albums/g449/adrianmidwales/Bettshanger001.jpg)
(http://i1102.photobucket.com/albums/g449/adrianmidwales/Bettshanger002a.jpg)
(http://i1102.photobucket.com/albums/g449/adrianmidwales/Bettshanger004.jpg)
(http://i1102.photobucket.com/albums/g449/adrianmidwales/Bettshanger003.jpg)
Title: Re: Betteshanger Colliery
Post by: kyn on September 02, 2012, 18:19:12
What lovely pictures, thank you for sharing them with us!
Title: Re: Betteshanger Colliery
Post by: Sentinel S4 on September 02, 2012, 19:15:45
Do you have any more pics? Those are great.

S4.
Title: Re: Betteshanger Colliery
Post by: Lutonman on September 02, 2012, 20:57:13
In my last year at school in 1969, I had an organised visit to go down the mine. What an experience it was, it left me with nothing but admiration for those hard working fellows, something I shall never forget.
Title: Re: Betteshanger Colliery
Post by: Adrianmidwales on September 03, 2012, 17:57:22
Another Couple
(http://i1102.photobucket.com/albums/g449/adrianmidwales/Bettshanger006.jpg)
(http://i1102.photobucket.com/albums/g449/adrianmidwales/Bettshanger007.jpg)
Title: Re: Betteshanger Colliery
Post by: IanDB on September 13, 2012, 15:07:17
All the pictures posted here were originally contained within the picture gallery of the "Coalfield Heritage Initiative Kent" website.
Thanks to "Overman" for his agreement in showing them on the forum. I stand to be corrected on my description of any of the photographs as I'm working from memory and have been out of the mining industry for nearly 40 years now  :)

The relative orderliness of the Under manager's pit bottom office at Betteshanger Colliery with Bill Breeze at his desk.
(http://i16.photobucket.com/albums/b6/bettesh/billbreezeundermanager.jpg)

The main pit bottom roadways leading to the East and South East districts within Chislet Colliery.
(http://i16.photobucket.com/albums/b6/bettesh/East-SEJnct.jpg)

Conditions further into the pit take on a harsher reality. A good example of how the floor of the tunnel heaves upwards over time as pressure from the strata above pushes down on the tunnel roof supports. A task known as "dinting" carried out at these locations to maintain the height of the roadway by levelling the floor again.
(http://i16.photobucket.com/albums/b6/bettesh/dint.jpg)

Operating an Eimco electric bucket loader either on development of new roadways, or in a heading in front of an advancing coal face.
(http://i16.photobucket.com/albums/b6/bettesh/Advancedheading2.jpg)

Up to the "main gate" end of a coal face. The loading end of the face conveyor seen in the centre left of the picture.
(http://i16.photobucket.com/albums/b6/bettesh/Facemaingate.jpg)

Anderton Shearer coal cutter on a face not yet equipped with hydraulic chock roof supports, but still on props and girders which are manually advanced by men on the face after each pass by the coal cutter. 
(http://i16.photobucket.com/albums/b6/bettesh/Longwallshearer1.jpg)


Anderton Shearer coal cutting machine in operation on a coal face.
(http://i16.photobucket.com/albums/b6/bettesh/longwallshearer.jpg)

After a pass by the coal cutter the face conveyor on the right of the picture is pushed up to the coal, and the roof supports on the left are also drawn in towards the conveyor to await the next pass by the cutting machine.
(http://i16.photobucket.com/albums/b6/bettesh/face.jpg)

I'm not 100% sure of the task in hand here, but the roof supports on trams (left of centre) would suggest salvage from a worked out coal face. I stand to be corrected on this one.
(http://i16.photobucket.com/albums/b6/bettesh/abitofweight.jpg)

Hope that all makes a bit of sense to those who couldn't imagine the workings of a coal mine, and doesn't sound condescending to those who have worked there or have knowledge of the complexities of winning coal.
Title: Re: Betteshanger Colliery
Post by: JohnWalker on September 13, 2012, 15:51:14
Amazing photos - best I've seen of a coalface.  I can't believe that pit props are strong enough to support the incredible weight above them - frightening.

JohnWalker
Title: Re: Betteshanger Colliery
Post by: IanDB on September 13, 2012, 16:09:06
The secret of the coal face of course is to keep it advancing. As the props and girders are moved forward the roof is allowed to collapse behind therefore taking off the weight. Didn't always work of course, Mother Nature being a fickle lady, and roof collapses in the working area happened for a variety of reasons.
Title: Re: Betteshanger Colliery
Post by: kyn on September 13, 2012, 16:51:19
Sorry to be a pain but can the photos be added to the threads for each coal mine.  Threads like this get confusing and hard for people to search.  Thank you.
Title: Re: Betteshanger Colliery
Post by: IanDB on September 13, 2012, 16:58:14
Take your point, though my intention was to conduct an underground tour as it were.....perhaps better had I left out references to individual pits. Apart from the first two pictures which contain references to individual mines the rest are illustrative of any coal mine but do relate to the Kent pits. Without help I would be hard pushed to identify the other pictures to individual pits. Sorry.
Title: Re: Betteshanger Colliery
Post by: IanDB on September 13, 2012, 17:03:28
The Under Manager's office at the pit bottom of Betteshanger Colliery. Under Manager Bill Breeze at his desk.

(http://i16.photobucket.com/albums/b6/bettesh/billbreezeundermanager.jpg)
Title: Re: Betteshanger Colliery
Post by: GP on September 13, 2012, 17:37:01
For those interested in Coal Mining history, I suggest a visit to the Big Pit Museum, Wales.

www.museumwales.ac.uk/en/bigpit

An actual Mine has been preserved near enough as a working pit. Visitors have to wear a miners helmet with battery light, and go down in a lift .

Must say I was quite apprehensive, but glad I went and saw the working  conditions.

I know Maggie closed all the pits, but I cannot see how anyone now would work in such conditions
Title: Re: Betteshanger Colliery
Post by: alkhamhills on September 13, 2012, 19:57:36
Have been down Big Pit. Very enlightning, and worth a visit to get some idea of conditions underground. Today they are lowering a piano into the pit, in order to hold a concert, in memory of all those who have lost their lives underground.
Also  www.rhonddaheritagepark.com  at Trehafod Rhondda is worth a visit
Hope this is not too off post, but many of Kent miners came from South Wales
Title: Re: Betteshanger Colliery
Post by: JohnWalker on September 13, 2012, 21:16:32
I've visited Trehafod pit - an excellent experience.  The winding house machinery is incredible.  Is any of the Kent Coalfield machinery still in existence?
Title: Re: Betteshanger Colliery
Post by: Sentinel S4 on September 13, 2012, 22:04:31
I've visited Trehafod pit - and excellent experience.  The winding house machinery is incredible.  Is any of the Kent Coalfield machinery still in existence?

As far as I know only at the bottom of the shafts........ (According to the legends I have heard.).

S4.
Title: Re: Betteshanger Colliery
Post by: overman on September 14, 2012, 21:25:35
The last photo is powered supports being installed on the the last face that was to be worked at Betteshanger (52s Face). The Trade union would not agree to work week ends to make up for a fall in production while this face came "on line" so the board closed the pit.
Title: Re: Betteshanger Colliery
Post by: JohnWalker on September 14, 2012, 21:31:37
I've visited Trehafod pit - and excellent experience.  The winding house machinery is incredible.  Is any of the Kent Coalfield machinery still in existence?

As far as I know only at the bottom of the shafts........ (According to the legends I have heard.).

S4.

Such a shame - those winding engines were quite something.  I presume they have all been broken for scrap.

JW
Title: Re: Betteshanger Colliery
Post by: IanDB on September 14, 2012, 22:43:02
The last photo is powered supports being installed on the the last face that was to be worked at Betteshanger (52s Face).

Thanks Overman. I couldn't decide if it was an installation or a salvage.......I guessed wrong.
Title: Re: Betteshanger Colliery
Post by: IanDB on September 14, 2012, 22:49:10
Thanks to Overman for explaining this photograph from the "Coalfield Heritage Initiative Kent" gallery.........
Powered supports being installed on "52s" the last coalface to be worked at Betteshanger Colliery.
(http://i16.photobucket.com/albums/b6/bettesh/abitofweight.jpg)
Title: Re: Betteshanger Colliery
Post by: overman on September 15, 2012, 19:08:56
I've visited Trehafod pit - and excellent experience.  The winding house machinery is incredible.  Is any of the Kent Coalfield machinery still in existence?


All of the surface equipment was cut up and sold for scrap.
None of any surface equipment was thrown down the shaft at any of the Kent pits.
I know, I was there.
Title: Re: Betteshanger Colliery
Post by: Sentinel S4 on September 15, 2012, 19:20:50
As I said 'according to the 'LEGEND' I heard'. Was not Betteshanger electrically wound? I heard that the winding drum ran away quite early in the life of the pit and the engines were replaced by motors.
Title: Re: Betteshanger Colliery
Post by: overman on September 18, 2012, 10:31:52
Both of the winding engines were steam until 1976. They were then replaced with electric winders.
Title: Re: Betteshanger Colliery
Post by: Dowtyprop on August 09, 2013, 00:21:46
Both of the winding engines were steam until 1976. They were then replaced with electric winders.
I left Betteshanger Colliery in 1970 and by then the steam engines had been replaced.
I helped with the repairs when the winding brake was serviced and a one way valve had been put in backwards and the cage wouldn't stop. One cage went through the sump and the other was left dangling by its detaching hook from the headgear.
Title: Re: Betteshanger Colliery
Post by: DS239 on December 19, 2013, 19:20:50
Well, I never thought I'd see the day when you could buy a Kent Colliery model railway loco 'off the shelf', but courtesy of Hornby from next year you'll be able to do so..!

http://www.hornby.com/shop/2014-range/steam-locomotive-and-packs/r3228-ncb-austerity-0-6-0st-j94-class-47/ (http://www.hornby.com/shop/2014-range/steam-locomotive-and-packs/r3228-ncb-austerity-0-6-0st-j94-class-47/)

This is a 00 gauge model of one of the Hunslet Austerities that worked at Betteshanger Colliery, as depicted by Hornby it is in the condition that it ran for the last couple of years of its existence, - after it lost its 'ARTHUR LEIGHTON' nameplates.

The real loco was transferred to Betteshanger from Holditch Colliery in Staffordshire in 1966.
Title: Re: Betteshanger Colliery
Post by: AdrianPearce on March 01, 2016, 01:37:12
We were lucky enough to be given permission in October 1989 to explore the surface buildings on the day the scrap men moved in. Most buildings were in excellent condition and it was a travesty that everything was flattened. It seemed to be British Coal's policy at the time and I believe that they ignored an offer by the miners for a buy out. Unfortunately my camera was on the blink on the day and only 2 pics (see attached) came out. Ignore the poor quality but it is better than nothing.
Title: Re: Betteshanger Colliery
Post by: DS239 on September 28, 2017, 16:40:17
Some photo's of the USA class DS235 at Betteshanger Colliery on hire from BR in 1963..
Title: Re: Betteshanger Colliery
Post by: StuarttheGrant on September 28, 2017, 22:36:17
Very interesting to see the USA tank at Betteshanger.
 Thanks for that  :)