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Report - Clipstone Colliery, February 2013

Discussion in 'Industrial Sites' started by Eeka, Feb 3, 2013.

  1. Eeka

    Eeka 28DL Full Member
    28DL Full Member

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    Second visit here with Yorrick. Straight in and up this time.

    The internal photos are from October.

    Lots of history (maybe too much?) so I’ve spread it out.
    In 1912 the Bolsover Colliery Company leased 6,000 acres of land with mining rights form the Duke of Portland.
    A test bore found the 6ft Tophard seam of coal present at a depth of 640yds below surface.
    By 1922 the two 21ft diameter shafts were complete. Mining on the Tophard seam began in 1927.

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    By WW2, the seam being worked was becoming exhausted resulting in a programme of reconstruction/reorganisation being drawn up just after the war.
    All the old equipment including the old steam winders, boilers, and fan, were scrapped and the winding houses, headframes, boiler house, fan house and heapstead buildings etc were demolished.

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    They were replaced by new heapsteads, headframes, a fan house, and a winder/power house located between the two shafts, with two electrically powered winders.

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    In the case of the winding system, a different form was used, this being a system already adopted in Europe named 'Koepe' or Friction winding.
    This uses a single loop of wire rope and a powered pulley or 'Koepe' wheel to wind rather than the standard drum.
    The system is thus balanced, needing less power for operation.

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    Clipstone was one of the first post war examples of this system, but surprisingly, here the NCB went for ground based winders, rather than the
    more common system of winders installed in towers over the shafts.
    This required the use of headframes, and the ones at Clipstone have pulley wheels or 'sheaves' located one above the other being designed specifically for the Koepe winding system.

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    The winding house contained the two electrically driven Koepe winders, and two motor generator sets to convert the local AC supply to DC.
    This configuration remained virtually unaltered until closure in 2003. The heapsteads are the two brick buildings beneath the headframes.
    The two magnificent headframes, which were the tallest in the UK when built, stand at 65m and 63m high.

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    The 1950s headgear and winder house were listed in 2000 as an "early example of the 'Koepe' system".
    Whilst they are not the first built, it seems that they are the earliest in situ example left in the UK.

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    In the mid-80s Clipstone employed over 1100 people underground and around 200 on the surface and produced 1,000,000 tonnes of coal a year.

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    Even though the colliery never recorded a loss it was closed in 1993 and mothballed.
    It was re-opened in 1994 by RJB Mining (now UK coal) with six to seven years of reserves.

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    After nine years the colliery had produced nearly four million tonnes of coal, but the other reserves remaining were not viable based upon their quality,
    high sulphur content and cost of accessing them. It finally closed in April 2003.

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    In 2003, a referendum in Clipstone was held and the villagers voted for demolition of the whole site.
    The Coal Authority has made a listed building consent application for demolition, and everything except the tallest all metal headstocks in the country
    and the winder house and other immediate buildings have been demolished including the baths and coal hoppers.

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    In September 2012 an application was submitted to demolish everything left on site except the substation.
    The application is still pending consideration, with English Heritage saying


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    The white car in the background here had a guy in high-vis wandering around it. Obviously, he looked like security.

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    When we left we went to have a closer look. Turns out he was from Midland Demolition.

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    Since the gate was wide open, it would have rude not to go and have a chat with him.

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    He told us that the Coal Authority want to demolish it because of the (potential) cost of preserving it – “£1.2million just to strip the metalwork back and repaint it.â€
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    Apparently his colleague checks the fence every day, because “if someone went in and hurt themselves, well, they’d sue.
    That’s why the CA have asked for tenders to electrify the fence and fit camerasâ€

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    We laughed at that and he insisted “It’s going to happen by the end of Aprilâ€

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    He said he was on site because Midland Demolition are “still bringing the levels upâ€. He was waiting for lorries coming in.

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    All in all, a fun way to spend an early morning

    If you made it this far, hope you enjoyed it.​
     

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