Scientific And Technical Society
REPORT NO: V002
DATE: 6 April 1982
REPORT ON: Visit To Baddesley Colliery, Nr Atherstone, Warwickshire
After the successful visit to Davenports Brewery there was enthusiastic support for the visit to Baddesley Colliery near Tamworth. The majority of the fifteen members arrived at 9.15 am followed shortly afterwards by Mr Darshi who claimed to have been misdirected by his navigators to some of the less frequented parts of rural Staffordshire.
We were given a short introduction to the layout of the mine and told that we were to visit fifty-two face at a depth of some 1500 feet. Our guides then led us away to be equipped with helmets, lamps and self rescuers.
The latter provides a supply of air for about 11 hours in an emergency and are compulsory for everybody underground. At the top of the shaft before entering the cage it was interesting to note that a simple tally system using numbered metal discs was used to record who was underground rather than a sophisticated electronic system.
From the bottom of the rather damp shaft a short walk brought us to the "man-rider" - a miniature railway. Apart from sudden changes of air pressure and howling gales of hot and cold air caused by the ventilation system this part of the trip was not unpleasant. It was becoming apparent already that those members of shorter stature were at an advantage compared with their taller colleagues.
Leaving the man-rider a further walk down a maze of tunnels brought us eventually to the coal face. The temperature had been rising steadily and some of us were ready for a rest. At the face the coal is cut by rotating cutters moved forward by hydraulic rams. We were invited to crawl along the coal face for a distance which was optimistically stated as "about 200 yards". Fortunately we had been provided with knee protectors and gloves and did not lack encouragement from the miners we had to squeeze by on the way. An attempt to bury Mr Bennett by collapsing part of the roof on him was unsuccessful when he made some hasty athletic manoeuvres! Graham Allen dropped his spectacles on the coal face, but luckily someone found them and they were brought them up to him whilst we were having lunch.
The return seemed mostly uphill and was devoid of particular excitement other than some of the party getting lost and a ride on a rather stimulating man-rider (Conveyer belt). Unfortunately the other man-rider (train) was out of order and after a final uphill �sprint" we were glad of the hot showers at the pit head.
Note the second tally was given in on return so that they could tell who was still down the mine and who had returned.' We had been underground for four hours, half the normal seven and a half hour shift and were quite ready for the excellent buffet provided for us. The only resemblance to the York Road environment had been perhaps the lack of daylight.
Our respect goes to all miners who work in such unpleasant and unhealthy conditions to provide the nation's coal.
Since this report was written way back in 1992, this colliery, like many more, has ceased working and closed. Some of the buildings are still there and if you'd like more information on the mine try a Google search for "Baddesley Colliery". Some interesting information will pop up!
It's most recent use is by Jaguar Land Rover as a Distribution Hub.