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In 1953 when the drift was driven at Coleorton Colliery it went down to the Upper Roaster Seam, which at Coleorton was 2ft 8ins of coal overlaying 4ft of clay. It looks like the top 16ins of this clay were worked from 1953 onwards, although there are no statistics for quantities produced. It was estimated that there was nearly 350,000 tons of workable clay.
Initially the pit was fitted with two pumps in the Upper Roaster Seam, to clear the water, one pumping 600 gallons per minute (GPM) and another pumping 200GPM. It appears that the water was pumped up the shafts and out to a reservoir and water treatment works. In about 1930 an additional water pump was installed at on old shaft in Smoile Wood to clear an area of old workings. In 1951 this pump was replaced by a submersible pump which continued pumping until the pit's closure.
Coleorton Colliery was purchased in 1933 initially as a pumping station to remove water from the Lount workings. As the shafts collapsed soon after, effort was focused on developing the new Lower Roaster Seam.
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Also in 1934 a new Water Lodge was created beside the pump house with an estimated capacity of 300,000 gallons, although this was reduced in size by 50% in 1935 to prevent leakage. A new 300GPM pump was added to the pump house in 1936 and a new delivery column installed to take up the water.
In 1937 the waterworks at the reservoir had been enlarged and a purifying system installed. Water was then laid on to both the Pipe Works and to Newbold Village. In 1942 it was decide to de-water the Coleorton Workings as they were known to be waterlogged. Boreholes were driven through to the workings where they contacted water under pressure. This was drained off over a period of 6 months. A similar operation was carried out in 1944 at the Nether Seam workings which were drained. This ensured there would be no risk of water inrush during future workings.
Des Jackson -a fitter worked on the spoil heap recalls:- 1938 +
The spoil heap man had to travel up the spoil heap with the loaded bogey in order to empty it off the plate at the top and return with it empty. "He never used to stop up there because he could not stick it." On one trip a man did not return, he slipped whilst emptying the bogey and fell to his death. The bogey (hopper) travelled on rails to a 60 square foot steel plate at the top from which the spoil was tipped "down the mountain as it were". The tray had to be frequently advanced over the heap by means of a winch and the rail extended to fill the gap between the new position of the steel plate and the existing rails.
Winching the tray forward was a back breaking job, "everyone out of the fitting shop used to get on the winch because they used to have four each side, and once round was enough and another eight, including the gaffers, would take over. Inserting additional rails was even worse because "the tip was all on fire at the top … we were allowed a new pair of boots for this job because by the time you had finished this job the nails would be out of your boots … it was red hot and the leather would be burnt away from the nails. Dust added to the discomfort of the heat, "we had to wear goggles because the wind used to whip the stuff up into your eyes and it still got under your goggles, we all used to have bad eyes. And the smell was absolutely terrible. It was sulphur you know. And you'd take it home with you inside your body, and when you broke wind, which you had to do, the smell would be there. Working conditions on the heap deteriorated still further when the war broke out because flames had to be damped down to conform with the blackout regulations. Water was used to try and quell the flames but the heap continued "to boil like soup" whilst the men were nearly asphyxiated with steam and dust.