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Water Haigh Colliery, shaft tower and gear head winding wheel

Water Haigh Colliery, shaft tower and gear head winding wheel
c1964. In this image a group of four miners pose for the camera in front of the Water Haigh Colliery shaft tower and gear head winding wheel. This is the 'materials area' and the miners were part of a 'back ripping' team.

User Comments:

Peter Roberts

As most coal seams were too low to stand up in it was necessary to continue extending a set of tunnels high enough and wide enough in the surrounding rock for access to the working faces for the miners, materials, ventilation and conveyor belts, this was the job of the ‘backripping teams’. As the rock had to be blasted each miner carried the explosives required for the operation in a small cylindrical drum made of recycled conveyor belting as seen in the photograph. The drum contained a nitro glycerine based permitted explosive (classified by Buxton Explosives testing centre in Derbyshire as P1 to P5) which could contain somewhere in the region of 60% cooling salts such as sodium chloride and sodium bicarbonate, these salts cool the burning explosive as it ignites, sufficiently enough to prevent it being hot enough to ignite carboniferous coal gasses (methane) or coal dust in the mine atmosphere.


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