Recently, I’ve found an old British Coal Mines Rescue Service Bulletin from March 1989 that used to belong to my grandfather. The booklet has a “Spotlight on Mansfield Mines Rescue Service” on the back. Here is what it says!
‘The Mines Rescue Service at Mansfield is 79 years and two Rescue Stations old.
The first Mansfield Rescue Station purpose built and located in Yorke Street, Mansfield Woodhouse, was opened in 1909. The site for the building was kindly given by His Grace The Duke of Portland and the premises itself cost £1,750 exclusive of apparatus. The station was controlled by the directors of the North Midland Coal Owners Rescue Stations Company Limited.
The superintendent, or “chief instructor” as he was known then, lived next door to the station and from an old photograph it would appear that the staff was made up with one more officer and six brigadesmen. This is perhaps confirmed by the reference in 1919 to eight cottages being rented within 200 yards of the station.
In 1914 the station served 150 Collieries with 120 Rescue Teams having already been trained and qualified.
As the East Midlands Coalfield developed over the years the facilities in the Yorke Street station became inadequate and the second Mansfield Rescue Station, the first new station to be built for about 25 years, was erected on Leeming Lane South, Mansfield Woodhouse, (just round the corner from the old station), at an estimated cost of £81,000 without furnishings, plant or apparatus.
The new station was occupied on 2nd December 1957 but was not officially opened until 11th February 1958. The opening ceremony was performed by Mr W. H. Sansom Esq., O.B.E., M.C., production director of the East Midlands Division at the time.
At Mansfield a 5 ton capacity mobile winder, and a 3 ton capacity mobile winder are kept in readiness to use. The “emergency winders” are driven on the road, sited, commissioned and operated at the Pit by the permanent corp brigadesmen.
The staff at the station have just recently decided to sponsor the Robin Hood children’s ward at the local Kings Mill Hospital and on the first venture have raised £250.
Today the station is staffed with 4 officers, 14 permanent corp brigadesmen, 1 Winder mechanic and 2 watchmen. It serves 22 British Coal mines and provides a back-up to Chesterfield Rescue Station in Central Area. 32 colliery rescue teams train at the station.
The station control room room is manned 24 hours a day and should an emergency arise at any time of the day or night at least one team and an officer are “on duty” or “on call” to respond.’
Today, in 2021, the Mines Rescue Service is now a training facility due to the mines no longer operating. They provide various training courses, for a wide range of industries including: Confined Space, First Aid, Working at Height, and Fire Fighting training – to name a few.