Danger from old mines and mineshafts

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Danger from old mines and mineshafts

Postby jock78 » Tue Nov 04, 2014 3:17 pm

when I was a wee lad in Robroyston I remember that there was two old open mineshafts which were simply cordoned-off by six feet high walls. We often threw bricks down them, counting to about 20 before we heard the crash as they hit the bottom! I trust they have long ago been properly filled and sealed. In the past, this was not always the case,as it was much simpler and cheaper to cover them over at the rockhead with timber and backfill to the surface.

The problem with this is that in the event of a collapse, a draw-down of the surface could occur filling both the shaft, and the stoop and room areas near this. I should point out that I do not know of any such event which has happened in the Glasgow area but know this has happened elsewhere in the past.

I had occasion to survey a site for a new comprehensive school in Airdrie in the 70s. It was known there were old shafts on the site but the method of locating them at that time was by extensive boreholes at close intervals- two were located and filled but a potential third one was not, so the solution was to spread a reinforced net over the likely area at one metre below the surface.

Later living in Chryston,which had previously been subject to a mining disaster in a local pit, I returned home to find that the road outside my house had blown-up wrecking, in turn, my colleague's car. The reason for this was that methane in the large diameter sewer there had exploded this gas, arguable, was from the old mine.

Living in a town which has been subject to heavy industry and chemical works in the past, together with mining, we need to be aware of the previous use of our local area.
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Re: Danger from old mines and mineshafts

Postby moonbeam » Tue Nov 04, 2014 11:32 pm

Surprisingly the Drumchapel/ Clydebank and North Knightswood areas have had recent pit shaft cave ins. Drumchapl 1992 a drilling rig fell in a large hole at the top of Achamore Road. Then 2004 house in Drumchapel Gardens had to be abandoned as a shaft opened up at the side of the house. Then Briar Road near the Kilbowie Road round -a- bout had mining subsidence.
Finally Crusader Avenue in North Knightswood in 2011 lost 4 houses when a pit shaft caved in. The site now has a large metal fence round it. The Coal Authority had to build a sort of bailey bridge over the shaft and pump tons of concrete down it to seal it.
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Re: Danger from old mines and mineshafts

Postby jock78 » Wed Nov 05, 2014 11:22 am

Thanks for that Moonbeam,
Glad to know that I was not exaggerating the issue!
i have been away from my home town for many years so am not up to date with what has gone on.
I was a bit hesitant in mentioning specific locations but at the same time, people should be aware of these matters.

Problem is -how do you know the risk, area by area?-Some records are available but where, and in what detail?

Best regards,
John
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Re: Danger from old mines and mineshafts

Postby Alycidon » Wed Nov 05, 2014 11:52 am

I know that all new houses built in mining affected areas since the 1970s need to be built on raft foundations, which is effectively a thick flat concrete base. The Sikeside area of Coatbridge was badly affected by subsidence in the 1980s and the five storey high maisonettes built in the 1960s all had to be demolished.
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Re: Danger from old mines and mineshafts

Postby Targer » Wed Nov 05, 2014 3:43 pm

The raft/slab structure can handle a number of ground/soil conditions. Here in Canada where there is swamp or soft ground conditions they use the slab as 3 or 4 Ft. down its swampy therefore no basement.
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Re: Danger from old mines and mineshafts

Postby moonbeam » Thu Nov 06, 2014 12:27 am

The Hillhead area of Glasgow is another area affected by mining subsidence. I knew the Sikeside area pretty well back in the mid 1970's and that whole area is subject to subsidence due to mining. The Coal Authority can tell you if your house has been mined underneath. The Curfew Road collapse was the subject of quite a big investigation and a fairly unique engineering solution due to the complexity of the site. Plus proximity of other houses. A lot of shafts in Scotland were just fenced round.
As in the case of iron stone mines it may have become economic to reopen the mine. Hence no need to dig a new shaft. A lot of coal mines become uneconomic to mine due to thin seams, grade of coal and water flooding. It was thought in some areas if the price of coal went up it might be possible to reopen some pits. Plus some continued as air shafts and "escape" routes from other local pits. The entire deep mining industry has vanished in Scotland. Along with local knowledge.
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Re: Danger from old mines and mineshafts

Postby Vinny the Mackem » Fri Nov 07, 2014 12:40 am

My grandparents used to live in Shafton Place in Knightswood. In one of the drying greens at the back of the flats beside the shops on Shafton Road, there was a fenced off square portion, probably around 10' x 10'. As kids, we'd jump over the fence and jump on this grassy square to be amused by the large, echoing boom it made. Later, in the mid 90's a shaft opened on the football pitches at the back of the shops (near the Knightscliffe exit, if I recall correctly) and my folks next door neighbour fell down and was injured.

Although not Glasgow, I went to university with the girl Allison Hume, who fell into an open shaft in Ayrshire, with the horrifically tragic circumstances that was reported in the news.
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Re: Danger from old mines and mineshafts

Postby jock78 » Fri Nov 07, 2014 8:25 am

Being away from Glasgow for forty years, I did not know of these subsidences but am not surprised.
I did not mention the danger from stoop and room/pillar and stall workings which was the traditional mining technique.
I this case, not all the coal was removed but the roof was supported by columns of coal.

Such columns will deteriorate through time due to oxidization and could collapse. Many of the issues reported may be due to this problem.

I know there are plans of old workings available, but relating them to surface features is more problematical as accurate maps are not available up to about 150 years ago.

Where old workings have been filled with concrete, this would be only in the vicinity of the collapse and would not fill the whole workings so the issue of buildings local to this arises.

What also concerns me is who pays - not likely to be the moneyed landowners who exploited our city!
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Re: Danger from old mines and mineshafts

Postby RapidAssistant » Fri Nov 07, 2014 8:45 am

The East End is notorious for it - a lot of the tenements on Alexandra Parade are pinned because of subsidence issues, and I remember there was a tenement collapse on Shettleston Road in 1980/81 - something like that - I have vague memories of it as I was only 4 years old at the time, but I think there were fatalities, and they had to knock down a whole line of tenements because they were unstable, and the row between Chester St and Ardholm St were dismantled, with only the shops left standing.

But there were other stories of the ground opening up without warning that I heard from various people. Was the Goldbergs/Granny Blacks collapse on Candleriggs caused by mine workings?
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Re: Danger from old mines and mineshafts

Postby dazza » Fri Nov 07, 2014 10:45 am

RapidAssistant wrote:Was the Goldbergs/Granny Blacks collapse on Candleriggs caused by mine workings?


No, a large chunk of the upper building, which had been derelict and unmaintained for years, just collapsed.
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Re: Danger from old mines and mineshafts

Postby Dexter St. Clair » Fri Nov 07, 2014 9:13 pm

If one could find the maps used by banks in the sixties to red line areas that mortgages were not to be made available to home buyers I think they would match former mining works.
"I before E, except after C" works in most cases but there are exceptions.
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Re: Danger from old mines and mineshafts

Postby moonbeam » Sat Nov 08, 2014 12:10 am

The Crusader Avenue pit shaft was nearly 800 feet deep. It had an upcast and down cast ie two shafts with about 20 feet between each shaft. The were actually mining around 500 feet but the pit had been extended unknown to the coal authority
to tap a coal seam -coking coal- at 800 feet. This seam had not been mined. I can check my maps re Shafton but this area had been mined for coal and ironstone. Around 1850 there were blast furnaces round about the ash pitch at the back of Netherton Community Centre. These shut in 1857.
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Re: Danger from old mines and mineshafts

Postby browning » Sun Nov 09, 2014 8:31 am

I was once advised by a relative who worked with the Gas Board that old mine shafts were rountinely "sealed" by depositing loads of old railway sleepers down the shaft until a logjam occured. Thereafter huge amounts of concrete were poured into the top of the shaft until "sealed".
I'm sure this will prove of immense relief to the residents of Louden Hill Place in Robroyston...they would appear from old maps to have the Robroyston Colliery shaft immediately beneath them...!
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Re: Danger from old mines and mineshafts

Postby moonbeam » Sun Nov 09, 2014 5:10 pm

I am also aware of pit shafts being "sealed" by putting railway sleepers over the top of them.
Also old cut trees and wood being thrown in until they jammed and some earth thrown on top.
In the Drumchapel area when I was a lad the shafts had wooden fencing round them. One
or two had rotten wooden sleepers covering them But some were open in the
Peel Glen area. We would throw stones down them until we heard a muffled "splash"
The Balljafrey area of Bearsden is another area undermined.
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Re: Danger from old mines and mineshafts

Postby Grahame » Mon Nov 10, 2014 8:59 am

Back in the 80s, when we were looking for a flat to buy in the West End, we had 3 or 4 mortgages refused in the Hillhead area because of the risk of subsidence from mining. However subsequently those flats have been sold - whether some work has been done to stabilise them or whether mortgage lenders just got less discriminating I don't know.

Dexter St. Clair wrote:If one could find the maps used by banks in the sixties to red line areas that mortgages were not to be made available to home buyers I think they would match former mining works.

There is the wonderful Coal Authority interactive map viewer available now if you need to check someplace. There goes your morning, Dex. :D
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