History of Coal Mining in Nova Scotia
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Louis Frost

The Louis Frost Notes 1685 to 1962



The shafts for this colliery were sunk at Lourds on the outskirts of the Town of Stellarton in Pictou County, in 1904, to reach the axis of the synclinal fold which the coal measures form at this location.

No. 1 Shaft was 1240 feet deep to the Foord Seam, with intermediate landings at 476 feet and 962 feet respectively, from which cross measure tunnels intersect the seam. No. 2 Shaft, 22 feet x 10 ft. was 1008 feet deep and had one intermediate landing. This shaft was the upcast shaft for the mine.

When the colliery closed in 1951 only the Foord Seam was being worked, although in past years the Cage and Third Seams had also been worked in this colliery but these workings were discontinued through the deterioration in the quality of these two seams. During its life this mine produced 5,493,831 long tons of coal.

The Foord Seam contained approximately forty feet of clean coal without any dirt partings. The coal was bituminous and firm in texture. It was an excellent house and steam coal, and of good coking quality.

The roof of the seam consisted of a weak shale which when exposed required heavy timbering.

The inclination of the seam varied from 0 to 75 degrees and the measures were heavily faulted and badly contorted.

The seam was gassy and liable to spontaneous combustion, and the method of work adopted was mainly pillar and room and developed on a panel system, with provisions for closing off each panel if the necessity arose. In 1931 advancing longwall was developed to a limited extent and several longwalls were worked off No. 15 South levels in the Foord sinking between 1932 and 1939. One longwall on the West side off 350 Balance was still in operation when the colliery closed in 1951 due to fires on the 350 Balance and No. 15 South level off the Foord sinking.

The lowest workings in the mine had in 1938 reached a depth of 1811 feet, or a total depth from the surface of 1851 feet.

In winning the coal, air-driven Radial Coal Cutters and pneumatic picks were used. The mine cars were of 1.2 ton capacity and haulage to the pit bottom was either by horses or compressed air rope haulage engines, as conditions warranted. From the pit bottom the cars were hoisted to the surface in a cage having four decks, each deck holding one car.

The make of water in the mine was appromimately 85 gallons per minute. The main pumps were electrically driven and located on the 962 ft. landing off No. 1 Shaft in the main intake airway.

The temperature in the workings which generated a large amount of gas was very constant all the year round. The average wet bulb temperature was 57 degrees F., with a dry bulb temperature of 62 degrees F. The ventilating unit for the mine was an 18 ft. diameter "Walker" Fan located at the top of No. 2 Shaft. This fan returned 93,000 cu. ft. of air per minute against a water gauge of 5.9 inches.

Since its opening in 1904 and up to the date of closure in 1951, this colliery had an unenviable reputation for spontaneous fires and explosions, some resulting in loss of life. The most disastrous occurred at 5:45 p.m. on January 23rd, 1918 and caused the loss of eighty-eight lives. Available records do not indicate the cause of this explosion, although our records show that in all, eight explosions occurred in this colliery, as well as a large number of fires due to spontaneous heating.

The year and the severity of the disaster relative to loss of life are indicated below.

Explosions - Allan Mine

1914	Dec. 20		Two lives lost

1918	Jan. 31		Eighty-eight lives lost

1924	June 30		Two lives lost

1929	Feb. 10		Explosion occurred Sunday
			Extensive damage but no loss of life

1932	Sept. 5		No loss of life

1935	Apr. 16		Seven lives lost

1942	Apr. 30		No loss of life

1950	Apr. 28		No loss of life

A statement showing the explosions and fires in the Pictou Coal Field appears at the end of the Acadia section.

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Last Modified: 98-03-21

Authored by: Louis Frost

The information contained on this site is not provided for the purpose of factual
representation. Instead, it is provided in an historical context. Every effort has
been made to ensure that this information represents the actual content of the
original document authored by Louis Frost for the Dominion Coal Company
on or around 1962. Nevertheless, no warranties are provided in any respect.

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