Clipstone Colliery, is at Clipstone village in Nottinghamshire. The new village of Clipstone, was built on the site of Clipstone Army Camp in 1926 by the Bolsover Mining Company. It was built as a model village with the latest housing and facilities to provide accommodation and recreation for the mines workers.
In 1912 the Bolsover Colliery Company leased 6,000 acres of mining rights form the Duke of Portland. A test bore found the 6ft Tophard seam of coal present at a depth of 640yds below surface. At the outbreak of war in 1914 the work on sinking of the shaft was suspended at a depth of 50 ft however the surface buildings such as the winding house went on to be completed. In 1919 work on the shaft recommenced and by 1922 the two 21ft diameter shafts were complete. Mining on the Tophard seam began in 1927.
By WWII, the seam being worked was becoming exhausted, so deeper needed to be developed resulting in a programme of reconstruction/reorganisation being drawn up just after the war. The National Coal Board (NCB) implemented the scheme upon nationalisation in 1947-48. At surface, work had started fully by 1953. All the old equipment including the old steam winders, boilers, and fan, were scrapped and the winding houses, headframes, boiler house, fan house and heapstead buildings etc were demolished. They were replaced by new heapsteads, headframes, a fan house, and a winder/power house located between the two shafts, with two electrically powered winders. In the case of the winding system, a different form was used, this being a system already adopted in Europe named 'Koepe' or Friction winding. This uses a single loop of wire rope, or two or more ropes in parallel, and a powered pulley or 'Koepe' wheel to wind rather than the standard drum. The system is thus balanced, needing less power for operation. It was invented in Germany in 1877 by Frederick Koepe, the first British example being installed at Bestwood Colliery, Nottinghamshire, in the 1880s. It was not successful, and was soon removed. The system was installed at a few more collieries up to the 1930s, but did not enjoy widespread use. Clipstone was one of the first post war examples of this system, but surprisingly, here the NCB went for ground based winders, rather than the by now more usual system of winders installed in towers over the shafts. This required the use of headframes, and the ones at Clipstone have pulley wheels or 'sheaves' located one above the other being designed specifically for the Koepe winding system. The winding house contained the two electrically driven Koepe winders, and two motor generator sets to convert the local AC supply to DC. This configuration remained virtually unaltered until closure in 2003. The heapsteads are the two brick buildings beneath the headframes. The central winder house is a modern design of brick and glass. The two magnificent headframes, which were the tallest in the UK when built, standing at approximately 65m high, and act as local landmarks as they can be seen for a miles around dominating the skyline.
The 1950s headgear and winder house were listed in 2000 as an "early example of the 'Koepe' system". Whilst they are not the first built, it seems that they are the earliest in situ example left in the UK. The architecture of these buildings is excellent for a post war twentieth century colliery. This technical interest has not stopped demolition proposals. In 2003, a referendum in Clipstone was held and the villagers voted for demolition of the whole site. The Coal Authority has made a listed building consent application for demolition, and everything except the tallest all metal headstocks in the country and the winder house and other immediate buildings have been demolished including the baths and coal hoppers.
Even though the colliery never recorded a loss it was closed in 1993 and mothballed. It was re-opened in 1994 by RJB Mining (now UK coal) but finally closed in April 2003. This was one of 31 mines named for closure by British Coal but was to be the first to restart production under licence arrangements a full year ahead of the privatisation of the NCB. Production re-commenced in 1994 with six to seven years of reserves. After nine years the colliery had produced nearly four million tonnes of coal, but the other reserves remaining were not viable based upon their quality, high sulphur content and cost of accessing them.