TitleOpencast mining papers
DescriptionThe files consist of letters addressed to the Agent at the Estate Office by the Opencast Executive of the Ministry of Fuel and Power (the earliest letters are from the Ministry of Mines) and the Opencast Executive of the National Coal Board, by the Ministry of Works and by the Agricultural Land Service of the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, together with carbon copies of some of the outgoing correspondence, about sites requisitioned for opencast mining during the war of 1939-1945 and during the post-war years.

The earliest letters date from 1941-1942 but the majority of them 1943 or later. Many of the files cover a period of 15 years or more, because after the opencast working was finished the site was restored and worked as agricultural land for a period of five years by the Agricultural Land Service of the Ministry of Agriculture & Fisheries before it was de-requisitioned, and there might then be a need for post-derequisition drainage. There are not many letters later than 1962, but a few files continue up to c.1980.

Files usually begin with requisition notices to which plans of the site are attached, followed by a schedule of conditions drawn up and agreed before working began; the schedules give detailed descriptions of the land and its uses, boundaries, drainage and buildings.

Comparatively little relates to the period when working was in progress, although there is some correspondence about problems that arose during this period. The bulk of the correspondence relates to the restoration of the land after working was finished. Restoration meetings were held on the site and further meetings to agree on details of cropping, fencing, drainage, etc. Usually minutes of the meetings were taken and circulated but these have not always survived and, in any case, it is clear that minutes were not always taken. In some files there are letters from tenants with complaints about the restoration. When the land was ready for derequisition, notices were sent, claims for compensation agreed and a drainage agreement signed. Finally, in many cases there was further correspondence on post-derequisition drainage.

The files vary considerably in the amount of information they supply. Some contain large-scale plans of the site and these have been noted if they are of special interest. A number contain the final drainage plan but the majority do not.
Date1941 - 1971
CustodialHistoryThe entire Opencast section (WWM/O) was withdrawn by the Estate office in 1982. All but WWM/O/74 and WWM/O/79-84 were returned in 1986.
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