Photographs of a VIP visit by Lord Robens, Chairman National Coal Board; Sir George Dowty; Mr Murray Garmmar, Purchasing Director NCB and Mr A W Mills Managing Director of Dowty Mining Equipment on 27th June 1961
Lord Robens took up his appointment at the NCB in 1961, a post he held for ten years.
As Chairman of the NCB, Lord Robens oversaw substantial cuts in the mining industry, many of them reflecting market forces and government policies originated before he assumed the post. Although he lobbied to protect the industry, his reputation as a socialist necessarily suffered—when he took over as NCB chair there were 698 pits employing 583,000 miners, but by the time he left the post ten years later there were only 292 pits employing 283,000 miners.
Robens expressed concern at the poor health and safety record of the coal industry, and championed campaigns to reduce accidents and to counter chronic occupational diseases such as pneumoconiosis. Although the number of fatal and serious accidents fell by over 60% during his tenure, there was also a fall in the workforce of over 50%, from 583,000 to 283,000.