Coal was mined during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, it was in demand, not only as domestic fuel, but in the metalworkers smithies and manufacture of pottery and glass. There is evidence of shallow pits before 1700 at:
- Hooton Roberts
- Thundercliffe Grange
The development of steam in the 18th century for drainage and winding enabled deep mining to take place. By 1800, about half of the 2,000 steam engines in use in Britain were employed in collieries.Coal from the Yorkshire coalfields was one of the major sources of power behind the global industrial revolution of the 18th and 19th centuries, and the early decades of the 20th centuries. Collieries were as much part of the landscape as churches.
Coal mining from was first carried out at the outskirts of Old Denaby in the 15th Century and was a precursor of an industry that dominated the whole of South Yorkshire. It is recorded that ' ... Godfrey Sommersall of Aldwarke, yeoman was paid £50 a year by Leonard Reresby of Denaby for working all mines of coal commonly called seacole, mynecole or earthcole in demesne lands of Manor of Deneby; for 21 yrs . '
Until 1842, women and girls, and children as young as from six to eight years of age, were employed underground in Yorkshire coal mines, but in that year an Act of Parliament was passed, prohibiting all women and girls from underground work, as well as boys below ten years of age.
- In 1855 the total output of the West Riding from 333 collieries was 7,747,470 tons
- In 1854, 21,030 persons were employed in the Yorkshire coalfield
- In 1913 from 425 mines, 43,669,034 tons of coal (valued at the pits' mouth at 20,570,955), besides fireclay, ironstone, gannister, alum-shale, and iron pyrites were produced
- 126,803 persons were employed underground, and 34,417 above ground in 1913
South Yorkshire Collieries
In the 1850s a number of regional miners' associations were founded, one of which was the South Yorkshire Miners' Association, founded in1858. Its purpose-built headquarters, designed by Barnsley architects Wade and Turner, were opened in Barnsley in 1874, in a style which combined gothic and French Empire.A monument to the front of the building commemorates leading figures in the history of the union
In 1889 regional miners' unions were amalgamated into the Miners' Federation of Great Britain and in 1945 one union, the National Union of Miners, replaced this federation. In 1988 the headquarters of the NUM was relocated to Sheffield from London.
Miners' Welfare Committee
The Miners' Welfare Commission was established to provide a range of centres and activities. It helped sponsor welfare clubs, which acted as a focus for miners and their families, and may be one of the reasons that a strong sense of community existed in mining towns.
The Miners' Welfare Fund, set up in the 1920's under the provisions of the Mining Industry Act ,was to be used for purposes approved by the Board of Trade and administered by a Miners' Welfare Committee. Funds were was raised from a levy, initially ld. per ton of coal produced, and after 1926 a levy of five per cent of coal royalties. Between 1920 and 1951 more than £30 million was spent. It was used for various purposes: pithead baths, clubs, institutes and recreation grounds; colliery canteens; non-mining education, including university scholarships; health, including rehabilitation centres for injured miners; and research, mainly into safety in mines.
Pit-head bathsBy the end of the 19th century, pit-head baths were common in Belgium, France and Germany. In England most miners bathed at home. As pit-head baths became more common over the 20th century, so miners' housing changed, with an increasing amount of bathrooms situated upstairs. Who can remember the bath in the kitchen of many a terraced house !
Pit-head baths were only slowly introduced in Britain. Legislation in 1911 stopped short of requiring them to be provided, and by the time the coal industry was nationalised only around a third of pits had bathing facilities.
Aldwarke MainAldwarke Main was sunk in 3 main stages:-
- To the Barnsley seam. 1867
- To the Parkgate seam. c.1877
- To the Silkstone seam. 1884
There was an explosion in 1875 when seven men were killed. »
John Brown used the following contractors for the sinking of pit shafts in July 1877:
W. & V. Joyner, Thos. Jones and Josh. Hopkins.
Deepening of shafts to Swallow Wood and Parkgate seams took place from 1944-46.
The mine was owned by John Brown and Co. Ltd. of Rotherham and passed into National Coal Board ownership in 1947.
Barley Hall (Thorncliffe) CollieryBarley Hall (Thorncliffe) Colliery. Date of sinking 1886-87. Barley Hall Pithead Baths built 1937-1939
Six men were killed and fourteen injured in an explosion at Barnburgh Main Colliery on 26 June 1957
Bates CollieryA single shaft was sunk circa 1910. Used as access and ventilation for the nearby Beighton Colliery. Demolished during 1986-87 following the closure of Beighton.
Corton Wood Colliery
Corton Wood Colliery, Brampton Bierlow: Date of sinking 1873. A company was formed in 1872 at first called the Brampton Colliery Co. Application was made to the Industrial Housing Association Ltd., by Cortonwood Collieries Ltd. concerning a scheme for 93 houses.The area was behind the Brampton Bull's Head Inn. The Minersí Strike of 1984-5, was begun as a result of an announcement that Cortonwood was to close.
In January, 1887, William Beardon, 23, was killed while removing props when a fall of earth buried him alive.
J. E. Chambers was Colliery Manager in 1912.
Six men were killed and three others were seriously injured in an explosion at Cortonwood Colliery on 9th December, 1932.
In 1936 Cortonwood Colliery Co, began building new coke ovens to replace the 25 year old existing ones.
In 1961 1600 men were employed and the weekly output was 15,000 tons.
4 men died in 1961 after being trapped by a pocket of gas:John Kellitt, Robert Arnott, Albert Bailey and John Holmes. Granville Mason received the George Medal for his rescue attempts.
Cortonwood finally closed in 1985.
Shaft sinking for Dalton Main Colliery - later to be known as Silverwood, began in 1900. Coal production commenced in 1905. From about 1920 Frank H Frost was secretary of Dalton Main Collieries. Visit John's website for full details about Dalton Main Collieries
Denaby and Cadeby
In 1700, Aaron Walker of Rotherham mined poor quality coal near the surface of the future Denaby Colliery. Sinking of two shafts for Denaby Main Colliery began in 1863. Several coal measures were passed before the Barnsley seam was reached in 1867. Most of the houses and properties, built around 1868, were owned by the colliery, even the Denaby Main Hotel. The Denaby Main Colliery Company started the sinking of Cadeby Main Colliery in 1869. The company became the The Denaby and Cadeby Main Colliery Company.
A disaster at Cadeby Colliery in 1912 left 63 widows and 132 fatherless children. Read about the Cadeby Colliery Disaster
Denaby closed in 1968 and Cadeby 19 years later in 1987.
The Miners' Memorial Chapel in All Saints' Church, Denaby, was opened in 1987, following the closure of the last local mine, as a memorial to those who had worked in the collieries of the area. It contains a pit wheel, salvaged from Cadeby Colliery, and the altar incorporates a 1 ton block of coal from Manvers Main Colliery.
Fullerton Hospital - In September 1903, a public meeting held in Rossington Street School, Denaby Main, resolved to build and maintain a cottage hospital at Denaby Main for the workmen employed by the Denaby and Cadeby Main collieries'. It was to be supported by weekly contributions from employees. A ballot in the following month produced a result of 2,440 in favour of financing a hospital and 970 against. Prior to this, the Montagu Hospital at Mexborough was the nearest hospital, but was not large enough to meet the needs of the area, especially after the opening of the second colliery, at Cadeby. The new hospital was built on a site given to the trustees by Mr Fullerton of Thrybergh Hall and was consequently given his name.
Sinking of Dinnington Colliery began in 1902. In 1908 Dinnington Colliery Company built Dinnington Colliery Institute with many recreational facilities. The first houses to be built for the miner's were known as The Barracks. The second image shows Dinnington Miners Welfare Football Club, 1926. In 1932 the pithead baths were built to accommodate 3,024 men
Read about the Phantom Miner
Elsecar Colliery was one of the first of Earl Fitzwilliams collieries to be opened (1754?). In 1796, plans were drawn up for the building of six groups of miners' cottages.
T. M. Parker was employed from 1814 on the establishment of a coke and tar works at Elsecar.
On 22nd December, 1852, at Elsecar Low Colliery, ten men were killed in an explosion. »
Firbeck Main Colliery
Firbeck Main Colliery Company was registered in 1913 with a capital of half a million sterling for the purpose of establishing a colliery near Firbeck. At this time Wallingwells Boring Company Limited was undertaking boring operations on the estate of Mr. Archibald Woolaston White at Wallingwells. The boring proved the Barnsley seam to be 814 yards from the surface and to vary in thickness from four to six feet. It was stated that the Sheepbridge Colliery Company were interested and that a new village would be developed, and the colliery would employ several thousand men.
Firbeck Main Colliery was sunk by Doncaster Amalgamated Collieries in 1925.In 1933 Robert Whitehead, J.P. was Chairman of the Firbeck Collieries Ltd. In 1938 the owners were Firbeck Main Collieries Ltd., Sheepbridge Works, Chesterfield, Derbyshire. The manager was J. W Woodbridge and Arthur Vernon the undermanager. There were 1457 employed underground and 357 surface workers.
In 1945 the owners were Doncaster Amalgamated Collieries Ltd.,The manager was L. A Clarke and the under manager was S. Kirkham. There were 1450 employed underground and 405 surface workers. Firbeck closed 1967.
Source Sheffield Archives, Reference: SY/416/B/1/1-2 . Read more about Firbeck.
Grange Colliery at Droppingwell lay on Wortley Road and had its own branch from the Great Central Railway in the Blackburn Valley. Grange Collierywas sunk in1891 and at its peak employed 800 men. Production ceased in 1963.
Herringthorpe CollieryIn 1702 Edward Fretwell of Wickersley, was recorded as getting coals on a piece of waste ground in the Manor of Whiston called Herringthorpe; for seven years at 7d. for every wainload of coals got.
Thomas Pearson, a colliery manager and secretary of the Sheffield and Rotherham Railway, was also the proprietor of Herringthorpe Colliery and managed collieries in the Holmes area for G. W. Chambers. Pearson seems to have originated from Whiston.
There is mention of a colliery in Whiston in 1749 owned by John Whitehead of Whiston
Engine Pit in Low Pasture, Herringthorpe, was opened 1812; the archives also mention, Black Hill Main, Gallow Tree Hill, and Sir G. Sitwell's colliery at Whiston.
Hickleton MainHickleton Main Colliery was worked from 1892 until 1988. In 1993 a pit wheel monument was erected as a memorial to the miners and their families.
KilnhurstThe Kilnhurst Collieries were exploited successively by three different companies. J. & J. Charlesworth Ltd. of Milnes House, Wakefield, were succeeded by Stewarts & Lloyds Ltd., of 41 Oswald Street, Glasgow, in 1923. In 1936, the latter were succeeded by the Tinsley Park Colliery Co. Ltd., of 14 Wharf Street, Sheffield - the purchase price for Kilnhurst Collieries including the brickworks and a house was £310,000. The Kilnhurst collieries were formerly called the Thrybergh Hall Collieries, where on 30th November, 1863, 6 miners were killed by falling down the shaft. Dates of sinking:
- Barnsley seam - 1858
- Swallow Wood seam - 1917
- Parkgate seam - 1923
- Silkstone seam - 1929
- No.4 Shaft - 1937-9
Read about the Colliery disaster of 1863
Kiveton Park Colliery was opened in 1866, and the offices between 1872 and 1875. Read about the Ghost
Maltby Colliery was sunk in 1908 by Maltby Main Colliery Company, a subsidiary of the Sheepbridge Iron and Coal Company. The colliery company employed Herbert Mollekin to build an estate of 1000 houses for its workpeople. This was called the Model Village, consisting of two concentric circles of roads, the miner's houses were on Scarborough Crescent to the rear, and the larger houses of Deacon Crescent were for the overmen and deputies. In an underground explosion in 1923, 27 men were killed while trying to contain an underground fire. Rescue teams spent 19 days underground, only one body was recovered. Maltby was renowned for it's high production. The power house was built in 1911 and was modified in the 1940s. In 1981 the number 3 shaft was sunk in order to mine the Parkgate and Swallow Wood seams. The tower uses a Koepe winding system.
It is the only pit in the area still being worked today.
Read about The Maltby Main Pit Disaster of July, 1923
Manvers Main Colliery
Date of sinking: to Barnsley seam No.1 shaft 1868; No.3 shaft 1875-77; to Parkgate seam 1899-1901
An explosion occurred on 4 March 1945, in which five workers were killed
Rockingham CollieryRockingham Colliery - Date of sinking 1875
Rotherham & District Collieries Association
This organisation for the better marketing of coal, started operating on 1st November, 1926 after a speech by Mr. A. O. Peech of The United Steel Companies, in which he suggested that South Yorkshire Collieries were at a disadvantage in regard to export trade. Members of the association were: John Brown & Co., Cortonwood Collieries Company, Dalton Main Collieries, Stewarts & Lloyds (Kilnhurst), Tinsley Park Colliery Company, United Steels Companies, (including the Rother Vale branch and Samuel Fox and Co.) and the Kiveton Park Colliery Company. An extract from The Times Newspaper details the ideas. Mr. Harold Arden Wright of Ulley Grange, Rotherham was the director.
Situated at the foot of Canklow wood, Rotherham Main Colliery stood by an ancient ford on the River Rother at Canklow. Rotherham Main was sunk in 1890 to 1893.
Colliery consisted of High Hazel seam, Barnsley seam, Haigh Moor seam ,Parkgate seam and Silkstone seam.
The owners John Brown and Co (Atlas Steel and Iron Works, Sheffield) established a school to take 145 children of their workpeople, along with a settlement of pit houses. The colliery was served by Rotherham Corporation trams.It proved to be a bad investment, it was sited in a bad location, in fact a map of 1854 shows the area liable to flood. Up to the first world war, 2000 miners were employed there, through the 1930ís and 40ís it was virtually closed down, needing only 300 employees to maintain it. It closed in 1954.
Read about the Colliery disaster of 1891
The original shaft was sunk at Shireoaks in 1860/61 by the Duke of Newcastle who owned the mineral rights. an agreement was reached, in October, 1861, between the Manchester, Sheffield and Lincolnshire Railway, and the Duke of Newcastle, to make a connecting canal link between the Shireoaks Colliery and the Chesterfield and Gainsboro' Canal.
Among his other business interests, Henry Dickenson Marshall (1840Ė1906), was a director of Shireoaks colliery. (He was also a major shareholder in the Gainsborough Toll Bridge Company, and a vice-president of the Gainsborough Trustee Savings Bank. Together with his brother he founded the Gainsborough Building Society).
In 1881 an agreement was made between the Manchester, Sheffield and Lincolnshire Railway Co. and the Shireoaks Colliery Co. regarding the use of a telephone at Shireoaks railway station.
On 12th April, 1865 a bond was drawn up by Messrs Benjamin and Robert Eddison to the Shireoaks Colliery Co.Ltd. Robert Eddison to act as cashier for the company. Benjamin Eddison gives a surety of £1,000 for Robert Eddison's conduct. Source Sheffield Archives.
Soon after the sinking of the pit, building started to house the workers. In 1867 the Shireoaks Colliery Company was formed. Anston, Shireoaks, Steetley, Southgate, and Whitwell Collieries where owned by Shireoaks Colliery Co Ltd.
In 1889 an agreement was reached between Shireoaks Colliery Co.Ltd. and the Corporation of Norwich for supply of coal to the pumping station of Norwich Sewerage Works.
1917 saw a lease by which George Godolphin, 10th Duke of Leeds, and his mortgagees, let the Shireoaks Colliery Co.Ltd mine top hard coal under lands in the townships of North and South Anston, and Thorpe Salvin.
In 1940 the London and North Eastern Railway Co., and the Trustees of the Shireoaks Colliery Pithead Baths, agreed to the laying down of piping and cable from the Pithead Baths.
Anston, Shireoaks, Steetley, were owned by Shireoaks Colliery Co Ltd. In 1945, the Company was sold to United Steel Companies Ltd
Shireoaks pit closed in 1991
John's site has a wealth of information about Silverwood Colliery
On 2nd February, 1966 10 men died and 30 were injured when a diesel locomotive ran into the back of a paddy mail carrying about 40 day shift men to the coal face at Silverwood Colliery, Rotherham.
In the early 1980's, a young miner working at Silverwood Colliery had an inexplicable encounter with the paranormal. His story consequently became very well known, and aroused the interest of several researchers into the paranormal, as well as being reported in a number of daily papers, including the "Morning Telegraph" and the "Sun". Source Pit Ghosts
The miner was working underground with two colleagues, who were 300 yards ahead of him. Without warning, a light appeared in the tunnel between himself and the others. As it seemed to be the head-lamp of another miner, the collier waited for his approach. He noticed that the figure wore an old-style square pit helmet and a grubby waistcoat and shirt. As the stranger got closer, his head bowed and the head-lamp lit up the young miner's face. He stared in terror at what he saw. The figure of the man was normal in every respect, except for his face. The lamplight revealed a clearly defined neck and the shape of a face, but where the features should have been, such as eyes, nose and mouth, there was nothing ... Only a blank space. The terrified miner dropped his equipment and ran screaming towards his colleagues. He was taken above ground suffering from shock. He swore that if he was not given a job on the pit surface, then he would gladly resign as he could never go underground again, such was the terror struck into him. Consequently, the young man took a considerable drop in wages to remain safely on the pit surface.
Thurcroft Colliery was sunk in 1909. The Barnsley seam was found in 1913 and worked until 1967 - a newspaper report said that the coal was of very good quality, but the explorations met with difficulty, the coal having been thrown out of its normal position by a large fault which was not discovered when the sinking of the shafts was chosen.Thurcroft was owned by Rother Vale Colliery Company. At one stage over a third of the population of Thurcroft worked at the pit.
Model Village Housing
The war seriously interfered with the progress of the extensive housing scheme of the Rother Vale Colliery Company, now amalgamated with the United Steel Company. To the visitor, Thurcroft seemed likely to be an extremely desirable place to live in.
The lay-out of the land was excellently conceived; the roads, which were made unusually wide, were intended to be laid out as boulevards, and the houses were the embodiment of simplicity of design, and economy in construction.
The peculiar needs of the district were amply provided for in the internal arrangements. One of these being the placing of the bathroom on the ground floor.The miner usually came home from the pit as black as a sweep, and it therefore made sense that the bathroom was downstairs!
A good cooking range was indispensable in a Yorkshire home, and in these new houses, the collierís wife was provided with excellent cooking facilities to bake bread to her heartís content.
Sleeping accommodation was also a difficult problem in a mining community. Here the houses contained three or four bedrooms large enough to hold full sized beds and the usual furniture. One of the miner's wives, at the time of inspection of her new home, was recorded as saying "This is the best house that I have ever lived in."
The Inspector reported, " The care and attention which it was obvious she was in the habit of bestowing on her home - is by no means an isolated instance in these new mining communities". This was an object lesson in the effect of proper housing on the working class.
By 1919 Rother Vale Colliery Colliery Company was acquired by the United Steel Companies, the director was Walter Benton Jones. Coke Ovens and Brickworks were erected later acquired by Butterley Bricks. In 1942 the Parkgate Seam was opened. The operation continued until 1947 when the coal industry was nationalised.
The By-Product plant was closed in March, 1931 and restarted in September, 1933 as trade improved.
Roland Shaw, age 26, husband of Lily, was accidently killed in an accident at Thurcroft Colliery, 28 Jan.1932.
A newspaper report of December, 1934, giving details of a fire which broke out at underground at the colliery stated that 2000 men were employed here.
In 1938 The manager was A Foster and the Under Manager J Robinson. 1391 were employed underground and 259 on the surface.
By 1945 there were 1276 underground workers and 238 employed on the surface. The Manager was C. Smith and Under Manager E Bedson.
A strike by members of the National Association of Colliery Overmen, Deputies and Shotfirers ended on 23rd June, 1952. The strike began at Silverwood and it was decided by majority vote to resume work, the 70 men on strike at Thurcroft agreed to resume under strong protest. The strike was a protest against the National Coal Board's failure to offer a reasonable wage increase. It affected 16 collieries. Read the story
A Bronze Age palstave, now in Doncaster Museum, was found in 1952 at Thurcroft Colliery, apparently near the screens where the wagons were tipped. Thus it may well have arrived from elsewhere, possibly one of the other collieries in the area - Treeton and Thurcroft were connected, in fact it was rumoured that during a bad winter, when roads were impassable because of heavy snow, the miners wages were delivered underground from Treeton to Thurcroft !
Miner's at Thurcroft decided to complain to Sir. Noel Holmes, Chairman of North Eastern Divisional Coal Board in September, 1954, about the alleged ungentlemanly conduct and discourtesy to branch officials of the pit manager, Mr. L. R. Cook. They also passed a resolution demanding that their own permanent area officials should be subject to re-election every five years, and protested against a letter received from Mr. F. Collindridge, Yorkshire area secretary of the National Union of Mineworkers, which criticized the ban on overtime and cooperation with management, imposed the previous week after a wages dispute. At a mass meeting attended by about 1,000 men, they decided to suspend the ban after branch officials had told them the management had conceded their claim in most of the 250 to 300 cases, with full pay and bonus for the men involved.
About 500 Thurcroft miners at a mass meeting in Rotherham on 16th September, 1956, were warned that their pit was in danger of being closed because of unofficial strikes. There were 49 stoppages at Thurcroft since January, 1955. The warnings were given by a branch official of the National Union of Mineworkers, and the men unamimously approved a motion put by the branch chairman, Mr. C. Swindell, which promised adherence to the conciliation machinery in future and denied branch support to any men who failed to do so.
Output at the colliery fell from 16,000 to 8,000 tons a week in the previous 18 months, partly because of the strikes and partly because of a series of faults which were encountered in the main development phase. The pit at this time employed 1,650 men and was the only industry in the village whose population was 6,000.
The branch secretary, George Downing who had worked at the pit for 30 years commented at the time 'We have not been told officially but we have been warned indirectly that the pit will probably be closed if the position does not improve. We dare not risk it. Men of 50 or more would never get another job and many of them live in Coal Board houses. The men who are causing the trouble - and there are not many of them - are young men who could easily get another job elsewhere. Some of them do not live in the village. They do not recognize the branch officials at all'.
In January 1961 a strike lasted about 2 weeks, it was over a claim for a 10% increase in peacework rates for underground workers, a minimum of 65s. a shift and no cut in allowances. Only Maltby and Thurcroft were affected in the 'No. 1 Area' although over Yorkshire, 59 pits were affected by the strike.
In 1966 extensions and alterations were made to welfare buildings at the Thurcroft Colliery.
After being on strike for ten days in October, 1969, Thurcroft miners voted to resume work on the 23rd October, although 'intensive and noisy picketing' prevented the workers on the afternoon shift from reporting for work.
1970 saw the opening of the Haigh Moor seam and by 1972 the Parkgate Seam was exhausted. Two years later on 28 August, 1974, Sir Derek Ezra on a visit to Maltby Colliery, announced a probable investment of £13 million to improve output at South Yorkshire collieries. Schemes in mind included the installation of skip winding and building new coal preparation plants at Thurcroft and Dinnington.
The Coal Board's Coal for the Future plan of February, 1977 allocated £7 million to Thurcroft this was for exploiting new reserves and it was announced manpower would be a problem, an additional 3200 men would be required almost overnight for the Yorkshire area. The Parkgate Seam was closed in 1972 although the Haigh Moor seam, started in 1970 was still being worked.
Despite the opposition of the area leader of the National Union of Mineworkers, Arthur Scargill, to incentive schemes, miners at Thurcroft, along with those at Manton, Shireoaks and Treeton in South Yorkshire, declared in favour in January, 1978. Out of 66 pits in Yorkshire, the N.C.B. said that 20 were in favour and 6 others showing an interest.
In 1980 there were 539 underground workers and 213 employed on the surface.
1982 saw new reserves of coal being opened up for Thurcroft.
3rd September, 1984 and the Miners strike has entered into it's 26th week, The National Coal Board estimated that the dispute overall had cost the miner's an average of £4543 in lost wages. It was reported that damage estimated at more than £250,000 was caused when a bulldozer was driven into the wages building at Thurcroft.
Striking Yorkshire miners, in November, 1984, frustrated by the police's strategy in getting working miners to the pits, switched tactics away from mass picketing to blockading the pits.A lamp-post was pulled down outside Thurcroft Colliery and timber and stone barricades were put up. A workman's cabin was also pulled across the road. Full Story
In April 1985 it was reported that frightened miners and their families were living in hotels at coal board's expense, and 2 men were to appear before magistrates in Rotherham in connection with an alleged attack on the home of a strike-breaking miner and his family in Thurcroft.
The main recipient of Thurcroft Coal was in the late 1990s the Electricity Supply Industry.
Local managers and trade union officials were told in November 1991 that owing to overcapacity, the pit would close in eight days time. Since the Colliery Review required three months notice of any decision to close, management needed the consent of its employees, who when faced with a threat to withdraw a £10,000 redundancy supplement, voted to accept closure.
On 27th November, 1991, the manager, M. K. Tucker, sent a letter to all employees, announcing the closure of the colliery and giving 4 reasons for closure:
- The colliery had lost over £11 million in the year so far
- The loss would increase probably to £15 million by March, 1992
- Severe geological problems in the Swallow Wood Seam
- Growing evidence of geological difficulties in the Haigh Moor seam
The letter continued by saying that redundancy plans would be explained to those who chose to leave the industry and the coal board would look for alternative jobs for those who wanted to stay.
The pit ceased production in December 1991 though salvage work continued until September 1992.
Despite attempts by some of the workforce to buy the colliery out, inspired by miners at Monkton Hall in re-opening their colliery, and with financial and legal backing from Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council, former Thurcroft Miners engaged in negotiations with British Coal for the purchase of the mine. British Coal was unwilling to keep up the £20,000 costs per week in maintaining the colliery while negotiations took place. Local representatives withdrew as they sensed they would not win. Village life was to change for ever.
Upon closure of the Thurcroft Colliery, the site,including both colliery and waste heap were designated as in the green belt.
Almost all the coal under the Parish of Tinsley was obtained between 1841 - 49.
Samuel Staniforth owned Tinsley Park in 1830. White's Directory of 1833 lists Booth and Co. as colliery proprietors; Booth used it as a source of coke for his Park Iron Works at Attercliffe. Huntsman, the son of Benjamin Huntsman the Clockmaker and inventer of Crucible Steel, bought out Mr. Booth.
On 8th May, 1870 the colliery re-opened after a dispute which had lasted over a year. The strike was due to grievances which the miners considered had not been resolved. The colliery was partially worked by non unionists during the dispute
Seams: Wath Wood, High Hazels, Parkgate seam, Haigh Moor, Barnsley
In 1900 the Duke of Portland opened the Sheffield district Railway, a small but important line of about five and a half miles for both passengers and goods, with branches to many of the big works, including the Tinsley Colliery Company, and with intermediate stations at West Tinsley and Catcliffe.
In 1913 The Koppers Coke Oven and By-Product Company, Sheffield, supplied the colliery with 40 regenerative ovens with recovery plant for tar and ammonia. Colliery proprietors realised that capital expenditure in by-product coke was a sound investment. They already had a battery of Simon-Carves recovery ovens at work. The Coking Plant comprised a service bunker of 600 tons capacity furnished with an elevator and distributing conveyor, an electrically operated combined coal compressing and coke discharging machine, cooling and quenching water pumps, a water cooling frame and two Lancashire boilers which were fitted with all that is necessary for gas firing.
In 1918 Tinsley were supplying coke oven gas to the Sheffield Gas Company with 1,500,500 cubic feet a day, as did Orgreave Colliery from 1922.
There was an unofficial strike in July 1933. A three day week was imposed and they could not receive unemployment benefit.
In 1938 the directors of Tinsley Colliery Company authorised a loan to Renishaw Iron Company under arrangements whereby control of the operations of Renishaw Iron Company and the right to supply their requirements of coke were secured to the Tinsley Company. Trading profits for the year ended September 30th anounted to £70,240 , net profits, £36,733
In 1939 Tinsley Park Colliery Company made an offer to acquire J and G. Wells Eckington Collieries - Holbrook, Norwood and Westthorpe pits, which employed 847 underground and 185 surface workers.
1940 saw lower profits, and in 1942 a loss of £70,680. Production costs had risen yet outputs were less because many of the men were in H.M. Forces.
The colliery was closed at the beginning of 1943 by order of the Regional Controller
In 1896 the Manager of Tinsley Park was J.E. Chambers, the Under Manager of Barnsley Seam was Isaac White - 425 were employed underground and 182 on the surface. The Under manager of the High Hazels seam was W. Chambers where there were 201 employed underground and 76 surface workers
By 1905 they had offices at 14 Wharf Street and Effingham Road.
In 1918 the Manager was John Ensor.
Chairmen included: Francis Huntsman, who died on 27th January, 1910, aged 58; Harry Fitzmaurice Huntsman, JP, who died on March, 1929, aged 74. Managing Director Mr. John Henry W. Laverick(1924). J. W. Hazel was Secretary in 1911
The pit head baths were probably built in the 1920's.
Read more about Tinsley
Please refer to the Treeton website.
The colliery dates from late 19th century. Although closed in May 1948, some buildings continued in use after this date.
The winding engine house dates from late 19th century, with alterations in 1948, and served Number 1 shaft of former Waleswood Colliery. The building is of one storey plus a basement and is built of brick. The gabled Welsh slate roof has ornate crested ridge tiles. The original winding engine was built by Worsley Mesnes Ironworks, Wigan.
The workshop or stores range was built in the late 19th century, with alterations in 1948. A brick, single-storey building with a gabled Welsh slate roof and crested ridge tiles - this building now forms part of an industrial estate.
The Power house built circa 1900, with alterations in 1948. Brick, single-storey plus basement building with a gabled Welsh slate roof and ornate crested ridge tiles. Now used as part of a light industrial unit.
Albert E Bramley Manager and Agent from 1933 (Flockton, High Hazel, Thorncliffe) By 1940 he was Managing Director. C. D. J. Statham Manager of Waleswood, Flockton in 1940.
Wath MainSinking of Wath Colliery began in 1873, the Barnsley seam being reached in 1876.
The shafts were deepened in 1912 to the Parkgate seam and in 1923 to the Silkstone seam.The opening of Wath Main Colliery's Canteen, took place on 5 September 1942. In 1954, Mr Shaw was Chairman of Wath Main Colliery Company
The Wath Joint Rescue Station was built in 1908 and it was one of only 7 in the country. By August 1910 there were 140 men in the area fully drilled in rescue techniques. The team was administered by a Committee of Trustees representing member companies, and by a Management Committee of colliery managers of collieries covered by the station. Sergeant W. C. Winch was superintendent of the rescue station until his retirement in 1933. The station was closed in 1952. The main subscribers were: Denaby & Cadeby, Manvers, Mitchell & Darfield, Hickleton, Houghton, and Wath Main Collieries.
Read about the Phantom Miner
There is a group of charters referring to coal mines at Cortworth and Haugh in Yorkshire as early as the mid 14th-century. Reference : 157 DD/FJ Foljambe of Osberton: Deeds and Estate Papers
June, 1942 saw the start of opencast mining around the fields of Wentworth. By July, 1944, 750,000 tons of coal had been mined. Mining continued until the early 1950's.
Earl Fitzwilliam's Collieries LtdThere are a number of records relating to Earl Fitzwilliam's collieries in the Wentworth Woodhouse Muniments held at Sheffield Archives. Some relate to colliery cottages and relief repayments but not to coal production, except in relation to rate assessments. They relate mainly to Elsecar (one of the oldest Fitzwilliam collieries) and New Stubbin (sunk 1913-15).
The 1912 pit strike
The 1912 pit strike was about minimum rates of pay, particularly for working in narrow seams where difficult conditions meant less coal was produced.Shortage of coal during the 1912 pit strike led to illegal coal picking. Coal was used for heating cooking and washing. With explosions and roof falls an ever present danger, the Mines Rescue Teams were an important part of the workforce.From the 1920's, The Miners Welfare Fund, financed by a levy on coal, provided pit-head baths, canteens and clinics. In 1950 the North Notts/South Yorks coalfields alone employed 40,000 miners. In 1980 three deep coal mines in this area alone, employed around 3,000 people. By 1993 the local pits had all been shut, and 3,000 jobs and 400 years of coal mining had come to an end.
James Edward MacFarlaneFrom the age of fourteen, he was employed, like his father and grandfather at Denaby Main Colliery.Read more
J. T. E. Collins (1894 - 1973)He worked at Cadeby and Denaby Main collieries. He was compensation agent for the NUM (Yorkshire Area) from 1953 to his retirement in 1959. He was a union official, member of Conisbrough UDC from 1926 to 1955 and of the West Riding County Council in the 1930s. Further information on his life, political and union activities can be found at Doncaster Archives Catalogue Ref.DD/MF/9/36
Plan of Coal Commission of 1939
Rotherham Archives - Reference: 176/B/5/1 hold the following details :
- Plans, elevations, dimensions of the Holmes Engines and section of Holmes Pit, 1830
- Plan and dimensions of Thick Coal Workings, 1831
- Details of a colliery tramroad and wooden viaduct, 1831
- Plan of Engine Pit in Low Pasture, Herringthorpe, opened 1812
- Plan of the Deep Pit workings at Black Hill Main with remarks about the water and the attempt to fetch the coal uphill, 1828-33
- Plan of coal workings, Gallow Tree Hill, 1836
- Black Hill Main, 1833; and HerringthorpeSections of pits, Black Hill Main and Herringthorpe Colliery
- Plan of workings of Sir G. Sitwell's colliery at Whiston, 1833-36, with recommendation to sink a new pit, 1845
- Details of water in Engine Pit, Herringthorpe with dimensions of the engine at Herringthorpe, 1843
- Plan of coal worked by Mr. Marsh in 1703, 1845
- Plans of Brampton Field coalworkings
- Plan of pits at Kimberworth
- Elevation of beam engine at Herringthorpe ;
- Sections of coal strata at Holmes Station;
- Plan of workings at Low Pasture in 1812 and plan of workings, 1845
- Details of Tinsley Park Colliery 1830, 1845
- Schedule of Samuel Staniforth's land in Tinsley, with plan, 1830
- Depths of various pits and dates of sinking 1804-42; Herringthorpe Plan of Herringthorpe/LW Pasture
See also Newspaper Extracts re Mining disasters »
Derbyshire Collieries Offsite Link
Women Miners in the English Coal Pits Offsite Link
Miners Strike, 1984/1985
BBC Look North Memories of the Miners' Strike
BBC South Yorkshire Miners StrikeTop of the Page
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