Walking Through Our Industrial Past
Walk 1, Page 1 - Ryhill Colliery, Also Known Locally As Lodges Colliery
A Walking Guide Of The Lodges Tramway From The Monckton
Terminus To The Pit Head
|All the errors, and there will be some, are mine and mine alone. The information can be checked, but differs from source to source. Maps will not be to scale, but should show
enough modern references for anyone to be able to locate themselves. I claim no copyright on the images and information within, use it as you please. If you spot an error or have more
information please let me know.
Henry Was A Weaver By Trade
I found that I couldn't complete this booklet without finding out some detail about Henry Lodge. After all, the pit and tramway are named after him. Henry was a weaver by trade, he seems to have come from Skelmanthorpe, to Ryhill via Barugh. However he got there, he didn't waste a lot of time before he bought a Coal Lease. This was in 1872.
Henry Had Interests In Three Pits
Henry had interests in three pits, Ryhill, Ryhill Main and Goldthorpe.
Ryhill employed 245 workers.
Ryhill Main about 320 workers from 1874 to 1918 but was abandoned in 1923 with a remaining workforce of 154. Coal was reached at with a shaft depth of 55yards in March 1874.
Goldthorpe was a much larger concern, employing almost 500 workers. By 1933 Goldthorpe belonged to Goldthorpe Mining Ltd, there is no trace of any of the Lodge family being involved in mine ownership. It seems that all the local coal leases were transferred or sold to the Monckton Mining Company.
The Ryhill Main Company, Henry Lodge Ltd
The Ryhill Main Company, Henry Lodge Ltd, consisted of:-
Henry Lodge Managing Director, living in Woodlands, Nostell Lane, Ryhill.
The other directors were:-
W.B.H. Lodge, living in Thornroyd, Station Road. Ryhill.
J.C. Lodge living in Oatlands and
W.C. Haigh living in Crown Cottage, Station Road, Ryhill.
The company secretary was Secretary Wm.C. Haigh.
The colliery managers in 1896 were, at Ryhill, H. Fisher, at Ryhill Main, J.W. Fisher and at Goldthorpe E.W. Holt.
It is easy to see why Ryhill and Ryhill Main could both be called Lodges, Ryhill or Ryhill Main. For the purposes of this booklet, I have chosen to use what I was told by my father, that the smaller colliery, Ryhill Main, was located at one end of the Winds near to Cow Lane at the bottom of Newstead Hill, this was the shallowest colliery and would have provided the quickest return on the money invested.
The ventilation fire chimney was still standing when I played down there in the late 1950's and early 1960's. The extent of the spoil heap was evident, but quite small. We never found the shaft entrance. Thinking about it now, we were looking in the wrong place.
The main problem for this colliery would have been transportation, Cow Lane did not exist as a tarmacked road until about 1905, there was no railway connection and no canal. All the coal would have been transported by horse and cart.
One further small point, during the course of the miners strike of 1926, 100 miners were summoned to Barnsley Magistrates Court and prosecuted for stealing coal from Lodges Pit. There’s no mention of which pit it was.
It Is Easy For Us To Discount Transportation Links
Looking back, it is easy for us to discount transportation links in the development of a village. Our modern day transport is mainly by heavy goods vehicle. They are relatively small, highly manoeuvrable and plentiful. Try to imagine a time when there were no hard road surfaces, baked mud with potholes or soft mud with sink holes; heavy loads either broke the cart or just sank. This would limit the output from any industry to the amount that could be moved at a maximum of about 1 tonne at a time. All goods were delivered in small quantities to warehouses at the side of rivers. Water was the only choice for heavy goods transportation. Engineers solved some of the transport problems by making man made rivers, canals. These were of a known depth and width, with a load limited only by the size of the barge.
Coal belongs with these heavy goods, there would be no point opening a mine unless you knew you could transport the coal in sufficient quantities to enable a profit to be made.
The Barnsley Canal Was Already Established
Royston was ideally placed to benefit from the trade in coal, the Barnsley canal was already established. Its purpose was to enable the movement from the Barnsley coal fields to the East coast shipping ports for onwards transportation. Before local coal mines started, the canal was shipping 100,000 tons each year. What was needed was for men like Henry Lodge to come along and extract coal locally.
The First Mine That I Can Trace In This Area Was Ellis Laithe Colliery
The first mine that I can trace in this area was Ellis Laithe colliery opening in 1867, then Havercroft Main in 1868. Henry Lodge opened his first mine, Ryhill Main in 1872. Havercroft and Ryhill are ideally placed for easy coal extraction, much more so than Royston. The geology means that the coal seams are much nearer to the surface as you ascend the hill towards Havercroft green. This becomes a double edged sword, being nearer to the surface it has oxidised and is not really good quality. It was cheaper to get started here, so for a quick return on capital, Havercroft and Ryhill were good options. The first seam available is the Shafton Seam, this surfaces in many places, Lundhill, Bushey Wood, Wintersett reservoir, scrat the surface round here and there it will be.