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The Continued Rise Of The Industry
To 1913


Fatal Accidents 1810

A collier was killed at Heanor pit on 11th May 1810 when a small fall of coal unfortunately caused a dreadful fracture of the skull.

On 10th Dec 1810 a girl aged 9 gathering cobbles at the pit bank at West Hallam pit was killed when she fell down the shaft.

In 1810 Farey Mentions Collieries In South Derbyshire And Leicestershire At:-

  • Alton Grange
  • Blackfordby (closed)
  • Bretby
  • Coleorton
  • Donisthorpe
  • Gresley
  • Gresley Hall (closed)
  • Hartshorne (closed)
  • Heath End (closed)
  • Heather
  • Littleworth
  • Lount
  • Measham
  • Milk Hill
  • Moira (Double Pits)
  • Newhall (several)
  • Norris Hill
  • Oakthorpe
  • Packington (closed)
  • Peggs Green
  • Round Hole (Gresley Common)
  • Smisby (closed)
  • South Wood (closed)
  • Stanton (several)
  • Staunton Harold
  • Swadlincote (several)
  • Sweet Hill, Swepstone (closed)
  • Ticknall (closed)
  • Wooden Box
  • Warren Hill (Moira).

Other pits at Hallfields, Waterfield and Woodfield. At Sweet Hill Oak pit sunk to 40 yards (37m) and said to have been worked by a blind collier.

Farey mentions 21 collieries in the North West Coalfield of Derbyshire from Simmondley (South West of Glossop) in the North to Thatchmarsh (Hartington, Upper Quarter in the South ). 

Selected Personnel

Selected personnel employed in the Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire and  Leicestershire coalfields in this period that assisted John Farey with his observations are listed: -

  • Francis Agard, Iron Mills and Mine owner, near Derby
  • William Anderson, Iron Agent, Grass-moor
  • Richard Arkwright, Mine owner and Lime works owner, near Matlock
  • Matthew Bacon, Coal and Iron Agent, Morley Park
  • Sir Joseph Banks, Bart, Mine and Lime works owner, Overton, Chesterfield
  • George Barnes, Coal Sinker, Dirty Hucknall
  • Thomas Barber, Coal Master, Newthorpe Lodge
  • Thomas Barker, Coal Sinker and Borer near Macclesfield
  • John Barnes, Coal and Iron Master, Brampton
  • Samuel Barton, Coal Agent, Greasley
  • George Booker, Coal and Ironstone Agent, Chesterfield
  • John Bourne, Coal Master, Eastwood
  • John Brocksop, Coal and Iron Master, Grass Hill, Chesterfield
  • Fletcher Bullivant, Coal Master and Viewer, near Burton on Trent
  • Joseph Butler, Coal and Ironmaster and Viewer, Killamarsh
  • Joseph Butler Junior, ditto
  • Fletcher Bullivant, Coal master and Viewer, near Burton-on-Trent
  • William Chambers, Collier, Awsworth
  • John Charlton, Coal and Iron Agent, Calow
  • Earl of Chesterfield, Coal Owner, near Ashby-de-la-Zouch
  • William Chrishop, Surveyor, Mansfield
  • Benjamin Clayton, Coal Sinker, Killamarsh
  • Sam Cocker of Ilkeston Hall
  • Revd DEwes Coke, Coal Owner, Brookhill Hall
  • John Cottingham, Hardwick Hall
  • Thomas Creswell, Coal Agent and Sinker, Belper
  • Duke of Devonshire, Mine and Coal Owner, Chatsworth House
  • George Dickin, Coal Agent, Staveley
  • James Dowland, Surveyor and Commissioner, Cuckney
  • Nathaniel Edwards, Coal and Ironmaster, Riddings
  • Matthew Ellison, Agent, Glossop
  • Isaac Evans, Coal Agent, Greenhill Lane, near Alfreton
  • William Fenton, Coal Master, Yorks and Alfreton
  • George Goodwin, Agent, Butterley
  • Humphry Goodwin, Coal Master, Heath
  • John Gratton, Mineral Map, Stubbing
  • George Haslam, Coal Master, Swanwick
  • Joseph Harvey, Coal Agent, Swadlincote
  • James Hopkinson, Coal and Iron Agent, Wingerworth
  • Thomas Howitt, Coal Agent, Heanor
  • William Jessop, Senior, Civil Engineer, Butterley Hall
  • William Jessop, Coal and Iron Master, Butterley Hall
  • George Knighton, Coal Agent and Viewer, Cotmanhay
  • Thomas Lee, Miner and Sougher of Crich Cliff
  • Joseph Ling, Coal Agent, West Hallam
  • Abraham Low, Coal Sinker, Bugsworth
  • Edward Mammatt, Coal Master, Measham
  • Edward Manlove, Drainer, Norris Hill
  • Godfrey Marriott, Collier, Pinxton
  • John Marriott, Collier, South Normanton
  • Isaac Millington, Borer and Coal Agent, Ripley
  • Revd Henry Case Morewood and Mrs. Coal Owners, Alfreton
  • Sir Oswald Mosely, Bart, Coal Owner of Burton
  • Edward Miller Mundy, Coal Master, Shipley
  • David Mushet, Coal and Ironmaster, late of Riddings
  • William Nadin, Coal Master, Stanton, Burton
  • Samuel Oldknow, Coal Master and Lime works North West Derbyshire
  • Revd Edward Otter, Draining, Bolsover Castle
  • George Parramore, Coal Agent, Brinsley
  • James Potter, Coal Master, Ilkeston
  • Joseph Ramshaw, Coal Agent, Norbrigs, Staveley
  • Henry Rawlinson, Coal Sinker, Eckington
  • Thomas Rawlinson, Coal Sinker, ditto
  • Cornelius Heathcote Rode, Coal Owner, Barlborough
  • John Samples, Drainer of Leicestershire
  • Godfrey Siddal, Coal Sinker, Brimington
  • James Siddal, Coal Agent of Clough Hall, North West
  • Theodore Silverwood, Coal and Iron Agent, Somercotes
  • Sir Sitwell Sitwell, Coal Owner, Renishaw Park
  • John Smedley, Coal Agent, Bretby Inn
  • Ebenezer Smith, Coal and Ironmaster, Chesterfield
  • William Smith, Coal Sinker, Aston
  • Thomas Staley, Coal Agent, Butterley
  • John Street, Coal Agent, Buxton
  • George Benson Strutt, Coal Master, Cotton Mills, Belper
  • Mrs Sutton, Coal Owner, Heanor
  • John Taylor, Mine Agent, Calke, Leicestershire
  • Samuel Tudor, Coal Agent, Coxbench Hall, near Derby
  • Job Turton, Coal Agent, Inkersall Green, Chesterfield
  • George Unwin, Surveyor, Cuckney
  • J Wagden, Coal Agent, Beggarlee, Eastwood
  • Sam Wainwright, Collier, Tibshelf
  • Michael Walker, Coal Master and Engineer, Eastwood
  • Thomas Walker, Coal Master and Viewer, Nether Green, Eastwood and Bilborough
  • William Walker, Coal Agent, Bilborough
  • Richard Wells, Coal Master, Eckington
  • Miss Frances Willoughby, Bleacher, etc, Higham, Chesterfield
  • Jonathan Woodhouse, Engineer and Coal and Iron Agent, near Ashby
  • William Woodward, late Coal Agent, Stanton by Dale Hall.

Mine Owners Included

  • Duke of Devonshire
  • Lord Middleton
  • Earl Manvers
  • Edward Miller Mundy
  • William Drury Lowe
  • Henry Case Morewood
  • DEwes Coke who worked coal on their own account. 

Coal Worked By Lease

Generally in Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire the coal was worked by lease accordingly by the acre, ascertained annually by survey and measurements of subterranean works. A price between £50 and £180 per acre according to the number and thickness of the seams, their qualities and depths, quantity of water, distance from a market etc was paid. 

Other owners let their coals, reserving a fixed rent per ton for all, which were sold, varying between 4d (1½p) and 1s 4d (6⅔p) a ton.

Length Of Coal Faces

At the larger collieries in Derbyshire the length of bank (benk) or coalface varied greatly. Some now had banks (benks) around 200 yards (183m) long. Coal was hauled usually in vehicles without wheels along the whole of the face by up to 3 asses driven by 2 boys, providing of course that the seam was high enough. These were transported to the waggon way where they were placed on a ‘rolley’ with wheels and conveyed to the shaft bottom.

Deepest Pit At Nuthall

Farey reported that the deepest pit in the region was at Nuthall, Nottinghamshire and was 160 yards (146m) deep and under the yellow limestone (the concealed coalfield, i.e. where the coal measures do not outcrop at the surface and are covered with newer rocks). He also noted that the farmers at Riddings and Alfreton in Derbyshire had levelled quite a few of the pit spoil heaps and limed the surface shortly after the mines had closed, thus bringing back to life land that would otherwise have been abandoned.  In effect it was restoration.

Mine Shafts Protected From Surface Water

At Eckington, Adelphi and several other mines in North Derbyshire, ditches had been dug around the mines to prevent water entering the mineshafts directly following periods of heavy rain.  Joseph Butler took the precaution of opening all the ditches annually, and water furrowing and draining in some instances, particularly round the old workings of Iron stone Rakes or Basset coals on lands that were liable to affect his mines at Norbrigs and Lings collieries. 


It was noted that some Coal masters did nothing and were un-neighbourly and slovenly occupiers and ought not to have had the right of opposing obstructions or denial, it being a useful precaution for all parties!  It was noticed in the different Areas of the NCB later, how one Area in particular North Nottinghamshire then South Nottinghamshire in the 1970s and 1980s and continued afterwards, how the dirt tips were reshaped, graded, soiled, trees planted, grassed and some parts returned to tenant farmers, to be seeded with crops of barley etc, (see later) whilst the neighbouring Areas in Derbyshire and Yorkshire did very little at that time and left the tips as they were – waste heaps/spoil tips and a blot on the landscape, and even today some of those tips ought to be better than they are. Again it was a case of money talking. Any expense paid on surface works would reflect on profit margins!!

(As recent as February 2013 a tip at Hatfield colliery (Yorkshire) run by INGs Bank and Hargreaves slipped across and lifted and contorted the main railway line causing the line to be closed and a bus service had to run between the stations. It would be months before the tip was stabilised and the railway line re-established safely. It was mooted at the time that it would cost £500,000? per month in compensation.)

The Tibshelf Stack

A three quarter stack of coal at Tibshelf (Derbyshire) sold for 10 shillings (50p) in November 1808, the buyer loading the coal himself. The stack was 6 feet (1.8m) long, 3 feet 6 ins (1.07m) wide and 5 feet (1.52m) high, equating to very nearly 105 cu ft (2.97 cu m), said to weigh when freshly drawn 44 cwts (of 120lb) and when dry 41 cwt. The colliers were paid 3s 9d (18.75p) per three quarter stack for getting, punching the pit, supplying candles and all other charges except for the cost of sinking the pits, driving the levels, puncheon wood, ropes, gin-horses and one banksman to land the coals.

Underground Fires

In some of the Derbyshire coal measures a thin stratum is found near the top of the coal, a greyish earth, called Duns, Cat-dirt, Tow or Tawe, which on analysis by David Mushet, seemed to consist only of fusible clay and bitumen, has the singularly and mischievous property of heating and actually taking fire, sometime after it has been exposed to the air. 

At Heanor, Ripley and Denby Hall pits this was carefully separated from the holeing stuff and sent out of the pit to the surface, instead of being thrown into the gobbins or waste behind the puncheons.

At Denby Hall on one occasion the pit was on fire due to this and the only way to put out the gobbing fire was to cease pumping and drown out the gob.

At Donisthorpe (Leicestershire) where the Tow was thrown into the gob, brattices were made and plastered with clay at great expense to prevent firing.

There was a big underground fire at Double or Spinney pits (sunk 1804 to Over and Nether seams that had joined to give a seam 15 ft (4.57m) thick.