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The Continued Rise Of The Industry
To 1913



Possible Railway Development

Several schemes to develop a railway from Pinxton to Mansfield had been pursued from around 1809 by the Coke family to transport coal from their Pinxton pits but as the scheme became imminent, protests in the form of a petition were received by the Duke of Portland in 1816 from a number of other colliery owners.  Owners of pits that were thought to be outside the catchment area such as Skegby (Henry Wilson and Co), Fackley (Peter Chambers), Tibshelf (Ben Chambers), Blackwell (Pearson and Goodwin) and Hucknall Huthwaite (Richard Haslam and Robert and William Booth) were adamant that great damage would be done to their trade.

Sinkings 1816

  • Marquis shaft was sunk to the North of Bath pit (Marquis of Hastings)
  • A further pit at Smotherfly (Turner?) 47 yards (43m) deep
  • Joseph and George Wells succeeded their father in 1816 and immediately sank a Whimsey pit at Mosborough to the Flockton seam.
  • They then sank Bramley Moor colliery to the Silkstone seam and also drove a surface drift to drain the workings.  The coal was transported to the Canal at Eckington by gangline.  

Thomas Walker born in 1752, son of the founder of the Barber Walker Company, died in 1816.

China Factory

The Pinxton China factory by the wharf closed down after a relative short life of 20 years.  The wares made from scarce local clay are much sought after now, and expensive! This was another outlet for coal from the local pits to fire the kilns that disappeared.

Improved Newcomen Engine

A Watts improved Newcomen engine was erected at the Basset pit at Kilburn in 1817, and was used for pumping.  It was still in use in 1886

Collieries Closed in 1816

  • Norbriggs (Barrow?), Top Hard, near Staveley
  • Whymsey (J & G Wells)
  • The Deep level in Lings colliery (J Butler) was terminated in 1815.

Fatal Accidents 1816

  • Eastwood (Barber Walker and Co) 3 men and 4 boys were descending the shaft when the rope broke and they were all thrown down the shaft, 3 were killed outright with another dying shortly and the other 3 died later. It is thought that the defect in the rope had been noted beforehand but nothing had been done to rectify the situation, 8 Dec 1816.


Fatal Accidents 1817

In the second week in June 1817 Samuel Street was severely injured by a fall of earth and other minerals from the shaft side at Newhall. He died soon after.

JA Twigg Survey

JA Twigg surveyed a large area around Ripley, (Derbyshire) during the years 1817-1827Pentridge Engine pit 70 yards (64m) deep to the bottom hard coal was shown along with 2 sough adits to the north of the CanalCoppice level driven to drain Ripley old Hard coal bed is shown as well as the large Porter Barn fault of 56 feet (17m) up to the north, which passes through the area.

Collieries Sunk in 1817

  • Bassett pit at Kilburn (J Ray)
  • Shipley Field pit (Mundy) between Heanor and Ilkeston was sunk to the Deep Soft and Deep Hard seam at 244 yards (223m), the deepest part of the syncline or basin
  • Pit at Smotherfly (Turner?) 38 yards (35m) deep.

Move to Overthrow the Government

The Industrial Revolution was gathering pace.  There was a move afoot to try to overthrow the Government due to the very bad conditions of work and living accommodation. An unemployed stockinger Jeremiah Brandreth arrived at Pentrich on 5th June 1817 to lead a march to Nottingham. He was to be joined by men from Yorkshire and the North

However due to espionage, the intended uprising of 9th June was known about and the marchers were met by a troop of Hussars near Giltbrook and the ringleaders were arrested and others were rounded up during the ensuing weeks.  A trial was held in Derby and Brandreth and two others the leader Isaac Turner and William Ludlam were publicly hanged. They were hanged and drawn and it was the last time that the axe was used to behead a body after hanging. Eleven men including 2 miners George Brassington (33), of Pentrich and German Buxton (31), of Alfreton were transported to Australia for life. Three others including Thomas Bettison, a miner from Alfreton were transported for 14 years and another collier William Hardwick of Pentrich was jailed for 6 months.

The General Manager George Goodwin for the Butterley Co had held firm against the demands of the rebels during the period of the price of iron falling, which had led to poverty and social unrest.

Brandreth Avenue on the Carsic housing estate at Sutton-in-Ashfield, Nottinghamshire bears his name as a lasting reminder of the revolution and his subsequent demise.

This Avenue runs off Carsic Lane where my Great Grandad Robert White built 2 bungalows called Brookside in the 1920s.

Accident At Bottle Pit

There was a fearful accident at Kilburn colliery at the Bottle pit owned by John Ray which had a single shaft only. The Manager was Mr Bailey and the bailiff was Jack Wheatley. The cages were held in position whilst going up and down the shaft by strong wooden guides.

There were 2 men called runners on, Crofts at the pit bank and Joseph Brown in the pit bottom. It was their duty to see that the cages were safely positioned in the guides. Men were let down the shaft in groups of 6 from 6am onwards and 7 cage loads had descended. However on the 8th load at 6.30am there were 6 lads with ages ranging from 13 to 20 and listed as John Annable, John Beresford, John Daykin, William Shaw, Henry Hickinbottom and Henry Hartley. As the cage descended the shaft the pit top man heard a noise of the cage scraping the side of the shaft and immediately signalled the engine driver, Sam Bakewell, to stop the engine. However by now the cages were half way down the 130 yards (119m) deep shaft and collided with each other and were wedged tight. Four of the boys Annable, Beresford, Daykin and Shaw were thrown down the shaft from the cage some 65 yards (59.5m) and were killed instantly as their bodies were all mangled and crushed and later could only be identified by their clothing.

Hickinbottom was thrown out also but his leg was caught in a loop of strong iron rod one inch (0.025m) thick that had doubled over. He was hanging head down the shaft for the next few hours. Hartley was more fortunate and was held horizontally by the crumpled bar. Attempts were made to move the cages by the winding engine but to no avail and by now the alarm had spread around the district and help was forth coming when a temporary gear was taken to the shaft at 12 noon and it was possible for some men to ride down and release the two boys although the cages were wedged tightly.

Hartley was badly bruised and Hickinbottom’s face was blackened and badly swollen. By now it was night and only the prayers and singing of hymns by the two boys had kept their spirits up. J Brown was arrested and taken to the Belper lock-up and was charged with manslaughter. It would appear that Annable had taken the sprag down the shaft against the rules laid down stating that no bulky material or sprags were to be taken down the shaft whilst manriding was in operation. Her Majesty’s inspector of mines Mr Hedley examined the facts after seeing the site.


As late as 1818, canal companies were still willing to transport coal by barge for 2d (0.8p) a ton from Codnor Park to Leicester, a distance of 34 miles.

Collieries Sunk or Opened in 1818

  • Lings (J Butler), near Williamthorpe
  • an adit to Waterloo seam at Hill Top (….?) near Ripley.

Collieries Closed in 1818

  • Norbriggs (Barrow?), Top Hard, near Staveley
  • Whymsey (J and G Wells)
  • Lings colliery (J Butler) The Deep level was terminated in 1818.


Old colliers used to carry a tin (whilst at work), containing a brown powder - spores or dust from a dried puffball, a common fungus. It was applied freely to cuts, lacerations and abrasions and used to heal boils and carbuncles. 

This remedy was used to prevent infection before the discovery of penicillin in the late 1920s and its general use from the 1940s on!

Many others carried another tin – snuff.  A pinch of snuff generally cleared the nose and helped to get rid of the dust clogging the nose.  It also became a gesture of goodwill to offer anyone passing a pinch of snuff – mainly to pass the time of day and form a system whereby next time they would offer you a pinch in return.

Fatal Accidents 1818

  • Thomas Knowles was killed in a coal pit at Greasley (Attenborough) 5 June 1818
  • Greasley (Barber Walker), two boys were ascending a shaft in a bucket when the rope or chain became entangled around one of the boy’s head and he was pulled from the bucket and fell to his death down the shaft 3 Nov 1818
  • Eastwood colliery (Samuel Deakin), William Cooper was killed when a large quantity of bine (bind) estimated at 2 tons fell from the roof and buried him 14 Dec 1818.