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The Continued Rise Of The Industry
To 1913



Fatal Accidents 1822

On 20th Dec 1821 a young man at Codnor owing to the extreme darkness and the wind being very boisterous, unfortunately missed his way and fell into a coal pit of immense depth and was literally dashed to pieces. He had been married only a few weeks previous to his unlucky exit.

Collieries Sunk or Opened in 1822

  • Coke and Co sank Green pit situated close to the Toll bar at Pinxton to the Top Hard seam in 1822
  • Padley pit near Pentrich (CV Hunter) in May, (J Burgoyne, Surveyor), situated to the east of Turnpike road to Cromford and to south of Cromford Canal where there was a couple of coal wharfs.

Swanwick Delves

The Reverend Case Morewood, successor to George Morewood purchased the minerals at Swanwick Delves for £1,500 from the commissioners of His Majestys Woods, Forests and Land Revenues on 17th December 1822

West Hallam

The mining lease for the West Hallam area expired on Lady Day 1822 and the lease passed firstly from John Sutton of Heanor to Hunloke until 12th November, when it passed to Francis Newdegate until Michaelmas 1848, then leased by William Lings, then passed to HB Whitehouse for coal and ironstone.


Parramore was Manager at Brinsley for some years.

Collieries Closed in 1822:  (North Derbyshire)

  • Bookers (Mr Booker)
  • Bramley Moor (Mr Mark Morton) 1st Apr 1822, sunk 1820
  • Stayton (or Staton) pit
  • No3, New pit
  • No4 staggered benks 47½ yards x 55½ yards (38.5m x 45.75m)
  • No5 - 50 yards x 28½ yards (45.75m x 26m)
  • No7 - 41 yards x 20 yards (37.5m x 18.25m)
  • No6 - 11 yards wide x 7 yards (10m x 6.5m) going, worked from 1821-1822;

Collieries Closed in 1822:  (South Derbyshire)

  • Furnace (sunk 1804c)
  • Green Close pit (owner…?) 14 yards (13m) deep
  • Morley Park Hard coal pit (Mold?) 57 yards (52m) deep
  • Old Hollingwood (owner…?). 


Collieries Sunk or Opened in 1823

  • Church Gresley (Geo Gregory) (South Derbyshire) 30 yards (27m) to Dicky Gobler, Manager George Williamson for Common and Church pits on east side of Swadlincote, these would eventually form Granville No1 colliery
  • A plan showing the Duke of Rutland’s Estate at Greasley Castle Kimberley by John Thomas Woodhouse 8 Apr 1867 showed that Sam Potter sank pits at Kimberley (Nottinghamshire) 60 yards (55m) deep
  • at Kettle Bank Common and 80 yards (73m) deep
  • at High Spania.
  • Saul Potter was working a pit nearby and the workings stripped an old sough (ancient level) leading to the watercourse near Bennerley Bridge which passed nearby.  It joined the Barehill Fields sough. Workings here began in 1800 and finished in 1823. A stone head was driven to the north through a fault by Potter and Burn in 1806 to find coal for pits towards Eastwood
  • Wellington pit 103 yards (94m), Crofty or Croppit (Morewood) 31 yards (28m), Water pit (Morewood) 26 yards (24m) sunk at Leabrooks. 

Butterley Co opened Birchwood pit for fuel for the ironworks.  William Jessop was Chairman of Butterley Co.  Coupland and Riley were mining coal at Smotherfly, Alfreton.

Portland Row

The Butterley Co built Portland Row in 1823 at Selston consisting of 47 houses for the miners at the Portland pits.  It included a Beer House at No1 and also a Tommy Shop from where all the employees were expected to purchase their goods at inflated prices. The houses were demolished in 1965 after 142 years.

Some companies set up their own engineering works, brick works etc, so as to be self sufficient, Butterley Company being a prime example.

A Mining Bond

A Bond dated 28th February 1823 for a William Baggaley, who agreed to bond himself to the Butterley Company.
The Bond stated:- 

I William Baggaley do here and agree to serve the BUTTERLEY COMPANY in the capacity of a Fitter of Engines and Machinery from the said date until the First of March 1824 for the Wages or Terms of Twenty shillings per Week of 6 Days, and the additional sum of Two Guineas should my and not during the said tenure be satisfactory to the Company.

To attend work regularly twelve hours in each and every Day (except Sunday) or longer if from any reasonable cause it may be required, and to the utmost of my power, skill and judgement to work in such capacity according to the directions and instructions I may from time to time receive from the said BUTTERLEY COMPANY, or their Agents.

I also agree to conform to, and abide by, all Rules and Regulations established or to be established by the said BUTTERLEY COMPANY for the management, order and welfare of the Works, and to submit to each forfeitures or penalties for negligence, misconduct or disobedience as I may at any time incur; and to contribute to the Fund for the support of the Sick.

I also pledge myself to be faithful to the said BUTTERLEY COMPANY, and do, and perform, everything committed to my charge in the best manner and agreeable to their wishes; and that I will not conceal any fault or defect in any piece of work made, done, or committed, either by myself, or any other of their workmen. I will also take due and proper care, of all Tools and Implements that I may be entrusted with; and produce the same whenever I may be required in good and perfect order; and I will give information to the said BUTTERLEY COMPANY of any waste or wilful injury that may be done to any of their property, or any fraud, robbery or other offence that may be committed by any person employed by them or otherwise, so far as I may ever be acquainted therewith.

Witness my hand this Twenty eighth day of February 1823William Baggaley

There was also a signature of a witness to the signing ..…. XXX   (a cross or crosses if they could not write).

Common And Church Pits

Common and Church pits to east of Swadlincote sunk to Main coal and became Granville No1 colliery.

John Brown was Agent to Count D’Ewes Granville 1823 owner of a colliery at Wraggs Middle works shown as Swadlincote Colliery (Hall and Boardman) (closed 1966). He wanted a canal or tramway from his pits at Swadlincote Old colliery and Wideshaft linked to old pit (marked as Swadlincote New Colliery. Crossley an engineer to the Ashby Canal Committee was charged with doing a survey of the district. Further surveys were done by Crossley also by Josiah Jessop of the Butterley Co and James Ashton Twigg of Chesterfield. Thomas Harvey was a Mine Bailiff.

Collieries Closed in 1823

  • Dronfield (wrought by John Morton and Messrs Drabble and Bennett), Blackshale or Silkstone from 26th Jan 1810 to 13th Nov 1823, Surveyor Mr Biram.

Fatal Accidents 1823

  • Eastwood pit (Samuel Deakin), Isaac Knighton (9) was riding on the capstan at the top of the shaft at the end of his shift when he fell off and fell 70 yards down the shaft to his death 28 Jun1823
  • Babbington (Messrs Gervase Bourne and Co), Joseph Rigley was standing on the brig tree at the top of the shaft, the usual place to receive a corf of coals coming up the shaft when the chain raising the coals suddenly broke and with the recoil the chain struck the deceased on top of the head, 5 Sep 1923
  • Pinxton colliery(John Coke and Co), Kirkby Park, Nathaniel Purdy had his back broken and other injuries when a large quantity of coals fell on him, 24 Nov 1823.



President of Board of Trade, William Huskisson (Tory) 1824-1830.

Collieries Sunk in 1824

  • Bullocks pit, Leabrooks (Morewood) 20 yards (18m) deep
  • (old) Ormonde pit, at Loscoe, the Butterley Co sank the pit 1824 (North Derbyshire)
  • Church Gresley (Geo Gregory) first of 3 shafts to the shallow Dicky Gobbler seam, Manager George Williamson
  • Long Lane Colliery (J Whetstone and W Stenson and Co) later known as Whitwick (depth 347 feet or 105.75m)
  • New pit being sunk in Sitwell’s land; Miller Mundy sank No1 pit at Shipley Woodside, between Heanor and Ilkeston
  • Stanton Old colliery (Nathaniel Nadin, Manager and Surveyor) (d 1879), who continued his father’s interests.

Collieries Closed in 1824

  • Bramley Moor, Lightwood pit (...) got to Apr 1824, met old works to North and old water level
  • Bramley Heath pit (...)
  • Gleadalls pit (Gleadall)
  • Statons pit (Staton) on Marsh Lane
  • Havenhands pit (Havenhand?) 66 yards (60m)
  • Sandy Dale pit (...) 55 yards (50m) to Silkstone seam, Sough mouth to North. Surveys of gates denoted they were driven at 312º, 317º, 315º, 316º direction, etc.  The accuracy of the gate direction was not a problem at this time as the lengths involved were not great. One minute of arc subtends one inch in one hundred yards, (0.025m in 91m). However one degree of arc subtends 5 feet in one hundred yards, (1.52m in 91m).

The Portland Pits

The Portland pits (Butterley Co) produced 50,000 tons in that year.  Isaiah Rigley was the ‘Big Butty’ at Portland No1 and Jeremiah was at Portland No2.  As stated the pits were referred to as Isaiahs and Jerrys. A plan giving reference to areas of coal worked at Portland colliery at 18/9/1824 since sinking in 1820 shows that under certain field parcels, Wg Weighton No 1 parcel 3 roods 18 poles. Isaiah Rigley No1 pit worked part of No2 parcel 1 acre 1 rood 5 poles; No7 parcel 2 acres 2 roods 12 poles; No9 parcel 0 acres 1 rood 22 poles and No 10 parcel 10 acres 1 rood 4 poles giving a total of 14 acres 2 roods 3 poles. J Lowe (assumed to be Jeremiah Lowe) big Butty for No2 pit: No 3 parcel 3 ac 3 roods 36 poles, No4 parcel 3 acres 0 roods 6 poles and No5 parcel 6 acres 0 roods 22 poles giving a total of 13 acres 0 roods 24 poles. Note there are 40 poles to 1 rood and 4 roods to 1 acre and 2.47 acres to 1 hectare.

Dr David Amos (2013) is a decendent of the manager Isaiah Rigley (above).

An incline led from these pits up to the top of the hill near Portland Row, housing built for the miners. Here a stationary engine pulled wagons up from the Lower Portland pits and by taking the haulage rope off the front end of the wagons and passing it round a head pulley and attaching it to the back end of the run of wagons they gravitated down to Selston. This gang line continued past Selston and would be met later by another gang line from the Top and Bottom Mexboro’ pits. The line continued on a fairly level gradient and the wagons were hauled by another stationary engine (Bentley’s) between Selston and Westwood which then lowered the wagons by gravitation to Codnor Park Ironworks and the side of the Cromford Canal.


At Swadlincote Francis Bullivant (d 1812) increased the output of his mines.  Other working collieries were owned by B Dewes, Sir Nigel Gresley (d 1787) and William Nadin (1754-1822).  Shipley pits (Miller Mundy) produced 45,000 tons in 1824.


At Alfreton (Derbyshire), wages varied between 2s 6d (12½p) and 4s 6d (22½p) a day.


There was a pit at Whittington (owner…?) and another at Chatsworth Park (Duke of Devonshire) still working on the old bord and pillar system.  This had been a general method of work in the locality before the benk system.  The system was fraught with danger because of the single entry method and lack of good ventilation.

Old bell pits on Gibbet Moor to the East of Chatsworth House. Trial holes sunk to Northeast of House, and lots of shafts to Northeast at Robin Hood.  Shafts were sunk at New Bridge near Clod Hall.  Old bell pits near Owler Bar.  Cluster of shafts found at Broad Car and Moor Edge.


Collieries Sunk or Opened in 1825

  • Bagworth (Leicestershire) sinking
  • Blackwell (old) (His Grace Duke of Devonshire and others) sank to the Main Hard and Blackwell (Hilcote) to Dunsill bed (commenced by John Mellers at Huthwaite, belonging to His Grace the Duke of Devonshire)
  • Granville (South Derbyshire) (Court Grenville)
  • Ibstock (William Thirlby)
  • First Outseal pit (owner Morewood) 22 yards (20m) deep, Swanwick
  • Old Pit, (Morewood) (North Derbyshire)
  • Old Ormonde (John Beardsley) Loscoe
  • Pit at Smotherfly (Coupland and Riley) 42 yards (38m) deep

Shaft Guides Introduced

Shaft guides, invented by John Curr of Sheffield Collieries were introduced at Duckmanton pit in 1825 - these being the first in the area.  This invention led to the widespread use of cages in shafts.  These first rigid guides were made of wood, later ones would be steel and then free swinging steel ropes would become the popular choice in the late 19th and 20th Centuries in the majority of shafts with the ropes being anchored in the headgear and the tension of the ropes being achieved using heavy cheese weights at the bottom. Hazel corves or baskets were generally in use at many pits, together with hemp ropes for hauling the coal up the shallow shafts.

Horse Gins And Windlasses

Horse Gins or hand wound windlasses raised the coal from many of the shallow mines.  Later some of these were replaced by steam engines called Whimseys using chains, wire or steel ropes.

Iron Furnace

The second iron furnace was established at Morley Park.


A plan of Blackwell and Hilcote showed that the Duke of Devonshire and others owned the Main Hard coal bed (Top Hard). A lease was granted in 1825 to John Meller until 1844 to work Top Hard and Dunsil. A new railroad was opened from the Alfreton Turnpike Road to the colliery. There was an engine pit and a bye pit and underground a deep level and a counter level. Whimseys Steam Engines shown above.

Gang Lines

plan gang lines
Shown on the plan in thick black lines are the gang lines

There was a coal wharf near to the later Miners’ Arms pub opposite the colliery (Old Hucknall) that was on the other side of the road from Huthwaite to Blackwell. The plan was made by John Ashton of Chesterfield.

Shown on the plan in thick black lines are the gang lines from the numerous pits to the coal wharfs, some to the Canal where the coal was transported away by barge and others to roads where the coal was transported by horse and cart.

From No2 (Jerry) pit an inclined haulage plane some 400 yards (365m) long was worked by a 5hp beam haulage engine fixed at the Wharf yard at Kirkby Woodhouse. The coal was transported from this wharf by two wheeled carts pulled by horses for local use and 4 wheeled carts to Mansfield, Newark and Nottingham. These notes were made by Fred Smith of Pinxton who relates also that the last load of coal transported by this method before the railway was sold to Mr Unwin the schoolmaster at 6s 6d (32½ p) a ton.

Wild Fire

Fatal Accidents 1825

  • On 22nd March just before Lady Day 1825 there was an explosion at Cricks pit, Pinxton, and a father Benjamin Charles Braddow (42) and his son Benjamin Braddow and three others aged 12 and under and daughter Elizabeth (15) were all killed, about 8am 22 Mar 1825.  He was working from Green shaft and thirling into Cricks pit. 
    On the headstone in the Churchyard were the words ‘The wildfire proved my fatal destiny’ or ‘the raging fire gave me the wound’.  The pit was probably the No6 shaft, north of Green shaft (Coke and Co).  
    It is unknown whether the girl was working underground or just on a visit. 
    (Note No4 shaft was between Wharf Road and the future Brookhill pit.
  • Pigeons (Pidgens) pit (Wilkinson) and another Pinxton mine was situated on Suff Lane in the village)
  • Portland colliery, Kirkby, (Butterley Co) Samuel Fletcher (13) killed by a fall of coal at the face 9 May 1825
    Portland pit, Kirkby, Joseph Cooke, collier, fell down the shaft 22 Jun 1825.