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The Continued Rise Of The Industry
To 1913



Sinkings 1854

A great new project was begun in North Nottinghamshire for the Duke of Newcastle, with the sinking of two 12 feet (3.66m) diameter shafts in the concealed coalfield and totally unknown area at Shireoaks near Worksop.  It would take several years and was a very risky venture at the time. This pit was sometimes referred to as Newcastle colliery. So now there were 3 pits called Newcastle, one in Nottingham, one in Derbyshire and this one in North Nottinghamshire (later known as Shireoaks)  Most shafts were  quite small diameter prior to this and rarely exceeded 9 feet (2.74m) diameter, many being 7 feet (2.13m) and 8 feet (2.43m) and even as small as 5 feet (1.5m) diameter. 4 pits were sunk to the Main coal at Clay Cross (Clay Cross Co); West Field drift to Piper (Messrs Straw and Co).

Butterley Wages

The rate for a day’s work at Butterley pits was now 4 shillings (20p) for a 12-hour shift. The chief Agent for the Butterley Co was William Bean.

First Published List of Mines

The first list of mines with their respective owners compiled by Robert Hunt of the Mines Records Office for 1853-1854 follows: - however it will be noted that not all pits will be mentioned in his reports ??

Derbyshire Pits

  • Apperknowle (G Wright)
  • Barlborough (R Swallow)
  • Barlborough Common (Appleby and Co)
  • Barns (Spurr and Co), Dronfield
  • Beauchieffe (Henry Hunt)
  • Birley Vale (Sheffield Coal Co)
  • Boythorp(e) (Yates and Co)
  • Bramley Moor (Wells and Co)
  • Brimington (J Knowles)
  • Brimington (W Ripley)
  • Clay Cross (T Hayes)
  • Clay Cross (J Clegg)
  • Clay Cross (Messrs Pearson)
  • Clay Cross (J Walters)
  • Clay Cross (Clay Cross Co)
  • Coal Aston (J Rhodes)
  • Cottam (Appleby and Co)
  • Corbriggs (Barnes and Co)
  • Dore (M Wilbraham)
  • Dore (J Hancock)
  • Dore (Pearce and Co)
  • Dronfield (Messrs Lucas)
  • Dronfield (Johnson and Co)
  • Dronfield (G Wright)
  • Dronfield Woodhouse (Booker and Co)
  • Dunstone (Matthew Knowles)
  • Dunston (W Orwin)
  • Dunston (Messrs Lankester or Lancaster)
  • Duckmanton (M Arkwright)
  • Eckington (Wells and Co)
  • Grassmoor (Barnes and Co)
  • Grassmoor (M Knowles)
  • Hallows (M Badger)
  • Highfield (R Wright) Dronfield 199 yards (182m)
  • Hollingwood (Richard Barrow)
  • Holmewood Heath (Joshua Thornley)
  • Hopewell (Richard Barrow)
  • Killamarsh (Turner, Ward and Co)
  • Lockerford (Lockoford) (Robert Stephenson) 174 yards (159m)
  • Masbro Moor (R Swallow)
  • Masbro Moor (Wells and Co)
  • Masbro (Lunk Worrall)
  • Mickley (Messrs Pearson)
  • Newbold (Geach and Co)
  • Newbold (G Tomlinson)
  • Newbold (C Mitchell)
  • North Wingfield (Clay Cross Co)
  • Old Cotes (C Goodwin)
  • Oxcroft (Leadbeater and Co)
  • Plumley (W Gattley)
  • Renishaw (Appleby and Co)
  • Speedwell (Richard Barrow)
  • Spike (or Spite) Hill (Yates and Co)
  • Spink Hill (Appleby and Co)
  • Springwell (Richard Barrow) Dogtooth
  • Sutton (M Arkwright) Scarsdale
  • Victoria (Richard Barrow)
  • Tapton (J Clayton)
  • Troway (J Jepson)
  • Tupton (Wingerworth Coal Co)
  • Unstone (Rangeley and Co)
  • Walton (Dawson and Co)
  • Walton (Oldfield and Co)
  • Walton (J Oldfield)
  • Walton (G Elliott)
  • Walton (Appleby and Co)
  • Whittington (E Marr)
  • William Thorpe (Wingerworth Coal Co)
  • Alfreton (WP Mold)
  • Brands (Butterley Co)
  • Carnfield (Coke and Co)
  • Coates Park (Copeland and Co)
  • Cotes Park (Jas Oakes and Co) sinking 1850-1852
  • Codnor Park (Butterley Co)
  • Greenhill Lane (Oakes and Co)
  • Langley (Butterley Co)
  • Langley Mill (Grammar’s Trustees)
  • Newlands (Butterley Co)
  • New Main (Butterley Co)
  • Normanton South (W Marriott)
  • Normanton (South) (M Wilkinson)
  • Oakerthorpe (Messrs Strelley)
  • Pinxton (or Palmerston) (Coke and Co)
  • Pyebridge (Oakes and Co)
  • Riddings (Oakes and Co)
  • Sleights (Coke and Co)
  • Swanwick (WP Morewood)
  • Tibshelf (M Chambers)
  • Tibshelf (M Millward)
  • Upper Birchwood (Butterley Co)
  • Buckland Hollow (M Richardson)
  • Denby (Wm Drury Lowe)
  • Hallam (HB Whitehouse)
  • Hartshay (CV Hunter)
  • Kilburn  (J Ray)
  • Marehay (Messrs Coursham)
  • Morley Park (Messrs Mold)
  • Morley Park (Messrs Mold)
  • Pentrich (Messrs Hallam)
  • Smalley (M Barber)
  • Cotmanhay (Barber and Co)
  • Loscoe (ED Whittingstale)
  • Rutland (J Potter)
  • Shipley (EM Mundy)
  • Stoneyford (M Royston)
  • Stanton (North and Co)
  • West Hallam (F Newdigate)
  • Normanton North (W Marriott).
    (105 known pits).

North West Derbyshire Pits in 1853-1854

  • Ashgate (J Bennett and Co)
  • Ashgate (J Drabble)
  • Ludworth (J Jowitt)
  • Ollersett (Messrs Brocklehurst)
  • Waterloo or Whaley Bridge (Executors of the late Thos Gisbourne). 
    (5 pits)

South Derbyshire Pits in 1853-1854

  • Church Gresley (Marquis of Hastings)
  • Granville (Trustees of Court Grenville)
  • Gresley Wood (Robinson and Co) Main seam
  • New Hall Field (Robinson and Co)
  • Stanton (Messrs Nadin)
  • Swadlin Cote (C Wilkinson)
  • Woodfield (Hollows) (Messrs Nadin)
    (7 pits)

Leicestershire Pits Listed in 1853-1854

  • Bagworth (Lord Maynard)
  • Coleorton (Walker and Co)
  • Heath End (Matthews)
  • Ibstock (EM Green)
  • Lount (Walker and Co)
  • Moira (Marquis of Hastings)
  • Peggs Green (Bostock and Co)
  • Smoile (Walker and Co)
  • Snibston (Robert Stephenson and Co)
  • Swannington (William Worswick)
  • Whitwick (Stenson and Co).
    (11 pits)

Nottinghamshire Pits in 1853-1854

  • Babbington Hard (North and Co)
  • Baw Vale (Beau Vale) (Barber, Walker and Co)
  • Biggar Lee (Beggarlee) (Barber and Co)
  • Bobbers Mill (North and Co)
  • Brinsley (Barber and Co)
  • Cinder Hill (North and Co)
  • Dirty Hucknell (Messrs Mellers)
  • East Wood (Barber and Co)
  • Gilt Brook (Company of Colliers)
  • Langton (Coke and Co)
  • Plumtree (Plumptre) (Butterley Co)
  • Portland (Butterley Co)
  • Radford (Lord Middleton)
  • Skegby (John Dodsley)
  • Trowell (Lord Middleton)
  • Watnall (Barber and Co)
  • Watnall (J Morley). 
    (17 pits)

Nibland (Nibble and Clink) pit, Meden Valley

Most probably the following Nottinghamshire pits had closed before the survey as they were not mentioned: -

  • Awsworth sunk in c1839
  • Bassett pit sunk 1840s
  • Cossall pits (Barber Walker)
  • Cromptons (Skegby Colliery Co?) sunk 1840
  • Kettlebank Common sunk in c1823
  • Dunsil pit (Dodsley, Skegby Colliery Co) sunk 1840
  • Henry Hunts sunk c1840
  • High Spania sunk 1823
  • Kimberley (Manson?) sunk 1827/28
  • Newthorpe sunk 1800c
  • Newthorpe Common sunk 1842
  • Robbinett (Thomas North) sunk 1839/40
  • Skegby Wharf (John Dodsley) sunk 1840
  • Twiggers (Flying Nancy) (Thomas North) sunk 1839/40
  • Nibland (Nibble and Clink) pit, Meden Valley shown.

C J Neale's Plan of 1853-1854 Shows Pits

  • Cotes Park New colliery (Copeland and Co) 160 yards (146m) to Hard coal
  • Swanwick pit (WP Morewood) 120 yards (110m) to Top Hard
  • Pit at Whites Green (Morewood?) 82 yards (75m) to Top Hard
  • Cotes Park (James Oakes and Co) 150 yards (137m) to Hard coal
  • Pit to South (….?) 6 yards (5.5m) and well 6 yards (5.5m) to Dunshill seam (Dunsil)
  • New Birchwood Victoria (Oakes?) 90 yards (82m) to Hard coal
  • Pit (Oakes) 124 yards (113m) to Hard coal.

Blackwell Sough

The old Blackwell sough drain ran from Pingle pit down the border of the counties of Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire.  Numerous shafts were sunk along its route. The Blackwell Old pit at 41 yards (37m) deep lay to the south.


Trial sections were made at Temple Normanton and Sutton (in Scarsdale) (Derbyshire) in 1854 for Messrs Barnes, Grassmoor Colliery, Surveyor Richard G Coke.

Collieries Sunk or Opened in 1854

  • Ashgate (Jon Bennett and Co), Glossop
  • Ashgate (J Drabble) Glossop
  • Balguy pit at Birchwood sinking (Chas Seely), named after John Balguy landowner
  • Barlborough (M Barber)
  • Barlborough Lane (JH Gosling)
  • Barlborough Park (Wells Bros)
  • Bennerley (Barber, Walker and Co)
  • Birch Hill (O Pierce)
  • Bird Holme (Wingerworth Iron Co)
  • Boythorpe (Wright and Oldfield)
  • Boythorpe Lane (Hoskin and Co)
  • Bretby (Lord Chesterfield) (South Derbyshire)
  • Dronfield Brickwell Lane (C Mitchell), Dronfield
  • Britannia (Johnson and Lucas)
  • Bull Close (Ann Wright), Dronfield
  • Butterley Park (Butterley Co)
  • Brundedge (Levi and Elijah Hall), Glossop (North West Derbyshire)
  • Clay Cross (G Elliott)
  • Clay Cross (Holdsworth)
  • Clay Cross (Hawley)
  • Clay Cross (George Parker)
  • Clay Cross 3/4 (Clay Cross Co)
  • Coates Park Skellingthorpe
  • Codnor Park (Butterley Co)
  • Combermere (Jonathan Battey)
  • Cottam New (Appleby and Co)
  • Dronfield Woodhouse (Cartledge and Brayshaw)
  • East Wood (Barber, Walker and Co)
  • Falls Wood (Messrs Badger)
  • Frith Wood (W Booker and Co)
  • Furness and Bagsworth (J Stott and Hall)
  • Gas House (Goodwin and Barker)
  • Greenhill Lane (Jas Oakes)
  • Hady Hill (Henson and Co)
  • Hallam (Whitehouse)
  • Hasland (Henson and Co)
  • Hasland (Knowles and Co)
  • Hartshay (Butterley Co)
  • Hill Top (Richardson and Co) Eastwood
  • Inkerman (Goodwin and Swallow)
  • Killamarsh (Webster and Battey)
  • Lady Hill (Henson and Co)
  • Lower Birchwood (Milnes and Eggleshaw)
  • Ludworth (J Jowitt), Glossop
  • Mexbro (Butterley Co) opened
  • Marquis of Anglesey (Bond and Co)
  • Mats Yard (Nadin’s)
  • Moor Hole (Wells and Co)
  • Newcastle (Thos North) sinking
  • Normanton North (W Marriott)
  • Ollersett (Messrs Brocklehurst) Glossop
  • Ormonde (Butterley Co)
  • Oxclose (Knight  and Co)
  • Plumbley Lane (Joseph Bishop)
  • Ripley (Butterley Co)
  • Silkstone Main (R and J Swallow)
  • Sleights No3 (Coke and Co)
  • Snape Hill (Messrs S Lucas and Sons)
  • Spite Hill (Wingerworth Iron Co)
  • Springfield (Richard Barrow)
  • Stanfree (R Wright)
  • Stratfield (Lunk Worrall)
  • Stubley (Messrs S Lucas and Sons)
  • Stubley (Johnson and Lucas)
  • Stubley (W Booker and Co)
  • Swaddle or Swaddale (….?)
  • Thornsett (J Jowitt)
  • Thornsett Brow (J Bradbury)
  • Underwood (Barber, Walker and Co) opened
  • Walton (Geo Hoskins)
  • Westfield (M Straw and Co)
  • West Staveley (Harrison and Co)
  • White Bank (Wingerworth Iron Co)
  • Whittington (F Pierce)
  • Wingfield (Hopkinson and Co)
  • Woodhouse Lane (JH Gosling). (74 pits)

High Park

Sinking commenced at High Park near Moor Green (Nottinghamshire) on 14th August 1854 but soon hit water in quantity and sinking was suspended. Sinking re-started in January 1855 after partly draining the lake nearby in an effort to lower the water table.   Tubbing was introduced in the shafts to hold back the water from the water-bearing strata.

The General Manager of Barber, Walker and Co was Robert Harrison from 1854 to 1891. William Bostock was the Master sinker.


Butterley Co started sinking another Mexborough (or Mexboro or Mexbro’) pit at Selston (Nottinghamshire).  They also bought out Loscoe colliery from ED Whittingstall about this time; Coates Park (Derbyshire) (Copeland and Co) was sold to Chas Seely and Co (or spelt Seely). 

John Thomas Woodhouse

John Thomas Woodhouse was a Manager of upwards of 20 pits in the Midlands and it was noted that he had adopted furnace ventilation at all of his mines. He is also mentioned as a Viewer and a Surveyor of mines.


The Molyneux (Molineux or Molyneaux) mine (leased by T Buxton, owned by Lady Carnarvon) at Fackley in the Meden Valley, and 95 yards (87m) deep, but not worked and had been stood for many years (sunk c1820...dubious). 

Maybe there was no call for more output as there were several other pits working nearby or possibly the developer had run out of funds to exploit it. However a lease was granted to John and German Buxton and the mine was re-opened in 1854.  German Buxton left after a short time and James Eastwood, a Derby Ironmaster, took his place.  His firm Eastwood and Swingler took over the lease in 1865, when John Buxton left after a quarrel.  Shaft section Top Soft 10” (0.25m), Dicks 6” (0.15m), Hard sparks 11” (0.28m), Spires 1’ 3” (0.38m), Bottom soft 1’ 8” (0.51m) = 1 yard 2 ft 2 in (1.57m) at 63 yards (57.5m) deep.  Dunsil 1 yard 3in (0.99m) at 93 yards (85m).

Closures 1854

  • Addy (Booker and Owen) Blackshale.
  • Ashgate (JG Barnes to 1840, John Mason to 1854), Thin coal or Ashgate, Engine pit 40 yards (36.5m) deep, Surveyor John Ashton. (The pit would be worked again later to 1862 by Jonathan Bennett and Co, Engine pit 28 yards (25.5m) deep).
  • Greenhill Lane (James Oakes and Co ? or Morewood ?).
  • Oxcroft, Clowne (Leadbeater and Co).
  • Shuttlewood Common (….?).
  • Staunton (...?) Kilburn seam including Cannel pit, Engine pit and Gin pit and Air pits 44 yards (40m), 35 yards (32m), 25 yards (23m) and 16 yards (15m) deep; Whitehouse pit (owner…Whitehouse.?) (South Derbyshire), Main and Wood seams. 

Hartshay pit (CV Hunter) near Ripley was old and dilapidated and only had an 8 feet (2.43m) diameter shaft and was about to be closed (a new pit with same name was sunk by Butterley Co).  

Bretby and Brizlincote (Lord Chesterfield) (South Derbyshire) were closed by now. Earls of Chesterfield were members of the Stanhope family from Stanhope in Durham. In the 1850s the Eureka coal was found to outcrop in the toll gate field, Bretby. In 1855 2 shafts were sunk 300 feet (91.5m) (6th Earl of Chesterfield) of Bretby colliery to the 4’ 0” (1.22m) thick Kilburn seam. It was good quality but was difficult to work to the rise at a very steep gradient of 1in2½ max. A shallow shaft was sunk near the surface by the Manager William Johnson as an escape shaft probably due to a water inrush. A further inrush closed the pit. The Earl built substantial houses for officials at ‘Doggie Square’.
The Clay Cross Co now had 4 collieries in North Derbyshire.

A List of Fatal Accidents 1854

  • Bailey Brook, (Butterley Co), Thomas Calladine (..?), crushed by cage at shaft bottom 29 Oct 1854.
  • Brands, (Butterley Co), John Marriott (..?), fell down shaft 3 Jun 1854.
  • Bramcote Moor, pit (...), Isaac Waters (11), 11am, a piece of rock weighing about 1 ton fell from the roof and crushed him, 31 Mar 1854.
  • Church Gresley, (Hastings), William Cooper, fall of roof 17 Feb 1854.
  • Cinder Hill, (Thomas North), John Varley (31), fall of roof on Thursday morning at 1.30am, died from severe internal injuries at 9pm, 6 Apr 1854.
  • Cinder Hill, (Thomas North), Thomas Vann having been at work all day down the pit was drawn up. Immediately he ran in a stooping position towards the other pit and fell down the shaft 30 Nov 1854. He was a native of Belgrave near Leicester and had only started work at the pit two days before. He left a widow and 2 children.
  • Clay Cross, (Clay Cross Co), Anthony Slater (aged..?), fall of coal in shaft 2 Jan 1854.
  • Clay Cross, (Clay Cross Co), Joseph Dakin (boy), crushed by corves 31 Jul 1854.
  • Clay Cross, (Clay Cross Co), John Brookes (..?), crushed by corves 7 Dec 1854.
  • Clay Cross, (Clay Cross Co), Charles Nuttleton (..?), fell down shaft 19 Dec 1854.
  • Coates Park, (Chas Seely), Francis Mycroft (..?), fell down shaft 7 Jan1854.
  • Coppice pit, Greasley, (Barber and Walker), James Wyld (17) collier, travelling along a tramway to work just before 6am when a large piece of roof bind weighing about 2 tons fell and crushed him, 15 Mar 1854.
  • Dore (Hancock or Pearce), James Short, coal fell down shaft 31 Nov 1854.
  • Dunstead, (John Beardsley), John Davis (..?), fell down shaft 22 Dec 1854.
  • Hasland, Patrick Tobin aged 22 was killed on 5th Oct 1854 when he fell down the shaft.
  • High Park, (Barber and Walker), Joseph Priest (42), went to the mouth of the shaft being sunk and then went down to give the men a hand. Whilst he was standing on the scaffold he was trying to get hold of some metal which was being lowered he backed off and fell down shaft in a sump of water 6 yards (5m) deep. He was dead after being found by dragging after half an hour 4 Dec 1854.
  • Hopewell, (Richard Barrow), James Mallinder (boy ..?), crushed by corves 1 Apr 1854.
  • Lings, Robert Dawes (..?), fall of coal 13 Jan 1854.
  • Marehay, (Coursham), Thomas Mellorship (boy ..?), crushed by cage at shaft bottom 7 Oct 1854.
  • Moira, (Marquis of Hastings), Benjamin Sturgess, crushed by cage 27 Mar 1854.
  • Mosbro Moor, (Wells Bros), George Gregory (..?), fall of coal 13 Mar 1854.
  • New Main, (Butterley Co), John Black (..?), fall of coal 21 Mar 1854.
  • Peggs Green, (Leicestershire) (F Gibbons), Frederick Barkby, fall of roof 29 Nov 1854.
  • Portland, (Butterley Co) Joseph Kirk (..?), fall of coal 18 Feb 1854.
  • Silkstone Main, Masbro' (Richard Swallow), a young man called Gregory 19, was killed on 13th Mar 1854 when trapped under a fall of coal.
  • Snibston, (Robert Stephenson), George Tinsdale, fall of roof 28 Mar 1854.
  • Snibston, (Robert Stephenson), Thomas Birch, fell down shaft 25 Oct 1854.
  • South Normanton, (Winterbank) (M Wilkinson), Noah Straw (..?), suffocated by blackdamp 1 May 1854.
  • Stanton, (Messrs Nadin), Burton on Trent... Paul Dent and John Tyers, killed in an explosion 22 Nov 1854, only 90 yards (82m) from the shaft. There was no furnace in use so the air was stagnant. Bailey the bailiff for the mine allowed a boy to enter the heading with a lighted candle. HMI Charles Morton demanded that a furnace be installed and that Bailey be dismissed.
  • Staveley, (J Marples), Thomas Scott (..?), corve fell down shaft 25 Jan 1854.
  • Staveley, (...), Henry Gott (..?) and George Shaw (..?), suffocated by blackdamp 16 Mar 1854.
  • Staveley, John Mart (63), was charged with manslaughter of Jas O'Connor, alias James Mallender on 1st April 1854. The two men worked on a steep incline where full loaded wagons going down the slope hauled empty one back up the slope.It was the duty of John Mart to attach the full waggons at the top and for the deceased to unhook them at the bottom. Mart neglected to do this and therefor the waggons raced down the incline and over the deceased. William Buxton was the Underviewer at Staveley Colliery.
  • Swadlincote, (Hall and Boardman), Sam Smith (..?), fell down shaft 28 Jun 1854.
  • Staveley, (...), John Rice (..?) fall 16 Sep 1854.
  • Staveley, John Jones (..?), fall of ground 21 Sep 1854.
  • Staveley, (...), George Musson (..?), fall of roof 2 Nov 1854.
  • West Hallam, (F Newdigate), Thomas Gregory (..?), fell down shaft 1 Aug 1854.
  • West Hallam, Thomas Gregory died on 17th Aug 1854 when he fell from a scaffold in the engine shaft into the sump that was filled with water and was drowned. The shaft was a very old one and needed repairing often. The Inquest jury went on a visit to the pit and found it to be in a most unsatisfactory and dangerous state and great alterations were necessary to be made in order to render the works in a fit and proper state for working. An Agent for the owner was present and promised that the recommendations of the jury which was supported by the Mines Inspector, should be attended to.
  • West Hallam, (F Newdigate) one (boy ..?) fell down shaft 2 Oct 1854.
  • Whitwick, (Stenson and Co), Henry Mason, fall of ground 17 Feb 1854.

It was a fact that up until partway through the 20th Century a boy’s age was hardly ever mentioned.


Production from the Nottinghamshire mines now reached around 3,100,000 tons.

The South Derbyshire output was now around 180,000 tons with 55,000 tons coming from Church Gresley (Marquis of Hastings). Walker stopped mining at Newbold.

Barber, Walker and Co

Barber, Walker and Co, in order to double their output, remodelled Willey Lane pit in 1854-1855 (sunk 1840). 

At Brinsley the Top Hard pit was deepened to the Deep Soft seam and Watnall New pit in Watnall village was the 7th sunk to the Top Hard seam at 125 yards (114m) deep. 

Overall 1854 Was a Good Year For Coal.