Information and photographs submitted by subscribers are posted in good faith. If any copyright of anyone else's material is unintentionally breached, please email me

The Continued Rise Of The Industry
To 1913




Marlpool colliery (Moody and Newbold) was sold to Gould and Checkland at the Royal Hotel Derby on 1st March 1861.  The advertisement mentioned that along with valuable plant there were 2,000 yards (1,830m) of underground bridge rails and workings were in the Comb and Top Hard seams.


Secretary of State Sir George Grey MP 1861-1866.

Gas Lamps Underground

At Cinderhill or Babbington near Nuttall, Thomas North had pioneered the use of gas lamps for illumination on underground main roads.

Boring Ahead

At nearby Radford (Lord Middleton) borings were kept 10 yards (9m) in advance of the benk face.  Obviously it was assumed that old workings were somewhere near and possibly waterlogged. The boring would be done by hand cranking as shown, a very laborious job.

Changed Hands

Swan and Wharton met old hollows at Heanor colliery.  Church Gresley changed hands from Robinson and Forman to Smedley and Church.
Moreley Park Hard and Soft pits changed hands from R Hurt to FH Disney.
Newhall Field changed hands from Robinson and Forman to Smedley and Church.

High Park

In the same month High Park colliery (Barber, Walker and Co) was fully equipped.  The Top Hard seam at 6 feet (1.82m) thick had been reached at 195 yards (178m) deep in 1860 although sinking had begun in 1854.  The Coombe coal at 2 feet 6 inches (0.76m) thick lay 7 feet (2.1m) above. William Bostock was master sinker, Job Kirk (sinker) and John Wilcockson was the engineer.  It was the first pit in Nottinghamshire to achieve 1,000 tons of coal production in a day.

Smoile Wood

Smoile Wood Pumping pit, (Walker and Worswick) Middle Lount area finished 1834, info supplied by Messrs Hewitt and Co, 1861.


Gresley Wood pit, Newhall Field or Shoddy was managed by Robinson and Forman until now when they were sold to John Smedley and William Bland Church.

Staveley Co

In August 1861, the Staveley Co pits were Speedwell, Springwell, Hollingwell, and New Hollingwell, Seymour E445189 N373945 and the company employed more than 3,000 men and boys and produced around one million tons of coal a year.

Whites Directory

White’s Directory of 1861 (as edited by Jane Peters of Stanton Hill, 1999) stated that in Hucknall under Huthwaite, the Duke of Portland was the chief landowner and Lord of the Manor. Others with interest in the village were the Dowager Duchess of Carnarvon and George Adlington (who incidentally had a beer house) and others. Beneath the surface are 7 beds of coal, at various depths from 18 to 308 yards (16.5m to 281.5m) and of excellent quality either for domestic or manufacturing purposes.  The upper series of these beds have only been partly worked by the ancestors of the present colliery proprietors Messrs John and William Mellor. This family had worked the collieries for more than 100 years but had never exceeded the depth of 52 yards (47.5m). Some of the personnel living in the area: John Boot, Mining engineer, Mineral Surveyor and Land Agent; John Thomas Boot, Land and Mineral Surveyor, Spring Cottage; John Buxton, Colliery owner; Alfred Eley, Assistant Mineral Surveyor to John Boot, Spring Bank; Thomas Hewitt, Colliery Manager, Fall Cottage; John and William Mellor, Colliery owners; William George Treadwell, Assistant Mineral Surveyor to Mr Boot, Spring Cottage.

New Branch Line

A new branch line railway from the main Midland Railway line to the north was constructed to New Skegby colliery later called ‘Briery’, Brierley (Hill) or Sutton colliery.  Curves of 6 furlongs were designed.  It would have quite an effect on the road borne transport as there was a toll-gate situated at the bend opposite the Carnarvon Arms pub at Fackley and the road from Tibshelf to Sutton was referred to as the Turnpike.


The South Yorkshire MinersAssociation had opened a branch at Chesterfield, which eventually led to a total of 36 branches in North East Derbyshire, but the union was to split up in 1861.

Fatal Accidents 1861

  • Colliery ? at Chesterfield. There was an explosion in 1861 and one of the colliers, although only slightly hurt, was given an embrocation of oil and turpentine to rub on his wounds, but unfortunately assumed it was for internal purposes and died from drinking the mixture!
  • Awsworth, Thomas Chambers (13), 30 Apr 1861.
  • Babbington, Alfred Barlow (49) crushed by tubs on the surface 5 Jun 1861, died 9 Jun 1861.
  • Bennerley, Thomas Chambers (15) fall of roof 30 Apr 1861.
  • Birchwood pit, situated between Pinxton and Alfreton, October 1861, a man was killed whilst riding up the shaft in a ‘skip’, which caught a piece of wood sticking out of the shaft side that tilted the skip and he fell 81 yards (74m) to the shaft bottom.
  • Butterley Park, John Brown (22) fall of roof 31 Jan 1861.
  • Clay Cross No2 John Lynam (28) fall of roof 23 Mar 1861.
  • Cotmanhay, Sam Sandon (14), fall of coal 4 Sep 1861.
  • Kilburn, H Milward (28) fall of coal 4 Mar 1861.
  • Kimberley, Levi Sisson (41) 28 Nov 1861.
  • Loscoe, John Prince (16) crushed by tubs 28 Mar 1861.
  • Ludworth, James Potts (26) fell down shaft 22 Jan 1861.
  • Moira, John Wileman (30) wood fell down shaft and struck him 11 Jan 1861.
  • New Hollingwood, B Hunt (50) 11 May 1861.
  • Oxclose, Henry Bennett (47) fall of roof 10 Jun 1861.
  • Palmerston (Pinxton), John Lee (17) fall of coal 12 Feb 1861.
  • Pentrich, Joseph Hunt (56) fall of roof 29 Apr 1861, died 4 Jun 1861.
  • Renishaw Park, John Brown (22) crushed by cage 6 Feb 1861.
  • Renishaw Park, F Wardley (25) fall of roof 27 Apr 1861.
  • Staveley, David Band and ? Key, sinkers, were killed 15 May 1861.
  • West Staveley, C Day (30) and D Burn (30) rope broke on a drum 5 May 1861.

Inrush At Clay Cross No2 Colliery

Clay Cross No2 colliery at 3.45pm on 11 Jun 1861, there was an inrush of water from the old Clay Cross No1 pit Blackshale workings or the Top Shale as it was known locally. Nathaniel (Natty) Dawes Stallman and his Loader Thomas Boden were working 177s stall where the water began to appear in the bottom bats at about 2pm, but they didn’t leave the stall until around 4 pm. Pony driver was John Bradbury and George Parker the Corporal (nephew of Head Under-viewer). The water broke in about 4.50 pm in great volume. Although the workings had been surveyed and checked by Charles Binns, and it had been agreed to work the coal by Binns, the Inspector Mr Hedley and John Parker, and all were under the impression that there was a solid barrier of coal of at least 15 yards (13m) between the workings as shown on the plan. The company’s Consulting Engineer Robert Stephenson had been asked to do a survey also. They had all agreed that to work the district was safe. Unfortunately for all it would appear that a heading driven some years before had not been plotted on the plan….
(Martin was the incompetent Underviewer at the time of the incident. He was sacked and replaced by the more competent John Parker who was Overman beneath him, sometime around 1841).

23 men and 65 horses and asses were drowned but 24 men and boys were rescued.  In one district, some men had been cut off by the water but were able to exist on pony meat for a fortnight, but unfortunately perished when the blackdamp eventually engulfed them. 

The inrush had flooded the pit bottom and shafts and a steam pump of about 30hp was rigged up at the downcast shaft and a large iron tub was slung at the upcast shaft in lieu of the cage and attempts to lower the water level continued at a frantic rate. 

A connection heading about 6 feet (1.8m) square and around 160 yards (146m) long was driven, working non-stop round the clock on 4-hour shifts from another neighbouring pit Clay Cross No4 and progressed at a fantastic rate of 10 yards (9m) per day supervised by John Brown, Overman, and broke through on 4th July.  A further heading was begun from Clay Cross No2 pit by another Engineer, Jeffcock but failed, due to bad ground. They were still recovering bodies up to 13th July 1861. 

The Following Men And Boys Lost Their Lives

  • Joseph Ashmore (13) trammer
  • Samuel Ashmore (21) miner
  • Samuel Ashmore (38) miner
  • Alexander Bettison (44)
  • Francis Bradley (41)
  • John Butterfield (14)
  • Thomas Brunt (32)
  • John Buxton (61)
  • John Carr (25)
  • John Cook (51)
  • Eli Forrester (45)
  • Joseph Hawley (45)
  • John Hill (41)
  • William Holmes (11)
  • Reuben Jones (13)
  • George Mills (24)
  • Richard Siddons (26)
  • Thomas Street (69)
  • William Vernon (34)
  • John Wilbourn (38)
  • Joseph Wood (19)
  • Thomas Wood (61) and William Wood (38).

The Manager was Charles Binns, William Howe Chief Engineer, Robert Stephenson Consulting Engineer, Jonathan Woodhouse Consulting Mining Engineer and Campbell and his son George Consulting Engineers of Matlock (in charge of No1 pit).  William Jackson was the Managing Director of the Clay Cross Co.  John Parker was Underviewer for the Company and had other mines under his jurisdiction.  His nephew George Parker was an Overman and he was assisted by his cousin Joshua Parker, a Deputy.

John Hedley had succeeded Charles Morton as Mines Inspector for the district 1857-1882 and this was his first major disaster.  Morton was transferred to Yorkshire district but resigned in 1866. He was succeeded by George Southern for only about 12 months when Wardell was appointed.  Of course many mines in North Derbyshire were bordering mines in South Yorkshire and Nottinghamshire and no doubt discussions would arise regarding workings that ‘overlapped’.

Other Fatal Accidents Continued

  • Abbeydale Ironstone pit, Cutthorpe (Derbyshire), Thomas Watkinson fell down the shaft
  • Alma, Samuel Jones (26) run over by tubs 17 Dec 1861
  • Birchwood, D Godfrey (28) fell down the shaft 28 Nov 1861
  • Clay Cross No2, J Morrill (18) explosion of firedamp 16 Aug 1861
  • Denby, J Wood (11) fell down the shaft 31 Dec 1861
  • Gresley Wood, CW Baines (24) fall of coal 1 Nov 1861
  • Gresley Wood, Edward Henry Yardley (14) fell down the shaft 29 Nov 1861
  • Marehay, William Noon (50) hit by a broken pump rod 30 Sep 1861
  • New Hollingwood, T Walsh (33) fall of ground 7 Dec 1861
  • Oakerthorpe, Isaac Shaw (14) run over by tubs 8 Oct 1861
  • Owl Cotes, J Brailsford (50) fell down the shaft 26 Oct 1861
  • Renishaw Park, W White (17) explosion of firedamp 18 Jun 1861
  • Renishaw Park, John Newton (16) explosion of firedamp 27 Aug 1861
  • Sheepbridge, J Fellows (23) fall of roof 22 Aug 1861
  • Shipley, George Severn (37) fall of roof 1 Dec 1861, died 16 Dec 1861
  • Speedwell, T Deene (36) fell down the shaft 25 Jul 1861
  • Whittington, W Edwards (23) fall of roof 22 Jul 1861
  • Whittington, E Parkin (26) fell down the shaft 5 Nov 1861
  • Wingerworth, H Prince (26) fall of roof 31 Oct 1861

Abbeydale Ironstone pit, Cutthorpe (Derbyshire). Thomas Watkinson fell down the shaft

Collieries Sunk or Opened in 1861

  • Belper (Knowles and Co)
  • Birchill New opened 18th April (Barnes and Co)
  • Blackwell (Fletcher and Co) Sinking was commenced and another Blackwell sinking (Booth and Co) in 1861.
  • Boythorpe (G Hoskin)
  • Buckland Hollow (J Rhodes)
  • Buxton (R Broome and Co)
  • Clay Cross (E Phillips)
  • Dunstead New pit sunk (John Beardsley), Surveyors Woodhouse and Jeffcock.
  • Dunstone (M Senior)
  • Eckington (John Rhodes)
  • Foxley Oaks colliery Revd W Pierce and Co were sinking to 161 yards (147m) at Whittington, Chesterfield, E438775, N374229.
  • Granby (Butterley Co) Ilkeston.
  • Handley Wood (Staveley Works), Pinder Park ironstone, 38 yards at No1 pit to landing in Chavery seam. Thill of ironstone 105/6 yards (8.23m) above, John Ashton 1851 or more probably 1857 plan.
  • Heanor (J Prince)
  • Hopewell pit (Wright) 84⅔yards (77.4m) to Deep Soft. Thill of ironstone 25 yards (22.9m) above, start 1861.
  • Hucknall New (Big pit and Little pit) (J Clegg) at Huthwaite began sinking.
  • Hucknall Torkard (Walker and Co) commenced sinking at Hucknall near Nottingham.
  • Lower Birchwood (Chas Seely and Co) start.
  • Monk Wood (JC Plevins and Co)
  • Nesfield (Fox)
  • Newbold, the Wallsend Coal Co was sinking to the Blackshale seam.
  • New Mills (J Jowitt)
  • Owl Cotes (Messrs W and J Galloway) Top Hard 4’ 4” (1.55m), surface surveyed by Richard Johnson for Earl Manvers.
  • Oakthorpe (Hastings) (Leicestershire) (Main seam)
  • Ridgway (FH Hutton)
  • Shirland (F Spencer)
  • Swadlincote (South Derbyshire)
  • Swannington No2 or Sinope (W Worswick)
  • Tibshelf (R Storrer)
  • New Tapton pit (Sayers and Co) sunk by October.
  • Wallsend Chesterfield (Abbott, Baker and Co)
  • Walton (J Hewitt) Agent R Fenton. By May 1861 best coal was advertised in the Derbyshire Times at 5s 0d (25p) and 5s 6d (27½p) delivered.
  • Watnall (Barber Walker and Co)
  • Whittington (Lister and Co). 
    (31 Pits)

Collieries Closed in 1861

  • Barlborough Lane (JH Gosling)
  • Birch Hill (O Pierce)
  • Boythorpe (Wright and Oldfield)
  • Brockwell Wood (owner…?) Ashgate
  • Buckland Hollow (Wheatcroft)
  • Bull Close (Ann Wright) Blackshale
  • Burton (High Peak Railway Co)
  • Clay Cross (Elliott)
  • Clay Cross (George Parker)
  • Handley West (owner…?)
  • Heanor (J Argill)
  • Heanor (Swan and Wharton), met old hollows 1861.
  • Highfield (R Wright)
  • The Lodge (Miss Charlotte Melisent Smith) Chesterfield, Deep Soft, 22 yards (20m)
  • Newbold (E Taylor), Deep Hard.
  • Peggs Green (Messrs Knight and Co, previously Bostock and Co)
  • Radford (Lord Middleton) Top Hard finish 22 Jul 1861.
  • Rough Piece (George White) Unstone district, Blackshale, 25 Mar 1861.
  • Stubley (Johnson and Lucas)
  • Tibshelf (R Millward)
  • Old Tapton pit, (John Clayton) in March 1861 sunk 1850 to Blackshale, 44 yards (40m) and upcast 26 yards (24m), (the Dean of Lincoln had royalty payments for 1851-52)
  • Tupton (Wingerworth Iron Co)
  • Wallsend (Abbott, Baker and Co)
  • Walton (Dawson and Co)
  • Whittington (IC Plevins)
    Brierley near Dronfield, Blackshale ironstone, 15 shafts, last worked Lady day 1861.
    (25 Pits)


Hady Hill (Henson and Short) all plant to be offered and sold by auction in Aug 1861. Plant and buildings, 6hp high pressure steam engine, a drum, one pulley wheel 4’ 9” (1.45m) dia, 22 girders, frames and posts, 5 tons weighing machine and 11 pit wagons. The pit finished coaling in 1858 but probably kept open waiting for an upsurge in the market.


The combined output of coal for Derbyshire 158 pits and Nottinghamshire 22 pits for 1861 was 5,116,319 tons.

The 11 pits of Leicestershire produced 740,000 tons.

Overall 1861 Was Another Good Year For Coal


left 2


Go 1 1862