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The Continued Rise Of The Industry
To 1913


1878 - Page 1

Collieries Sunk or Opened in 1878

  • Alton (Alton Coal and Coke Co), Ashover
  • Barlborough (Myles Barber), Barlborough
  • Broom House (Whittington and Sheepbridge Coal Co), Sheepbridge
  • Gomersall (John Sheard) Blackshale
  • Grasscroft Wood (Knowles and Co) Whittington
  • Grassmoor sinking (Messrs Barnes)
  • Gresley Common (James Woodward), Ilkeston
  • Hewlett pit sinking
  • Kitchen Wood (W Bedford and Co), Dronfield Woodhouse
  • Langwith (Sheepbridge Coal and Iron Co) No1 shaft reached Top Hard on Sat 9th Feb at 538 yards (492m) and No2 on Sat 1st June 1878
  • New London (Digby Coal Co) sunk 1874-1876-1878, 12 feet (3.65m) diameter shaft 217 yards (198m) deep to Low Main or Furnace with Top Hard goaf at 60 yards (55m) and cast iron tubbing from surface to 20 yards (18m) below Top Hard. The winding engine by S Rollinson of Basford, consisted of 2 horizontal cylinders 24” (0.61m) with 48” (1.22m) stroke to give 120 winds per hour. An air lock at the upcast shaft served with 2 pairs of folding doors. The Top Hard was worked by Messrs Potter and Burns, later Barber Walker
  • Rutland No4 (Rutland Coal Co) sunk to Deep Soft
  • Silver Hill (Stanton Iron Co), one new shaft sunk and one old shaft widened and deepened to Blackshale, developing seam
  • Sinking (WG Cursham) Belper
  • Sinking (Thomas Holdsworth) Clay Cross
  • Snowden Lane (C Swift), Dronfield
  • Stanhope (J and N Nadin), Swadlincote
  • Swadlincote (Hall and Boardman), near Burton
  • Whaley Bridge (Waterloo?) lease taken out for Smithy coal or White Ash seam (Honourable Mrs Griffiths?)
  • Woodfield (J and N Nadin), Swadlincote
  • Woodfield (Maples and Co), Swadlincote, (South Derbyshire).

Promoted To Managing Director

William Clark (service cert No 985) Agent for Stanton Iron Co was promoted to Managing Director of the firm and John Alfred Longden (service cert No16) succeeded as Agent, having previously been Agent for Blackwell Colliery Co.

Eastwood District

The Eastwood district, Nottinghamshire, was determined as bordering Brinsley to the north, Greasley to the east, Langley Mill to the west and Ilkeston to the south and Kimberley to the south east.

Bell pits have been found near the Rectory at Eastwood.

Two or three shafts were sunk at Bailey Grove near to the Nottingham Canal.

At Longacre to the north of these, one shaft was sunk south of Derby Road and 4 shafts to the north and 3 more to the north of the Hill.

Another shaft has been located to the north of South Street. 2 more shafts found at New Eastwood.

A series of 20 shafts have been found straddling the Nottingham Canal and to the north of the County boundary.

There were 3 shafts at Lodge colliery and 2 shafts to the north called Billy Halls (sunk 1878) and Bully Rag at Newthorpe Common. Auckland New was at Newthorpe.

At Springfield and Hill Top there were 5 shafts and 3 adits.

Near Beauvale were Hill Top Fullwoods or Fullard's Brandy and 7 more shafts towards Moor Green.

Nethergreen pit was at the bottom of the hill near Eastwood Hall.

20 odd shafts were sunk to the east of Mansfield Road towards Moor Green with its 3 shafts (and a later adit) and Beggarlee shafts, and finally to the north of Eastwood Hall and Cockerhouse Road lay Plumptre shafts.

In the Brinsley district there was Clinton with 4 shafts and 7 adits to the north of Stoney Lane.

30 other shafts have been located around Brinsley Village including Brinsley colliery, Old Foundation, Brinsley Gin pits, Parkers, and Cordy Lane pit.

A further 25 shafts have been located to the east of the village between Brinsley and Willey Lane and Moorgreen, including Waterspout, Jobs Hard coal and Soft coal pits (J Broughton), Beauvale Nos 1 to 8 and High Park colliery and an ancient Water level.

The Kimberley district pits were Digby, Giltbrook and Trumans.

To the north towards Greasley there were upwards of 50 shafts including Greasley Old Foundation and New London.

Water Supplies

Water supplies in the villages continued to be a problem before the town water supplies for all was inaugurated. At South Normanton it was agreed to extract water from the Old Mans Level sough for use in the Parish. At Tibshelf village, water was obtained from around 130 wells and pumps.

Snibston Flooded

Snibston No3 pit was flooded and closed temporarily whilst pumping operations were carried out. The No2 pit had been abandoned in 1872.


The Explosives Act of 1878 required that explosives were kept in a brick building on the surface with a lightning conductor and that detonators were kept in a separate part to the powder. Cartridges for blasting were not to be made in a private house, they were to be purchased ready or manufactured in a workshop in connection with, but detached from the store, a distance varying from 25 to 100 yards (23m to 91m) according to the class of store.


The Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire Miners Association, which had at one time, some 5,000 members, was now virtually extinct. The South Yorkshire Miners Association had refused to give financial assistance in October because the Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire Union had resisted the reduction in wages of 10%, which the Yorkshire Association had accepted some 5 months before.

Nailstone Sold

Nailstone sold to Joseph Thornton in 1875 was advertised for sale by Thornton’s trustees for £18,000, but there were no takers and the trustees were still trying to sell the colliery some few years later.

John Thomas Woodhouse Retired

John Thomas Woodhouse, Viewer and Surveyor retired as the demand for coal fell. Francis Channer Gillett (1878-1886) and Reuben Smallman (1886-1893) succeeded for the Moira Co.


Most of the large collieries in Nottinghamshire were now ventilated by fan, although Silver Hill owned by Stanton Iron Co had an underground furnace until 1891, as did Annesley until 1921. Shirebrook (North Derbyshire) had one until 1926.

The Last Furnace

Incredibly the last underground furnace was closed down by the NCB at Walsall Wood colliery in the West Midlands in 1954.


Eastwood and Swingler closed Molyneux colliery in 1878, but then leased it to Mellers of Huthwaite. The locals called the pit Molynax, and old Mr Sterland who was the grandfather of cousins Jim and Carl Sterland, at one time both on the Survey Staff at Teversal colliery, 1960s lived at the farm by the side of the abandoned shafts later, used to relate a poem to us I remember about the pit and others in the vicinity whilst we were surveying them:

‘Butcherwood for idleness
Diminsdale for drink,
Molynax for turning coal
And damn old Nibble and Clink’.

Quote Mr Jack Sterland 1961

His son Roy Sterland (still recites the poem today, at 2013) started at Silverhill in 1949 but was transferred to Teversal where he was a skilled haulage worker who was allotted the top gate, 60s Dunsil, where spot on timing was needed to run a set of 4 fulls onto the Main Road and fasten them onto the 2 mph moving rope with a Star clip between other sets coming up the steep Plane Road from districts inbye. Even more skill was needed to run a set of 20 empties into the gate as the main rope had to be held down by knocking a bar over it, changing the points, knocking off the Smallman clip at the back of the empties and the changing the point back, releasing the rope again in time for the next set of full tubs. On occasion there was extra skill in just releasing the Star clip of a set of tubs approaching the junction and letting it slip as if on a clutch. However there were occasions when there was ‘runner’ which in doing so ran backwards down the steep plane and skittled the other sets behind causing considerable hold-ups as tubs of coal would have to be lifted back on the tracks and the spilt coal reloaded.

He was a Corporal overseeing the haulage system and an instructor for lads on the North side Waterloo Junction where he had to show them how to use a hammer on Star clips to get the load up the very steep 1in4 hill to the pit bottom, whereas he only used an iron bar about a foot (0.30m) long on the South side where the gradient was between 1in6 and 1in8. He was later in charge of the ‘heavy gang’ (these were a team of men who would transport heavy and cumbersome loads in the pit) and he was renowned for his willingness to double back on any shift and sort out unusual jobs. Roy transferred to Silverhill in a similar occupation when Teversal closed in 1980 until he retired in 1987.

Old Skegby Top Hard Abandonment plan deposited 22 Dec 1878 (Nathan Mellors owner).

Fans At Pleasley

Twin Waddell fans at 40 feet dia (12.19m) were installed at Pleasley (Derbyshire).

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Pit Terminology - Glossary


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