Markham colliery was designed as two separate collieries working in different seams, each colliery had a separate staff and workforce. In 1882 the Staveley company leased 5,000 acres of coal reserves and by 1885 Markham number one colliery was in full production. Another colliery was sunk shortly afterwards in 1886 into the Deep Softs or Clay Cross Softs seam at a depth of 1,512 feet from the surface, this colliery was to be called Markham number two. By 5th July 1937 the Top Hard was worked out and the High Hazels and the Top Waterloo seams were abandoned. On the 21st January 1937 an explosion in the number two unit, east district of Number One colliery Blackshale seam, resulted in the loss of nine lives. The explosion was caused by an accumulation of gas ignited by a flame which escaped from a poorly fitting lid in a flameproof enclosure on a coal cutting machine. On the10th May 1938 at the Number One colliery, another explosion after a tub train accident damaged a power cable, seventy nine lives lost and thirty eight injured and on the 3Oth July 1973 the man riding cage in number three shaft at Number Two colliery went free fall into the pit bottom after the brake failed on the winding drum. This resulted in the loss of eighteen lives and a further twelve severely injured men.The colliery closed in 1994
Sinking of the two shafts down to the Top Hard coal seam began in February 1923 and was completed in October 1925. The depth of the shafts to the coal measures was – No1 Downcast: 550 yards (504 metres) and No2 Upcast: 559 yards (512 metres). The Top Hard seam finally produced its last coal in December 1978. Access to the Parkgate seam, 180 yards (164 metres) below the Top Hard, was started in 1974, coming on stream in February 1977, and was in production when the last skip of coal was wound in 1993.
Pit Terminology - Glossary