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The Continued Rise Of The Industry
To 1913


Book 2
The Rise of the Industry up to 1913


Output for the year 1800 is estimated at around 385,000 tons

The Butterley Co output of coal was approximately 3,000 tons in 1801, which then increased to 7,768 tons by 1802. The Codnor Park Agreement came into force in 1803 which gave miners a chance to earn 3s (15p) to 4s (20p) a day as coal was paid for at 3s 6d (17½p) a ton and 1s 9d (8¾p) for slack.  Of course many men would have worked around 12 hours a day to achieve this and may have had to walk several miles from home to the colliery and back again so could have been away from home for up to 16 hours a day – leading to the expression ‘all bed and work’.

Only a small output of coal was raised in 1801 at the new Donisthorpe mine sunk in 1798/1799 due to faulting and ingress of water.


Prime Ministers: Henry Addington, 1st Viscount Sidmouth (Tory) 1801-1804.

William Pitt (Tory) 1804-1806.



The primitive chain or rag pumps were still operated at the pits in the Whittington Moor area of Chesterfield. Here a group of men in succession lifted up the water from the low side of mines. An earlier system was the churn pump which was operated by one man using a cross handle to pull a bucket up. Some horse gins were fitted with cogwheel, pinion and crank to work a pump. Waterwheels working pumps by cranks were more common as at Baslow, Dimsdale and Shallcross collieries. The majority of mines using pumps were operated by steam engine and many pits were worked by the bord and pillar system.

Reduced Demand For Coal

1801 was a year of distress and high prices, with a reduced demand for coal.  Wages dropped to around two shillings - 2s 0d (10p) a day. £1 spending power in 1801 would be equivalent to about £32 in 2010.

Workers Recruited From South Wales

The Earl of Moira recruited workers from ironworks in Neath, South Wales to operate his furnace and foundry in South Derbyshire. The furnace had a haystack boiler with steam pressure at 2½ to 5 lb / sq inch. Coal was used from the Furnace colliery adjacent, sunk in 1807 by Shuttleworth. The various proportions for the mixture of coke, ironstone and limestone were: for soft metal 4 portions of coke, 5½ of ironstone and 1½ of limestone. For forge metal the ratio was 4 parts coke, 7 parts ironstone and 2 parts limestone. For shot and ballast 4 parts coke, 9 parts ironstone and 2 parts limestone.

Sinkings 1801

  • 1st Cinderhill and 2nd Cinderhill or Cinder pits at Swanwick colliery (Morewood) at 35 yards (32m) and 25 yards (23m) deep were sunk at Greenhill Lane near Riddings 1801-1802
  • Parkin pit 33 yards (30m) and Farnsworth pit 60 yards (55m) were sunk at Greenhill Lane also (Morewood)
  • Gabriel Britains Engine pit 53 yards (48m) to Hard coal near Ripley was sunk around this time
  • Skegby Old (Wharf) 1801 Top Hard at 101 yards (92.3m) and at Springwood 76 yards (69.5m) (Dodsley or Skegby Colliery Co).
  • Stoney Dale (Nadin) 60 yards (54.9m) to Little seam and 116.7 yards (106.7m) to Main seam, later deepened to 316.7 yards (289.5m) to Darcy seam.

Accidents 1802

On 12th Feb 1802 Francis Gregory (9) was killed by a fall of roof at West Hallam pit. Another boy, unnamed fell down the same shaft in Aug 1802 and he too was killed.

Patent For Cast-Iron Puncheons

John Charlton Mechanic and Coal Agent in Derbyshire took out a patent on 10th April 1802 for cast-iron puncheons, to be used instead of timber - see later.

Sinkings 1802

  • Wollaton and Cossall collieries (were owned by Henry, Lord Middleton)
  • Shipley and Heanor collieries - (Edward Miller Mundy)
  • Alfreton, Somercotes and Swanwick - (Rev’d Henry Case Morewood)
  • Denby, Robeyfield and Simonfield - (William Drury Lowe)
  • Heanor collieries - (Thos Charlton)
  • Pinxton - (Rev’d D’Ewes Coke)
  • Brinsley - (Jos Wilkes)
  • Brinsley New - (William Fenton)
  • Ripley and Hartshay - (Henry Hunter)
  • Bilborough, Newthorpe and Beggarlee - (Thos Barber)
  • Butterley and Codnor Park - (Benjamin Outram)
  • Greasley and Ilkeston - (James Potter and John Bourne)
  • Eastwood - (Luke Jackson and John Bourne)
  • Ripley - (James Fletcher and Henry Moore)
  • Hartshay - (James Fletcher and Henry Hunter)
  • Pinxton Mill colliery - (Thos and Sam Hodgkinson)
  • Pentrich - (Thos Pearson and Henry Goodwin).

Debdale Hall
Debdale Hall
Debdale Hall

John Coke owner of Pinxton Colliery purchased Debdale Hall at Mansfield Woodhouse in 1803. Today in 2015 the building is used as a residential nursing home and has been for some years.

Codnor Park

Codnor Park miners were now paid 3s 6d (17½p) per ton of coal and 1s 9d (8¾p) per ton of slack.  However there was a forfeit should the output fall below 75 tons for the week but on the good side, a bonus should the output exceed that figure.

Pig Iron

Pig iron was first produced at Adelphi works from 2 blast furnaces in this year. Generally the yield of iron is only about one third of the mined ironstone.

Enclosure Act

The Enclosure Act of 1803 was enacted and this gave all owners of land in the common and open fields there the right to work any underlying minerals if they so wished to do so.

Closures 1803

  • Lodge (owner…?) Stavel(e)y.
    Various wooden articles were found in several Derbyshire old pits in 1804.

Sinkings 1804

  • North pit 38 yards (35m) and Clays pit (Morewood) 20 yards (18m) deep sunk at Greenhill Lane
  • Francis (Earl of Moira d 1826) began sinking pits at Ashby Wolds and linked them by railway to the wharf at Ashby Canal
  • Spinney or Double pits (Moira) (South Derbyshire) sunk some 500 yards (457m) to southwest of Moira by Joseph Wilkes to thick Main seam
  • A pit at Trowell (Nottinghamshire) (..?) was sunk.

Closures 1804

  • Bole Hill (owner...?)
  • Beresford Moor (owner….?)
  • Biggin pits (owner …?)
  • Potters pit (Sam Potter) to Soft coal.


The Ashby Canal was opened in 1804.


A drivage was made from a pit at Blackwell (Eddison’s) in the Top Hard seam during this year and reached the boundary of the Hucknall pit (Mellers) at Huthwaite.


There were several instances of colliers in Tibshelf working at pits in 1804: Joseph Ellis (27) stated that in 1784 his father took him when he was aged 7 to drive the Gin horse for him at the coal pit where his father worked as banksman.  When he was 11 years old he went to work down the pit.

Thomas Alsop (30) was born at Dirty Hucknall and when he was 8 years old he was hired to Mr Bodon at Barlborough to drive the Gin horse at the coal pit.  Later he was hired by William Morley at another pit as a ‘Hanger on of coals’.

George Alsop (20) also born at Dirty Hucknall.  At 10 years old was hired by Richard Mellers or Mellors also as a ‘Hanger on’ at the bottom of the pit, and then in his late teens became a collier.

In 1805, Joseph Stocks (20) stated he was in the pit as a labourer when he was 7 years old.

Francis Mokes, Thomas Ratford and William Ratford were colliers at Blackwell, William being bound to Thomas Handley, Thomas Brooks and Edward Sampson.

Fatal Accidents 1804

On Sunday 25th Oct 1804 Joseph Bacon, a collier fell down the shaft at Lings Colliery.

Plan By Michael Walker

A plan of June 1804 by Michael Walker for J Barber Walker and Co. showed pits in Nottinghamshire at: Beggarlee with 2 shafts, 2 at Hester Close (or Hextor), 1 at Mill Meadows, 1 at Nether Bastards, 1 at Nether Mill Close and 1 at Severns Close.

Other Pits Were Shown At

  • Lamb Pasture
  • Lower Butterley
  • Upper Butterley
  • Nether Great Close
  • Barn Close
  • Cunningreys
  • Little Rye Grass
  • Little Ox Close
  • Near Upper Close
  • Nether Quarry Close
  • Upper part of Long Close
  • Upper part of Denniss Pasture
  • Nether Pasture
  • Nether Denniss Pasture
  • Foal House Close
  • Far Common
  • Piece
  • Common Piece
  • Croft
  • Parsons 2 Acre
  • Broad Close
  • Upper Flatts
  • Nether Flatts
  • Coach Pingle.

Boring At Pleasley

There was a boring in 1805 to the north of the bridge in Plesley (Pleasley) proving the coal seams under the yellow (Magnesian) limestone were same as the ones around Hucknall, Bilborough and Nuthall.

Tram Roads

By 1805 tram roads were completed from Willesley Basin through Ashby to Cloud Hill and Ticknell thus uniting the eastern and western portions of the Leicestershire / South Derbyshire Coalfield by tram roads which were in many cases on the lines of the future railways.

Thomas Walker And Canals

The last coal barge from Bickershaw Colliery in 1972
From Canal Scrap Book 2 An eBook by Cyril J Wood

Thomas Walker of Bilborough had been selected by the Canal Committee and other Coal Masters to digest and carry into effect, the building of the necessary weigh houses and offices etc for the payment of coal by barges. On 18th January 1805 he was presented with a large ornamental Silver Cup, for completely carrying into effect the plan of weighing and gauging vessels etc. 

In 1808 Tupman and Co. of Nottingham produced four octavo volumes outlining the history of each of the 430 wide and 60 narrow canal boats used. 

Joseph Wilkes a member of the Ashby Canal Co and colliery owner died intestate May 1805. He was a good man as he developed collieries, mills, turnpike roads, banks, canals and other enterprises. He found work for the poor and hundreds if not thousands of others by opening up new sources of employment and converted Measham Village into a thriving township. He was the first person to succeed in breaking the isolation of mining area that they had suffered from in the past.

Coal could be conveyed by barge at a cheaper rate than by other means.  However later, a coal tax would be imposed on coal entering the capital city London


Pillars marked the boundaries in Middlesex in the areas of jurisdiction. It is thought that the tax was to pay for rebuilding after the Great Fire of 1666.  Coal from the Midlands was being delivered there, but now at a higher price.

Better Wages

Miners enjoyed far better wages than others being able to earn between 2s 0d (10p) and 3s 6d (17½ p) a day in the 1790s.


A pit at Cossall was worked previously by Lord Middleton until 1805 when it was leased to Barber and Walker for a term of 21 years (+ - 1826). It was probably sunk in the period 1795-1800.

John Farey

John Farey listed 86 active coalmines for Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire and 150 that had closed down.  He also mentioned there were 13 mines in Leicestershire.

Ale Supplied As Part Of Wages

The holers at Trowell (Lord Middleton) were paid 3s 6d (17½p) a day, plus a quart of ale, to slake their thirst, in 1805.

(The drinking of beer underground was outlawed many years later under the Coal Mines Act 1911).

William Jessop

William Jessop took over the management of the Butterley Co on the death of Outram in 1805 and George Goodwin was appointed General Manager. Benjamin Outram died intestate owing a great deal of money to the company.

Fatal Accidents 1805

Charles Wingfield fell down a shaft at Chesterfield in Feb 1805.

In the same month a collier at Measham was killed by a fall of coal at the face.

A boy fell down a shaft at Summercoats Common on 31st May and on 8th June 1805 a collier working at the bottom of the shaft at Walton, Chesterfield was killed when a piece of bind fell from the side and hit him on the head.

On 18th Dec 1805 a poor deranged man called Patrick Parkye fled from a man who was looking after him and flung himself down an old coal pit at Denby and was drowned.

Sinkings 1805

Pecking out
Pecking out the holeing stuff with a light and sharp tool called a maundrel or pick or hack, and placing short struts of wood in places where it was likely that the coals may fall
Sinkings 1805Air pit 7 yards (6m) deep and Old Level 62 yards (56m), Oak Tree pit 18 yards (16.5m) sinking and Parkin’s 33 yards (30m) (Morewood) all sunk at Greenhill Lane to the Swanwick Hard coal (Top Hard).

Closures 1805

  • Alton Grange (Leicestershire) (...?) sunk pre 1800
  • Heather (William and Robert Abney).

Valuable Colliery To Be Let

Extract from the Derby Mercury newspaper for Thursday 16 May 1805....

Upwards of 200 acres of 5 ft (1.52m) coal of excellent quality, situate near Skegby in the County of Nottinghamshire and near a turnpike road, 3 miles from Mansfield. For further particulars apply to Mrs Lindley at Skegby aforesaid or to Mr Geo Dickens of Stavely, who is empowered to treat for same. The Tenant may be accommodated with 60 acres of land, or upwards, upon reasonable terms. 4 May 1805. The pit referred to was Skegby colliery. It would appear that there were no takers and a notice appeared again in the Derby Mercury on Thursday 27 June 1805..... To be sold by private Skegby in the County of Nottinghamshire – a Steam engine, also 2 Gins, a House, Barn, Stable, Blacksmiths Shop, a Machine and Machine House, a good Capson (Capstan) Rope and other Pit Ropes and different tools for working a colliery, now standing upon an Estate belonging to Mrs Lindley of Skegby near Mansfield. For further particulars enquire of Mr Woodhouse, engineer, Ashby, Mr Sampson, Tibshelf, John Knight, Derby. (Long detailed list of items to be auctioned). The pit (Skegby Wharf) was closed.