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The Continued Rise Of The Industry
To 1913



Collieries Sunk Or Opened

  • Brinsley New (Barber, Walker and Co)
  • Dam pit (Swanwick colliery) at Leabrooks (Morewood) 47 yards (43m) deep in 1811
  • Possibly Bagthorpe Fentons sunk at this time.

Collieries Closed 1811

  • Brook, South Derbyshire (sunk in 1799)
  • Espley (Aspley) (Lord Middleton), Nottingham, 90 yards (82m) and 93 yards (85m) deep closed October. Possibly it was sunk around 1763-1765 as Engine pit or one mentioned by Burdett on his plan of 1763-1767 and also shown on a plan by Chapman in 1774.  Surveyor, WW Bailey
  • Brinsley Old (Barber Walker) possibly closed at this time
  • Brook pit near Donisthorpe sunk in 1799
  • the last of the Shilo pits in the upper Meden Valley closed.

Horse Tramway

A horse tramway ran from 3 pits at Tibshelf to Tibshelf Ramper coal wharf.  In 1811 coal sold for 10s (50p) for 2 tons.

Coal was now being transported to Leicester by canal.

Fatal Accidents

1811: Teversall pit, Fackley, (Goodwin?) Thomas Ashmore (8) was killed when he fell down the 60 yards deep shaft and was literally dashed to pieces, July 1811.



Prime Minister: Earl of Liverpool (Tory) 1812-1827.

Sinkings 1812

  • Bath Yard pit (Moira, South Derbyshire) sinking. Wooden articles would be found well preserved in the 20th Century and it was assumed that because they were buried in the coal slack left behind in the pit that the items possibly absorbed carbon from the coal which caused hardening of the wood.
  • Crabtree pit at 103 yards (94m) (Morewood) and Orchard pit 29 yards (26m) at Greenhill Lane, Swanwick.
  • a pit at Lower Somercotes / Smotherfly to 57 yards (52m).
  • Spring Wood several pits were sunk including Russia or Blewes (Nadin).
  • Further pits were sunk to the South of Newhall at Hallfield and at Waterfield.
William Nadin (1754-1822) continued to run Newhall colliery (South Derbyshire) and opened other small pits in the vicinity. Heather colliery closed in 1805 was re-opened by Edward and William Wootton Abney and leased for 21 years to Edward Price an engineer from Staffordshire.

Fletcher Bullivant (d 1812) had continued to increase the output at Swadlincote (South Derbyshire). Other collieries in the district were owned by Bernard Dewes and previously by Sir Nigel Gresley (d 1787). 

Collieries Closed 1812

  • Measham (Fisher and Simmonds)

Brothers Bound

In 1812, two brothers John and Richard Slater colliers of Pinxton, were ‘bound’ to William Straw.

White Watson, Geologist

An early Geologist, White Watson (1760-1835) after examining the rocks and strata in Derbyshire wrote a poem in 1812 about Bolsover, and part of it quoted: -
Beneath the hill inquiry late disclosd, The spot, where, deep conceald the coal reposd, But jealous agriculture closd the ground, Nor sufferd trade to bleak its sleep profound.

The ‘sleep profound’ was disturbed some 60 years later when deep shafts were sunk to the coal seams.
(As stated by GA Warrener JP in 2005 in his chapter about Langwith Colliery 1876-1978 in the book ‘Langwith’).
I was presented with a copy by G.A. Warrener.


Fatal Accidents 1813

A boy in charge of a gin at Ripley pit unfortunately fell down the shaft on 25th June 1813 and was dreadfully injured. Three of his limbs were broken and his brain laid bare due to a dreadful fracture of the skull. He survived until the Sunday following.

At Codnor Park pit on 11th Nov 1813 a boy on returning from his work to the shaft in the evening, unfortunately took a wrong direction that took him into a part of the pit that contained foul air and he was instantly suffocated.
A boy aged 11 was killed on 13th Nov 1813 at West Hallam by a sudden fall of a quantity of bind and other minerals.

In the same week two miners employed driving a level at a pit near Youlgrave were buried by a fall of roof. Thomas Smith of Elton was killed and the other man William Rowland was dreadfully bruised but recovered.

Sinkings 1813

  • Bath pit at Moira was opened (South Derbyshire)
  • Smotherfly (owner…?) 66 yards (60m) to Hard coal
  • Stone House Foundation and 2 o’clock Sun (…?) Salterwood (Derbyshire).

 At Moira pits (South Derbyshire) in 1813 the cost of a ton of coal at the pithead was 10s (50p).

Golden Valley

Between 1797 and 1813 Butterley Co had built a new small hamlet for their workers at Golden Valley.  A new village was begun named Ironville nearby in 1811 but would not be completed until around 1843.  Further housing was built at Hammersmith (Derbyshire)

Collieries Closed 1813

  • Denby Old colliery (Lowe), Quon pit (owner…?) 6 yards (5m) deep to Hard coal
  • Coal Aston fin 1813, 4 shafts and old pits and old level.

Investigation into Accidents in Mines

A group of men, none who were associated with mining formed a committee in 1813 to investigate mine accidents.

The report began by describing the occupation of miners thus: -
‘The pitmen descends up to 500 yards into the bowels of the earth and there traverses subterranean passages, frequently 2 to 3 miles in extent to his work, where by the glimmer of a small candle or more imperfect lamp in a space seldom 6 feet high, and oftener 3 or 4, he labours in a stooping posture, sometimes laying on his side for 8 to 10 hours in an impure atmosphere to extract the mineral that above ground is diffusing light, heat, riches and enjoyment. In such a situation, often without a moment’s warning, he is overtaken by destruction. The gases generated in such abundance in the mine, from some accident explode and fill the pit with death. In an instant and in the most fearful manner, he is scorched and shrivelled to a black mass, or is literally shattered to pieces against the ragged side of the mine, or, if out of the immediate range of this terrible piece of ordnance, in a few seconds the afterdamp spreads itself in every direction, and poisons beyond recovery all that it may reach. Humanity has too frequently to deplore these fearful accidents. Within the last 20 years the coal district of Tyne and Wear alone has had upwards of 680 miners so destroyed’.

This report albeit that it referred to the North East Coalfield applied to our and other Coalfields also.

The report went on to say that: ‘It is time that some comprehensive plan for their better security be adopted. The country cannot intend to abandon this useful class of men forever to such a fate’.

Nothing was done at that time and it would be many years before sufficient commitment was given to the mining industry although various Royal commissions on safety in mines, the first in 1879, the second in 1908 and the third in 1936-1939 resulting in the Coal Mines Act 1887, the Coal Mines Act 1911 and the Mines and Quarries Act 1954 (enacted from 1st January 1957).

Puffing Billy

In 1813 Christopher Blackett and William Hedley produced ‘Puffing Billy’ a steam locomotive to work on the Wylam Colliery railway in the North East beside which George Stephenson had been born in 1781.


Fatal Accidents 1814

At Oakthorpe on 14th April 1814 two men and a boy were in the cage when it slipped off the hook and they fell to the bottom of the shaft. One man Richard Castle was killed on the spot and the other man and the boy were dreadfully shattered and were not expected to recover.

Thomas Walker aged 12 driving an ass was killed at Codnor Park on 16th May 1814 when a large fall of mineral fell on him.


A brief attempt to work the Nether coal at Donisthorpe (Leicestershire) was made in 1814 but failed.

Pumping Engine

In 1814 a pumping engine was installed at a Hard Coal pit near to the Carnarvon Arms Public House, Fackley Lane End (Peter Chambers), Teversal, (Nottinghamshire) to raise water from the Dunsil workings up into the Top Hard horizon and allowed it to run into the New Inn Level, the sough that ran down to Hardwick, (Derbyshire).  A toll bar was situated on the bend opposite the Inn (Carnarvon Arms, previously known as the Cross Keys).

Sinkings in 1814

  • Wellingtons pit (Morewood) 103 yards (94m) deep to Top Hard at Leabrooks near Alfreton (Derbyshire).

Collieries Closed in 1814

  • Fernylee (...?) North West Derbyshire.

Shortage Of Coins

During the Napoleonic Wars there was a shortage of coins and for a time Butterley Co issued tokens and notes to be exchanged at the company shops. They built cannon and shot for the Woolwich Arsenal for use by the forces.

Canal Iced Up

The Canal in Leicestershire iced up preventing the movement of coal from the pit heads.


Safety Lamps

In 1815 a lease existed dated 10th April, from George Woolley to Thomas Fletcher of Codnor and Robert Wood of Swanwick at Stoneyford north of Langley Mill for 29 acres (11.75 hectares) of coal.

Sir Humphry Davy
Sir Humphry Davy, 1st Baronet FRS MRIA FGS was a British chemist and inventor. In 1815 he invented the Davy lamp, which allowed miners to work safely in the presence of flammable gases.
William Reid Clanny
William Reid Clanny (1770 – 1850) was an Irish physician and inventor of a safety lamp

The Davy Safety lamp invented by Sir Humphry Davy (1778-1829) in 1815 and tested in 1816 was used ever increasingly in the North East of England, but it was quite some time later before any reference was made to it being used in this part of the country. He found that flames would not pass through certain wire gauzes. George Stephenson invented a similar safety lamp, far right, but both lamps gave a much poorer light than a candle flame, therefore there was a great reluctance to use them, even though they were safer.

The Clanny, centre, was another lamp of a slightly different design, actually invented by Dr Clanny in 1813. However the Davy lamp was the most popular name and probably the one that will be remembered for ever.

All used metal meshes of small aperture that allowed air containing gas to enter the lamp but once the gas was burning or exploding inside the lamp the mesh prevented the flame from passing into the air outside the lamp.

Davy Safety lamp
Davy Safety lamp

Prior to these lamps mainly candles or lighted open oil vessels were used. Due to the frequency of explosions it was realised that a different light was needed which was safe.

Lynda Litchfield - 5 young boys taken to court for the misuse of safety lamps in 1870 

Sir Humphry Davy Demonstrating His Lamp To Coal Miner

The Spedding flint mill was used in certain parts of the country.  Its use in the Midlands is unknown to me. The device was a series of cogs turned by a toothed wheel and by cranking the wheel and holding a piece of flint to the turning point a shower of sparks was sent cascading through the air. The sparks although momentary bright were not hot enough to explode any gas present and thereby did not constitute any danger. The light given off was very poor and the tedious job of continually turning the wheel was given to a boy. A numbered replica is shown to the left and kept at the Mining Records Office, Mansfield.  There are only about 10 original machines in the whole of the UK.


Molyneux colliery (Lord Carnarvon) was probably sunk about this time or a little later, as it is deemed in 1819 to be closed down before coal faces were worked due to competition from the Pinxton Railway to Mansfield. A coal wharf was built near to the shafts for loading into waggons.

 (When the area was cleared for housing development in the late 1990s, compacted small coal was unearthed around the stone wharf by the contractor and around 200 tons was washed and sold. This could have been a mixture of Top Hard and Dunsil as both seams were worked). It would have been tipped deliberately as at the time there was no sale for small coal.

Collieries Sunk or Opened in 1815

  • Several Waterloo pits to commemorate the famous battle, one such named pit at Jacks Dale (Derbyshire).

Swadlincote colliery (Count Dewes) continued to work, Agent and Manager John Brown.

Collieries Closed in 1815

  • Several in Ilkeston district and Ilkeston Manor, Deep Hard seam
  • Deep Foundation at Moira closed temporarily due to an underground fire, Manager George Parramore

- John Farey mentioned that the following pits had ceased production by 1815 -

  • Chest
  • Combes Moss
  • Ferneylee
  • Gap Sitch
  • Hay Clough
  • Latche
  • Mousetrap
  • Notbury
  • Quarnford
  • Robinsclough

Fatal Accidents 1815

  • Wollaton pit, 3 boys were ascending the shaft in a container when the chain broke and they were all plummeted to the bottom of the 60 yards deep shaft where one boy was killed outright and the other two received broken limbs but survived, April 1815
  • Aspley pit (Lord Middleton), 4 boys were ascending the shaft at the end of their shaft when the large ring of the tackle thrust through the bridge and under the spring of the clivis and with their weight pressing against the spring it gave way and they fell down the shaft some 40 yards (37m). All suffered dreadfully shattered broken limbs. One boy died immediately and another a day later. The other 2 boys were in a very distressed state
  • Strelley New colliery, a youth named Green having just ascended the shaft after a day’s work suddenly just walked to and fell down the shaft and was killed, May 1815.


Output for Nottinghamshire pits for 1815 estimated at 1,400,000 tons.