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




Extract from GloversDerbyshire’ of 1831. M Fletcher (b 24/1/1740) and other owners of collieries at Heanor, Smalley and Denby having been accused of monopolizing the sale of coals, deny and offer to supply any coals at 2s 6d (12½p) to 3s (15p) per ton, 40 years to come and to give security for the performance of the same.


In the 1831 Census in the Parish of Breedon there were 54 men over 20 years of age working at Lount and Newbold. At Coleorton 41 men, Heather 13 men and at Ibstock 12 men whereas at Long Lane (Whitwick) and Swannington there were over 60 men.

Truck Act

The first Truck Act of 1831 was passed to prohibit payment to a workman in kind instead of coin and without any deduction except for those to which a man had agreed. They usually had to queue up at a window to get served. It was known that second rate goods were sold at inflated prices. Deductions were made for materials, tools and machines supplied to the workmen or for dirt etc sent out of the pit other than the mineral contracted to be gotten.

Twigg's Plan

A plan by (I) James Ashton Twigg of 1831 shows that some Top Hard had been worked from a pit near Newton and by 1851 an area amounting to 4ac 1r 20p (acres, roods, poles) had been extracted. A plan by Woodhouse and Jeffcock showed that the area was owned by the Duke of Devonshire and Lord Porchester.

High Peak Railway

Photo From David Kitching's Site

The Cromford and High Peak Railway opened in 1831 giving another outlet for coal and limestone etc. There was an incline where trucks were hauled by a static engine.

Collieries Sunk or Opened in 1831

  • Alton Grange (Mrs Swinburne’s Estate), 30 yards (27.5m) deep to a seam 5’ 0” (1.52m) thick.
  • Ashgate (His Grace the Duke of Devonshire) leased to John G Barnes to work the Brampton Moor coal
  • Birchwood (Upper) near Alfreton.
  • Cottom (Cottam) New Foundation (Appleby and Co) Top Hard, Royalties to ESC Pole and Rev’d CHR Rodes, Hard coal £185/acre and Soft coal (Hazel ?) £50/acre.
  • Snibston 1 (Leicestershire) (George and Robert Stephenson), problem with large influx of water from Keuper Marl so had to use cast-iron tubbing, assisted by sinkers from Durham as locals had said that the second band of igneous greenstone 22’ 0” (6.7m) thick was impenetrable but the Main coal was reached at 220 yards (201m).
  • Stanton (J and N Nadin and Co).
  • Underwood pit sinking known as Selston No1 later, as well as another Eastwood pit sinking, both owned by Barber Walker and Co (Nottinghamshire).
  • Smoile colliery (North West corner of Smoile Wood) opened by Benjamin Walker.

Collieries Closed in 1831

  • Bramley Moor, Silkstone seam. Joseph Machen was Manager / Viewer at Pinxton colliery at this time.

Fatal Accidents 1831

  • Hartshay, John Parkyn (?) fell down the shaft, ? May 1831.
  • Babbington (Gervase Bourne), James Ward (14) attending to asses drawing coal from the bank when a large fall of roof weighing several tons buried him, 27 Dec 1830. It took them 2 hours to dig him out but he was dead.
  • Babbington (Gervase Bourne), Richard Bexon (11) ass driver, was about to descend the pit to go to work on Monday morning at 6am. Four colliers were already on the chains and it was his intention to join them but the ground was greasy on the pit bank and he slipped and fell down the shaft. After 10 minutes he was brought back to the surface but was pronounced dead, 17 Jan 1831. His brother was working in the pit bottom when the accident occurred. No blame was attached to anyone as the boy was not pushed nor was there any misconduct or carelessness by anyone.
  • Beverlee or Beggarlee (Barber and Walker), Joseph Harwood (12) killed when there was a roof fall near the pit bottom. The ass he was driving received a broken leg due to the fall, 11 Feb 1831.
  • Brinsley (Barber and Walker), Christopher Chambers (11) usually employed as an ass driver underground, but on this particular Thursday was required to assist a workman in untackling corves of coal on the pit bank when they were drawn to the running bridge over the pit shaft and whilst he was doing so part of the bridge was raised accidentally and he fell down the shaft a distance of 124 yards (113.4m), 13 Aug 1831; He was a son of a widow with 6 other children.
  • Denby pit. On 20th Oct 1831 Joseph Slack aged 12 fell down the shaft and was killed.
  • Ilkeston Colliery 11th April 1831. William Dane aged 12 was buried under a fall of roof. His father working nearby hastened to help free him. Another fall occurred burying him also, however another comrade helped to extricate him, however the son died before the fall of ground could be lifted from him.
  • Kilbourne 15th Mar 1831. Eustace Stone was ascending the shaft in a basket with two others. One of the teeth in part of the machinery belonging to the whimsey, broke, and all three fell out of a basket down the shaft.  His back was broken but otherwise his body did not appear to be bruised. The deceased was taken up the shaft in a basket. One of the others escaped unharmed and the other had a fractured arm in two places but was lying in a dangerous state.
  • Pentrich coal mine. On Tuesday 29th May 1831 eight boys went down Pentrich coal mine. They had been cautioned by the man on the pit bank not to hold their candles too high when they got to the bottom. However one did and the foul air took fire and exploded and William Langton was engulfed and his clothing ablaze. He expired after much suffering on Monday.  Several of the other boys were not expected to recover.  A pony and six donkeys were also killed in the explosion at the Pentridge pit. It was stated in the newspaper dated 13-06-1832 that two of the boys were dead and another was in a dangerous state with the others on the way to recovery.
  • Skegby colliery (Dodsley), Robert Hardy (14) fell down the shaft 8 Jan 1831.
  • Skegby (Dodsley), Christopher White was killed when a lump of rock weighing about 10 hundredweights fell from the roof onto his back, 21 Jun 1831. He left a widow and 6 children.
1831 was a good year for coal overall in the country


Collieries Sunk or Opened in 1832 

  • Eastwood (Barber and Walker) (Nottinghamshire) sinking.
  • Loscoe
  • Hastings and Grey (or Newfield) (Moira) shafts (South Derbyshire).
  • Newcastle (at Shipley Derbyshire).
  • Snibston No2 (George Stephenson) (Leicestershire), 80hp Boulton and Watt engine, 3 boilers and a whimsey
  • Underwood (at Selston).
  • Upper Birchwood (John Poundall and Others) (Derbyshire).

The Birth of the Midland Railway

Sun Inn, Eastwood dates back to 1750
Sun Inn, Eastwood dates back to 1750
On 16th August 1832 the leading coal owners in the district held an important meeting at the Sun Inn, Eastwood.  The proposal was to lay a railway from the Erewash Valley mines at Pinxton to Leicester.  This led eventually to the formation of the Midland Railway

The Duke of Portland, Barber and Walker, Edward Miller Mundy, John Wright, Francis Wright, James Oakes, Henry Case Morewood and DEwes Coke gave subscriptions.


Around the 1830s a man in Tibshelf had a team of 20 donkeys and he led coal to Mansfield at 2s 6d (12½p) a ton, each donkey carrying about 1 cwt each.  A tramway was laid from Dunbags pit in Oak Tree Close off Dunbags Lane to the wharf on Tibshelf Ramper.  This pit was probably run by the Diminsdale Colliery Co.

In 1832 St Thomas’s Hospital at Tibshelf increased its holding and owned almost 60% of the land including a colliery leased by Chambers.  St Thomas’s row was built for housing the miners.

George Ashmore was listed as a collier at Tibshelf in 1831. Richard King (32) born at Blackwell was a collier at Tibshelf in 1832, and when aged 12 was hired to William Strutt of Pilsley

Miners’ Union

In the North East of England Tommy Hepburn again attempted to form a ‘Union of Miners’ in 1832. His previous attempt called the Pitmens Union set up in 1830 had failed. Some of his members visited the Alfreton area on a recruiting drive but were stripped, beaten and dragged through the village pond. By 1834 this enterprise had failed also. However a legendary striking pitman William Jobling was accused of assaulting a local Magistrate, Nicholas Fairles, during a skirmish at the height of the miners’ strike in 1832. The magistrate subsequently died and Jobling was executed and his body was covered in tar, placed in an iron cage and jibbetted at Jarrow Slake for 3 weeks only yards away from his home. It was a sight his wife Isabella saw every day. It is thought that the real culprit was Ralph Armstrong but he escaped and Jobling was made the scapegoat and paid the ultimate price. William Jobling was the last man to be gibbeted in England. A permanent guard of Hussars surrounded his family's house, they had nowhere to go. No work, no income, only charity from neighbours. As his child grew older, and the years took their toll, she eventually saw her mother committed to the workhouse.


Salt water was discovered in the pits at Moira in Leicestershire, near to the border with South Derbyshire and led to the Bath Hotel being built. The waters were found to be soothing for sufferers of rheumatism etc. The 3 Moira pits were producing 60,000 tons per year and employed around 230 men underground.

Horizontal Engine

George Stephenson built a horizontal engine at Snibston No1 colliery (Leicestershire) (situated in the Long Lane area).  The idea was not thought to be of use for drawing coal up a shaft, but eventually took off until virtually all collieries had one. When the 2 shafts were being sunk it proved almost impossible to stem the water from the New Red Sandstone strata by lining the shafts with brickwork so Stephenson sent to Killingworth in the North East for some miners to come and line the shaft with cast-iron tubbing. Using this method and keeping the water at bay by pumping the shafts were eventually kept dry but at 166 feet (50.5m) an igneous rock was struck which curtailed any further sinking at the time, however proving by borehole that the intrusion or dyke was only about 21 feet (6.5m) thick they persevered and sank to the Main coal which lay at a depth of 679 feet (207m). Production ceased in 1892.


Ibstock shafts deepened to lower seams. Known as the Bottom pit to Upper and Lower Main and also worked Upper Main from a single shaft Top pit that lay a short distance away to the South.

Dawkins was working a pit to the South of Limby Hall (South Derbyshire) around this time.

Leicester and Swannington Railway

The first stretch of the Leicester and Swannington Railway built by Stephenson opened in 1832 from Leicester to Thornton. It was later extended to Newbold near Cole Orton. The opening of this railway led to a revival of the Coalfield and expansion as this meant that there was now a way of selling coal to the South and the mines could compete. The Swannington incline and the Glenfield tunnel at about 1 mile long were great achievements. Pits along the route or close by able to connect to the main line would be Desford, Bagworth, Nailstone, Ibstock, Snibston, Ravenstone, Swannington, Whitwick, Cole Orton, Newbold, Staunton Harold and Worthington all situated on the edge of Charnwood Forest.

North And Wakefield

In 1832 Thomas North was noted to be a mining entrepreneur. He joined with Thomas Wakefield in an agreement with Thomas W Edge of Strelley (Nottinghamshire) on 13th December 1837 regarding a lane or occupational road in Bilborough to carry coal under the lease to mine coal. The mines concerned were worked by Barber Walker who had a lease from 1738 for 99 years. This lease gave them the right to remove any machinery that they had installed and to fill up the shafts.

Collieries Closed in 1832

  • Norbriggs (owner…?), Main Hard.
  • Staveley Lower Ground, Top Hard (Barrow).
  • Whiteborough (Skegby Colliery Co) Top Hard.
  • Wingerworth (Wingerworth Iron Co) Blackshale, March.  

Fatal Accidents 1832

  • Babbington (T North), Edwin Beard (about 10) ass driver was standing leaning over the pit mouth and resting on the posts that support the headstocks and being told to go away or he could fall he immediately spread his arms and did fall down the shaft to his death 21st Aug 1832.
  • Brinsley (Barber and Walker), Samuel Flinders (30) severely injured and burnt in an explosion of foul air (firedamp gas) on 6th Mar 1832 and died from his injuries on 13th Mar 1832.
  • Greasley (Jackson), Edwin George (21) collier, killed by a fall of roof 21st Aug 1832.
  • Ilkeston pit. On Wednesday 6th June 1832 a man named Jonathan Vennison lost his life at Ilkeston pit when he ventured into a place filled with damp. Although cautioned by two others who were more experienced and had perceived the damp he carried on regardless and died in the deadly atmosphere.
  • Loscoe.  Enoch Wilkinson was killed at Loscoe pit on 29th Aug 1832 when a large piece of coal fell on the back part of his head and neck.
  • Pentrich. Luke Waller a boy aged about 14 was precipitated down the shaft at Pentrich some 40 or 50 yards on 4th Aug 1832 when owing to his clothes being caught by the hook attached to the chain, gave way.
  • Shipley. Samuel Shaw the younger going down the pit at Shipley on Wednesday morning 22nd Aug 1832 was killed by choakdamp that filled the pit. The pit was not working at the time. He was playing about the pit with several other boys and he said that he would go down the shaft if anyone would let him down. This was done and several others were to follow but one of the engine men coming up would not allow them to go down. The deceased was taken out of the pit quite senseless about 20 minutes later, but died later.


left 2


Go 1 1833