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The Continued Rise Of The Industry
To 1913



Collieries Sunk or Opened in 1849

  • California pit (Sir George Beaumont to Walker and Worswick) to North West of church at Coleorton.
  • Cotmanhay(e) colliery between Heanor and Ilkeston (Barber Walker and Co) E44647 N36505, sunk to Deep Hard (seam section Jays 4” (0.10m), Scuds 10” (0.25m), Hard coal 2’ 4” (0.70m), Bat 2” (0.05m) and holing sloome 7” (0.15m), opening heads in pit bottom 1851/52, Richard G Coke Surveyor, Ankerbold, Chesterfield, It was a lease from the Duke of Rutland. Coal was got by Dr Manson 1834-1839 previously.
  • Jobs New pit (Job Broughton?) started Lady Day 1849 working between old hollows.
  • Peawit No 6 (Wingerworth No6) (Wingerworth Colliery Co), North Wingfield.
  • Prestop Park (South Derbyshire/Leicestershire).There was an abortive attempt by Moore to mine coal.
  • Spitehill (Wingerworth Iron Co), Furnace seam. 

Transportation of Coal

The Pits in the Erewash Valley sent 43,820 tons of coal by rail and 386,955 tons by canal in that year.  By 1849 there were almost 5,000 miles of railways in the country compared with around 2,000 miles in 1843.  Many pits had been opened in this period as the new system opened up fresh markets for the coal.  Mansfield station was opened along with a new larger coal wharf when the first steam trains arrived in 1849.  An engine shed was built on the site.


Stanton colliery was connected to the Swadlincote branch of the Leicester to Burton Railway. Previously coal had to be transported by horse and cart to the main market at Burton and after 1826 some coal was transported to the Ashby Canal by means of the Swadlincote and Gresley horse tram railway. Moira Co had two steam tugs to pull 40 ton barges to Rugby. The Canal was taken over by the Midland Railway Co. The Ashby to Burton Railway started construction in 1846 was opened in 1849 with branches to Swadlincote and Wooden Box also not only with Burton and Leicester but also with the Derby to Birmingham line that had opened in 1839.  

Thomas North of Cinderhill built a coal wharf in a field adjacent to the Alfreton to Nottingham turnpike road in 1849 and created a problem re the delivery of and the sale of the coal. He was threatened with legal action.

Self-Acting Shaft Fence

William Howe invented a self-acting shaft fence in 1849, for use at the pit top at Clay Cross.  As the cage reached the surface it lifted up the gate to allow loading or off-loading and as the cage descended the shaft the gate fell back into position. Many banksmen, particularly young boys were falling to their deaths down the shafts when they overbalanced as they assisted in off-loading coal containers at the surface. The safety gate that was erected across the shaft top was a vast improvement and would be in general use by 1870.

Closures 1849

  • Applebys adits to Potters coal, Newbold.
  • Birchwood (Coupland and Goodwin).
  • Comber Wood (Ashley) Top Hard seam.
  • Spitehill Wood (owner Yates and Co), Wingerworth, Tupton seam, finished October.
  • Stanton-by-Dale (North and Co?).
  • Unstone (Henry Rangeley) Loundes Wood, Blackshale seam.

At Hartshay Upper (Butterley Co) the Deep Soft seam was closed Lady Day 25th March 1849.  Benk faces were worked from Nos 1 to 4 pits and also a ‘Thurl Deep Level’.

Hours Of Work

The normal shift time for hewers was 8 hours now, but for trappers, 12 hours!

Darley Main Explosion

Fatal Accident 1849

Unfortunately there was a terrible explosion in Yorkshire at Darley Main in 1849 where 75 men and boys were killed and the Inspector who carried out the formal examination, Hugh Seymour Tremenheere, the only Mines Inspector recommended that persons in charge of a mine ought to have some minimum standards of knowledge and a form of qualification earned by examination, for it was found that the Viewer in charge of the mine at the time was near illiterate. However his recommendations fell upon deaf ears. See 1864.

Other Fatal Accidents 1849

  • Cinderhill (Thomas North), William Corder (27) working on the tram road between Babbington pits and Cinder Hill had to put brakes on the waggons for a time and then take the brakes off after a distance. He was doing this when he jumped off the waggons and fell under the wheels and his legs were broken in several places and dreadfully lacerated. He died some three hours later from his injuries, 4 Jun 1849.
  • Codnor Park, Joseph Smith 15 years old whose job was to weigh coal as it came out of the pit but not to go near the shaft or put empty skips on the chair. However on that morning he went to an empty skip ready to be put down the shaft but not seeing that the chair had been raised above the mouth of the shaft to allow some repairs to be carried out, he took hold of the skip, the engine man calling out 'hold a bit' being the usual caution, but he ignored that and pushed the skip to the shaft top and in doing so fell down the 170 yards deep shaft and was killed outright.
  • Heanor (Aldred and Cresswell), on Wednesday Edward Mee (14), 5 other lads and 2 men were being lowered into the pit in a chair with an empty tram attached to it. They were about 14 yards (12.8m) from the bottom of the shaft when the chair suddenly tipped up and Mee and 3 other lads fell to the bottom. They were all hurt and the others hung on to the bottom of the chair until they were rescued shortly afterwards. The injured boys were taken home but Edward Mee died from head injuries and a broken thigh. Another boy William Betts (9) died from head injuries on the following Monday, 15 Nov 1849.
  • Turkey Field (T North, Wakefield and Morley), Strelley, Thomas Syson (21) was piling up a heap of coals when about 3 tons fell and crushed him. He received a compound fracture of the leg and was taken to the hospital shortly after but died as a result of his injuries on the following Thursday 13 Sep 1849.
  • Strelley (Thomas North), Amos Riley (16) was filling trams with roof bind from a fall of roof and whilst he was doing this some men were busy renewing props to support it when one of the men called Simpson knocked out some props and before he could replace them 4 or 5 cwt of the roof fell directly onto Riley and killed him,  23 Nov 1849.
  • Shipley, Enoch Moor, aged 14 killed on Sunday in Dec 1849 and whilst pulling 2 waggons laden with coal, his feet slipped and he was crushed by the waggons.
  • Stoneyford pit on 1st Mar 1849 a child William Wilkinson aged 8 was killed when a large amount of roof bind fell on him. The jury returned a verdict of 'accidental death' but expressed their regret that such a young child was employed in the pit although it was illegal to do so after 1842. A fine was imposed of not more than £10 nor less than £5.
    On 23rd May 1849 John Daykin aged 34, Richard Milward aged 14 and George Walker aged 10 all died when they fell 70 yards down the shaft from about 30 yards from the top. It was found that the rope had suddenly broke although on the morning examination it was spliced as it had been for 8 years past, but there had been concerns about the state of the rope by the men. The rope was mended by rivets. Orders were given to the Butties that they were not to force the lads to ride out the pit with the coal.