Address FT Site Email CCL Info In Memory Menu Philip Individuals Search Webmaster Content Work Fionn Bob
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



Collieries Sunk or Opened 1865

  • Albert (Sheepbridge Coal and Iron Co) 2 shafts No1, 11’ 6” (3.5m) dia 164 yards (150m) deep, No2, 13’ 0” (3.96m) dia 168 yards (154m) deep, 9” (0.23m) brickwork.  First water feeder at 18 yards (16m), second at 55 yards (50m) Potters coal, until Bull engine erected when a water lodge was made at 77 yards (70m), 18” (0.45m) bucket, 8” (0.20m) rising main for 416gpm.  Engines were by Yates of Blackburn, to raise 2 tubs of 8cwts. William Worswick owned Oakerthorpe and Highfield near Alfreton and had interest or owned a total of 6 collieries.
  • The sinking of two 13ft (3.96m) diameter shafts commenced at Annesley (Nottinghamshire) on 1st January 1865 by William Worswick, the surface being 466 feet (142m) above sea level
  • Ballarat (Tapton Coal Co) was sunk at New Whittington. Birchwood (Butterley Co) was sunk near Alfreton, later known as Upper Birchwood
  • Boothmans pit was sunk at Whaley Bridge
  • Brickyard (….?) Staveley, Dunston or Deep Soft
  • Broxtowe was sunk in 1865, and had 2 shafts at 7 feet (2.1m) dia sunk to the Deep Hard seam at 290 yards (265m)
  • Church Gresley (Marquis of Hastings) South Derbyshire, UC shaft sunk (original shafts sunk in 1829 and 1834)
  • JE Ellis and Co, a company of Quakers from Leicestershire purchased Hucknall Torkard No1 colliery from William Walker and Co and sank Hucknall No2 colliery at the edge of the town on the main road to Nottingham during 1865-1866
  • Barber, Walker and Co sank two 13 feet (4m) diameter shafts at Moor Green to a depth of 295 yards (270m), with the winding level at the Deep Hard level, and a third shaft 12 feet (3.66m) diameter was sunk to the Top Hard or Rifle Bed at 124 yards (113m)
  • Morton (Clay Cross No5) (Clay Cross Co) was sunk at Morton, and Park House (Clay Cross No7) (Clay Cross Co) commenced sinking at Danesmoor in 1865Park House was known locally as ‘Catty’ pit or Cat Pie pit (shown).  It was rumoured that whilst the sinkers were lodging nearby, the landlady used to feed them on cat pie, the sinkers assuming it to be rabbit pie!
  • Nailstone (Leicestershire) (Joseph J Ellis)
  • Thos Holdsworth sank Pilsley colliery
  • Beavan of Bristol, with Bailey a Bristol Coal Merchant as financier opened Shirland pit.  The shaft was 156 yards (143m) deep to the Blackshale seam; the Stanton Iron Co began sinking 2 small 9 feet (2.74m) diameter shafts just below the line of the New Inn Level sough on the Lane towards Hardwick at Teversall, close to Silver Hill farm.  This was to be the first Silver Hill mine (later known as Coopers), but was firstly known and listed as Teversall until 1868 by the Mines Inspector.  Later the top pit was referred to as the Dunsill pit until 1876, after the Top Hard pit had been finished in 1875 when preparations were being made to sink the new Silver Hill pit to the lower measures. The surface was 552 feet (168m) above Ordnance Datum or sea level
  • Swannington 3 or Clink (Leicestershire); the Skegby Colliery Co sank Whiteborough colliery near the City of Whiteborough, upper Meden Valley, off Wild Hill, Teversal, to the Top Hard and Dunsil, the shafts being 76 yards (69m) deep.
  • Nailstone was sunk by W.H. Wilkes about this time, making a total of 11 pits in Leicestershire.

Langley Mill Pottery

Langley Mill Pottery was set up by Belper-based chemist James Calvert in 1865.  This was good news for some of the small local pits who were able to supply coal for the kilns.  During its history the pottery would change hands several times and produced a wide range of goods. It would remain in production until December 1982.

Glasshouse Common Ironstone Mine 1865

A small steam engine was situated roughly in the centre of a group of 16 shafts and by a complicated series of cogs and wheels (as shown on the plan) operated ropes for winding cages up and down the shafts that varied in depth between 50 and 70 yards. The distance to the shafts varied between 40 and 350 yards. There was an inclined plane used also. An engineman operated this complicated system and received up to 34 different sets of signals in doing so.

An accident happened on 15th August 1865 when two men were being lowered in a cage in one shaft and 3 other men being lowered in a cage in another shaft. Suddenly the cage containing the two men stopped at roughly the half way point where the other cage was being raised when suddenly the cage they were in was reversed and sped up the shaft and the two men were drawn over the pulley wheels and killed. The three men in the other cage were fortunate as they were able to jump out of the cage they were riding in as it hit the pit bottom and were unhurt. It appeared that the vertical drum shaft had broken off in the lower bearing causing the engine to reverse. The Mines Inspector Thomas Evans visited the scene and stated that the system of winding was unsafe. The Sheepbridge Iron Co contended that the mine did not come under his jurisdiction because it was an ironstone mine and not a coal mine. However in court the local magistrate decreed that because the ironstone workings had been developed from roadways in the Blackshale coal seam it did come under the Mines Inspection Act. The engine continued to be used after repair and in 1867 Thomas Evans drew the plan below showing how complicated it was. Two arbiters were asked to pass comment on the operation of the system and one suggested that the number of ropes were reduced to 12 and the speed of the engine reduced also. The other arbiter suggested that the engine should not drive more than one shaft and that the number of ropes be reduced to 10 allowing the engine to carry on working. It is not known what the outcome was but I doubt whether there had been a similar engine anywhere else.

Glasshouse Common, North West of New Whittington, Chesterfield.
This is the area where the shafts were. Incredible number as you can see

First Checkweighman

John Catchpole at Springwell colliery (Staveley Coal and Iron Co Ltd) was the first Derbyshire Union Checkweighman to be employed by the men.  Later other checkweighmen were employed at Ballarat, near Whittington, and Lockoford (Tapton Coal Co) near Chesterfield.   These men were there to make sure that the weighed amounts of coal booked by the owners were correct and not tampered with.  The coal tubs would be marked in chalk or have tallies etc to denote which stall the coal had originated from.  The weighed amount would be the figure used to calculate the total pay for that stall.  Any dirt raised would not be paid for and tubs suspected of containing dirt, would be tipped over.  Anyone found guilty of loading dirt would be severely punished.

Mines Inspectorate

The Mines Inspector in his report of that year condemned the practice of abseiling down the hemp winding ropes at some of the shallow pits North Derbyshire! This action had been outlawed some time before.

Richard Barrow Died

Richard Barrow coal owner died, but in the previous year the enterprise was transferred to his brother in a new joint-stock Company, the Staveley Coal and Iron Co Ltd under the directorship of Charles Markham, a former Midland Railway Engineer.  Involved in the flotation of the Staveley Co was an industrial chemist Henry Davis Pochin (1824-95) who in the same year founded the Sheepbridge Coal and Iron Co Ltd with William Fowler as Chairman.


Prime Minister Earl Russell (Liberal) 1865-1866.


Viscount Maynard Died

Viscount Maynard died in 1865 and his mining interests including Bagworth colliery (Leicestershire), passed to his granddaughter the Countess of Warwick.

Mines Purchased

Gilt Brook mine (Nottinghamshire) was purchased by Hicks and Co from Nicholson and Co and Molyneux mine (Nottinghamshire) was purchased by Eastwood and Co from T Buxton and Co. 

Changed Hands

Ibstock Colliery

Joseph Whetstone purchased Ibstock Colliery in January 1865 from E.M Green. Joseph's younger brother, William Whetstone, took charge of Ibstock in 1868 after his death. E.M. Green had purchased the colliery in 1853 after it did not sell at Auction. Green then leased the colliery to Bray, Roseby & Childs at a date unknown, until they went bankrupt in October 1864 & this is where Joseph Whetstone stepped in the following January. 

The Loughborough Monitor dated 2nd February 1865 reports "The colliery has been closed for some time in consequence of the bankruptcy of the Lessees, Messrs. Bray, Roseby & Childs, has now commenced working, with it being bought by Joseph Whetstone Esquire".  

William Whetstone had also acquired Whitwick Colliery in 1868 after Joseph’s death. William then went into partnership with Thomas Paget MP at both Whitwick & Ibstock collieries, until 28th of May 1873 when Paget left the partnership. William Whetstone in the next few months then sold the freehold of Whitwick Colliery to George Thorp & Joseph Boam who in September 1873 formed the Whitwick Colliery Co. Limited with others & the colliery & brickworks was then sold to this new Company with shares being offered for sale. Other Directors included Joseph Whetstone, son of William Whetstone & William Towndrow Stenson, previously the Manager of Whitwick Colliery when owned by the Whetstones. William Whetstone next leased Ibstock Colliery to the newly formed Ibstock Colliery Company Limited & a newspaper article advertising the sale of this new Company's shares list it's Directors as Messrs. Wilkinson, Webb, Stalland & Standing. In 1874 Dr. Thomson owner of a colliery in Wishaw, Glasgow became a shareholder & in 1875 after acquiring more shares Dr. Thomson & his family took full control of Ibstock.

Monkwood (Derbyshire) (JC Plevins) changed hands to Monkwood Colliery Co.


Houses For Workforce

Clay Cross Co built 64 houses for their miners at Morton.

To Crush The Union

At Staveley Co pits in September 1865 Charles Markham said they were to crush the union - the men’s grievance being that they had to fill 28 cwts to one ton, instead of 20 cwts and also that their hours were too long. At Staveley the penalty for a day’s absence was a sum not exceeding 5s (25p) - equivalent to a day’s pay.

First Union Meeting

On 23rd December 1865 the inaugural meeting of the Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire Miners Association was held at the George Inn, Southgate, at Eckington.  President was William Ball, Secretary John Catchpole, Agent Joseph Edwards and Treasurer John Hadfield and William Brown, a miner from Yorkshire of a rival union. 

He was a miner of many years experience and became a leading organiser.  The union was referred to colloquially as ‘Billy Browns Union’.  Men known to have joined the union were given one month’s notice to quit and vacate their homes in 1866.  The South Yorkshire Miners Association later raised £200 to purchase tents for the evicted families to live in.

Fatal Accidents in 1865

  • Blackwell, William Pendall (42) sinker fell down shaft 8 Jul 1865
  • Bridgehouse, William Wilkinson (13), tub fell down 13 yards deep shaft 19 Apr 1865
  • Brinsley, William Hill (13) 12 Apr 1865
  • Brinsley, George Cook (20)  20 Apr 1865
  • Clay Cross, John Roach (30), fall of roof 7 Jan 1865
  • Clay Cross, 6 men and two boys aged 10 and 12 were killed, Sam Kay (?), Thomas Bamford (?), Frank Lowe (?), Thomas Spencer (19), Ralph Stockgill (?), ? Spetch (10) and ? Smith (12), explosion of firedamp 3 May 1865
  • Clay Cross, George Allen (..), fall of coal 27 Jul 1865
  • Clay Cross, John Scott (13) crushed by tubs 17 Aug 1865
  • Clay Cross, Robert Briggs (32), fall of roof 17 Aug 1865
  • Clay Cross, William Poynton (45), run over by tubs 17 Aug 1865
  • Clay Cross, William Walter (76), run over by tubs 27 Oct 1865
  • Denby, James Brown (20), fall of coal 1 Feb 1865
  • Denby, Frederick Agden (23), fell down shaft 19 Oct 1865
  • Golden Valley, John Neale (25), fall of roof 18 Sep 1865
  • Grassmoor, John Cutts (..?)  23 Dec 1865
  • Highfield, William Kirk (?), fall of roof 25 Dec 1865
  • Kilburn, John Lauder (13) run over by tubs 24 Jun 1865
  • Lings, Charles Vardy (38), fall of roof 26 Jul 1865
  • Nailstone, John Skinner (?), fell down shaft whilst sinking 14 Feb 1865
  • Nesfield, John Handley (?), fall of coal 24 Feb 1865
  • Nesfield, Robert Owen (?), fall of roof 19 Jun 1865
  • New Brampton, Herbert Randle (13), fell down shaft 5 Oct 1865
  • New Hollingwood, James Anderton (22), fall of coal   6 Mar 1865
  • New Hollingwood, John Carter (32), fall of roof 1 Apr 1865
  • Oakerthorpe, Charles Barrow (13), fall of roof 27 Apr 1865
  • Old Tapton, Charles Brailsford (16), fell down shaft 8 Jul 1865
  • Renishaw Park, George Stanton (?), run over by a wagon on the surface 5 Oct 1865
  • Renishaw Park, Joseph Oldfield (25), explosion of firedamp 24 Nov 1865
  • Ripley, William Watson (?), fall of roof 23 Feb 1865
  • Seymour, Richard Madley (14), crushed by tubs 3 Nov 1865
  • Snibston, James Turner (50), fall of coal 14 Feb 1865
  • Shipley, George Lane (?), fall of coal 30 Jun 1865
  • Shipley, George Weston (38), fall of roof, died from diseased knee joint 3 Jul 1865
  • Snibston, Robert Hone (50), fall of roof 11 May 1865
  • Speedwell, William Harrison (36), fall of coal 26 Jul 1865
  • Speedwell, Michael Kane (?), run over by wagon on surface 21 Oct 1865
  • Springwell,  James White (?), fall of roof 1 Apr 1865
  • Springwell, Timothy Coffee (?), hit by broken rope on the surface 7 May 1865
  • Swannington, Frederick Haywood (40), fell down shaft 6 May 1865
  • Swannington, James Smith (46), shotfiring accident 26 Aug 1865
  • Swanwick, William Stones (?), fall of coal 31 Aug 1865
  • Tanyard, John Sommers (36), fall of roof 9 Sep 1865
  • West Staveley, Samuel Sandbrook (?) fall of coal 30 Jul 1865
  • Whitwick, Richard Hewitt (35), fall of roof 3 Jul 1865
  • Wingerworth, Thomas Heirns (13), run over by tubs on the surface 16 Oct 1865

Prison Sentence For Not Setting Sufficient Supports

The Clay Cross Company employed 500 men and boys at the time of the explosion. Following a fall of roof bind at Clay Cross No4 pit a collier was sentenced to one month’s imprisonment for not setting sufficient supports at his place of work, thus endangering the life of others.

Collieries Closed in 1865

  • Bennerley (Cockburn and Jordan) Lower Soft and Lower Hard finished
  • Birchill 4/5 (Wingerworth Coal Co)
  • Corbriggs (Barnes)
  • Cottam (Appleby and Co)
  • Dronfield (Lucas and Sons) Blackshale
  • Handley Wood (Lancaster)
  • Newbold (Nadin and Pearson) Potters seam worked up to Messrs Beale and Co’s Newbold old works (Dogtooth mine up to Lady Day 1860)
  • Plain Spot (Sir William Dixie), Drawing shaft 88 yards (80m) deep and Air pit (Underwood, Selston), Top Hard or Rifler, old hollows met
  • (Mapperley) Simonsfield(s) (Newdigate) Soft (1862) and Hard (1865)
  • Smoile Wood and Spring Wood, (Leicestershire) (Mr Fenton Agent for Leicestershire Colliery and Pipe Co Ltd, Surveyor Mr Hastie), Middle Lount and Nether Lount
  • Whitemoor (J Knowles) top coal Alton?, bottom coal Belper Lawn? 21 yards (19m) and 46 yards (42m) deep respectively, leased from CR Colville.
  • New Main (Butterley Co) Kilburn 6” (0.15m) black bind, 3½” (0.09m) batt, Kilburn coal 2’ 0” (0.61m), black clunch floor. Bottom Cloddy pit 98 yards (89.6m)
  • Exhibition pit 300 yards ( 274.3m deep), the Furnace seam (Low Main) drilled on 8 May 1853 at the UC shaft was at 230 yards (210.3m) deep. Old workings laid on from Mr J Smith’s directions. Started 1840, left off Lady Day 1865, some workings had been left off in 1852 due to water.
  • Corbriggs Engine pit (Barnes) shown under Grassmoor colliery had closed many years before.
  • GiltbrookThe Deep Hard or Hard coal development heads were abandoned. Seam section 2½” (0.06m) Jacks, 11½” (0.29m) top coal, 2’ 1” (0.62m) hard coal, 7” (0.18m) bottom coal
  • Selston pit, the Hard coal was abandoned also.


Butterley Co produced 930,889 tons from 14 pits.  Portland pits produced their maximum at 107,251 tons.

In 1865
154 pits North Derbyshire produced 4,595,750 tons
21 Nottinghamshire
pits 1,095,500 tons and
11 pits in Leicestershire produced 965,500 tons of saleable coal.

Plans Of Workings

Around this time a plan was produced showing the following: The outcrop of the Dunston or Handley Wood coal.

Mr Lancaster’s pit was near Dunston Hall. Matthew Knowles pit was at Littlemoor. (Rev’d) Mr Pierces pit was near Thorp. The mouth of ancient level in Brierley Wood was on Blackshale outcrop. 23 acres of Blackshale seam worked by Sheepbridge Co at Wilkin Hill – an old engine is shown by the river to south. 19 acres of Potters coal was worked by Newbold Co, west of Dunston. 78 acres of Potters coal was worked by Sheepbridge Co at Dunston and east of Dunston Hall.

The second plan of 2 shows surface features from west to east – Jonnygate, High Lightly, Great Brind Wood, Peakery Hill, Barlow Lee, Lee Wood, Brind Wood Gate, Crow Hole etc. Many shafts were in this area.

Return to Top

Pit Terminology - Glossary