1870 - Page 1
The Midland Railway was opened from Sheffield to Chesterfield in 1870, and led to an immediate intensive colliery development in the Unstone and Dronfield districts.
The Stanton Iron Co created the mining village of Stanton Hill in 1870. Previously the area was part of the village of Skegby. The company built rows of terrace housing, starting at Co-operative Street Nos 1-60, followed by a second street with the same name Nos 61-120, the present Institute Street and then Cross Street was subsequently added. Later several rows on Meden Bank, to accommodate their workforce at Silver Hill and Teversall pits were added. Most of the land was purchased from Squire Dodsley of Skegby Hall.
The housing would be increased in the 1920s by the building of semi-detached houses on Fackley Road and Crompton and Carnarvon Street. A Welfare and sports ground was included. The Blackwell Co built further housing later at Stanton Hill, e.g. Bainbridge Terrace etc for miners at their Sutton mine.
Iron Manufacture Was Carried Out in 1870 at
- Alfreton (Jas Oakes and Co)
- Butterley Park and Codnor (The Butterley Co)
- Clay Cross (Clay Cross Co)
- Denby (WH and G Dawes)
- Morley Park (Charles C Disney)
- Newbold (S Beale and Co)
- Oakerthorpe (JB Wilson)
- Renishaw (FR Appleby)
- Sheepbridge (The Sheepbridge Coal and Iron Co Ltd)
- Stanton (The Stanton Iron Works Co)
- Staveley (Staveley Coal and Iron Co Ltd)
- Unstone (Henry Rangeley)
- West Hallam (HB Whitehouse and Sons)
- Wingerworth (Wingerworth Iron Co), 43 furnaces in total and 31 in blast at present, producing 188,353 tons of pig iron.
Number Of Collieries
140 in North Derbyshire
26 in Nottinghamshire
10 in Leicestershire.
Butterley Co, the largest coal producing company was operating 15 pits.
Bagworth colliery (Leicestershire) lease was acquired by the Bagworth Coal Co Ltd in 1870, from the Countess of Warwick. The Managing Director was William Gleadow.
Blue Fly Pump
At Simonfield, West Hallam the Blue Fly pump set up by Newdegate was stopped around 1869-1870.
Education Act of 1870
The Education Act of 1870 was passed whereby all school children had to be educated to a standard of reading, writing, and numeracy. Later this would generally be referred to as ‘the 3 Rs’ – ‘Reading, (W) Riting and (A) Rithmatic.
Fatal Accidents in 1870
The first fatal accident in the workings at Butcher Wood (Nottinghamshire) was on 22nd June 1870 when Eli Kite, collier aged 16 was killed by a roof fall in the Top Hard seam. He would obviously be quite inexperienced at such a young age working at the coal face. The first fatal accident at Silver Hill (Teversall) was recorded on 28th August 1870, when David Lenton, collier aged 28, was killed by a fall of roof bind. The second was on 24th June 1871 when Thomas Hewitt, aged 26 was killed by a fall of coal, again in the Top Hard seam. Very few supports were set in these early days as it was thought that the strong sandstone or bind above the seam would hold up. However this supposition was obviously incorrect and many others would be similarly killed or badly maimed. In the above example the roof looks treacherous.
- Butcher Wood (Nottinghamshire) The first fatal accident in the workings was on 22nd June 1870 when Eli Kite, collier aged 16 was killed by a roof fall in the Top Hard seam. He would obviously be quite inexperienced at such a young age working at the coal face.
- Silver Hill (Teversall) The first fatal accident was recorded on 28th August 1870, when David Lenton, collier aged 28, was killed by a fall of roof bind. The 2nd was on 24th June 1871 when Thomas Hewitt, aged 26 was killed by a fall of coal, again in the Top Hard seam. Very few supports were set in these early days as it was thought that the strong sandstone above the seam would hold up. However this supposition was obviously incorrect and many others would be similarly killed or badly maimed.
A magnetic meridian for underground surveys was established at the Silver Hill pit in 1870. The sketch shows the difference between true North (vertical) and magnetic North (to North West). The position of the needle pointing to magnetic north varies by about 8 minutes of arc each year and was to the west at this time moving east. Sometimes it is not absolutely clear whether allowance has been made for the difference on some of the very old plans.
As can be seen by the illustration below sometimes conditions were not good for surveying and here Surveyors are shown knee deep in water. (In my own personal experience this only happened to me once and it was the only time I have ever abandoned a survey because I was standing in water up to my knees and it was low also requiring me to dip into the water to take observations with a theodolite. It was during the pit holidays and I was attempting to traverse through a coal face to the other gate whilst no one was there to get in our way, but because there was no one working the pump at the gate end had been switched off.)
There were 3 old shafts noted at Holbrook (Derbyshire) at this time (working in 1835).
Digby Colliery Company
Digby Colliery Co Ltd was formed c1870 by the Bayley family and Tom Potter a one time Director. The complex comprised of Giltbrook 2 shafts, Digby 2 shafts, Newthorpe one shaft (Bullyrag pit), Speedwell one shaft and New London one shaft.
John Chambers with 2/3 shares and J Ward 1/3 shares leased additional mineral areas from the Duke of Devonshire and began sinking Holmewood colliery under the name of the Hardwick Colliery Co in 1868. At 450 yards (411.5m) they reached the Blackshale seam. No water was encountered during the sinkings which took about a year and a quarter to complete in 1870.
Collieries Sunk or Opened in 1870
- Bagshawe (Stephen Sayer) Brimington, Blackshale
- Blackwell (Bainbridge and Co Ltd) was re-opened in 1870, but only worked until 1874
- Cotmanhaye (Barber Walker and Co) seam met old hollows and fin 18 Aug 1880, Surveyor Richard G Coke
- Denby (George Dawes) Two Feet sunk to 274 feet (83.75m), Surveyor Thomas Brettell ME
- Donisthorpe (G Checkland and Co)
- Dunston (Sheepbridge Coal and Iron Co Ltd) Blackshale or Silkstone at 106 yards (97m), start 25th March 1870, Manager Jonathan Piggford (1084)
- Holmewood (Hardwick Colliery Co) to 387 yards (354m) to Tupton and 449 yards (410m) to Blackshale
- Kilburn (G Small)
- New Tapton Lockoford pit (Lockoford Coal Co) was now fully open
- Monk Wood (Monk Wood Co Ltd) new shafts sunk 1869 at 63 yards (60m) deep using bricks instead of wood with a 40hp Oliver and Co engine and wire guides instead of wood, opened for coaling Jan 1870, 200 men needed
- Newbold (Plevin’s and Harrison) in estate of Revd AC Bromehead, (W Orwin owner after ?), Blackshale coal 1’ 2” (0.35m), dirt 1’ 6” (0.46m), middle coal 1’ 6” (0.46m), dirt 1’ 3” (0.38m), bottom coal 1’ 9” (0.53m), total 5’ 1” (1.55m), 108 yards (98.75m), Nov 1870 Richard G Coke Surveyor
- New Heanor (HH West) in Hospital grounds sunk to work Coombe
- Nutbrook (AM Mundy) sunk
- Owl Cotes (Messrs Galloway)
- Ramshaw Wood (Joseph Archer and Son) Blackshale
- Ryefield (Mr Bourne)
- Speedwell (Digby Coal Co) near Hill Top, 14 feet diameter (4.26m) shaft, 2” (0.05m) brickwork, 135 yards (123m) to Deep Hard and 140 yards (128m) to sump, pitchpine headgear 65 feet (20m) high and 10 feet (3.05m) diameter pulleys and 2 cages in the shaft
- Tibshelf No1 / No2 (Chas Seely and Co).
Watnall (Barber Walker and Co) Top Hard, extra pumping required because of a large amount of water.
Brinsley (Barber Walker and Co) - the Top Hard shaft was deepened to the Deep Soft as the Duke of Newcastle’s lease expired.
Great Northern Railway
The GNR (Great Northern Railway) reached Pinxton during the year. This opened up further markets and led to an increase in production. (The railway would remain in operation until the Dr Beeching closures in 1964).
Carnfield Engine Transferred To Pinxton
Butterley Co rebuilt the winding engine from the closed Carnfield colliery for Coke and Co who transferred it to their Pinxton No3 pit (Sleights) that was 112 yards (102m) deep.
Tramway to Pinxton Wharf
The tramway from the old Hucknall pits (Mellers) to the Pinxton wharf was no longer used and was closed in 1870. On the early Ordnance Survey map below the tramway can be seen starting at a pit near the bend on the road from Huthwaite to Blackwell and passing south past Berrister wharf near South Normanton. It would end at the Pinxton wharf by the canal. Another tram road is shown leading from pits near Littlemoor north to Tibshelf Ramper wharf.
Prior to 1870, horses moved the wagons on the surface at Mexboro’ pits, similarly as shown. A Coffee pot engine built by Butterley Co was introduced to replace the horses. The engine could pull or push 6 wagons and had a vertical boiler and had a pair of vertical cylinders 6” x 9” (0.15 x 0.23m).
The Butterley Co had a railway system between all of their mines. A Coffee pot engine is shown to the top left in the photo.
Coffee Pot Engine
Collieries That Changed Hands in 1870
- Awsworth from Hicks, Whittaker and Co. to Digby Coal Co.
- Boythorpe Lane from W Ludlam to Mrs H Ludlam
- Brimington from Stephen Sayer to Locoford Coal Co. Ltd.
- Church Gresley from Marquis of Hastings to Abney Hastings
- Cottam Old and Cottam New from Appleby and Co. to Renishaw Iron and Coal Co. Ltd.
- Digby from Hall and Co. to Digby Coal Co.
- Holmewoode Heath from Joshua Towneley to Wingerworth Co.
- Highfield and Oakerthorpe from Oakerthorpe Iron Co. Ltd. to WB Wilson and Co.
- New Tapton from Messrs Booth and Co. to Locoford Coal Co. Ltd.
- Pilsley from Holdsworth to Holdsworth and Co. Ltd.
- Rutland from the executors of Potter to Rutland Colliery Co.
- Ryefield from Bourne to Dawes
- Stoneyford Old from J Wooley to James Oakes and Co.
The two Broxtowe shafts (Nottinghamshire) at 7 feet (2.13m) dia were not working at the time. They had been sunk in 1865 to the Deep Hard at 290 yards (265m) under the Strelley Royalty held under John Thomas Edge. The seams were thinner than at Kimberley but little exploration had been made as stated previously. Since the death of the owner in Feb 1868, the Great Depression in the coal trade has not warranted the opening out of these pits with further outlay. The winding was by a 14” (0.35m) dia 3 feet (0.91m) stroke vertical engine.
The average hours worked per week were:-
- Chesterfield area 56¾
- Clay Cross 60
- Staveley 59
- Hucknall 63¼
- Bestwood 47
Owner Of Clay Cross Collieries Knighted
William Jackson MP colliery owner of Clay Cross collieries was knighted in the honours list. At the Clay Cross No3 pit the Tupton at 5’ 6” (1.67m) thick was abandoned in September.