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Calendar P2015 2010
Book 8 - Kent Coalfield


Kent Coalfield
(Discovered in 1890, with a Prediction of 20 Collieries)

There were only 4 pits that produced coal, albeit 10 colliery sites were developed at varying stages. Many miners, from Wales and other areas, were attracted to the new coalfield which, unfortunately, did not reach it's planned projections.

1 - Shakespeare (Dover) Colliery was the first one to be sunk in Kent by Kent Coalfields Syndicate Ltd., in 1896, to take over the Channel Tunnel workings. Number one pit (The Brady) hit water at 336 feet (100.5 metres) down and flooded the shaft. Number two shaft (The Simpson) Nov 1897 hit water at 303 feet (92.3 metres) and flooded the shaft and 8 out of 14 sinkers were drowned. 1902 cast iron tubbing was installed to hold back the water and coal was reached on 25 Sept 1903. The pit was closed in 1909 by the receiver, work commenced again 1910. It was abandoned in 1915 and scrapped in 1918.

2 - Guilford was the 2nd mine at Waldershare by Foncage Syndicate in 1906. 3 shafts were sunk but stopped in 1910 at 1346 feet deep (410.3 metres) due to water ingress. It was sold to a French company who tried to use the cementation process to seal the shafts in 1919 but failed and the site was abandoned in 1921.

3 – Tilmanstone (East Kent Colliery) in 1906 started sinking by Arthur Burr. In 1909 a hoppit fell down the shaft onto the sinkers and 3 men were killed, water was coming into the shaft. Sinking re-started in 1910 and electric pumps were installed in 1912 and coal was reached in 1912. The pit was planned to close in 1967 but eventually closed in 1986.

4 – Wingham 2 shafts sunk by Burrs, Wingham and Stone Valley Collieries Ltd., in 1910. Water was struck but there were no pumps, the shafts were mothballed but sold in 1924 to a Grain Miller.

5 – Woodnesborough / Hammill 2 shafts sunk in 1910 by Burr, Goodnestone and Woodborough Colliery Ltd. The shafts were mothballed in 1914 and sold to Pierson and Doorman Long in 1923. It never produced any coal.

6 – Maydensole, to be sunk by Burrs Intermediate Equipment Ltd in 1910, but no shafts were started.

7 - Snowdown became the first commercial pit in Kent in 1912. Two shafts were sunk but the first shaft hit water at 260 feet (79.3 metres) and flooded, sadly 22 sinkers were drowned. In 1920 the Emergency Powers Act temporarily increased wages for 6 months but after that the wages were reduced again and a strike was called in 1921, as a result of this the pit was closed in 1922 but was sold to Pearson and Dorman Long in 1924 who completely modernised it and built the village of Aylsham nearby. Snowdown was the deepest pit in Kent, reaching 915 metres and was very hot and humid and was dubbed Dante’s Inferno by the miners who worked there. Heatstroke was a frequent occurrence, the men worked naked at times. The mine closed in 1987.

8 – Stonehall, 2 shafts were started by French brothers in 1913 but abandoned in 1914 due to the war. The site lay derelict until 1919 when it was taken over by a French Co and Guildford but abandoned again in 1921, no coal produced.

9 – Chislet started sinking in May 1914, stopped and restarted again in 1915 to 1919. The pit was closed in 1969.

10 – Betteshanger, 2 shafts sunk 1924 to 1927, this was the last pit in Kent. The men were very militant and went on strike in the Second World War. The pit closed in 1989.

Out of all the sinkings only 4 pits produced coal.