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Shipley Colliery - Page 3


Shipley Hall and Collieries
Coppice Colliery, Potential Super Pit ?
Shipley, The Potteries
Escape From A Very Serious Explosion Of Gas
And Spring Water

Also from Philip
More Shipley Collieries Information

Shipley Hall and Collieries
26 April 2003

Hello there,

I think the original reference is somewhere on this site. It concerns the drift at Woodside Colliery from the surface to the Top Hard seam. The article said that the seam had been drifted into and it was found to be unworkable. This was due to extraction of the coal by much earlier bord and pillar working.

I have a reprint of the original Ordnance Survey maps for Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire. The mapping was carried out around the decade 1820 with the first publishing been made available in the early 1830s. The mapping shows the start of the Nutbrook Canal with a road joining onto the road from Shipley Hall to Mapperley. The junction is about halfway between the reservoir and Shipley Hall. There is a colliery marked off this road adjacent to Shipley Hall. This is about 5 to 600 yards Southeast of the site of the Hall, closer to the cobbled road, if it still exists.

This colliery is not marked on the late 18th century Ordnance Survey map of the area. The road is not marked either on the later map. To view this map visit, the instructions to find a location are easy to follow.

The drift is something I remember well from my early days of roaming that area. There was always a wagon under the chute from the picking table on the screens. There were either 3 or 4 other chutes but I never saw any wagons under those chutes. The time would have been late 50s and early 60s. The dirt hill for Woodside was always smoking and smelt of sulphur but the Coppice dirt hill did not seem to smoke. The Coppice dirt hill was one my playgrounds but always on the far side from the colliery.

Regards Phil

Coppice Colliery, Potential Super Pit ?

Hello all
I have this silly notion that Coppice Colliery would have made a "super pit".

  • It had most of the right conditions; the Mickley Shaft was 22 ft diameter and went all the way down to the good stuff.
  • Lots of coal within the possible take.
  • Draw an eight mile radius circle from the Shipley Visitor Centre, this must be within 100 yards of the Mickley Shaft pit top, and you have captured all the opencast sites. These sites must be the least loved ones in England.

Going back to the 30s, The Butterley Company had the notion to develop Denby Drury Lowe to extract all the coal from their pits. Forward thinking to go with conveyor belts as the way forward for moving coal.

Only the need to build one coal preparation plant and it had easily improvable rail links. Unfortunately it all went to ‘Pie In The Sky’ due to an Austrian house painter with aspirations beyond his capabilities, WW2 for the benefit of our media students.
Drifted a tad there but back on course now. Coppice Super Pit would have needed

  • The electrical power supply upgraded to power both surface and underground installations.
  • Mine water would have to be pumped out, possibly used in the coal cleaning process and treated to enable it to be released in a clean condition.
  • The rail link would have needed improving, I suspect Dr Beeching may have held a different opinion on this matter.
  • Dirt disposal would have been a right eyesore but could have been dealt with using topsoil and grass seed.

The stumbling block was the need to increase the workforce in the North Nottinghamshire pits. Lots and lots of industrial grade coal needed for the Trent side power stations. Solution, close the struggling pits and move the workers to North Notts pits. Bang goes the workforce for my superpit because all have been lured away by jobs for life and a nice new home. Who wants to burn Best Derby Brights when you can get household power at the flick of a switch or end of a gas pipe?
I am sure that the owd lads and mesters who read this will hay summat to say it one way or t'other.

Fionn this has been one of those "what if" ideas that I have had for some time.
Please feel free to change or delete as you think fit.

Regards Phil


The Escape From A Very Serious Explosion Of Gas At The Shipley Hard Coal Colliery
Derbyshire - February 28, 1861

"Report on the Inspection of Coal Mines in the District comprising the Counties of Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire, and War­wickshire, for the Year ending 31st December 1860.—By John Hedley, Esq.

With great satisfaction I record the escape from a very serious explosion of gas at the Shipley Hard coal colliery, Derbyshire, by the proper use of safety lamps. In November last a large outburst took place, which for several hours loaded a well-ventilated district of the mine to the explosive point. The workmen observed the Davy lamps full of flame, and the Geordie or Stephenson lamps were extinguished. The men quickly retired into the intake air course, but, in doing so, one man had to pass over the coals, which were got down along 60 yards of the face of the work, with his Davy lamp full of flame. The seam is only about three feet thick, and there was great risk in passing over the coals in so limited a space almost blocked up in places with the coals; had the man been tripped and the lamp jerked with sufficient force to pass the flame through the gauze, a serious explosion (involving the loss of about 70 lives) would have occurred, and another would have been added to the list of unaccountable explosions. A defective lamp, or the exposure of a light, would have been suggested as the cause of the catastrophe.

This is the fourth large outburst of gas which has been safely encountered at this colliery. The consulting mining engineers to the works, Messrs. Woodhouse and Jefferek, have established strict discipline in the care and use of the safety lamps, and it must be gratifying to them, as well as to those engaged in the mine, that the safety lamps have passed through another severe ordeal without an accident." 

The text in inverted commas is a direct copy of text from the report. In my opinion it shows the correct application of safety procedures by a well disciplined workforce provided with the appropriate safety equipment. If the gas had been ignited, by whatever means, then the results would have never been forgotten.

Regards Phil

Aerial View of Shipley Colliery 1926 - Frank Bacon
More Photos of Collieries Around Mapperley (Derbyshire)

The next bit may explain why Dr Colin Pounder found umpteen odds and ends of pottery. It was intended that I should put the information on the Heanor and District Historical Society's forum but that has gone to ground. Robert Mee is looking to fire up the forum once he can find a reliable supplier who does not require payment for hosting the forum.


These works were commenced about 1825 on the estate of Edward Miller Mundy, Esq, of Shipley Hall, by whom the buildings were erected, in consequence of the discovery of valuable beds of clay. They were first carried out by some working potters from the Staffordshire district, and the ordinary classes of goods in "cane" or "yellow" ware were produced, as were also Rockingham ware teapots and other articles. These were made to a considerable extent and of good quality, but the works did not answer.

They were next taken by a Mr. Waite, a blacking manufacturer, from London, who commenced making stone-ware bottles for his own blacking, and other articles of general use. Eventually, in 1845, the works passed into the hands of Mr. Bourne, of the Denby pottery, and were carried on by him.

The clay at Shipley was of two kinds-one was obtained from the hard seam coal after the coal was worked, at a depth of 250 yards. This was of a beautiful and extremely fine quality, but was of itself difficult to work owing to a want of tenacity. It was found, however, that by using in equal proportions this clay and another known as the Waterloo seam, which was about 100 yards from the surface, an excellent body was produced.

Saline and Chalybeate Waters

At this period the coal mines on the estate furnished saline and chalybeate waters, which were much in repute; and bottles, specially designed for these waters, were made in large quantities at these works. Some of these bottles are still preserved, and are of excellent material. They bear impressed on the side a garter ribbon, on which are the words In me suprema Salus, enclosing the name SHIPLEY SALINE WATER in three lines.

In 1856 the Shipley pottery was closed; the workmen, plant &c., being removed to, and incorporated with, the Denby pottery.

The above was extracted from “The Ceramic Art of great Britain Volume 2” by Llewellynn Jewitt, F.S.A. and published in 1878 by Virtue and Co., Ltd.

I have been meaning to post this for some time but I have only just rediscovered the information. In the book about Coal Mining in the Heanor Area, published by the Heanor and District Historical Society, is an image of Cecil Raikes ( the engine) with a run of wagons coming past Shipley Reservoir. The image shows the level crossing with part of a building on the left hand side. I suspect that this is part of the pottery but I may be mistaken. I cannot remember there being a building in that area during the 1950s. I did have a taste of the pump water from Woodside Pit. This was sampled where the pipe discharged, about 20 yards from the reservoir. It was finger in to the water and it tasted very slightly salty but not unpleasant.

I have a copy of a letter regarding the quantity of water pumped from Woodside Pit. This is dated 28 May 1945 and signed by J L Westwood, Chief Mining Agent. The estimate was around 1,150,000 gallons per day (or 400 2 gallon buckets per minute).