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The Continued Rise Of The Industry
To 1913



Underground Visit By Ladies

In 1819 two ladies descended one of the pits at Fackley, Teversall with Peter Webster and visited the workings.  No women or girls were ever employed in the mines in this area and no doubt they would have been absolutely appalled at the state of the underground conditions.  The pits would have been very low, wet and the air quite foul.  It appears from remarks written on a later plan of 1841 by John Boot that the ladies would have visited the Dunsil seam workings belonging to Lord Carnarvon, who also owned the neighbouring Molyneux (Molineux) mine site.

Pinxton coal wharf
Pinxton coal wharf

The Pinxton to Mansfield Tramway

Kings Mill Viaduct carried the Mansfield and Pinxton tramway across a small stream

The Pinxton to Mansfield tramway was laid from a wharf at Pinxton to Mansfield town centre (Portland Wharf) via Kirkby summit during 1817 - 1819 at a cost of approx £23,000. The double track was 4 feet 4 inches (1.32m) gauge, and the iron fish-bellied rails were fastened to single stone sleepers buried in the ground.  Full waggons of coal were hauled up to Kirkby summit by teams of horses and freewheeled down to Mansfield. There were stables for the horses there as at the Pinxton end.

The empties were then hauled back to the summit by horses and then freewheeled back to the Pinxton coal wharf, with the horses enjoying a free ride. The Kings Mill viaduct at Sutton Reservoir over which the railway passed was built from stone mined at Whatstandwell in Derbyshire. This magnificent arched bridge has been strengthened by large bolts passing across the width and round cast iron plates screwed on tight at each side.

Horse getting a free ride back
Horse getting a free ride back

Even so it still stands majestically above the weir leading down to the River Maun that passes through Mansfield.

Coal Prices Fell

Coal prices fell from between 13s (65p) to 10s (50p) a ton to between 8s (40p) and 8s 6d (42½p) a ton when the railway was opened in 1819

The pits in the Meden Valley could not compete and were closed down, e.g. Molyneux (Lord Carnarvon) possibly sinking and Quarry Dunsil pits (Humphry Goodwin).  The only access they had to large markets was in horse drawn wagons via the expensive toll roads and gates so coal working in the Parish of Teversal was discontinued until 1856.

Steam Locos and Railways

Puffing Billy at Tyseley, image from Wikipedia (Italy)

Mansfield and Pinxton Railway

Stephenson's  Locomotive
Stephenson's 8 Ton Locomotive
The railway was bought out by the Midland Railway Co around 1847 that rerouted some of the track and installed the new steam engines which cut out horse transport. The photo above shows an early steam engine. Richard Trevithick had mounted a steam engine on wheels earlier but it was not successful and Stephenson perfected the idea to produce a steam powered locomotive.


There were a series of small-gauged tramways leading from various pits around Pinxton and Huthwaite to the coal wharf at Pinxton, where coal had been previously loaded into barges on the canal.  A similar coal wharf existed at Tibshelf Ramper on the border of Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire for horse and waggon borne coal from the 2 or 3 local pits situated in Tibshelf.  

Toll Bars

Toll bars were situated at Fackley and West of Tibshelf.  Of course in the past many wharves for loading the coal into barges on the local canals were to be found.

Fatal Accidents 1819

  • From the burial register of St Marys Church, Sutton-in-Ashfield dated 26th September 1819 it is noted that Joseph Alsop (aged 21) and William Smith (aged 19), were killed by a fall in a coal pit accident (most likely a fall of roof) 23 Sep 1819 and assumed to be Skegby colliery that was working nearby
  • Wollaton colliery (Lord Middleton) William Williamson (22) killed in a coal pit 25 Oct1819.

Collieries Sunk or Opened in 1819

  • Eyres Estate pit Blackshale
  • Lightwood pit 63 yards (57.5m) (Morewood), sunk around 1819
  • Meadow pit (Morewood?) 58 yards (53m) and
  • Old Delves pit (Morewood) 99 yards (90m) at Leabrooks
  • Old Stoneyford  (Earl of Mexborough) sunk
  • Portland No1 pit (Butterley Co) began sinking. 

Pistern Hill colliery owned by Thomas Hassall continued working, also some small pits at Bryans Coppy between Pistern Hill and Ticknall and White Holly Coppy (White Hollow) pit.

Collieries Closed in 1819

  • Double pit at Moira (sunk in 1804)
  • Staveley (R Barrow) Top Hard.



George IV succeeded to the throne from 1820 to 1830 following the longest reign in history of George III who had reigned since 1760.


Searching Out New Areas

Following the end of the period of unrest, the Butterley Co along with others was now searching out new areas to exploit.

Portland No 1 pit

Sunk or Opened in 1820

Portland Collieries

  • Portland No 1 pit was opened, close to the River Erewash off Park Lane (Nottinghamshire), near to the area later known as Bentinck Town. 
  • Sinking was begun by the Butterley Co in 1819 to replace Carr colliery at Ripley (North Derbyshire).  The new colliery was named after the Duke of Portland and the company had won the contract to supply coal to the Mansfield Gas Works due to open in 1821.  The pit was known as Isaiahs and was named after the big Butty or Manager, Isaiah Rigley.

  • (Note....Isaiah Rigley's father was listed as a miner at Heanor in 1790. He had a son who worked at Portland pit. Isaiah's daughter Dorothy Anne Rigley married Cornelius Amos in 1883 and had 10 children. One of the sons, Frederick Robert Amos born 1902 married and also had 10 children. One son Eric married Sheila Mary Mitchell and one of their sons, David, became an Electrician at Annesley Colliery where Eric was Senior Overman for the last 5 years (previously an Overman at Bentinck.) He retired in 1986 (and albeit that he had passed the First Class Certificate of Competency (Manager's Certificate) number 7467 in 1957 he stayed in his capacity as Overman).
    David born in 1957 became involved in union affairs and became UDM Branch Secretary at Annesley but was made redundant in 1996. The Annesley Bentinck complex closed in 2000. David subsequently studied for a BA at Derby University and began a course for a MA at Nottingham University but was subsequently granted a bursary and obtained a PhD for his dissertation on the Miners' Strike of 1984/1985, titled 'Scabs or Scapegoats'. I was honoured to be asked to proof read the document and pass comment and advise on minor alterations and additions prior to production of the book in 2013. I was presented with a signed first edition. Following the family tree, Dr David Amos is the Great, Great Grandson of Isaiah Rigley and at least 5th generation in mining).

  • No2 pit was called Jerrys (Jeremiah Lowe, another big Butty). These Butties contracted with the company to produce coal at an agreed price per ton. They arranged for all manner of things and set on men and boys. Their wages were paid out by the Butty and usually at this time very strict rules were laid down. If a man did not turn up for work he would be penalised and maybe lose the next day’s pay. Boys could be beaten for not getting coal to the pit bottom quick enough by hurrying on the ponies. The stables were in No1 pit bottom. The Top Hard seam was about 180 yards (165m) deep and the shaft about 200 yards (183m) deep, brick lined and 8 feet (2.43m) diameter. The Butterley Co decided to build a tramway and a wharf at Jacksdale as an outlet for the coal. The project was completed sometime in 1822.

Other Sinkings

  • There was a Whimsey pit (J and G Wells) at Eckington in 1820
  • Heanor Halls 6 pits, Mrs Sutton’s, being the oldest sunk early 1820
  • Heanor Whysall Street (Turton) sunk
  • Rawdon colliery (Moira Colliery Co Ltd) sinking in the South Derbyshire Coalfield, south of Derby
  • Bramley Moor pit (Mark Morton) was sunk
  • Whitwick sunk in Leicestershire
  • Whymsey pit (J and G Wells)? sunk at Eckington.

A Plan By James Ashton Twigg In 1820 Shows Pits Near

His plan of 1817 - 1827 mentioned a tholl (thirl, thurl or connection, a term originating from an Anglo-Saxon word thyrel….to bore a hole) from ‘counterhead’ to No2 pit near Padley Hall

  • Padley Hall
  • Hammersmith
  • Ripley
  • No1 Engine, No2 Engine (Hartshay Foundation) 95 yards (87m) to Bottom Hard, Engine pit 145 yards (133m),
  • Padley pit, New Air pit,
  • Pit part sunk near Upper Hartshay, and several old shafts. 
  • Hartshay Foundation
  • Hill Top pit
  • Haslams Foundation at Pentrich.

Closures in 1820

  • Cockspur near Donisthorpe (sunk c1810)
  • In the Meden Valley at Fackley, Teversall following sinkings in 1753 the Hard coal was worked to 1781. In 1780 knowing that the Top Hard working was coming to an end in that area an old Hard coal pit was sunk some 10 yards (9m) deeper down to the Dunsil seam and working commenced.

Fackley Lane End, Teversall

In 1814 an engine was planted on another old Hard coal pit and that too was sunk down to the down to the Dunsil bed of coal and coal getting continued until 1820, as the pumping engine lifted the water into the Hard coal hollows and so ran off into the New Inn Level (sough).

The Dunsil coal workings were left off in the year 1820 upon the up leap side of the main Stubbing fault because the quality of the coal would not find a market and the expense of getting it being so great that the owners of the Estate would not supply the Colliery Agent with money to pay wages with, consequently the engines and machinery were all sold and the workings terminated in the Teversal Parish until 1856 – when Molyneux re-started work. The Engine pit was closed.

The spending power of £1 in 1820 would be equivalent to about £42 in 2010.

Many of the old collieries were now old fashioned and approaching exhaustion and new areas were sought to sink new pits.


Sir George Sitwell re Lounsley Green April 1821: all thick coal (Blackshale) ungot may be gott by Mr Glossops pitt he is sinking No9.  This pit is to the North of his working pitt, Engine or Whimsey.  Another working pitt lies to the south, and to the south of this lies Glossops sough and Stones old sough.

Atmospheric Beam Engine

An atmospheric beam engine for both winding and pumping was installed at Moira in 1821.


In the township of Ripley, 1821, there was a reference to coal and slack lying under the estate of Mr Thomas Topham.

Collieries Sunk or Opened in 1821

  • Birchwood Lane and Summercoates (CRP Morewood) pit sunk 51 yards (46.5m) to Furnace coal
  • New Delves 98 yards 2 feet deep (90m) and Wood pit to 58 yards (53m) at Leabrooks / Swanwick (Morewood)
  • 2 pits sunk at Smotherfly 30 yards (27m) and 61 yards (56m) deep (Turner?)
  • Old pit Langley Mill 61 yards (55.75m)  (leased to Seely by W Morewood)
  • Long Lane (William Stenson), later called Whitwick colliery
  • Lounsley Green No9 (Glossop), who had 2 working pitts, Engine or Whimsey nearby…. Sir George Sitwell stated in April that ‘all the thick coal (Blackshale) ungot could be gott by this sinking’
  • Portland No3 (Butterley Co) – pumping pit, 200 yards (183m) deep. This had a large Cornish beam engine with 84” (2.13m) bore and 12ft (3.65m) long giving a 10ft (3.0m) stroke. 3 Cornish type boilers raised the 12lb / sq in pressure and the engine condensed to a 28” (0.71m) vacuum
  • Rawdon (Leicestershire) (Earl of Moira) pit sunk to Main seam at 14’ 4” (4.3m) thick approx 400 yards (365m) to northeast of Marquis. The Marquis DC shaft and part of the Bath pit and another UC shaft was sunk to drain the firedamp gas from the workings in the Main seam.  Rawdon was the early family name of the Earl of Moira.


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