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The Continued Rise Of The Industry
To 1913



Collieries Sunk or Opened in 1848

  • Britain colliery (Butterley Co) was sunk at Butterley Park
  • Brockwell Road (Henry Naylor)
  • Mosbro Hall (J H Wells)
  • Peawit (or Pewit) colliery at North Wingfield sunk to the Top Hard at 80 yards (73m) deep (John Chambers) and was also known later as Wingerworth No6 colliery
  • Turkey Field pit (or Strelley pit) (Thomas North) deepening ? - see 1843
  • West Hallam colliery (HB Whitehouse and Son) near Ilkeston, Nos 3 and 4 shafts at 11 yards (10m) apart and 7 feet (2.13m) diameter and 9 feet (2.74m) were sunk to 130 yards (119m) deep to work the Soft coal, (E Eardley).
  • Skegby, Some sinkers from Staffordshire were drafted in to sink a new Skegby colliery.

At West Hallam (HB Whitehouse and Son) after Canns Close pit and Hallams Close pit had finished around 1847, the workings were carried on at Stoppards, Orchard, Coppice and Simonfield No1 & No2 pits.Piper, Dogtooth and Furnace coals were worked. The Brown rake ironstone was worked at Wood pit.

Collieries Closed in 1848

  • Ashgate (Jon Bennett) Thin coal, John Ashton Surveyor
  • Bennerley (J Brooke and Co) water had risen up the shaft and was affecting Cotmanhay workings (Barber and Co)
  • Birkin Lee (Eyre) coal gotten by Butterel and Co, 2 roods 2 poles and then by James Hodson 14 poles, old hollows met, probably Silkstone, Surveyor F Swift, Thurgoland
  • Pit (G Graves Esq) worked by Marshall and Willcock – level, Hollin Moor to North
  • High Holborn pit (Thomas North) at Cossall was discontinued in 1848
  • Skegby Wharf (Dodsley)
  • Whiteley pit (Coursham and Co) near Ripley was closed again after a further 38 years. This pit had been sunk in the 1700s and had re-opened in 1810
  • Wingfield pit (Hopkinson and Co).

The Butterley Co produced nearly 21,000 tons of pig iron in the year.

The name, Pig Iron, is derived from the time when the iron ran into molds in sand beds fed from a common runner. The row of molds was said to resemble a litter of suckling pigs, hence the individual ingots were referred to as pigs and the runner was called the sow.

Union Collapsed

The Miners’ Association of Great Britain collapsed in 1848, due to the general slump in the coal trade. 


There is an example of a Bond dated 15th April 1848 between two Butties Paul Leadbetter and John Simpson (coal miners) and William Bennett (illiterate) miner who made his mark (a cross) and agrees to work in the pit of Mr North in the Parish of Strelley, Nottinghamshire until 2nd October, receiving one gold sovereign (£1) at the time of hiring, hence if the aforesaid William Bennett neglects his work through drunkenness or idleness to forfeit for every such offence one shilling (5p).  It was witnessed by Robert Skeavington.

The Yearly Bond disappeared shortly afterwards and was replaced by 2 or 4 weeks’ notice of employment.  Of course lack of employment at a mine with company housing meant that the house had to be vacated.  Miners were fined for absenteeism - in Nottinghamshire they were fined one shilling (5p) for neglecting their work through drink or idleness.


On 15th May 1848 at Wingfields pit Clay Cross, one man was killed and one burned in an explosion due to a fall of ground that caused gas to ignite at a naked candle flame.

George Stephenson Died

On 12th August 1848, George Stephenson, pictured right, died aged 67 and was buried in Trinity Churchyard.

His son Robert Stephenson took over as largest shareholder in the Company. However he sold his shareholding to Peto and the firm changed its name to the Clay Cross Co


Reversing Link Motion

William Howe succeeded James Campbell as the company’s engineer until his death in 1879.  He had invented the reversing link motion in 1842 that had improved engine performance tremendously.

West Hallam Pit Was Leased

From 29th September West Hallam was leased.  Bottom Hard and main Soft seams worked.  Minimum rent was £500 until the Hard coal exhausted at £150 per acre and Ironstone at 6d (2½p) per ton.

Morley Park

On a map by I (John) Boot of 1848 the Morley Park colliery (Messrs Mold) was working. 

There was a Clod coal pit (…?) Clod seam; Engine pit 175 yards (160m), Kilbourne and Clod coal and Furnace coal; Adams pit, Waterloo pit, Black Horse Level in Buckland Hollow bed; A further Pit was shown (…?), depth 135 yards (123m). 

Brinsley Shaft Accident

Brinsley (Barber Walker and Co), Elisha Hopkin (19) with 4 others were put into the chains to descend the shaft. The whimsey worked up an ascending chain onto which was fastened a ‘Peter’ which is a piece of timber to steady and balance the chain and to prevent it running over the headstock wheel when it gets to the top of the shaft. The ‘Peter’ weighed half a cwt. When they were within 3 or 4 yards (2.5 to 3.5m) from the bottom of the shaft which was 120 yards (110m) deep they heard something falling down the shaft and they all leaned forwards towards the chain but the deceased who was carrying a bag of corn between his chest and the chain could not put his head so close as the others and unfortunately was hit on the head by the timber. Hopkin was taken back up the pit alive but he could not speak or stand and it was found that his skull was fractured when examined by a surgeon. His head was plastered up and he was taken home but died just before 9pm that evening. It was stated that the timber piece had dropped out before but on this occasion a new patent clevis had been fitted the night before to replace the old one as the old one was thought to be the cause of it dropping before, 20 Nov 1848

Chesterfield Canal

Ironstone was also worked and the furnace was located close by, (one can still be seen on the right hand side from the A38 road after passing the Ripley turn off when travelling towards Derby from Alfreton.)

By 1848 the Chesterfield Canal had deteriorated into a very poor state with several parts being unusable due to mining subsidence, forcing huge maintenance costs which eventually forced the closure of the section from Staveley to Chesterfield.

Robert Arkwright’s Mineral Agent was Mr Currey.

Fatal Accidents 1848

  • Heanor At a pit owned by the Butterley Co a boy William Wright aged 14 was killed when a fall of bind about one ton fell on him.
  • Pinxton (Coke and Co), Thomas Cook (11) went to Matthew Alcock another boy  to light a candle when he slipped on the plate of the chair hole at the bottom of the shaft and fell into the hole with his breast across the plate on the opposite side of the hole. At the same time he fell the chair with 2 empty trucks was coming down the shaft and landed with such force upon his back and the chair rested on him. He screamed out and the bell was rung directly and the chair was raised, however the boy was dead, 8 Jun 1848.
  • Portland (Butterley Co), Thomas Wagstaff (15) fell down the shaft 25 yards (23m) deep 17 Jan 1848.
  • Portland (Butterley Co), William Lamb (45) collier, on Friday morning at about 5am was drawn up the pit to go home having finished his work. He was standing on an empty water tub and hanging on to the rope. The engine stopped at the proper place where the tub got level with the bridge tree and as he attempted to step on to the bridge tree he slipped and fell down the 200 yards (182m) deep shaft into the water in the sump that was about 14 yards (13m) deep. His body was recovered in about an hour and one leg was broken and the other was driven into his body, 3 Aug 1848.
  • Portland No4 pit (Butterley Co), John Boot (24) had been employed at the colliery for 6 weeks. At 4.30pm on Saturday afternoon he was found lying at the bottom of the pit apparently after being hit by the chair, a very heavy one that weighed 9 or 10 cwt, whilst attempting to get some water. He was removed to the engine house and given a little brandy but died before the surgeon who had been sent for, arrived, 25 Nov 1848.
  • Skegby (Dodsley), John Cheetham (14) who whilst meddling with some coal boxes fell down the shaft from one level to another, a distance of 30 yards (27.5m) and was killed instantly, 2 Apr 1848. The deceased left a widow and 5 children.
  • Watnall (Barber Walker and Co), George Rhodes (c40) was sitting smoking his pipe down the pit when James Ison another workman asked him to push a piece of coal that was lodged against a prop supporting the roof but as he did so the roof bind gradually fell on him pushing his chin into his chest and when the lump of bind weighing around 1 cwt was lifted off him he was quite sensible but unable to stand. He perspired violently and complained of pain between his shoulders. He was taken home but died the following afternoon from his injuries, 10 Feb 1848.


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