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The Continued Rise Of The Industry
To 1913



Butterley Co. Output

In 1862 the Butterley Co were producing around 760,000 tons of coal a year from 14 shafts, listed: -

  • Portland 105,077 tons
  • Mexbro 65,433 tons
  • Birchwood 23,873 tons
  • Brands 152,020 tons
  • New Main and Hermitage 36,126 tons
  • Langley 76,457 tons
  • Loscoe 38,149 tons
  • Plumptre 47,510 tons
  • Hartshay 19,676 tons
  • Ripley 77,128 tons
  • Waingroves 26,956 tons
  • Marehay 74,628 tons
  • Granby 17,863 tons
  • Denby Hall 780 tons.
These figures were calculated using 2,352 lb to a ton.  The raised and weighed figure used 3,000 lb to the ton, whereas there are 2,240 lb to an imperial ton. Obviously the miners were forced to produce at the higher rate, so that allowances could be made for small coals, which were not in demand those days, and colliery companies did not pay for that, or dirt, but according to the figures it was sold! It was also said that the coal weighed lighter after it had dried out. The conclusion to this statement throughout the book is that if the coal was wet, then the miners must have been working in water.

Wagon Load Of Coal Hauled To Nottingham Market By Strikers

During a period of slack trade about 300 men hauled a wagon load of coal and crowded together on Nottingham Market Place. They were employed by Thomas North and went on strike. The men wanted these terms. At Kimberley colliery the getting price was to be 1s 9d per ton of 2,240lb. The price at Cinderhill and Newcastle  to be 1s 6d a ton and that they should be permitted to have their own checkweighman to check the weights on which their wages were to be based and also that they should be paid weekly instead of fortnightly. Many were in a distressed state. Public sympathy was sought and men went round collecting money in specially prepared boxes. However the strike failed but it reduced the amount of coal carried by canal and railway down to 95,558 tons in 1862 from previous sales of 123,706 tons in the previous year 1861 and 133,764 tons in the year 1860.

Dismissed Due To The Depression

At Ripley many men were dismissed due to the depression in the trade. 

In June it was said that ‘they had never had it so bad’ at the Clay Cross pits.  Many men in the area were only working 4 or sometimes 5 days in a fortnight, and of course being on piece-rate meant that no work, no pay! 

Coal Cutters Introduced

Several pits around Chesterfield introduced compressed air coal cutters.

Collieries That Changed Hands in 1862

  • Awsworth (Cockburn and Jordan) sold out to G Parker
  • Ben(n)erley from Cockburn and Jordan to G Parker also
  • Clay Cross Clay Cross Colliery Co was now owned by William Jackson MP and Co
  • Foxley Oaks from Rev’d W Pierce to Whittington Coal Co
  • Gilt Brook changed hands from Cockburn and Jordan to Nicholson and Co
  • Ingmanwell from Jno Knowles to Thos E Wales
  • MasbroMoor now known as Mosbro Moor (R and J Swallow)
  • Sheepbridge (Swann and Wharton) purchased by Dunston and Barlow Iron Co
  • Skegby from John Dodsley to Skegby Colliery Co
  • Tibshelf pit owned by R Storrer purchased by R Millward

Master And Servant Law

At West Staveley, the Staveley Co contested the old practice of not working on a Monday and 7 men were prosecuted for leaving their place of work without notice.  Some were sentenced to 14 days hard labour - using the unequal law of Master and Servant.

Dore Colliery

At Dore colliery from start in 1851 to 1862, worked by Hancock, then worked by Wilbraham. Headings worked by Hancock and other heads by Ashton, met old workings.  There was encroachment in 1858/1859.

(This plan was copied by William Deakin Wadsworth 25 Feb 1890)

Collieries Sunk or Opened in 1862

  • Ambergate or Buckland Hollow to Kilbourne or Buckland Hollow bed of coal, under land of CH Colville Esq.
    A sough had been driven close by, and emptied into the River Amber to the north
  • Calow (Sayers and Co)
  • Lodge (JC Plevins) North Derbyshire
  • Heanor (J Argyle)
  • Walker and Co sank Hucknall Torkard No1 pit’s two shafts at 11 feet (3.35m) diameter some 15½ yards (14m) apart on Watnall Road, Hucknall Torkard during 1861-1862.  It was the first of the pits to be opened in the Leen Valley of Nottinghamshire
  • Lings No5 shaft (Hardwick Colliery Co)
  • Nailstone (Joseph Joel Ellis)
  • South Normanton (W Swann). 

Collieries Closed in 1862

  • Babbington Hard and Soft (Thomas North)
  • Bennerley (Cockburn and Jordan) old works met
  • Greenhill (James Oakes and Co)
  • Bull Close (Hewitt and Son) - to sink new pit
  • Heanor (Toplis and Co)
  • Hucknall New No1 (two trial pits named Big pit  68 yards 2ft, (63m) and Little pit, 61yards 2ft (56m) deep,
    sunk by J Clegg on the bend just above the Woodend pub on Harper Lane, Huthwaite at the head of the Meden Valley, then leased to Edward Andrew but never developed, due to thin coal and faulting and the pit bottom headings were abandoned on 30th August 1862, Surveyor John Boot and Son
  • Newbold (Clayton and Knowles)
  • Newbold (Knowles and Orwin) Thin Piper
  • Radford (Lord Middleton) Top Hard
  • Swaddale sunk 1853/54 (….?) Chesterfield, Deep Soft
  • Staveley West (or West Staveley) (Bainbridge and Co) sunk to Blackshale. (9)
    At Coates Park the Soft coal was abandoned on 30th June 1862 (landowner John H Barker). The Barker pit was named after him.  

Fatal Accidents in 1862

  • Renishaw Park, William Beresford (28) fall of roof 2 Jan 1862
  • Deep Pit, Somercotes Stephen Joseph Burton (14) was killed on 1 Feb 1862
  • Butterley, James England (45) fall of roof 12 Mar 1862
  • Coates Park, John Green (20) fall of roof 25 Mar 1862
  • Hollingwood, Joseph Smith (54) and H Goodwin (69) fall of roof 7 Apr 1862
  • Oakerthorpe, James Bowser (40) caught in machinery 10 Apr 1862
  • Whitemoor, John Trueman (24) fell down the shaft 1 May 1862
  • Swanwick, G Wright (34) stone fell down the shaft and struck him 5 May 1862
  • Carnfield, G Gaskin (40) fall of roof 8 May 1862
  • Birchwood, S Smithard (14) fall of roof 15 Jun 1852
  • Bye pit, Youd or Youth..? 27 Jun 1862
  • Sleights (Pinxton) S Daykin (15) injured his hand, died from tetanus 4 Aug 1862
  • Granby, James Riley (21) fall of roof 25 Aug 1862
  • Marehay, John Briggs (70) fell down the shaft 26 Aug 1862
  • Langley, William Rigley (34) fall of roof 4 Sep 1862
  • Birchwood, John Spencer (30) fell out of the cage down the shaft 24 Sep 1862
  • Ripley, John Watson (16) fall of roof 11 Oct 1862
  • Langley, Isaac Rigley (52) explosion of gunpowder 17 Nov 1862
  • Nuttall, George Clay (boy..?) killed on 6 Dec 1862
  • Staveley or Seymour, Thomas Thomas (16) 6 Dec 1862
  • Cinderhill, George Clay (13) crushed by trams 12 Dec 1862
  • Cotmanhay, N Reddish (17) crushed by tubs 24 Dec 1862. The ages of many boys were not noted as young boys under the age of 14 were not classified as ‘workers’.
In Nottinghamshire in 1862 there were 2 deaths caused by explosion, 25 by falls of roof, 4 in shafts and 12 crushed by tubs or trams. 
(43 total).

1862 Hartley Colliery Disaster

204 Men and Boys Suffocated To Death

On 16th January 1862 at Hartley colliery in Northumberland, the beam on the pumping engine snapped and half of it fell down the single shaft, tearing out the lining and fittings etc,  blocking the single shaft and because there was no other way out of the mine, 204 men and boys suffocated to death as they were buried alive. As a result of public outcry it was deemed that every mine was to have secondary means of egress and a Law was passed in August of that year making it unlawful for a mine owner to work single-shafted mines, employ persons underground unless there were at least 2 shafts or outlets and the sinking of a second shaft was made compulsory, or the connection to another mine where another means of egress could be established for a new mine, and after 1st January 1865 for the owner of an existing mine to comply with that law.

Connecting workings up to another mine, or if an additional adit was used satisfied this law, as long as there were at least two means of egress out of a mine.  Many of the pits worked previously to this date only had one shaft.  Some of the larger diameter shafts were divided into compartments by wooden boards to allow certain operations to be performed – ‘bratticed’.  ‘Fresh air’ and coal winding was contained in one compartment, foul air and pumping in another as at Hartley.  Some mines were closed sooner by the owners who said that they could not afford to sink another shaft to comply with the law. Of course the abandonment of the mine would throw the miners who worked there out of a job.

At Staveley in September, Farewell and a nearby pit were linked up underground in order to create a double shaft system.

 Collieries sunk after 1862 were required by law to have at least two shafts separated by at least 10 feet (3.05m) of strata, or other entrance such as an adit and one shaft.  The distance between 2 shafts was later increased to 15 yards (14m) in 1865

Combating Dust

To ‘combat’ the dust problem in the pits miners regularly chewed a twist of pigtail tobacco or sometimes sucked a small lump of coal or a piece of new hawthorn hedge. However it would be proved in later years that the very fine dust particles in the air less than 5 micron in size (5 millionths of an inch) were able to get into the lungs and cause pneumoconiosis (black lung) or assist other diseases such as bronchitis and emphysema.  In later life men suffered terribly with breathing problems. Dampness in the mines led to rheumatism etc.  Miners also enjoyed a pinch of snuff.  This was a way of using tobacco where smoking was not allowed and would become very popular when rules were introduced banning smoking underground in various Acts of Parliament.  During the 1950s chewing gum began to gradually replace chewing tobacco. 

Various types of dust mask would be tried around this period and eventually would become compulsory in dusty environments by the 1980s. An x-ray of a pair of lungs affected by dust is shown above to the right whereas a healthy pair of lungs is shown to the left (actually my x-ray)

Amounts Worked

At Lower Birchwood (Chas Seely and Co) from start in 1861 to January 1862, 2 acres 2 roods, 12 poles of Deep Hard seam was worked and to year ending 30th June 1862, 1 acre, 1 rood and 34 poles or perches was extracted.  However some workings were left off for water on 17th July 1862 but would carry on to the right alongside old hollows until July 1864.


The 165 pits North Derbyshire including 9 in South Derbyshire produced 4,534,500 tons in 1862 and the 21 Nottinghamshire pits 732,666 tons. Butterley Co produced between 700,000 and 800,000 tons from pits in both counties.

The 10 pits of Leicestershire produced 696,024 tons.


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Go 1 1863