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The Continued Rise Of The Industry
To 1913


1876 - Page 1

Reduction In Wages

In 1876 the Clay Cross Co had 2,000 men and boys working underground, however in April of that year, most pits in Derbyshire were at a standstill, following Clay Cross Co’s reduction in wages of 15%.

Reductions at other Companies varied from 10% to 12½%.

There was a major dispute at Cottam colliery (Appleby and Co) and at Renishaw Park (Chesterfield and Boythorpe Coal Co), Beighton, Barlborough (Staveley Coal and Iron Co Ltd), Tapton (Tapton Coal Co) and Dronfield (Dronfield Silkstone Coal Co Ltd) the owners wanted between 7½% and 10% reduction. Some of the pits struggled on until May. However all the pits were back at work after 2 months out on strike but Hundall (Staveley Colliery Co) was closed due to slackness of trade - overproduction.

Several other pits in the area expected a similar fate. At Pilsley some men were out but the situation was not serious.

Similarly at Teversall Butcherwood (Stanton Iron Co) (Nottinghamshire), a reduction in wages from 23rd March 1876 due to the depression in trade. Getting price of Top Hard was 1s 9d (8¾p) a ton (of 20 cwts).

The letter, shown right, signed by William Clark Agent for the Stanton Iron Co was sent to the representatives for the men.

Shirland Colliery
Shirland Colliery

At Shirland (Shirland Colliery Co), (Derbyshire), notices were given of a 15% reduction in wages. The men had not full time for almost two years. The colliery had been purchased for £70,000 a few months ago and the greater part of the sum remained unpaid. Mr Holmes of Methley, a Director appointed by the men paid £25,000, a large sum, due in March 1876 and if not paid could lose the deposit. He therefore suggested purchasing the adjoining estate of some 178 acres hopefully ensuring that the colliery would ‘pay well’. However by the end of March the pit was in a critical state and the commercial Manager Philip Casey resigned and was succeeded by John Holmes. Work resumed in June but a further strike ensued due to a further price reduction. Late in 1876 the pit was likely to be flooded and the pit was put into liquidation as the South Yorkshire MinersAssociation decided not to invest any more money into the pit, as it had lost most of its’ capital. Shirland colliery pictured.

By 15th April 1876 thousands were out of work and were willing to accept 7½% reduction, but the Masters stood firm and most were prepared to let the pits stand sooner than reduce the figure.

Two small pits at Clayton West were on reduced wages of 4d (1⅔p) a ton best coal and 2d (approx ¾p) a ton for engine coal.

At Staveley colliery (Derbyshire), there were 2,000 men and boys out and they were willing to accept a reduction of 10%. By May after being out on strike for several weeks at Staveley and Clay Cross they were begging in droves as they had received no money from the National Association.

The miners were back to work by June after the collapse of the strike and had to accept a reduction in wages of 12½%.

Egg Coal

By May 1876 ‘egg’ coal was sold. This was 5% clay added to coal dust. Maybe this was the start of the briquettes such as the later Phurnacite etc. It was a way of getting rid of the dust no doubt caused mainly by screening the coal at the surface, and any tub found with dust in raised out of the mine would be confiscated and therefore the collier who had filled it would receive no money for it, as stated before. It was a harsh life.

It was found that some coals in South Yorkshire and the neighbouring counties contained high percentages of sulphur and phosphorous.

Clay Cross

Sir William Jackson MP and Co sold his collieries to the Clay Cross Co and Thos Hughes Jackson succeeded as chairman. Storforth Lane (Industrial Coal and Iron Co Ltd) was sold for £30,000 even though it was increasing in profit and value.

Smoking Underground

From an article in the Derbyshire Times, 5 Jan 1876.
James Mee and William Riddle were charged whilst working 160 yards (146m) from the pit bottom with pipes and tobacco in their possession. They were fined 10s 0d (50p) with costs. Strangely at many pits smoking was allowed underground until into the 20th Century. Probably it was dangerous at the mine possibly due to firedamp being present. I assume the pit was Monkwood (North Derbyshire).


Listed below are the areas worked and proceeds made from working the Deep Hard seam at Brinsley colliery (Earl of Mexborough) in 6 monthly periods from commencement 1868 to Lady Day 1876: This was a major part of the Surveyor’s job in those days.

Commencement to Lady Day (25th March) 1869 – 1 acre 0 roods (or rods) 26 poles (or perches) at £60 per acre, proceeds £69 15s 0d (£69.75). Lady Day 1869 to Mix 1869 (Michaelmas Day- 29th September) – 1 ac 0r 12p, proceeds £64 10s 0d (£64.50)

  • Mix 1869 –  Lady Day 1870 – 0ac 2r 12p,   proceeds £39 7s 6d (£39.37½)
  • Lady Day 1870 to Mix 1870 – 0ac 3r 36p,   proceeds £54 15s 0d (£54.75)
  • Mix 1870 to Lady Day 1871 – 1ac 2r 12p,   proceeds £94 10s 0d (£94.50)
  • Lady Day 1871 to Mix 1871 – 1ac 2r 20p,   proceeds £105 0s 0d (£105.00)
  • Mix 1871 to Lady Day 1872 – 1ac 2r 28p,   proceeds £110 10s 0d (£111.50)
  • Lady Day 1872 to Mix 1872 – 1ac 2r 12p,   proceeds £94 10s 0d (£94.50)
  • Mix 1872 to Lady Day 1873 – 1ac 3r 27p,   proceeds £115 2s 6d (£115.12½)
  • Lady Day 1873 to Mix 1873 – 1ac 2r 15p,   proceeds £95 12s 6d (£95.62½)
  • Mix 1873 to Lady Day 1874 – 1ac 1r 5p,     proceeds £76 17s 6d (£76.87½)
  • Lady Day 1874 to Mix 1874 – 1ac 0r 25p,   proceeds £69 7s 6d (£69.37½)
  • Mix 1874 to Lady Day 1875 – 1ac 1r 11p,   proceeds £79 2s 6d (£79.12½)
  • Lady Day 1875 to Mix 1875 – 1ac 1r 17p,   proceeds £81 7s 6d (£81.37½)
  • Mix 1875 to Lady Day 1876 – 0ac 3r 12p,   proceeds £49 10s 0d (£49.50)
    Note 1 hectare = 2.47 acres.

Old Collieries

Old collieries near Clay Cross were No1 Cannel 85 yards (78m) deep and No9 Cannel 32 yards (29m) deep.

Large Roof Fall

At the Old Deeps pit Riddings (Jas Oakes and Co) near Pye Bridge, 4 men were killed in a roof fall at the face some 250 yards (228m) deep on Saturday 26th May 1876.


The furnace at Hartington was extinguished and an exhausting fan was erected at the shaft top.
The Guibal fan 40 feet dia x 12 feet wide (12.19m x 3.65m) was powered uniquely by a 200hp diesel engine that ran on creosote from the Staveley Devonshire Works


The village of Langwith was established with the erection of 152 miners’ cottages to the north east of the proposed Langwith colliery (Sheepbridge Coal and Iron Co) that was built on 2,440 acres of land leased from the Earl of Bathurst.


A Mining Journal of 1876 outlined the following. For throat irritation, liable to inflammation caused by dust, leading to soreness and an incessant tickling cough, take Jujubes, priced at 6d (2½p) and 1s 0d (5p) per box, in which the glycerine in agreeable confections give the act of sucking, actively healing the condition.

The Rivers Pollution Prevention Act 1876 was passed.

Collieries Working in North West Derbyshire in 1876

  • Alma (J Jowitt) New Mills
  • Aspenshaw (Aspenshaw Coal Co) Hayfield
  • Beard and Bugsworth (Levi and Elijah Hall) New Mills
  • Birch Vale (Thos Bennett) New Mills
  • Bugsworth (Thos Bennett)
  • Burnd Edge 1, 2 (Levi and Elijah Hall)
  • Chisworth (J Jowitt)
  • Dolley Tunnel (Thos Bennett)
  • Lower House (Stanfield and Co)
  • Lower House (Lower House Colliery Co)
  • Mellor (J Jowitt)
  • Mill Brow (North Derbyshire Brick Works) Hayfield
  • Shall Cross (Levi and Elijah Hall) New Mills
  • Thornsett Hey (Thos Bennett) New Mills.


The number of miners on strike in the Dronfield district (North Derbyshire) augmented by Bull Close pit (Messrs Hewitt) on the wages question, when the company asked for a reduction of 6d (2½p) a ton getting price. At the time the price to consumers for best Silkstone coal was around 21s 0d to 22s 0d a ton (£1.05p to £1.10p).

There was strike at Mapperley (Derbyshire) and work only resumed after 8 weeks on the Master’s terms.

Changed Hands

Apperknowl(e) reopened in 1876 by Gill and Co changed hands to Havenhand and Allen.

Storthfield (Industrial Coal and Iron Co) near Chesterfield was sold by auction as a flourishing concern in July 1876 for £40,000, some £23,000 having been spent in extensions.

Silver Hill

At Teversall Silver Hill pit (Stanton Iron Co) the Dunsil seam workings were abandoned on Lady Day, 25th March 1876, the old Dunsill pit was closed and preparations begun to sink a new No2 upcast 15 ft (4.57m) dia shaft through the Top Hard goaf down to the lower measures. The old 10 ft (3.05m) dia upcast Dunsill shaft when widened to 15 ft (4.57m) dia and deepened would be the new downcast or fresh airshaft and the old original 10 ft (3.05m) dia downcast shaft Silver Hill or Coopers pit now waterlogged, was kept open as a pumping shaft. Water from the old Meden Valley pits would gravitate to this shaft via the New Inn Level (sough).

Crowd Besieged B Winning

In 1876, when most of the Derbyshire pits were stood or undermanned, a crowd of between 200 and 300 men and women besieged the pit bank at Blackwell B Winning (Blackwell Colliery Co) and dealt severely with non-unionists.

Engineman Fined For Neglect

At Linby William Cox an engineman (winder) was fined £2 and costs by Magistrates for neglect of duty when 8 men were injured descending the shaft.

Sinkings in 1876

Two new shafts named after the Duke of Carnarvon No1 and Duke of Portland No2 were sunk on Cross Lane off Common Road at Huthwaite (New Hucknall Colliery Co) (Nottinghamshire), and called New Hucknall colliery. Height above sea level was 473 feet (144m). Huthwaite now part of Sutton-in-Ashfield was known as Hucknall under Huthwaite until 1909. John Thomas Boot, Surveyor and Agent of Huthwaite advised on the sinking. Another shaft No3 to the lower measures would be sunk later.

New Hucknall Colliery Co was formed to differentiate it from the Old Hucknall Colliery Co who had pits off Blackwell Road. The last mine known as Dirty Hucknall sunk in 1780 to the Top Hard had closed down due to water problems in 1876. The Mellers (or Mellors) family who had been in the business for many years had sunk the Hucknall New colliery to the Dunsil seam at 47 yards (43m) deep in 1809 and finished production on 2nd July 1868. The Bye pit was 52 yards (47m) deep. The pit lay opposite the Miners Arms Public House on Blackwell hill. John Boot, John Thomas Boot and WG Treadwell of the firm John Boot and Son, Agents and Surveyors carried out the twice-yearly surveys of the workings on the set days of Lady Day (25th March) and Michaelmas (29th September) respectively. Mining from about 20 shafts had been continued in the area since 1761 where one shaft was known to be 24 yards (22m) and another 60 yards (55m) deep to the Top Hard.

Meller's Tramway

A tramway from the pits known as the Meller's tramway led down to the Pinxton wharf and several other pits sent coal along it during its lifetime until it ceased in 1870. There were 16 known shafts to the North side of the road to Blackwell and a further 4 shafts about 30 yards (27m) deep, to the South side worked by Mellers and predecessors. There are 18 shafts at the top of Common Road between the market place and around the Church to the Top Hard. There was also an adit situated near to the New Hucknall colliery lane to an area of Hucknall Common coal (High Hazles), which lies above the Top Hard seam at a shallow depth that had been worked at an unknown date. Mining as far as we know had commenced in Huthwaite Parish in 1584.

Many miners flocked to the new sinking and many properties were built in Huthwaite to accommodate them. Stone excavated from the sinking of the 2 shafts was used to build All Saints Church at the top of Common Road, opened on 22nd November 1902 by the Duchess of Portland. A Miners’ Institute was built on the corner of Newcastle Street and New Street and was locally referred to as ‘stute’.

Other Pits Sunk or Opened in 1876

  • Alma (J Jowitt) New Mills
  • Alton No1 and 2 (Alton Coal and Coke Co) sinking
  • Appleby Magna (Appleby Magna Colliery Co), Snareston
  • Aspenshaw, Hayfield (Aspenshaw Coal Co)
  • Avenue Wingerworth, Deep Soft 3’ 9” (1.14m) start Mar, DC Drawing shaft, UC and furnace in pit bottom
  • Beard and Bugsworth (Levi and Elijah Hall) New Mills
  • Birch Vale (Thos Bennett) New Mills
  • Birley West, (Jeffcock and Dunn)
  • Barn or Dolly, (Levi and Elijah Hall) North West Derbyshire
  • Blackfordby (CF Hastings) coal and clay, (South Derbyshire)
  • Brampton sinking, William Deakin Wadsworth Surveyor
  • Bugsworth (Thos Bennett) New Mills
  • Burnd Edge 2 and 3 North West Derbyshire (Levi and Elijah Hall)
  • Burnt or Berry Edge, (North West Derbyshire) (Levi and Elijah Hall)
  • Chisworth (J Jowitt) New Mills
  • Coppice (AM Mundy) sinking
  • Coton and Lenton, Lenton (Coton Park and Lenton Colliery Co)
  • Church Gresley (CF Hastings) (South Derbyshire)
  • Cottam Old and Cottam New, Eckington (Appleby and Co)
  • Dolley Tunnel, New Mills (Thomas Bennett)
  • Dunstead (Henry Fletcher)
  • Ellistown (Colonel JJ Ellis) (Leicestershire), reached the top Main Hard coal on Thursday 12 Feb 1876. 19 seams were passed through, 10 being valuable and a seam of Cannel coal 2’ 2” (0.66m) thick at 230 yards (210m) deep was unique as it is rare in the Coalfield. Roaster seam 9’ 2” (2.8m) at 967 feet (294.75m). Shaft sunk to 996’ 2” (303.6m) deep. Pit ponies were used when production started, Ellistown (Jos Ellis, Ellistown Colliery Co Ltd) (Leicestershire), surveyed by FC Gillett of Derby, 13 seams of coal found as well as 10 beds of clay. Wm Spencer was the Engineer and WLJ Ellis the owner’s son was Superintendent
  • Eureka (J and N Nadin)
  • Glasshouse (Geo Steele)
  • Gresley (Barry and Co Ltd), Bagworth
  • Griffydam (J Smart and Son), Ashby
  • Gun Lane, near Belper (Isaac Shore)
  • Heather (Heather Colliery Co) Ashby 516 feet (157.3m) Main coal seam - top coal 4’ 0” (1.22m), 1’ 6” (0.46m) holing dirt, 5’ 0” (1.53m) middle coal, 6” (0.15m) bat, 5’ 0” (1.53m) bottom coal at 199 feet (60.6m)
  • Highfields (Geo Senior) Chesterfield
  • High Lee, New Mills (Thomas Bennett)
  • Hill Top, Dronfield (Dronfield Brick Co)
  • Holbrook, Killamarsh (J and G Wells) E444398 N381261
  • Holme Close (HJ Edwards)
  • Ireland, a single shaft was sunk, 1874-76, finishing on 26th January 1876. A connection was to be made to the Speedwell pit Hartington to create the double-shaft system for ventilation as required by law. At Ireland the Staveley Coal and Iron Co installed a very large winding engine, with a 21 feet (6.4m) diameter drum, for a shaft depth of 300 yards (274m) to the Deep Soft horizon
  • Killamarsh (John Shirtcliffe)
  • Kimberley (Chas Seely and Co) Deep Hard, start 1876, depth 289 yards (264.3m) at both shafts
  • Langwith (Sheepbridge Coal and Iron Co) sinking commenced on 14th March at No1 shaft and 23rd May at No2 shaft, some 315 feet (96m) having to be lined with cast iron tubbing to hold the water back in the Permian measures
  • Lindridge (Desford Colliery Co)
  • Lodge, Eastwood (Wm (Billy) Hall)
  • Lower House (Lower House Colliery Co) New Mills
  • Lower House, (North West Derbyshire) (Stanfield and Co)
  • Main, Swadlincote (J and N Nadin) (South Derbyshire)
  • Mellor (J Jowitt) New Mills
  • Mill Brow (North Derbyshire Brick Works) Hayfield
  • Millfield, Ilkeston (Matthew Hobson) to Dogtooth seam
  • Morley Hill Wingfield (Geo Pearson and Co)
  • Mount Pleasant (Leicestershire) (Knowles and Co)
  • Nailstone (Leicestershire) (JJ Ellis) No2 UC also called Nelson Wood sunk to 849 8” (259m) with Roaster seam 7’ 6” (2.29m) at 604’ 5” (184.2m)
  • Nether Heage near Belper (Isaac Shore and Co)
  • New Hucknall (New Hucknall Colliery Co)
  • Newlands (Green, Woodward and Gleadall)
  • Newmarket (JH Bircumshaw) Blackshale, Surveyor WF Howard A Inst CE
  • New Watnall (Barber, Walker and Co) 14th July
  • Oakwell (Ilkeston Colliery Co)
  • Old Birchwood (Butterley Iron Co)
  • Pollington, (Jas Oakes and Co) near Brinsley was sunk
  • Pool Works (E Ensor) Church Gresley (South Derbyshire)
  • Potsherd (Thomas Green) Burton
  • Ryefield (Bourne and Son)
  • Shady (Charles Seely and Co)
  • Shale Cross (Levi and Elijah Hall) New Mills
  • Silkstone (J and G Wells)
  • South Leicestershire Colliery – White pit began sinking in Jan to Roaster seam 8’ 0” (2.44m) thick at 806 feet (245.7m), total depth 849’ 10” (259m)
  • South Leicestershire No2 pit to Main coal 5’ 10” (1.78m) at 642’ 9” (196m) and sump at 883 feet (269m)
  • Snowdon Lane (Swift and Allen)
  • Speedwell (Leicestershire) (Whitwick Colliery Co)
  • Stanhope, Swadlincote (J and N Nadin) (South Derbyshire)
  • Temple Normanton mine, the two shafts were sunk 1876-1877 (Temple Normanton Colliery Co)
  • Thornsett Hey (Thomas Bennett) New Mills
  • Totley Moor (Hargate and Chadwick)
  • Tunnel (Jas Oakes and Co), Pyebridge
  • Tupton (Chesterfield and Boythorpe Colliery Co) Chesterfield
  • Woodfield (Church and Maples)
  • Whaley Bridge (Levi and Elijah Hall) White Ash mine 17th Mar 1876
  • Whaley Bridge Kiln Coal or Big Mine seam, in Sir E Buckley’s land, Jno L Strain, Buxton
  • Whaley Bridge lease to Buxton Lime Co
  • White pit sinking
  • Whitwick No6 1874-1876 (Whitwick Colliery Co)
  • Woodfield (J and N Nadin) (South Derbyshire) sinking resumed at New London (Digby Colliery Co) (Nottinghamshire) after ‘coffering back’ a heavy spring of water that had held up sinking for some time. The Deep Hard seam horizon was expected to be reached by Christmas 1876.

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Pit Terminology - Glossary