Information and photographs submitted by subscribers are posted in good faith. If any copyright of anyone else's material is unintentionally breached, please email me

The Continued Rise Of The Industry
To 1913



Underground Furnace Extinguished At Silver Hill

The underground furnace at Silver Hill (Nottinghamshire) was extinguished in 1891 and a surface mine fan put to work.
At the time of sinking in 1878 a suitable electric fan had not been available. The Low Main seam was developed and would begin producing in 1894 to supplement output from the Silkstone seam.

At the 3 pits owned by Stanton Ironworks, Silver Hill, Teversall and Pleasley the annual output was around 700,000 tons produced by 1,700 men and boys and 150 horses. Production was expected to increase to over 1 million tons. The company had built 102 houses for workmen at Pleasley as well as schools and workmen’s’ club and at Stanton 280 cottages, a large school and a workmen’s’ club for the men at Teversall and Silver Hill collieries. The gas works supplied Teversall and Silver Hill collieries and the houses with gas. The brickworks supplied up to 30,000 hand-made bricks per week.

Ventilation Fans

At Hucknall Torkard No1 pit (Nottinghamshire) the ventilation from the surface Guibal fan proved to be inadequate. It was decided to install an underground fan in the return airway. This was a Walker ‘Indestructible’, 15 feet (4.57m) dia, 4 feet (1.22m) wide fan powered by a pair of 23” (0.58m) dia x 36” (0.91m) stroke engines. The rope drive geared the fan up in the ratio of 3.75:1. By May 1891 the fan was operational and successful in increasing the airflow around the workings in the quantities needed.

A Cappell fan 15’ 0” dia x 5’ 6” wide (4.57m x 1.68m) was installed at Digby (Nottinghamshire) and an identical one installed at Oakwell (Derbyshire) . A Guibal fan 30’ 0” x 10’ 0” (9.14m x 3.05m) was installed at Whitwick (Leicestershire) in 1890, Renishaw Park (North Derbyshire) and at Desford (Leicestershire) in 1892. A Cappell fan was installed at New Hucknall (Nottinghamshire), another at Riddings (Derbyshire) in the following year 1892.

Influx Of Water

There was a large influx of water at Bretby Middle Place (Earl of Carnarvon) (South Derbyshire) from the New Red Sandstone measures above the Nether seam 7’ 6” thick (2.29m). Several shafts and adits were used to work the mine. The mine had been stood from 1876-1888 over an encroachment problem.

Manor (or Wingfield) Colliery For Sale

An advertisement stated that: On Monday 27th July 1891 Manor colliery or Wingfield situate at Oakerthorpe, within half-a-mile of Alfreton and about 200 yards (183m) of the Old North Pit Terminus, on the Midland Railway (a wayleave has been acquired on very easy terms to the North Pit Terminus). The coal face known as the Waterloo seam, now being worked, is a gas coal in great demand, and one of the best in Derbyshire. The seam is 4’ 6” (1.37m) thick of which 18” (0.46m) is of superior cannel, and Stretton pit about 400 yards (366m) from Stretton Station, Midland Railway, near Clay Cross were for sale by auction at 3pm for 4pm precisely at the Midland Hotel Derby by Morris and Place on behalf of the Manor Colliery Co Ltd. A complete inventory as at 23rd June 1891, of every fixed and loose item on the surface and underground for each pit was supplied complete with plan of workings and lease area and wayleaves. They were advertised as valuable Derbyshire coal mines to Colliery Proprietors, promoters, capitalists and others. Both were advertised as going concerns, however the Waterloo seam at Manor was stopped on 10th June as unprofitable! The plans and particulars may be had of the Auctioneers, 27 Bridlesmith Gate, Nottingham, of Mr Samuel Greenhalgh, Accountant, Acresfield, Bolton, or of Messrs Balshaw and Hodgkinson, Solicitors, 22 Acresfield, Bolton.

The total output of the 2 pits is estimated at about 900 tons per week when in full work, which might be increased. A large Land Sale might be cultivated. The rents per working acre and wayleave charges will be given in the conditions of sale, and are exceptionally moderate.

The very detailed inventories of 187 types at Manor colliery: -

  • Engine department: pair of winding engines with drum and rope complete, a hauling engine, a horizontal single flue and a vertical flu boiler, electric engine, electric pump, Donkey pump, Tangye principle pump, a steam hauling engine with 290 yards of ¾” wire rope, hand pump, barometer, 18 tons of pit rails or thereabouts in or about the pit, 65 pit trams in working condition, 28 trams in disrepair, tram couplings, tram wheels, one small fan, 2 sinking hoppets, sinking wallow, one cart weighing machine 5 tons, one bank weighing machine 30 cwts and one at 1 ton, 150 tram boards, 6 tram soles, 40 tram spendings, 2 Foreign (fore) poles 18 ft (5.5m) long, battens, saw bench, 88 pit sleepers (3’ 0”), boards, 8 battens 7” x 2½” (14 feet long), 7 square shovels, 8 coal screen forks, 117 pit lids, 140 pit sprags 1’ 9” (0.53m), old wire rope, old winding cage, 18 bank iron plates, 1 Larch Balk 24 ft x 7”, one old crab, 2 pitch pine pieces 2’ 7” x 8” sq, 11 pieces of steam pipe, one 33-stave ladder, 2 joiners’ stools, 1 saw bench, one injector for Boiler feeding, 3lb horse nails, 3 empty oil casks, I roll of brattice cloth, hatchet, chisels, clevey, anvil, Hurricane lamp, piece of India rubber 2’ 6” (0.76m) square, ½ cask engine oil, one cask tram oil, ½ cask Engine tallow, 100 sets of tram wheels Smith’s shop: 4 new tram frames, 100 tram pedestals, 7 sets tram irons, 90 sets tram corner plates, various bundles of iron bars, angle iron, two 6 feet coupling chains, one steam stop valve, 23 pair tongs, pair of clams, one hand hammer, 3 striking hammers, 8lbs, 10lbs and 14lbs, one anvil, one flatter, one set hammer, 2 fullers, 15 swages ** , 3 punches, 2 sates, 61 drifts, 3 coupling tools, one clevey, one old desk, one pair bellows, one vice, one old valve, one spur wheel, one feed valve, one check valve, 2 brass taps, 25 tram couplings.
    ** Swages were originally tools of the blacksmith trade, used for forming metal into various shapes which were too intricate to make with a hammer alone

  • Stores: 20 bores, blocks and rope 10 cwt, 1 cwt nuts and bolts, 2 auger bits, taps, 2 pair gas tongs, 6 spanners, 3 hard chisels, 2 old files, 2 spring hooks, one screw jack, 2 steam top valves, 11 rings ⅜’’ washers, 2 King’s patent detaching hooks and plates, one pinion wheel, 2½ cwt of bolts and nuts, 17 dee links, two 12 gallon oil cans, 1 cwt bolts and nuts, ¾ cwt bolts and nuts, 1 cwt nuts, ¼ cwt nuts, one hatchet, one brace and 2 bits, one ½” mesh riddle, 3 iron crow bars, ½ cwt road nails, one 12 ft girthing tape, one cross cut saw, 1 auger ⅞”, one hurricane lamp, one shoeing box, knife, rasp and pincers, 2 oil feeders and one oil bottle, 2 zinc buckets, 1 paraffin lamp and 2 glasses, one piece India rubber 2’ 6” sq, one ¾” and two 5/8” lashing chains, one piece of pitch pine 7 ft x 6”, 3 pit ponies and gears, 2 balls tar band.

  • Office Utensils etc: New lubricator, 2 circular saws, 2 new safety lamps, one brick hammer, one ambulance, 6 scaffold ropes, 500 tram motties, 4lb candles, 3½ sets bucket leathers, one 10” pulley, five 4” India rubber collars, one old steam gauge, 18 steam gauge glasses 18” x ½” and 8 steam gauge glasses 14” x ¾”, 3lbs horse nails, one old coal ledger, one new coal ledger, one Tradesman’s ledger, one stores ledger, one coal day book, one coal wagon delivery book, 2 invoice books, 2 pay books, one letter copying book with press well and brush, one colliery plant book, one Stallman’s' coal ledger, one land sale credit book, one railway rates book, one Workmen’s signature book, one Merchant’s ready reckoner, one Master’s ready reckoner, one Hoppus’s measure book, 3 foolscap memorandum books, 3 small memorandum books, one double ink stand, one roller, one box pens, one box paper fasteners, 7 penholders, one ball twine, 50 small envelopes, 6 large envelopes, 30 bill heads, 200 weighing machine sheets, 100 daily return sheets, 100 ruled foolscap, 7 bill files, one new Land sale ticket book, one new Land sale ticket book part used, 1 India rubber stamp, 7 packets headed notepaper, one bottle of gum, 3 Megson’s Manifold copying books, ½ sheet of carbon paper, 150 coal advice notes, 4 plans, 100 pay tickets, one bottle black ink, one desk, one cupboard, 5 sheets of blotting paper.

  • Sundries: Lime 2 tons 15 cwts, sand 3 tons 15 cwts, red lead 30lbs, white lead 14lbs.
    146 items were similarly listed for the plant at Stretton pit as at 20th June 1891 to be auctioned at the same time,
    The notable differences being: -
    One trap and harness, lamps and whip, 2 plum bob staffs, one portable hauling engine, 2 tippler coal screens, 13 hand coal screens, one horse collar, 4 Clanney safety lamps, one wheelbarrow, 4 plain rope rollers, 2 engine road drags, 12 wooden wedges, one wrought-iron fire-hole door, 2 wagon dogs, bell wire, 11 chain dogs, ¾lb asbestos packing, one lb chalk packing, 3 piston rings, 2 drawer locks and keys, ¼lb lamp wick, 500 motters (motties), 5 lamp brushes.

  • Ambulance appliances: one stretcher, 12 splints, 12 bandages
  • Stationery and Office: 924 advice notes, wire nails, one stove and piping for office, one ringer, one hand lamp, 8 safety lamps, 7 shovels and 2 rakes.

It would appear that nothing was to be thrown away if it had a commercial value.


Principal Secretary of State Henry Matthews QC MP 1891.

Barber Walker Co

General Manager of Barber Walker Co, Robert Harrison died, having worked for the firm over 40 years. Edward Linley became General Manager, and for the first time the output for the company’s pits exceeded one million tons. Using fairly antiquated methods of production by hand holing and filling out into trams on the faces and pony haulage for the districts this was quite a feat.


The Babbington Coal Co employed around 2,000 men and boys in 1891.

Major Strike at Kirkby

There was a major strike at Kirkby Summit beginning in April 1891 where the colliers asked for the getting rate to be 2s 4d (app 11¾ p) a ton which was the rate of the pits round about. The Butterley Co would not negotiate and so the men came out on strike. The union paid strike pay of 8s (40p) for each man per week and 1s (5p) for each child under 12. Extra money was received from other collieries from voluntary subscriptions amounting to 3s per man per week. The Company offered 2s 1½d (app 10½p) a ton getting rate in May but this was refused and the strike carried on throughout the summer. Blacklegs were brought in but they were turned back by strike pickets. The men returned to work after 26 weeks out when the Company finally agreed to their demands.

Collieries Sunk in 1891

  • The Top Hard seam at Bolsover (Derbyshire) was reached at 365 yards (334m) in September and finished sinking to the sump in October 1891 (Bolsover Colliery Co)
  • Grasscroft Wood (Redhead and Sellars)
    Spinkhill Colliery Co was founded at Park Hill, Barlborough
  • Peacock (Peacock Colliery Co) Ilkeston
  • Stanley colliery was sunk to the Kilburn seam at 219 yards (200m) (Mapperley Colliery Co)
  • Staunton Harold (Staunton Colliery Co) sinking.
  • Bailey Brook UC shaft enlarged to 15ft dia (4.57m) in 9in (0.23m) brickwork and deepened, Deep Soft 3ft 6in (1.07m) at 108 yards (99m) and Deep Hard 3ft (0.91m) at 128 yards (117m), Butterley Iron and Coal Co.

Closures 1891

  • Bathurst Main (Lord Bathurst), (Battys Main) leased to William Arkwright, Sutton Scarsdale, Scarcliffe, Upper Silkstone coal 23” (0.59m) and fireclay 36” (0.91m), closed 15th Dec 1891, thinness of seam, 2 boreholes shown on plan, (however was not received by Arthur H Stokes Inspector until 28th Jan 1893)
  • Bathurst Main (Bathurst Main Colliery Co) old pit closed, Clown seam
  • Birchitt (Lucas and Son), Silkstone, 3’ 9” (1,14m) coal and dirt, drift 1in10 dip and shaft 8 yards (7.33m) deep, met old works, Thomas Henry May FSI Surveyor 1891
  • Boothorpe (Boothorpe Brick and Coal Co) 2 areas, shaft 23½ yards (21.5m) worked inbye to 1884 met old hollows, then on retreat to Nov 1891
  • Bretby No3 Nether seam, Dec 1891, influx of water from New Red Sandstone, William Johnson (695)
  • Broom Field near Unstone, (WG Jenkinson) Blackshale, Day level and shaft, Kilburn heads coal 1’ 10” (0.56m) and fire clay, finished Jan 1891, dip 1in10, Drawing shaft and engine house, 20 yards (18.25m), Air shaft.
  • Cowley New (Jackson and Cook) Mickley, 12/1891, Robert H Redhead (719) Surveyor.
  • Field House (...) Chesterfield
  • Granville (Granville Colliery Co Ltd), Stockings 5 feet (1.52m) thick at 334 yards 2 ft 4 in (306m) 367 yards (335.5m) to Eureka seam, Manager George S Bragge (683), abandoned Mar 1891, began 1891, Arthur H Stokes Inspector 3rd Mar 1894
  • Harrisons (Joseph Harrison), Lowgates, Staveley, Trial shaft to Top Hard and head driven in search of solid coal, but without success, the coal having been gotten before, with the exception of 8” (0.20m), apparently for roof support, operations ceased 1st Oct 1891, Undermanager and Surveyor William Harrison, (shaft filled up by May 1892, signed Arthur H Stokes (1505) Inspector)
  • Lodge No2 (owners Executors of late William Hall) 55 yards 2 ft 3 in (51m) to Dogtooth coal, start 1890, brights 6” (0.15m), hard (0.28m), brights 3” (0.08m), total 1’ 8” (0.51m), small working, unprofitable, abandoned Sep 1891, Arthur H Stokes Inspector 9th Feb 1894
  • Long Acre (Edward Lucas and Son) Dronfield Foundry, Derbyshire, 2 drifts, 1 Drawing shaft, met old workings all round, coal 3’ 0” (0.91m), dirt 7” (0.18m), coal 2’ 0” (0.61m), total 5‘ 0” (1.52m), sunk 1889, finished 15 Aug 1891, Thomas H May Surveyor
  • Manor (leased from CP Palmer Morewood and from RC Strelley) Surveyor John William Eardley (635), Alfreton, Waterloo seam, closed 21st May 1891
  • Ripley (Butterley Co) Ell and Black Rake ironstone, 25 Apr 1891, Frederick Channer Corfield (426) Agent
  • Shirland (Blackwell Colliery Co) DC shaft 157 yards 2 ft 4 in (144.25m), small area of Tupton Threequarter off drift down to Tupton abandoned 1st Nov 1891, unprofitable, plan signed by Arthur H Stokes Inspector 18th Nov 1891
  • Snowden Lane (Swift and Allen) Blackshale
  • Stretton (Stretton Colliery Co)
  • Turnoak (Walton Lane Footrill) (Samuel Lowe and Son), Potters, coal roof, top bed 1’ 6” (0.45m), holing dirt 10” (0.25m), bottom bed 1’ 10” (0.56m), bat 3” (0.07m), clunch, old workings met, drift and a shaft 7 yards (6.5m) deep, William Frederick Howard (1297) Surveyor
  • Unstone Main (Unstone Coal and Coke Co) Piper coal 10” (0.25m), dirt 8½” (0.21m), coal 1’ 6” (0.46m), clay 3” (0.08m), coal 1’ 5” (0.43m), dirt 1½” (0.04m), coal 3” (0.08m), total depth 26’ 7” (8.5m), 2 headings and cross cuts, faulted, dip 1in30, abandoned 2 Mar 1891, signed by Arthur H Stokes (1505) Inspector 25th Apr 1891 – one of first HMI hand stamps on a plan
  • Unstone Drift (Henry Rangeley) Silkstone stood
  • Wheeldon Mill (JW Hopkinson, Partner) Silkstone worked out Jan 1891, William Deakin Wadsworth Surveyor.


Swannington No2 pit (owners William Bench, James Wollatt and Daniel Wollatt), shaft 63 yards (57.5m) deep, Main coal 4’ 0” (1.22m) workings to south thirled into Old Snibston works, No1 pit 161 yards (147m) deep, George Lewis, Surveyor William Deakin Wadsworth 27 Jul 1891, magnetic meridian 7th May 1891.

First Mineral Train

The first mineral train run to Staveley on the Great Central Railway.

Auction Of Equipment

A further auction was held 14 Nov 1891 for equipment etc from the closed Stretton colliery. Offered for sale: Fixed and loose plant. Pair of marine engines with link motion, 12” cylinder with 24” stroke (0.30m x 0.61m), headstock and pulley wheels, egg ended boiler 27 feet x 4½ feet (8.23m x 1.37m) by Fletcher of Derby, haulage engine and boiler combined double cylinder (0.30m), 5½ feet (1.67m) flywheel, 4 feet (1.2m) dia drum by Hyde and Son, Nottingham.

Fatal Accidents 1891 included

  • Coleorton No3 (Bug & Wink)¬†Harold Fern (21) Pony driver, coupling tubs when the pony started and he was crushed between the tubs and roof
  • Staunton Harold¬†William Stenson (63) collier, fall of coal at the face 28 May 1891

Union Members To Wear Medals

As an attempt to induce non –unionists to become members medals were issued at some pits such as Annesley, Bestwood, Hucknall, Linby and Newstead (Nottinghamshire). From 1st January 1892 all union members were asked to wear these medals and at some pits union members would not ride the cage with men who were not wearing a medal.

Return to Top

Pit Terminology - Glossary