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Trowell Colliery


Trowell Colliery, (1881-1928). A railway line was opened from Nottingham to Trowell in 1875, and the full coal trucks on the left are just leaving the pit. Trowell Field, an earlier Trowell pit was, in 1773, one of the first in the area to use a steam engine for pumping instead of soughs (drainage channels).

Trowell Moor was near Stanton Gate and owned by Dunn Brothers of Trowell, Nottighamshire. In 1896 Enock Prime was the manager and James Kirk the under manager. They employed 275 men underground and 52 on the surface.

The question was posed “Was Trowell Field on the same site as the later pit?”

I believe these were entirely separate entities.  On the Sanderson Survey of 1835, the site of Trowell Moor Colliery was purely undisturbed agricultural fields; and if your information of a steam pumping engine being active at Trowell Field in 1773 is correct, it wasn’t, and hadn’t been at this location.

The area between Trowell and Wollaton, including Cossall and Strelley to the North had been mined extensively for centuries via bell-pit and early deep-mines; Trowell Field doubtless lay somewhere in these confines, but I cannot say exactly where.

It was reported that in 1861, local coal owner Lord Middleton was mining at the “Old Engine” pit in the area, suggesting that a former pumping location, perhaps Trowell Field, was now being used for coaling.  Also, the Sanderson Survey shows a working engine (current GR 491 429) approximately three miles North of the site of the later Trowell Moor Colliery, although past opencast mining has most likely put pay to any hope of discovering remains at this location.

Trowell Moor Colliery is recorded as active (coaling) between 1881 and 1928, and was owned by the Cossall Colliery Company Ltd.  The Ministry of Fuel and Power “List of Mines 1945” shows it operating as an electrically operated pumping facility for the same company, employing five surface and two underground staff.  The purpose was probably dewatering of Cossall and Oakwood Grange collieries to the North, and possibly control of mine-waters in the general area of Trowell Moor which had regularly been problematic over many centuries.  The facility was managed via the Cossall concern, with C. Houston being manager, and WW Bennett undermanger at this time.

By the time the 1961 “Colliery Guardian Guide to the Coalfields” was published, no mention of Trowell Moor Colliery exists.  I can remember the now landscaped and regarded spoil heap being in-situ in the 1970s.  Whilst this was relatively small, it is not necessarily an indication of the tonnage mined at such collieries, as at that time, and prior to mechanised faces, there were significant disincentives to bringing up too much waste or poor quality coals from the workings.

The colliery was linked by sidings from the Midland Railway’s Radford and Trowell Branch, which linked (and links) the Erewash Valley main line at Trowell to Nottingham via Wollaton.  The sidings followed a route adjacent to the current “Pit Lane”, and terminated just before what is now the B6003 Stapleford Road.
There is information on the internet that suggests that significant remains existed until well into the 1960s; it probably wasn’t until after late 1966 when Cossall Colliery closed that the place was abandoned as a mining-related facility.  It is also suggested that Stanton Ironworks was dumping slurry wastes into the void on the top of the spoil heap; this void was probably the water settling lagoon, or lagoons, provided for the previous pumping operations.  These slurries were described as “grey and stinking”, but “good to slide upon”.  Rather the author than me.  Around this period, Stanton was dumping similar slurries into the old clay pits at Ilkeston’s Oakwell Brickworks off Derby Road.  A young lad was sucked-in and suffocated whilst playing there, as was his would-be rescuer.   I believe that this was in the 1950s.  In the 1980s, a housing development had to be abandoned on the same site due to the toxicity of the waste dumped there.  A major decontamination exercise ensued, but no houses (or anything else) have been built on this huge abandoned site since; question is therefore, what lies beneath Trowell Moor’s landscaped spoil heap, and to where is the pollution migrating?
Trowell Moor Colliery marked what was close to the Southern limit of the Notts, Derbys, and South Yorkshire coalfield.  It was known to have extensively worked the “Ashgate” and “Mickley” leaves of the Ashgate series coals, although these were not of great thickness in the shaft itself.  Typically the colliery appeared to exploit the prized Kilburn seam, but also plumbed much greater depths, although whether these inferior coals were worked is questionable.  The later conversion to a pumping shaft may suggest that keeping the deeper seams dry and workable was uneconomical or impractical.

The downcast (East) shaft, which is pictured on the website, was located just beyond the current car park at the end of Pit Lane, roughly between the two recently planted copses (GR 4932 3908).  The 1881 survey of this shaft shows it descending from a datum of 178ft to a total depth of 1064ft, and passing through 13 coal seams.  The Low Main coal is reached at 26.5ft with a thickness of 26”, the Kilburn at 585ft with a thickness of 57”, and the Alton coal at 1059ft being 32” thick.  Norton and Forty Yard coals were intercepted between Kilburn and Alton seams.  The coals much favoured by earlier sinkings to the North i.e. the Deep Soft and Deep Hard sequence do not exist at the location, and that is probably why Trowell Moor Colliery was a relative latecomer.

Furthermore, an underground borehole was sunk from the Kilburn workings at GR 4942 3962, virtually underneath Trowell Hall.  This extended a further 898ft below the Kilburn coals and into the pre-coal measures geological sequence at almost 1500ft below surface.  At this location, the deepest of the locally known coal seams, the Belperlawn, was intercepted at 1253ft and being 14” in thickness.

As previously stated, it is doubtful if anything deeper than the Kilburn was commercially extracted at Trowell Moor Colliery, and as time went on, it would have been clear that the reserves investigated above, if to be exploited at all, would have been more viable from bigger operations such as Cossall Colliery.

I note the website states the owners as the Dunn brothers of Trowell; I can only think that they sold out or were taken over by the Cossall Colliery Company Ltd. prior to 1945.

This may have happened when coaling ceased at Trowell Moor to protect Cossall's active workings and/or reserves.



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