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Coal Mining
Mines of coal and other stratified minerals in Yorkshire from 1854

This database is a 'lite' version of one developed as a research tool for the NMRS by Mike Gill, its Recorder. The area covered is that of the three Ridings of pre-1974 Yorkshire. This means that mines around Todmorden, which is geologically part of the Lancashire coalfield, are included, as are the detached Ingleton coalfield and the various localised, non-Coal Measures coalfields in the Pennines.

The database is not an attempt to produce a history of Yorkshire's mines, but for the first time it establishes a chronology for its mines of coal, fireclay, ganister, ironstone, sand, sandstone and whinstone in the last 150 years. Earlier material will be added as it becomes available.

The following sources have been used: List of Mines, Mines Inspector's Reports, Guide to the Coalfields, Coal and the Coal News.

What became the annual List of Mines was first published in 1854, when it appeared as a List of Collieries in the Memoirs of the Geological Survey Mineral Statistics of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. This gave such basic information on each mine as its name, location and owner. Over the years other information was added, such as the name and certificate numbers of the manager and his assistants, numbers employed underground and at surface, and the type of mineral worked.

The last issue of the List of Mines was in 1950, when it was replaced by the Guide to the Coalfields. Giving similar information to the List, this new publication also had details of the regional and area structure of the nationalised coal industry, and had maps showing the location of each colliery. Both sources relied on the gathering of annual returns from mines and there is, therefore, a risk of under reporting, especially in a mine's first years. The Mines Inspectors, who received the returns, were well established by the 1870s and the problem of avoidance had been minimised. Both the List and the Guide were supposedly updated annually, but there are periods when data remains suspiciously similar or, with the List, a 'clean up' of data appears to have been done. Whilst the entries in the Guide to the Coalfield were updated annually to remove closed mines, its maps often remained unchanged for a number of years. It is, therefore, often possible to locate mines which had closed without using earlier issues.

After the coal mines were Nationalised on January 1st 1947, the industry began publishing an in-house magazine. The first of these was called Coal and it was replaced by the Coal News. Upon privatisation of the mines, in December 1994, Coal News became RJB NewScene and then UK Coal NewScene. These sources carried news of developments at collieries and often details of their closures.

The table is set out as follows:

Name - this column gives the mine's name, as given in the official listings. Older mines in particular may have had local names and these have been given in the Notes column where known. Where there are more than one mine with the same name, e.g. Barnsley Main, they have been designated (a), (b), (c) and so on.

Township/parish - this column gives the mine's location and, sometimes, its nearest large town.

From - this column gives the mine's earliest known date. This may be the date that it was sunk, or changed from an earlier name. For those mines whose dates start at 1854, their date of sinking is unknown.

To - this column gives the mine's last known date of working. This may be its last appearance in the List of Mines, the date at which the mine became disused, or its date of abandonment. These dates are often qualified in the Notes column.

Notes - this column contains information derived from inspection of the database and the other sources given above. Some of the comments define the date of closure which appears in the 'To' column. Confusion may arise of the precise dates of closure because smaller mines, in particular, were often subject to periods of closure before being reopened, either by the same or a new owner. The names of some mines were also changed, especially when the coal mines were nationalised in 1947.

A few mines are missing from the listing when they were 'working'. For example, Ackworth appears between 1907 and 1913, when it was being sunk, but it was used for man-riding and materials only by Ackton Hall Colliery until that mine closed in 1985.

If you can add further information, please contact the Recorder EMAIL


Mines of Coal and other Stratified Minerals in Yorkshire from 1854

Westmorland Collieries

Britain's Nationalised Coal Mines from 1947
This database is a 'lite' version of one developed as a research tool for the NMRS by Mike Gill, its Recorder. It is based on a National Coal Board Statistical Department listing of mines taken into state control on Vesting Day, January 1st 1947, and does not include the smaller mines of coal and/or clay which remained in private hands. Like the database of Mines of coal and other stratified minerals in Yorkshire from 1854, it seeks to establish a chronology, this time for the decline of the post-war coal industry.

The Coal Act, 1938 conveyed the fee simple in "all coal and mines of coal " to the Coal Commission which thereby acquired the freehold in the coal and shafts from January 1st 1939. The activity of mining coal and selling it remained with the private enterprise coal mining industry until January 1st 1947. Apart from a few areas of thin coal seams, associated with workable deposits of fireclay or ganister, which were sold back to their original owners and became known as 'alienated coal', "all coal and mines of coal " are now the responsibility of the Coal Authority (see below). Most of the alienated coal in Yorkshire is on the western edge of the exposed coalfield, around Bradford and Halifax.

The National Coal Board began trading under the name British Coal on April 28th 1986. It remained as the NCB for legal purposed until the Government was able to change the name by legislation. This appears to have been done in Coal Industry Act, 1987. British Coal's remaining mines were transferred to the private sector on December 30th 1994.

The table is set out as follows:

Name - this column gives the mine's name, but, please note that some collieries changed their names soon after nationalisation.

Town - this column gives the nearest town or large village.

County - this column gives the pre-1974 county in which the mine was located.

Closed - these two columns give the month and year when the mine closed. If the year is enclosed in brackets, this denote the year in which that mine was merged with another (see comments column) as part of the NCB's programme of rationalising its reserves and resources.

Comments - this column gives the date of sinking and/or a more precise date of closure, where known. It also suggests alternative names and gives those mines with which an entry had been merged.

Sources used in compiling this list:-
National Coal Mining Museum for England, Caphouse Colliery, Wakefield. The library has a comprehensive collection of industry magazines (Coal, Coal News, RJB NewScene and NewScene) from 1947 onwards. It also has the annual Guide to the Coalfields.
Durham Collieries Database on the Durham Record Office website (www.durham.gov.uk/RecordOffice).
Durham Mining Museum (www.dmm.org.uk). This is a very useful webside dedicated to collieries in Durham, Northumberland and Cumberland.
Hill, A. The South Yorkshire Coalfield: A History and Development (Stroud: Tempus, 2001).
Jackson, C. A to Z of Colliery Names (Alfreton: the author, 2002).
Owen, D. South Wales Collieries Vol.3 (Stroud: Tempus, 2002).
Keith Ramsay (pers comm.) for the Somerset coalfield.

If you can add further information, please contact the Recorder EMAIL