Bersham Colliery
2007 © Copyright Chris Allen and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

Located close to Rhostyllen and originally know as Glan-yr-afon Colliery when shaft sinking commenced in 1864. It was operated by Bersham Coal Company, but due to difficulties the shafts did not reach the main coal seams and work was stopped. In 1871 the pit was deepened by new owners and coal production started in 1874.

An explosion occurred during the night of August 3rd 1880 killing 8 men with a ninth dying of his injuries later. The full report can be found here.

By 1902 the original owners, the Barnes family from Liverpool, employed 675 men below ground and 94 more at the surface.

In February 1913 the engine-house was partially wrecked when the engine driver fell into a dead faint pulling over the lever as he fell backwards. This caused the cage to ascend past the normal landing stage and into the gearing above. A man examining the pit shaft at the time jumped clear but was badly injured. The roof of the engine-house was torn off from end to end and 900 men were thrown out of work.

In 1936 the colliery was taken over by Broughton & Plaspower Coal Company, who operated the mine up to 1947 just prior to Nationalisation the mine employed 600 men worked underground and a further 200 worked on the surface, seams worked at this time were The Main, Quaker and Two Yard Seams.

Fire destroyed the wooden headgear over the upcast shaft (No2) in 1937. Considerable damage was caused when the winding and guide ropes, severed by the heat, sent the cage crashing to the bottom. The headgear was replaced by one from the nearby Gatewen Colliery.

In 1933 the timber headstocks burned to the ground and a replacement was purchased from the nearby Gatewen Colliery at Broughton, Wrexham.

In 1946 the colliery employed 600 men underground and a further 200 on the surface, at this time production was from the Quaker, Two Yard. Main and Powell Seams. In 1957 the colliery employed 730 men underground and a further 180 on the surface, at this time production was from the Quaker, Two Yard and Main Seams.

Under the National Coal Board from 1947, a process of modernisation took place with the provision of new offices, canteen and pit head baths; completed in 1954, and by 1958 employment reached 1011. Around 100 ponies had been used underground for hauling coal tubs and these were retired during the modernisation, to be replaced by locomotives.

The colliery was closed in December 1986, with the loss of 480 jobs, due to “unfavourable economic conditions and loss of markets”, a common phrase used at the time for closing collieries.

The site was cleared soon after with the exception of the No.2 headstock and the engine house. Bersham Colliery Trust was formed to preserve the remains, but with a lack of local interest, this was short lived.

Other sites of interest:

The plans below have been prepared by Lee Reynolds and used here with his permission.

Composite plan of all seams

2 yard seam

Quaker seam

Queen seam

Main seam

Ruabon seam

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