Sinking of the 24 foot (7.3m) diameter shafts at Betteshanger colliery were commenced in 1924. Due to problems with water ingress (the shaft was flooded twice), it took three years to reach the coal; a cementation process was used to seal the shaft walls. No 1 shaft reached a depth of 2126 feet (648 m) and No 2, 2426 feet (739 m)
The colliery was owned by Pearson & Dorman Long Ltd, this was an amalgamation of Dorman Long & Co who wanted the coal for their steel making and Messrs. S. Pearson & Sons, originally builder and contactors. They also bought Snowdown colliery, which had been working coal since 1912.
The initial workforce of 1500 miners were not local men; they descended en masse with their families on the quiet seaside town of Deal. This caused a lot of resentment from the local people. By 1945 the workforce had grown to over 2000, with three-quarters of them working underground.
Betteshanger was a very militant pit and attracted a lot of hard line union men from others areas. The colliery was the last to return to work following the 1984-5 miners strike, and the last to work coal in Kent, closing in 1989.Return to previous page