Snowdown Colliery Used with kind permission of Bjorn Rantil

Snowdown Colliery
Used with kind permission of Bjorn Rantil

Sinking of the No 1 shaft at Snowdown Colliery began in 1908, but tragically sudden water ingress at 260 feet (80m) drowned 22 men and the shaft was abandoned. A second shaft was successfully sunk and in November 1912 the first coal was raised from a seam at 1370 feet; the first coal produced in Kent. A few months later the 5 foot 6 inch (1.67m) Beresford Seam was reached at about 1500 feet (457m). Ultimately No 2 shaft reached a depth of 3083 feet (940m) and No 3 shaft 2994 feet (914m)

A strike at the pit in 1921 forced the company into receivership and the colliery closed a year later; pumping was maintained to keep it a viable mine. In 1924 Pearson & Dorman Long, who was commencing the sinking of Betteshanger, bought the mine and immediately set about a modernization program. They installed an electric winder to replace the old steam one, bought land and built Ayleshan village to house the miners and their families.

A couple of years prior to nationalization in 1947 the colliery employed over 1800 men. The National Coal Board continued working the colliery until closure in 1987, coaling having ceased the previous year.

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