This was the largest and longest lived of the Tyldesley Coal Company collieries, having a working life which spanned some 90 years. Originally there were two shafts which were sunk to win the Six Feet or Rams Mine and the Seven Feet or Black & White Mine. The Rams Mine was reached at 115 yards and the Seven Feet at 220 yards from the surface. The Crumbouke Mine was intersected at a depth of 71 yards. Both of the shafts were 13 feet diameter. By 1890, the Crumbouke Mine was virtually exhausted and the Rams had also been very extensively worked. To reach new reserves, No.2 shaft, the upcast, was deepened to the Trencherbone Mine at 394 yards. A completely new shaft (No.3), 14 feet diameter, was also sunk over the period 1890 to 1892 to reach the Trencherbone. The Trencherbone yielded 3ft 1in of excellent coal. The new sinkings passed through the Doe Mine at 307 yards and the Five Quarters at 331 yards. Both of these seams were only two feet thick, included several shale bands and the coal itself was poor.
In the mid-1890s, the Seven Feet and Rams Mines were being worked from No.1 pit, with the Trencherbone being worked and opened out from the new No.3 pit. The upcast (No.2) shaft was used solely for ventilation by furnace. At No.1 pit a twin cylinder horizontal winding engine, 20in x 48in, with slide valves was in use. This was fitted with a stepped winding drum, one side being 12 feet diameter and the other 8ft 4in diameter. The larger side of the drum wound from the Seven Feet and the smaller side from the Rams. Two single deck cages were provided each carrying two six and a half hundredweight capacity tubs. The winding ropes were of steel wire and were fitted with Ormerod detaching hooks. Two iron wire rope conductors guided each cage and were weighted three tons at the bottom.
At No.3 pit, coal was wound from 398 yards, with single deck cages, each carrying two tubs. Two pitch pine conductors were provided to guide each cage. The winding engine was a twin cylinder horizontal, 26in x 60in, with slide valves and a parallel winding drum 14ft 10in, diameter. The headgear was of angle iron construction. Water was wound at night from the shaft bottom. An 11 inch ram pump was located at the Seven Feet Mine, operated by a 43in x 8ft Bull-type engine. This normally worked 10 hours per day at four strokes per minute, raising approximately 131 gallons. Seven strokes per minute could be worked if required, increasing the discharge to 230 gallons per minute.
The up cast (No.2) furnace shaft, was not in general use for winding and a single cylinder horizontal winding engine 20in x 54in, was provided here.
Underground, compressed air operated haulage engines were in use for haulage on the down-brows, on the single direct rope system. Two engines were installed in the Rams, two in the Seven Feet and one in the Trencherbone. A compressed air driven pump with six inch air cylinders also operated in the Seven Feet seam. Compressed air was supplied from the surface at 60psi by a single cylinder compressor, 25in x 54in, in tandem with a steam cylinder of the same dimensions. This air-compressing engine was fitted with a 16 feet diameter flywheel. Steam was provided for the surface plant by four Lancashire boilers, 7ft x 30ft, working at 60psi.
Preparation of coal for sale was quite extensive. Two sets of rocking bar screens were provided, the coal which passed over the screens being discharged on to woven wire picking belts, 30 feet long, from which the cleaned coal passed into railway wagons. Coal passing through the screens fell on to a woven wire conveyor belt which fed a conical revolving riddle. This separated the coal into three grades, cobbles, nuts and slack. Each grade was discharged on to a picking belt 35 feet long, a canvas belt for the slack and woven wire belts for the other two grades. From the picking belts, the clean coal dropped in to railway wagons. The whole of the screening plant was driven by an eight inch single cylinder engine.
During the first decade of the 20th century, Cleworth Hall Colliery was further developed, with No.3 pit being deepened to reach the Arley Mine at 1989 feet. As part of this development a new steel headgear was erected, this being manufactured by the Lilleshall Company of Oakengates, Shropshire. A coal washing plant was also subsequently built.
Immediately prior to Nationalisation of the coal industry, Cleworth Hall was working the ‘Three Foot’, ‘Four Foot’, Arley, Plodder and ‘New Yard’ seams, the output being described as gas, house and steam coals. Underground personnel numbered 705 and 222 were employed at the surface. Electrical power was taken at 440 volts AC.
Under National Coal Board auspices, the Plodder seam was mechanised using cutter-loader machines of the flight loader type running on armoured scraper chain conveyers. The longwall coal faces were relatively short, about 80 yards, but the whole scheme was nonetheless successful. Pit-head baths were also erected in the mid-1950s, this being the only colliery in the coalfield to be without this facility until this late date.
The colliery company appears to have shunned publicity, and references to their activities in the technical mining press were minimal. The extent of working, however, was very apparent by the very large dirt tip, which caught fire due to spontaneous combustion and burnt for years. Following from the expansion of Cleworth Hall before World War I, a new sinking was commenced in 1915 near Bank House, about three quarters of a mile north-west of Cleworth Hall Colliery. This sinking reached the Bin Mine at approximately 194 feet from the surface, but the project was abandoned in 1922.Return to previous page