Beginning in 1837 Mr Fitzgerald sank two 8ft. diameter shafts to reach the Rams Mine at 525 yards, very deep indeed for those days. Shaft linings were brick except for 40 to 50 yards in each where tubbing was inserted to hold back water encountered when passing through old Worsley Four Foot workings. This coal had been previously worked from ‘basket pits’ 250 yards west of the new sinking.

Production had reached 1,000 tons per day by 1843 when the tubbing in the shafts burst and the colliery was flooded out. New tubbing was put in and large pumping engines erected which enabled production to restart in 1846. The financial burden was however too much for Mr Fitzgerald and the colliery was abandoned in 1848.

Andrew Knowles purchased the moribund colliery in 1852 and took immediate steps to restart it. A new winding engine was erected by J. Musgrave of Bolton, having a vertical cylinder 42in x 60in and two flat-rope reels 11ft 6in diameter when bare. The engine was positioned between the shafts winding one cage in each.

The troubles of the colliery were not over for by 1860 the tubbing in No.2 Pit, the upcast, had become very badly corroded from the gases of the ventilation furnace. A lining of sheet lead was put in to cover the tubbing in an attempt to save it but it was too late and new tubbing had to be put in during 1872 over a length of 162 yards. This reduced the effective diameter of the shaft to 7ft 3in.

Until the early 1890s all power both at surface and underground was supplied by steam, three underground Lancashire boilers supplying the underground plant. In 1891 five new 8ft x 30ft. Lancashire boilers having 80psi working pressure were installed. A further four boilers were added in 1894 and in 1905 another five boilers working at 100psi were installed, complete with a set of economisers.

The ventilation furnace was replaced in 1893 by a Walker ‘Indestructible’ fan 18 feet diameter and capable of circulating 70,000 cubic feet per minute at 5.5 inches water gauge when running at 180rpm. It was driven by a single cylinder engine, 18in x 36in which exhausted to a condenser. At the same time, Walker Bros. erected a twin cylinder horizontal air compressor with 38in x 72in steam cylinders and single stage air cylinders 40in x 72in delivering air at 45psi. Exhaust steam passed to a condenser fitted with a duplex independent air pump with steam cylinders 12in bore. The air pump was 18 inches diameter by 30 inches stroke. In 1900 the left hand side of the air pump engine was removed and the installation modified to become a single engine unit. The removed part was taken to Agecroft Colliery and fitted up there as a complete single engine air pump unit. A second compressor was installed by Walker Bros. in 1905, this having two-stage air cylinders 31in and 51in bore and steam cylinders arranged as cross-compound, 28in and 52in bore and 60in stroke. Both of the steam cylinders were fitted with Corliss valves and Dobson’s trip gear and air was delivered at 75psi.

Two new shafts 16ft diameter were started in 1891 as demanded by the terms of the mineral lease. These were intended to win the Trencherbone Mine at a depth of about 900 yards. By 1892 the shafts had been sunk 40 yards where broken ground indicating old workings was encountered and water poured into the shafts. Pumping removed the water but did not lessen the flow and soon a large area of land surrounding the colliery began to subside as water was removed from the old workings. It was at this stage that the sinking had to be abandoned.

In 1894 alterations were made to the winding arrangements. The No.2 Pit and the winding engine were modified to wind two cages in that shaft only. Similarly No.1 Pit was altered, to accommodate two cages and a separate winding engine was erected. The engine was a vertical from one of the company’s Radcliffe pits and had been built by J. Musgrave in 1877 or 1879. The cylinders were 32in x 72in and the winding drum was 20 feet diameter.

At a later date, as yet undiscovered but prior to 1910, further alterations were made at No.2 Pit. The old Musgrave single-cylinder vertical engine was taken out of service and replaced by a horizontal winding engine.

The colliery became well known for the depth of the workings. The Rams Mine was being worked at 1200 yards below the surface in the early 20th century and was even mentioned in American publications on this account. In 1925 a ‘crump’ or sudden bursting up of the floor, took place in a section of the Rams workings, causing the deaths of five miners.

In 1929 the colliery became part of the Manchester Collieries organisation and following this a number of improvements were carried out. A new steel headgear was erected at No.1 Pit in 1931 and a dry cleaning plant for coal slack was installed in 1936. The ventilating fan was converted to electric drive, a 140hp. AC electric motor being fitted.

Coal output was despatched entirely by road and canal in the earlier years of working. A loading basin off the Manchester, Bolton & Bury Canal ran straight into the colliery adjacent to the pit banks. There was also a great demand for Rams coal for domestic use in this thickly populated area, and this could be despatched by horse and cart direct from the colliery yard to the customer. Pendleton Colliery never had a rail connection but in the 1890s arrangements were made with a factory on the opposite side of the MB&B canal for the use of two of their sidings. An overhead gantry carried tubs over the canal to the wagon loading point at the sidings.

After a long history of coal production, during much of which it was renowned for its deep workings, narrow shafts and high underground temperatures, Pendleton Colliery closed in April 1939 with the exhaustion of available reserves in the Rams Mine.


Ten Inch Coal 372 4
Worsley Four Feet Mine 377 6
Coal 1095 9
Bin Mine 1264 11
Albert or Shuttle Mine 1346 3
Crumbouke Mine 1400 3
Rams Mine 1529 6
Shaft Bottom 1576 6
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