Lea Green Colliery Used with kind permission of Stephen Wainwright James Radley

Lea Green Colliery
Used with kind permission of Stephen Wainwright

The Hulton Colliery Co. Ltd began sinking this colliery in 1913 and worked it until it was Nationalised in 1947. It was linked to the railway network by a mineral branch, which had earlier served Whiston and Halsnead collieries. This joined the LMS railway near the Huyton Quarry Junction with the LMSR’s Huyton & St Helens Line. The coal winding shaft was completed to a depth of 475 metres in 1916 and intersected the Plodder, Wigan Four Feet, Lower Florida, Pigeon House and Rushy Park Seams, which were all worked.

An explosion in the Pasture, or Crombouke, seam on December 11th 1917 killed eight men. The seam, which was reached by means of rise tunnels from the Florida Seam, had opened for about nine months. It was being developed on the bord and pillar system, but at the time of the accident there were only three stalls, and only them was being worked. The ventilation was adequate, with 5,400 cubic feet per minute flowing. The stalls were 15 yards wide, packed solid against the coal on the dip side and had an air road left against the coal on the rise side. There was 12 to 15 yards of solid coal between the stalls which were driven for 25 yards. The holing in stalls 301 and 302 was done by coal cutting machines worked by compressed air. The explosion occurred at the face of stall 301 where two Monobel No.1 shots were fired in the coal by an electric battery.

After the explosion, it was found that a seam, nine feet thick, existed seven and a half feet above the Pasture Seam. This seam was not encountered during the sinkings owing to the ground being faulted. The ground between the seams consisted of clod and thin bands of coal which sagged down considerably on the roads and at the faces of the stalls. The top seam no doubt gave off a large amount of gas which collected in the space between the seams. A large fall of ground appeared to have happened immediately before two shots were fire, and they ignited the gas released.

In 1966 Cronton pioneered the use of retreat mining, a technique which was widely used on the continent, at a British Colliery. This doubled the colliery’s production. This involved driving parallel roadways to the proposed extent of working, and then the face was driven between them. Coal was then worked coming outbye, as opposed to going inbye which was normal. While this system involved major expenditure in driving the gates before any coal was removed, it had the advantage of identifying unexpected faults, seam thinning etc. It also removed the need for ripping, and left the goaf behind, reducing the risk of heatings. Cronton is thought to be the first British colliery to adopt full retreat mining.

During its life, the following seams were worked:-
Lea Green Nos 1 & 2

1905-1925 Four Feet
1905-1920 Ravenhead
1905-1950 Main Delf
1910-1940 Potato Delf
1930-1950 St Helens Four Feet
1935 Pigeon House
1940 Yard
1947-1950 Earthy Delf
1952 Higher Florida
1952 Lower Florida
1952-1955 Wigan Five Feet
1952-1961 Plodder
1952-1961 Arley
1952-1964 Trencherbone

Lea Green, King

1905-1920 King
1905-1925 Sir John
1905-1950 Little Delf
1920-1925 1947-1950 Queen
1920-1950 Rushy Park
1950 Haigh Yard
Lea Green, Queen
1905-1950 Queen
1905-1925, 1935-1940, 1950 Sir John
1905-1940, 1950 Ravenhead Higher Delf
1915, 1920-1950 Ravenhead Main Delf
1920-1930, 1940-1950 Bastian
1935 Rushy Park

The ‘old pit’ at Lea Green was nearing exhaustion in the 1950s and was used for training miners. The rest of Lea Green closed in August 1964, when 338 men worked underground, and 174 on the surface.

A list of accidents and incidents that occurred at Lea Green Colliery.

Further information:

  • NMRS Records, Gazetteer of British Collieries.
  • National Archives: BT31/15084/31838 (1890) Sutton Heath & Lea Green Collieries Co. Ltd
  • National Archives: BT31/38359/166666 (1920) Sutton Heath & Lea Green Collieries Ltd
  • Sutton Beauty & Hertiage website (May 2015)
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