) It is not known when the Wood Pit was sunk, but it is not on the 1849 Ordnance Survey map, and it was clearly well developed by the time of the explosion in 1878. It was worked by Richard Evans & Co. and in its early years was probably included with that company’s Haydock colliery. It was on the Haydock Colliery Railway which linked it to the L&NWR Liverpool & Manchester Line and the L&NWR Blackbrook Branch.
On June 7th 1878 the barometer was falling, which was always a time when extra care should have been taken because of gas being drawn into the workings from the goafs and surrounding strata. The colliery was then working the Upper Florida Mine, which had a 1 in 5 dip. The workings were reached by a 185 metre long road cut though the Red Rock Fault, which had a down-throw of about 15 metres. The Lower Florida Mine was also being worked, but on the other side of the pit.
At a little after eleven o’clock in the morning, plumes of dust and smoke emerged from both the upcast and the downcast shafts. There had been an underground explosion. John Turton, the manager, immediately descended the pit and began restoring the ventilation in order to disperse accumulations of methane and afterdamp from the explosion.
Because of the methane, the furnace had to be extinguished, and so it became necessary to put steam jets in the upcast shaft in order to induce an air current. This allowed men to continue repairing the ventilation system and recover bodies. Brick stoppings were also built to close off other workings and thereby increase the ventilation going to the area of the explosion.
When all 189 bodies had been recovered, the workings were sealed.
From 1896 to 1946 Wood Pit went under the name Newton, with work concentrated in the Lower and Higher Florida Mines. By 1925 the latter had closed and the Potato Delf, or Crombouke, was being worked instead. The Higher Florida was reopened during World War II, while the Yard and Ravenhead Main Delf were worked for the first time.
Under the NCB, Newton returned to its original name. No evidence has been found of major modernisation schemes at Wood. For example, there was never a pithead baths at Wood, and its miners were bussed to the nearby Old Boston colliery, which was then a Training Centre.
A widely held belief was that Wood was kept open to provide a workforce for the NCB new Parkside Colliery which began producing coal in 1965 and had a steadily growing workforce. Whatever the reason, Wood closed in May 1971.
|1905-1920, 1940-1955, 1967-1971
|1905-1925, 1935-1965, 1967-1971
|1925, 1940, 1950
|Potato Delf or Crombouke
|Ravenhead Main Delf
|Ince Seven Feet
|Wigan Nine Feet
|Ince Six Feet
|Wigan Five Feet
|Wigan Four Feet
|Ince Seven Feet