Hemsworth or Fitzwilliam Colliery and Kinsley Drift

Hemsworth Colliery
Copyright / re-use statement: wakefield.gov.uk

Fitzwilliam Main was sunk to the Shafton Seam by J.R. Fosdick between 1876 and 1880. From 1888 onwards it appears in the annual list of collieries as Hemsworth Colliery. In 1897 it was deepened to the Haigh Moor Seam, and from 1899 the Barnsley Seam was worked. It worked as an independent colliery until early spring of 1967 when it was linked underground to South Kirkby Colliery, which wound Hemsworth’s coal. The two collieries were officially merged in July 1967. I suspect that at or soon after the latter date the pit top at Hemsworth was closed, because around 1970 I remember seeing it from the Wakefield – Doncaster road and thinking it looked derelict.

Between September 1976 and 1978 the Kinsley Drift mine was driven from the old Hemsworth pit yard, the old buildings having been cleared. It was designed as a short-life, high productivity mine to work the Shafton and Sharlston Yard Seams. Kinsley closed because it was uneconomic in July 1986.

In 1879, just a year after the colliery opened, there was an explosion caused by naked flames being used for lighting. It is thought that a fall released a pocket of gas. Five colliers lost their lives. The full report can be found here.


1876-1881 J.R. Fosdick
1882-1887 Fitzwilliam, Hemsworth Colliery Co.
1888-1894 Fitzwilliam, Hemsworth Coal Co.
1896-1897 Hemsworth Coal Co.
1899 New Hemsworth Coal Co.
1901-1903 New Hemsworth Colliery Co. Ltd
1904-1905 Fitzwilliam Hemsworth Collieries Ltd
1907-1946 South Kirkby, Featherstone & Hemsworth Collieries Ltd
1947-1967 National Coal Board


Shafton 1880-1924, 1947
Barnsley 1899-1966
Haigh Moor 1897-1950, 1966
Top Haigh Moor 1951-1963
Low Haigh Moor 1951-1961
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