Sinking at Denaby Main was begun by Waring & Co. in 1856, but appears to have been given up in 1860. It was resumed in 1864 when the Denaby Coal Co. took over. To counter heavy inflows of water the shafts were lined with tubbing to a depth of 64 metres, and then brick until the Barnsley seam was met at a depth of 409 metres.
Once the seam was proved the company restructured itself, becoming the Denaby Main Colliery Co. Ltd in 1868. Coke ovens were built at the pithead and the colliery was linked to the South Yorkshire Railway Co’s Doncaster and Goole Railway (later the G.C.R’s Barnsley to Barnetby line) and the South Yorkshire Junction Railway.
Denaby colliery’s take was effectively bounded with the Don Valley faults. These were near parallel, but about 2.7 km apart. Both threw the beds down to the south-east, the northern one by 36½ metres and the southern one by 116 metres. In 1889 the company sank Cadeby colliery to work the deeper coal. The company was then restructured to take account of its second colliery, becoming the Denaby & Cadeby Main Collieries Ltd in 1893.
In 1936 the company became part of Amalgamated Denaby Collieries, which included: Cadeby Main, Dinnington Main, Rossington Main and Strafford Main. It worked until nationalisation.
The Barnsley seam was worked throughout the colliery’s life, from 1865 to 1966. It was supplemented by faces in the Parkgate seam from 1912 to 1964. The Haigh Moor seam was first worked from 1941 to 1944, and again from 1955 to 1957. It was mined again, for the last time, from 1963 to 1967.
As part of the NCB’s rationalisation of the industry, Denaby had an underground link with Cadeby by 1956 and all coal then came to the surface at the latter. Further rationalisation followed the exhaustion of Denaby’s Barnsley seam reserves and in 1967 the two collieries became ‘Denaby – Cadeby’ and the two mines were merged on March 23rd 1968. Much of Denaby’s pit top was redundant, but its upcast shaft and winder served as an emergency means of egress for the combined workings.
- National Archives: BT31/1393/3927 (1868) – Denaby Main Colliery Co. Ltd
- National Archives: BT31/31319/3939 (1893) – Denaby & Cadeby Main Collieries Ltd
- NMRS Records, Gazetteer of British Collieries
- Sections of Strata of the Yorkshire Coalfield, Midland Institute of Mining Engineers, 1927
- Hill, A. The South Yorkshire Coalfield: A History and Development (Stroud: Tempus, 2002)
- Hill, A. Colliery Ventilation (Matlock: Peak District Mines Historical Society Ltd, 2000)
- Hill, A. Coal: A Chronology for Britain (NMRS, British Mining No.94, 2012)