In 1907 the Staveley Coal & Iron Co. Ltd, which owned a number of collieries in Derbyshire, acquired the mineral rights around Edlington. The site was served by the L.M.S.R’s Dearne Valley line and the L.N.E.R. Gowdall & Braithwell line.

Work on sinking two 6.6 metre diameter shafts began in 1909 and the Barnsley seam was reached at a depth of 829 metres in 1911. A third shaft, sunk to a depth of 119 metres, served as a well for colliery use.

Coal getting in the Barnsley seam used a longwall face with coal had loaded into tubs. As the face increased in length the numbers employed underground rose steadily, reaching 1449 in 1914 and 3178 in 1925.

In 1913, as the mine came on stream, a new company “Yorkshire Main Colliery Ltd” was formed to run it. This was reconstituted as the Yorkshire Main Colliery (1923) Ltd and worked until 1937, when the colliery became part of the Doncaster Amalgamated Collieries Ltd.

Advancing longwall faces, with conveyors taking the coal to a loading point in the main roadway, replaced the tub system in 1933. Further modernisation, planned by D.A.C.L., was continued by the NCB well into the 1950s. Skips were installed in No.2 Shaft and these were fed by large, diesel loco hauled, mine cars. The steam winding was replaced by electricity. No.1 Shaft was also improved and beside winding men and materials could also wind coal when required. Power loading on faces began in 1954. On the surface, the washery was uprated to accommodate the increased output from the above improvements and the start of mining in the Dunsil seam in 1957.

A methane drainage scheme, opened in 1962, piped gas from the mine and, along with that from Rossington, pumped it to Manvers coke works.

The Swallow Wood seam, which is beneath the Dunsil, was developed in the early 1970s and, along with the Barnsley and Dunsil seams, it was worked until closure. By the mid-1980s Yorkshire Main was losing money and in the months following the 1984/5 strike it struggled to raise output. It failed, however, and the NCB closed the mine on Friday, October 11th 1985. The pit top was demolished in 1987.

Further reading:

  • 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)
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