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WALTON COLLIERY - THE PIT, Page 1
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The nature park is on the site of the old Walton Colliery (formerly SharlsWalton Colliery.ton West Colliery).

Walton has a long history of coal mining, with documentary evidence of estate and field names dating local mining activities back to the 17th century.

In the late Victorian period, mining works concentrated on a seam found on the Walton Hall Estate (formerly the home of the Waterton family). Shortly afterwards, a depression in the coal mining industry meant that the mining company went into liquidation.

Walton Colliery.

Just a taste .....
These pages do not attempt to provide a comprehensive history of the mine; rather, the intention is to provide a reminder of our local industrial heritage.

There is no commemorative plaque or winding wheel, etc. at the colliery site itself.

Click to enlargeIn 1890 shafts were sunk for a colliery at Walton, and the mine developed rapidly, benefiting from the good railway and canal networks. Pit dwellings were built for the miners. These were called Ings Cottages or, as they were known locally, Spike Island or simply the Spike. 

Formerly known as Sharlston West, the name survived nationalisation in 1947, but it was later changed to Walton Colliery.
Walton pit was a safety lamp mine. By the 1930's there were about 1,200 men working there, but in 1979 it was closed and coal production ceased on 3rd December.
[Sources: the Trans Pennine notice board at the Nature Park and Peter Wright's "A History of Walton". Photographer not known.]

THE SHARLSTON PITS
New Sharlston Colleries Ltd. operated the following collieries:

The Sharlston Haigh-Moor Pit,
The Sharlston Stanley-Main Pit,
The Sharlston West Pit (later to become Walton Colliery), and The Haw-Park Pit (Walton Colliery, Haw Park).

••••••

WALTON COLLIERY UNDERGROUND
[click images to enlarge]
Underground at Walton Colliery in the 1970s. Both photographs were taken at the same time in the Low Haigh 1s district.
Its been a long time .... but here's a stab at some of the names.

Click to enlargeThe first photograph was taken at a cross-gate and those pictured were the development team, developing the road way for new coal faces.
Frank Perry (A) is on the left alongside John? (B). At the front of the picture is the overman, Les Nother (C), and on the right is A.N. Other, i.e. not known (D) . The helmet of a fifth miner is visible between C. and D. If you happen to know the names or have spotted any errors, please let me know, click here.
[Photograph courtesy Frank Perry.]

Trans Pennine Trail Waymarker.The second photograph shows the development team gathered around a Dosco* cutting machine.
Starting from the back left to right.
1. George Higson-Jowitt, the apprentice electrician. 2. Possibly Stan Guest#, the electrician. 3. Bob Greening [previously shown here as "name unknown, part of the team"]. 4. Frank Perry. 5. John Butterfield [previously shown here as "John ?"].
6
. Tommy Pine, head of development.
7
. John McNicholas (Mac) the electrician.
8
. Cocky Crummack (previously shown here as "Charlie Richardson, fondly known at the pit as Charlie Peg, he was an electrician's labourer, and lived at Eastmoor"].
Front left - 9. Norman Bates, the fitter (a local Walton man?). 10. Barry Keane part of the team. There are ten in the picture, but, for now, that's the best we can do for names. If you know the names of any of these ten chaps or have spotted any errors, please let me know, click here.
[Photograph courtesy Frank Perry. Information supplied by Frank Perry, John Brown, Paul McNally and George Jowitt, then 'Higson-Jowitt', and Gary Speight. # Possible name for the electrician supplied by John Dickman, who was himself an electrician at the pit.]
* Dosco manufactures a range of minerals, mining and processing machines.

Click to enlarge.The third photograph, supplied by John Dickman (an electrician at the pit), who writes:
"The photo is of six of the electrical staff in the Birkwood 6.600 volt sub station, which was sited on the loco road between Birkwood and 10 East. The people in the photo from left to right are Dave Burton, Chris Kellett, [no. 3] Sorry I can't remember this lad's name, Andrew Rigg, myself John Dickman and Charlie Smith. I would be most grateful if any one could put a name the 3rd man from the left."

••••••

Click to enlargeTHE END IS NIGH
'Walton Colliery "on the eve of destruction" it was demolished the following morning.

On the floor is the date plaque from the Power House; behind you can just see the row of Lancashire boilers waiting to be scrapped.

The 1923 plaque wasn't 'posed', it is where the demolition contractor left it, note there's still a rope around it.' (Photograph and information: Nick Lyons)

Click to enlarge

Power House and Steam Pipes
'Walton just before demolition began. The boiler house is off to the left, that' s the power house with the 1923 stone in the gable. The tall vertical pipe is on the (horizontal) steam accumulator that you can just see behind the brick wall. The electricians' workshop is extreme right. There was a wooden cooling tower, which would have been even further to the right, out of shot (in fact demolished by the time this was taken). The low buildings, in the distance, to left of the van are the blacksmiths' and carpenters' workshops.

If you compare this picture with Chris Allen's picture of the Power House on page 4, my picture is taken from the left of the chimney and the van is parked behind the low building on the extreme left of shot.' (Photograph and information: Nick Lyons)

Click to enlarge

Shafts
'Shaft 2 on the left. Shaft 1, on the right, looks towards the 'bank'. I think that it is No.2 bank shown in Chris Allen's picture on page 2, but I can't be sure.' (Photograph and information: Nick Lyons)

••••••

Click to enlarge.Walton Colliery Time Checks.
(Photograph courtesy George Jowitt)

See also Sharlston West Pit Checks on Gallery Page 3.

Time or pit checks (or 'tokens' or 'tallies') enabled the colliery management keep track of workers at the pit. In addition to being a useful management tool, they assumed vital importance when rescue services needed to know how many men were actually underground when an incident such as a fire or explosion occurred.

Colliery check systems became common during the late nineteenth century and became mandatory in 1913 following an amendment to the Coal Mines Act of 1911 . Early check systems usually employed a single check for each underground worker, which was usually taken home at the end of the shift. At the start of the shift the check was handed to the lamp man and exchanged for a safety lamp stamped with the same number as on the check. At the end of the shift the miner handed his lamp in and retrieved his check either from the lamp man or from a 'tally board'.

Check systems varied between coal fields and changed over the course of time. By the late 1970s a three check system (safety check system) became widespread. In this system each underground worker was issued with three checks, often of different shapes and sizes, one to be handed in to the lamp room, one to be handed to the banksman before the man descended the shaft and one was kept by the miner during the shift.

Pit checks were stamped with a number and, usually, the colliery or company name (see the two examples above). After nationalisation checks were stamped 'National Coal Board' and often the individual division as well. The two Walton Colliery time checks do not have 'National Coal Board' stamped on them.

The checks were usually of brass, but there were also zinc, aluminium, Bakelite and plastic versions. They were made in a variety of shapes, including square, round, oval, hexagonal and octagonal. By the late 1990s, technology arrived and the lamp checks began to be replaced by a plastic swipe card. A similar system was used by Mines Rescue during incidents. This was similar to the three check system but pre-dated it. In this system a red plastic disc was handed into the lamp room, a yellow plastic disc to the banksman and a copper disc was worn around the neck during the time the rescue man was underground. Other types of checks were also issued in the mining industry such as those used for shot firing, canteens, pithead baths and bus and train passes. The mining trade unions also issued checks in various forms to show when a member had paid his contributions. Mining institutes and public houses in mining areas also issued beer checks on various occasions.

Source: Adapted from Colliery Checks and Tokens, Ceri Thompson, 30 January 2013. Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales. (Site accessed 16 Jun 2018.)

~~~~~~

A FEW MINING DEFINITIONS (these evolved with the passage of time)

Based upon Durham Mining Museum, Mining Occupations. (Site accessed 16 Jun 2018.)
There are many more definitions on the museum's site.

Banksman

1825: those who, at the bank or top of the pit, unhook and empty the laden corves into the carts or waggons, from a frame or stage.

1849: a man who draws the full tubs from the cages at the surface, when wound up by the engine, and replaces them with empty ones; he also puts the full tubs to the weighing machine, and thence to the skreens, upon which he teems the coals. It is also his duty to keep an account of the quantity of coals and stones drawn each day.

1894: Person who controls the unloading and loading of the cage at the pit top, and signals the descent of the workmen.

Corves, strong osier baskets in which the coal was conveyed from the hewers to the bank or top of the pit. The baskets were made from either of two European osier willows (Salix purpurea and S. viminalis).

Lampman or Lamp Keeper
1892: the man in charge of the Davy Safety lamps. For more about safety lamps see Wikipedia Davy Lamp. (Site accessed 16 Jun 2018.)


••••••
Click to enlarge

END OF AN ERA IN BRITAIN
Kellingley Colliery, North Yorkshire
This was the last operational deep mine in the United Kingdom,
it was closed on Friday 18th December 2015.
■ Read more.
■ Pictures of Kellingley from the Aire & Calder Navigation section.

Click to enlarge.

Women in the Miners' Strike, 1984-5
This two-year project, from 2018-2020, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council,
aims to examine the experiences of women in coalfield communities during the miners' strike of 1984-5. 

To do this, we are collecting a new bank of oral history interviews with
women from all around England, Scotland and Wales.

The project is based at UCL and the University of Reading.
Our project partner is the National Coal Mining Museum for England.
(Extract from UCL web site.)

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