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Report - Chatterley Whitfield Colliery, Stoke-on-Trent - August 2010

Discussion in 'Industrial Sites' started by thompski, Aug 29, 2010.

  1. thompski

    thompski Leggy brunette
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    Stoke and the surrounding area is probably best known for pottery manufacture, and the city boasts about this industrial heritage in everything from shopping centres to banners, with bottle kilns being a distinctive and common structure of this struggling West Midlands city. The city was also notable for Steel and coal, with a number pits operating in the North Staffordshire Coal Field at one time.

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    Chatterley Whitfield, the UK's first Super Pit, has a long and complex history. Shallow shafts were sunk during the 19th century, however it wasn't until the latter half of this century when the first deep shafts were sunk. The colliery was the first 'super pit' in the UK and the first to produce over a million tonnes of coal in a year in 1937. The pit was connected underground with Wolstanton Colliery. In 1976 the colliery was closed and reopened two years later as a mining museum, and due to increasing costs the museum closed in 1993... Stoke council do wish to preserve the colliery buildings, however expect its an issue of money.

    The colliery is supposedly one of the most intact in the UK, with many structures and features distinctive of its early 20th century origins including four headstocks, a bathhouse, winders and a coal tub circuit. Though my interest in industrial stuff has waned as of late, as something localish I decided to pop up to Stoke. It's not as straightforward as it seems, however its immensely rewarding.

    Posting here as report may contain steam winders...

    I first visited the Hesketh pit, this is the largest building on site and contains one of the four headstocks as well as a complicated system of rail tracks pushing coal tubs around the building and into tipplers which tip the tubs contents below the building.

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    The headstock was in a somewhat poor condition, and I didn't hang around up here...

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    Next up, Hesketh's winding house, as seen in the above photo. This contained some exhibits about power generation as well as original and non-original early 20th century winding machinery. The non original items were salvaged from Sutton Manor Colliery which operated near St Helens. I also had the pleasure of bumping into some others while in here, namely Host, Oldskool and Eotech, sorry for the scare :p

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    I waited for the security to do his rounds, and popped over to what was the shop.

    The map of the underground workings - these really are quite vast, but then again these mines operate for decades so it makes sense.
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    Oldham lamp and a self rescuer I think
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    More oldham lamps
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    By this point I was feeling rather tired, so went up another headstock and went home. This was the institute pit...
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    And a few shots of the general site
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    And yeah that's it. Despite my interests in industrial abandonment waning as of late, this was worth the effort.
     

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