During my visits to Chatterley Whitfield I had wondered about the underground experience, but heard it had been demolished. I found where it used to be and saw it had indeed gone. However it has recently turned out that a small section still remains in the old air drifts and shallow workings, and only the section in the railway cutting has actually been demolished. It looked good too, so I headed down there to take a look myself.
The underground experience had been built at a shallow level as a replacement for the original underground tours which took place in deep level workings. Unfortunately those areas were flooded after the pumps that drained it were turned off following the closure of Wolstanton Colliery where the pumps were located.
Work began on the Hesketh in 1914. It became operational in 1917 and during its life 24 million tons of coal was extracted. The last coal coming up the shaft in 1976. The shaft was 1900 feet deep and when coal was being hauled up and down the shaft it took 46 seconds, but this was slowed to 70 seconds when taking men up or down the shaft.
Platt Fan House
The Platt fan house was constructed in the south-eastern part of the colliery circa 1930 to house a steam-driven fan. It is unclear whether it remained in operation following the construction of the Institute or Walker fan house immediately to the west circa 1958, but by the late C20 the building was used mostly for storage.
I hope so, but I fear much is now beyond repair. Even the Friends group, who seem to be a pretty good organisation for a volunteer outfit, have said the best they can hope for is to maybe save one building.
How did I miss this, wow just wow. Love your reports, cracking stuff. Lots of my favorite things to photograph too. Fantastic photos, ranges, lighting, up & downs, loved it. Just realized I didn't miss it, I've read it 3 times now pmsl