Report - - Headstocks - Various Locations - 2020 | Mines and Quarries | 28DaysLater.co.uk

Report - Headstocks - Various Locations - 2020


Under a mountain
28DL Full Member
Before I start don't expect some mega quality photos here, most were taking on my phone on the way home from work and almost all of it is taken from public land.

A headframe or headgear or whatever you want to call it is a must for any deep mine shaft (unless your Cornish.) It's used to wind either wagons of ore or men down to the working part of the mine by using cables connected to a cage, these run over a sheave wheel into an adjacent engine house. There are various types of headframes built for different purposes, steel and concrete being the main ones whereas the early ones were built of wood (Brinsley in Nottinghamshire for example) To be honest I have no idea why there is many different designs but I assume they are a product of history, in coal areas many were installed before nationalisation and just never need changing.

Early shafts used a windlass to wind up the coal from shallow deapths, over time this was replaced by a horse gin - a horizontal drum with a rope around which would be pulled by a horse. The advent of the steam engine was pivotal moment for the mining industry, with this they could efficiently pump water and lift heavier weights allowing the mines to go deeper than ever before. In 1862 an accident at the Hartley colliery in Northumberland resulted in legislation that mean all mine had to have two independent means of escape, most likely meaning two shafts.

More history

Headstocks are very much an icon of the mining industry, not just in Britain but in mining areas all around the world. There was hundreds in the coal fields of Lancashire, Yorkshire, Durham and South Wales. Unfortunatley many of these no longer survive as many of the site were demolished and sold of for development shortly after closure. Since then however, times have changed and many of them have been restored or are now listed.

My eventual plan is to get around to visiting them all, especially in the South Wales area.

Barnsley Main

Barnsley main was located in errr... Barnsley. Famous for being the site of Englands worst mining disaster when 361 people were killed on 12 December 1866 - known as the Oaks explosion. The mine closed in 1991 and the remains are now grade 2 listed and looked after by a group. The colliery was modernised in the 1950s by the national coal board leaving what remains today.

The photo below shows the headgear of the No 2. Downcast shaft, this is where air was pumped in to the workings for ventilation. In the 1970s the shaft was repurposed for man riding. In a 1947 report the No 2 shaft is reported being 15ft in diameter and 512 yards deep.


The second photo shows a side on view with part of the cart circuit still remaining, you can just see the bricked up entrance where it entered the shaft building.


More information:
Listing on Historic England
Oaks explosion wikipedia

Groverake Flourite mine

Next up we have Groverake flourite mine, it's fairly well documented on this site but much has changed since some of the earlier reports. One set of headstocks has completely gone with the shaft being capped, many buildings have gone and the remaining headstocks have been fenced off (apart from a handy hole someone made.)
Mining on an industrial scale began in 1810 by the Beaumont company and the mine closed in 1999. There was two shafts and various declines, the shafts were named Drawing shaft (91M deep) and the Whimsey shaft (165M deep)

Sadly the headgear is little more than a rusty mess at the moment fighting a loosing battle with the elements. However there is still things to see undergound!


A nice suprise however is the cage still intact.


More Information:
A Groverake report

Barony Colliery
Next we head up to Cummnock in Scotland to see the Barony A Frame, a very large structure which was built 1954 as part of the modernisation of Barony colliery. The shaft is 6.6m in diameter and 623m deep and the mine closed in 1989. The main buildings were demolished soon after leaving the A frame towering alone above the landscape. In recent years 1.3 Million Pounds has been spent restoring the A frame and creating a small heritage park. This type of headframe is more popular on the continent with numerous examples of them over the top of buildings.

I only have 1 photo as it was 6am and I had to head to work.


More Information:
University of Wolverhampton article

Highhouse Colliery

A mere 1.2 miles from Barony we have its neighbour Highhouse colliery which is now located on the back of an industrial estate. The mine worked from 1894 until 1983. Inside the building the 1896 steam engine still survives bricked up away from vandals. Again the light is poor because of the early hour.



More Information:

Astley Green Colliery
Some more photos that I'm not proud of, the museum was closed and the sun was on the wrong side so photos were taken from some distance away and they have come out awful.

From Wikipedia.
Astley Green Colliery was a coal mine in Astley, Greater Manchester, then in the historic county of Lancashire, England.[1] It was the last colliery to be sunk in Astley. Sinking commenced in 1908 by the Pilkington Colliery Company, a subsidiary of the Clifton and Kersley Coal Company, at the southern edge of the Manchester Coalfield, working the Middle Coal Measures where they dipped under the Permian age rocks under Chat Moss. The colliery was north of the Bridgewater Canal. In 1929 it became part of Manchester Collieries,[2] and in 1947 was nationalised and integrated into the National Coal Board. It closed in 1970, and is now Astley Green Colliery Museum.
Bult in 1908 the headgear is almost 30 metres high and weighs 120 tons. It's currently listed on the heritage at risk register




More Information:
Lancashire mining museum

Chatterley Whitfield

Chatterley Whitfield Colliery is a disused coal mine on the outskirts of Chell, Staffordshire in Stoke on Trent. It was the largest mine working the North Staffordshire Coalfield and was the first colliery in the UK to produce 1,000,000 tons of saleable coal in a year. The colliery and pithead baths complex are on Historic England's Heritage at Risk Register due to being in very bad condition and not in use.[1] In September 2019, it was named on the Victorian Society's list of the top ten most endangered buildings in England and Wales.[2]
Probably the grand daddy of them all as far as coal mine remains go the complex is massive. With no less than four headstocks towering over the side it's a real treat to visit for explorers and mine enthusiasts. Theres a great view from the tip next to the mine - although photography is better in winter. Apparently the tip used to be double the size but due the Aberfan disaster it was cut down.



More Information
Chatterley Whitfield Friends

Pleasley Colliery

Pleasley Colliery is a former English coal mine. It is located to the NW of Pleasley village which sits above the north bank of the River Meden on the Nottinghamshire/Derbyshire border.

The colliery is located to the NW of Pleasley village which sits above the north bank of the River Meden on the Nottinghamshire/Derbyshire border. It lies 3 miles (4.8 km) north of Mansfield and 9 miles (14.5 km) south of Chesterfield. From the south it commands a prominent position on the skyline, although less so now than when the winders were in operation and both chimney stacks were in place. The colliery is situated at about 500 ft (152m) above sea level and is aligned on a NE-SW axis following the trend of the river valley at this point.

After closure of the colliery in 1986, most of the surface infrastructure was demolished and what remains are the two headstocks which stood above the shafts, the engine-house complex containing the two steam winders which were used to raise the coal, one dating from 1904 and the other from 1922, together with one of the 40m high brick chimneys which served the steam boiler range. The engine-house complex is a grade 2 listed building and the site has been scheduled as an Ancient Monument.
Now converted into a museum. Trees ruin the view from the tip once again.




More Information
Pleasley Pit Trust

Clipstone Colliery
Next I had a drive by of Clipstone colliery, well represented on this forum. Sadly theres a bit of a no mans land around it meaning I couldn't get any closer so a shot out of the car will have to do.

In 1912 test boreholes revealed the presence of coal 523 mentres below the surface, during WW1 sinking was stopped however surface building continued. In 1922 coal was reached and by the 1940s it was producting 4,000 tonnes of coal a day making it one of the most productive mines in Britain. The headstocks are a another product of the 1950s modernisation of the National Coal Board and are a height of 67m (No1 shaft - on the left) and 65.5m (No2 Shaft.) They are sometime wrongly called the largest coal mining headstocks in Europe, however in 1994 shaft IV at Gottelborn was completed which is 90m high - this worked for only 6 years before closing in 2000. Clipstone closed in 2003.


More Information:
Engineering timelines
Historic England

Now onto some of the smaller remains

Calcutta Colliery
Early collieries were sunk around the Coalville area from the early 1800s and led short lives. The shaft was 474 ft deep. In 1877 the mine was converted to a pumping station to drain the area for other mine (mainly Snibston) It closed in 1986 after all the mines in the area closed. It now belongs to an interior design company.



More Information
Swannington Heritage

Elsecar New Colliery

Elsecar New Colliery was sunk around 1795 by Earl Fitzwilliam to the south of Elsecar Workshops and the site has its original Newcomen pumping engine.[2] It was sunk to allow the Fitzwilliams to expand coal production and exploit new transport opportunities presented by the Elsecar branch of the Dearne & Dove Canal which was given parliamentary approval in 1793 and reached Elsecar in 1799.[2] Before the completion of the canal the coal was either sold locally or shipped by cart to Kilnhurst on the River Don.[3]

The colliery had three shafts, two for coal winding and one pumping shaft. They were 120 feet deep where they reached the Barnsley seam.[3] Steam winding engines were installed in 1796 and a pumping engine was added in 1823 when the shafts were deepened to reach the Parkgate seam. The colliery was expanded in 1837,[2] with the addition of a new shaft at Jump known as the Jump Pit. By 1848 when the colliery was renamed Elsecar Mid Colliery and employed 121 men and boys. This colliery was abandoned in the mid-1850s as the Simon Wood Colliery started production.


Hemingfield Colliery

For this one I'm not going to copy some information but just link you straight the page. Here



Overton Lead mine
Last mine I have is Overton lead mine which consists of a small headframe with the winder and cage still insitu. Unfortuneatley there is almost no information about it on the internet.



A nice little survivor.

Remaining list:

Frances Colliery
Lady Victoria Colliery
Mary Colliery
Preston Grange Ind Museum
Summerlee heritage park
Barbot Hall pumping station
Beamish Colliery
Bestwood Colliery
Blists Hill
Caphouse - I have visited by the headstocks are covered in scaffolding
Wheal Concord
Florence Iron mine
Glory mine
Haig Colliery
Hollinbusk Gannister
North Dalton pumping station
South Crofty
Lily pit
Washington Colliery
Western Pit
Westfield pumping pit
Woodhorn Colliery
Big pit
Cefn Coed
Dolaucothi (Ogofau) Gold Mine
Great western colliery
Lewis Merthyr
Parys Mountain
Tower Colliery


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28DL Regular User
Regular User
That's a nice collection, enjoyed your report! The list could come in handy for sure.

Regarding the Chatterley Whitfield tip it did indeed used to be much, much larger. I've often heard the term "largest man made structure in Europe" bandied about, although I'm not sure how accurate that is, seems unlikely.

Here's a nice photo from the 60's showing how big it was though, with Norton Colliery tip just behind it (that one has now been squashed down and had a housing estate built on top of it).



28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
Nice collection! They had a photography exhibit [Bernd and Hilla Becher] here a few months back showing all the different collieries from around the world. It was pretty interesting seeing how each country's headgear had their own characteristics, with the USA's looking a bit cobbled together in wood, to the French's with decorative flourishes. No idea how many are left standing now though as the photos are from decades ago, but might serve as some inspiration!


Under a mountain
28DL Full Member
Nice collection! They had a photography exhibit [Bernd and Hilla Becher] here a few months back showing all the different collieries from around the world. It was pretty interesting seeing how each country's headgear had their own characteristics, with the USA's looking a bit cobbled together in wood, to the French's with decorative flourishes. No idea how many are left standing now though as the photos are from decades ago, but might serve as some inspiration!

I have created a map of mines in Belgium/Germany with remaining headgear



Under a mountain
28DL Full Member
Oh wow cool! Must've taken a bit of research - have you been over there looking at some already then or is that future plans?
Future plans, I drove past Mons/Charleroi and Saarbrucken on the way to Switzerland September last year however I wasn't interested in Coal mines at the time so I never even thought to look. I did drive past the works at Volklingen and thought it was worth a return trip. It definatley is now!

Most of it was looking at google maps searching 'zeche' and 'schaft' with a few other pages helping.