Report - Kellingley Colliery - Part 1 - December 2015

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The Amateur Wanderer

28DL Regular User
Regular User
Jul 22, 2012
God's own county of Yorkshire
Kellingley Colliery - (Big K) - December 2015

Big K, the pit that I've lived within 5 mile of since I was born, and the pit that's seen half of my family employed at it! For me it wasn't a matter of if I'd do this colliery but more a matter of when, it was an opportunity that I personally simply could not miss, out of both local and personal interest.

Having explored Maltby, Harworth, Selby Pits, Barnsley Main, Hatfield and a permission trip to Caphouse, I sort of knew already in the back of my mind what I was getting into, but Kellingley, for me was always going to be the special one. As you'll see from the report, I wasn't disappointed either, yes it's a modern layout but still, it's an amazing site to visit.

Visited with @Raz & @Hydro3xploric , cheers for the company lads, not one I fancied on my own with those dogs roaming about... Fun.

Kellingley was one of the later collieries to be constructed in Yorkshire, many local pits such as Prince of Wales, Glasshoughton, Ledstone and Allerton had stood since the mid/late 1800's. In fact other than the construction of the Selby Coal Field in the 80's Big K was the most modern colliery set up in the area.

Exploratory boreholes were sunk in 1958 to test the sites suitability for the construction of a colliery. The site was deemed suitable for production as the boreholes discovered seven workable coal seems, good news considering the planned Aire Valley Power Station constructions. Ferrybridge B, C, Eggborough and Drax would all become essential customers to Kellingley, Kellingley also produced some amount of higher calorific value house coal, but it should be known that the power station were the main customers for the pit. Drax, Eggborough and Ferry' B & C all served by Merry Go Round (MGR) Coal trains, mainly powered by British Rail Class 47 and Class 56 Diesel Locomotives.

My photo of a Class 56 Locomotive entering the pit in July 2013

Two shafts where sunk when the go ahead was given, No.1 Shaft for the movement of men and materials at 791m deep and No.2 Shaft, upcast for bringing mined coal to the surface at a depth of 768m. The winders of the No.2 Upcast can shift 900 tons of coal per hour.

Production began in April 1965, and the colliery employed 2,000 coal miners, one of whom was my Grandfather, Keith Gilbert.


One from the West Yorkshire Archive showing a Shift Posing beneath No.2 Headstock in the 60's

Production was mainly unhindered at Big K until the 1984 miners strike which saw the majority of workers striking for just over a year. Obviously the strike was a hard time for many miners throughout the country, many relying on charity and soup kitchens to survive.

After the miners strike things never really recovered at any colliery really, an attempt at modern mining was made with the construction of the Selby Coal Field but that turned out to be nothing short of a failure sadly. Many pits where closed, but Kellingley battled on, in the end however the battle would be lost after numerous redundancies and threatened closures the inevitable happened in 2015 when UK Coal announced that they would be closing their last two deep mines, Thoresby in July and Kellingley on the 18th of December 2015.

The Closure of Kellingley also marked the end of the Deep Coal Mining Industry in the UK and the end of MGR Coal Train Circuit.


My Photo (Mobile) of the last ever MGR Coal Train from Kellingley after arrival at Drax PS.

The last march was held on the 19th of December 2015, and marked the very last coming together of our community in protest of the closure of our pit. A sad day for all in the local area, but a very iconic one too, showing the solidarity and defiance of the mining community right to the very end. The march took place at noon from Knottingley Town Center to the Kellingley Social Club.​


Both Pictures Mine on 35mm Film showing workers on the Final March: Left Nikon F3, Right Olympus OM-2

It's sad to think that Britain's Coal Industry is no-more, but it's even more frightening when you consider the government allowed this to happen. Not a wise move Dave, will be interesting to see what happens if Putin decides to turn the taps off and blockade our shipping with his submarines, there's some food for thought. It might not happen, but personally I'd rather live in a prepared, self sustained Britain rather than a let's hope for the best Britain!​



Taken Looking out onto No.1 Headstock from the Coal Preparation Plant.​


Looking back at the Conveyors and Coal Handling Plant from No.2 Headstock.​


The Air Drift from No.2 Headstock


No.1 Headstock this time taken from No.2


Bath House:

A quick nosey round the bath house was of course in order! These where a delight to see, I was expecting a modern set up like what has been seen from Selby and Maltby. I was pleasantly surprised to see this bath house looking much more traditional, it echoes what Prince of Wales Colliery just down the road in Pontefract used to look like with the obvious addition of modern lockers.

Very Nice! :thumb




Shower time...


Still cleaner than Knottingley Swimming Baths... :turd



We pass through a short section of corridor as we make our way toward the Lamp Room...


Safety first...


The Lamp Room:

Obviously where the miners would have been equipped with their lamps from the charging rack, also where the clock in cards are and a small display of items from the Collieries past...





Clocking in...



No.1 Shaft

We now head out toward No.1 Shaft


Connecting bridge that allowed the miners to cross over to the headstock under cover.


No.1 Shaft...


And the bottom of No.1 Shaft where this little loco is currently residing!


And that's all for Part one I'm afraid, the tour will continue when I return with Part two, which should consist of a climb and tour of the Headgear and coal prep. Judging by the current time and the fact I intend to get extremely drunk tomorrow, I imagine part two will be with you early 2016!

I hope you enjoyed part one and I'd like to wish you all a Happy and prosperous New Year.

Considering that this may be my last post of the year, I'd like to make a few special thanks to the following people for helping me along the way through what has been a pretty special year exploring wise for me!

Thanks to:

@ACID- REFLUX @Boro Lad @catbalou @Hydro3xploric @ledgehammer @mattdonut @Mr Sam @Raz @Speed @The Lone Ranger @WildBoyz

The Amateur Wanderer

28DL Regular User
Regular User
Jul 22, 2012
God's own county of Yorkshire
Great shots, get your ass to Thoresby before its too late as well.
Good point there mate, I need to get Thoresby done asap!

Bob on mate!!!

Likewise thanks for help and good to bump into you randomly earlier in the year :thumb
Cheers matey :thumb

Nicely done mate :thumb

Adds a nice touch including the extra pics, both old & the new with the procession pics. (where"s the Guard Dog pics ;)

Getting drunk ? i thought we had a date :confused:;)

Ditto the above & nice to finally meet up mate for some splorz :D
Just got off the phone from Borolad, may still be a goer :thumb

And there was no way I was hanging about to take pics of that thing :eek::D lol


Behind Closed Doors
Regular User
Jan 12, 2013
Very nice bit of history there, and cracking pictures too.
No.1 headstock is worth the climb. We didn't make it up the other one, would be interesting to see up there, and I'm looking forward to seeing some pics from around the rest of the site too. I won't get back there for a while so I'm eagerly awaiting your revisit ;)


28DL Regular User
Regular User
Jun 20, 2014
Nice pics mate - Came out well better than mine!

Your right actually it was a lot cleaner than Knotle baths lol even with all the coal and dirt!

Adding the bit about your family made for an interesting read, bit of personal explore for you then :)

Happy new year mate - We will get out again soon for sure, perhaps @ACID- REFLUX might even join us? ;)

The Amateur Wanderer

28DL Regular User
Regular User
Jul 22, 2012
God's own county of Yorkshire
Nice pics mate - Came out well better than mine!

Your right actually it was a lot cleaner than Knotle baths lol even with all the coal and dirt!

Adding the bit about your family made for an interesting read, bit of personal explore for you then :)

Happy new year mate - We will get out again soon for sure, perhaps @ACID- REFLUX might even join us? ;)
Looking forward to it mate :thumb

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