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Alaska.
Site Owner
Posts: 1404

In the past, I have been ' advised ' that some areas should not be included in the general discription of  " The Black Country ".  Some have kindly told me, that Wolverhampton, Walsall and a few others, should be left out. One mentioned, was the little Urban District called Wednesfield, situated just outside Wolverhampton, well it was before all the changes happened. Famous for the production of animal traps, and little else suggest the purists, but that's far from the truth when it come to Mining. The area just to the south east of the Town, was well noted, not just for Coal, but for some extensive deposits of Iron Stone, used in the industrial Iron works of nearby Wolverhampton and Bilston.


Now there aren't that many records of the early mining around the area, but it's possible to put together at least a portion of it. The miners of Wednesfield, had a good choice of where to expend their efforts, and less choice of where some would come to a violent end, for mining is a dangerous occupation. A few of the mines in the area, will be useful to demonstrate, that it was fairly widespread. Bowmans Harbour Colliery, sounds a strange name, and if anyone can throw some light on that , I would be grateful. Wednesfield Heath Colliery, owned in the 1860s by Joseph Round and Company, with some parts owned by Caswell and Company, would have been among the early starters, as would the New Cross Colliery. Although owned by Henry Whitehouse  for most of it's working life, parts of this large site, ( at least 15 shafts were sunk ) would have been leased out to others.. Along Wodens Brook, and the Neachell's Canal branch, were at least 3 other Pits, their names now lost in time. I haven't found out much about any of the following Collieries either. Deans, Merritts Hole, Perry Hall, Clothier, Ashmore Park, Trentham, or Castle Bridge Colliery, which according to an old map, had, as a neighbour, a Gunpowder Magazine. In fact, the whole area between the Bentley Canal, and today's Deans Road, would have resembled, in the 1870s, a nightmare of spoil heaps and old abandoned holes in the ground. It's a wonder, that the little place they called Neachell, didn't subside completely back into the ground, and vanish forever. Looking at the place today, and of course it's mainly an Industrial area, you would'nt believe there had ever been a mine within a hundred miles. The lack of house's gives the clue though, all that mining left the ground polluted, and unsuitable for permanent human occupation. There are as well, some rather tragic stories about all the underground activity.


Deep down in the New Cross Colliery, owned by Henry Whitehouse, Enoch Brown, 21, and a Horse driver, was approaching the coal face with the empty tubs. Helping him was a young lad of barely 12, John Bate. It was the end of November, 1858, and neither of them could possibly have known what was coming, for suddenly, there was mighty bang, as a pocket of Gas exploded around them. Young John died on the spot, and Enoch died from his terrible burns the next day. Falling coal was a hazard all miners faced, and in 1859, George Wilkes, 34, was crushed to death, followed in 1864 by George Latham. The last recorded accidents at New Cross were to Thomas Brant, 38, a shaft sinker, in 1875, when working in what was called a new mine, ( in fact at the bottom of shaft number 15 ) a whole section of the roof caved in, burying him alive. The other man to die the same year was William George, another experienced shaft sinker, who,having successfully completed the work for owner George Philips, got a bit to cocky when leaping from the ascending cage. He missed the edge and ended up a couple of hundred feet down the shaft he had just finished. Over at Wednesfield Heath, occurred the death of Bridget McHale, a 14 year old Bankswoman, in 1860, ( covered in another mining post ) and in 1869, while sinking a new shaft for his father, John Round, who had leased part of the complex, William Round, aged 33. He had been standing in the newly finished sump area, when a large section broke away further up the shaft, and struck him on the head. Both of these mines seem to have ceased production in the 1880s. Not far away, at the strangely named Bowmans Harbour Colliery, in 1864, Charles Guy, 16, was struck on the head by falling rock while leading his horse. He died, the horse was un-harmed. Ashmore Park, was where many miners went after New Cross closed, and obviously took with them a few lax habits. Samuel Harper, 31, an experienced shot firer, in 1884, managed to blow himself into small pieces, after trying to ram home a charge of powder with an iron bar and using a lighted Candle to see better. In 1885, John Davis, 23, was crushed to death after getting wedged between a loaded tub and the roadway wall. He was almost decapitatated. Richard Fryer, 27, was killed in an explosion of gas in 1889, Richard Willetts, 66, was killed when someone knocked out several roof supports, and George Rochelle,37, died six days after being crushed by yet another fall of coal on the 16th December.  William Willetts, 45, the son of Richard, died when struck by falling coal in 1893.  In 1894, a gas explosion put out the lights of one Richard Jeavons, aged 24, as he was leading his horse back to the underground stables. Aparrt from a singed mane, the Horse was fine. The last recorded death was on the 10th November, 1897, when William Henry Stanley, a stallman, died, when the roof, weighing many tons, fell on him.  There was of course one incident at New Cross that I will cover in another post, and that is the waste of life that happened on 24th January, 1860, when 7 men and boys were killed.

--

A wonderful thing is work, I could watch it all day.  ( See my Blog entry )

December 18, 2013 at 11:54 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Alaska.
Site Owner
Posts: 1404

I mentioned in the posts above, the name of one Wednesfield Colliery, New Cross Colliery, Wednesfield Heath.  I have listed just the one death, but what is not so well known, is the absolutely tragic deaths of 7 miners, back in the mists of time. Just for once, someone actually paid the price for this misfortune, not enough of course, for it seldom is. As far as I am aware, this is the worst recorded Mining accident in the Wolverhampton area.


One Saturday morning, in January, actually the 20th, 1860, four men and three young boys climbed into the cage at Henry Whitehouse's number 15 Ironstone pit at New Cross Colliery. They were just about to start a shift, and of course, were totally unaware that they would never see the light of day again. William Johnson, the day time engine man, began to lower the wooden cage down the shaft. All was well for the first ninety feet, then, the speed suddenly picked up, and the cage and it's human contents, plunged, at breakneck speed, the other two hundred odd feet to the mines bottom. The sump at New Cross was a very deep one, for it was a wet mine, and to ensure work was not disrupted by continuous pumping, it held a large amount of water. The surplus was drawn up at night, between the two working shifts. The impact of the cage, with first the timber fencing, and then the the sump planking cover, alerted every miner in the pit, and they came running to assist in a rescue. Pointless as it turned out, for the bodies of the seven  took over four hours to extract from the tangled wreakage. Not made any easier by the tangled wire rope of the pits winding engine. Not all of them were local, their names were;  John Cheese, (?), Emanuel Giles, 29, and from Broseley, Shropshire, Thomas Kelly, 25, and from Ireland, Henry Davis, 31, from Wolverhampton, and the boys, John Jones, 12, and from Spinks Buildings, Wolverhampton Road, George Jones,13, and from Neacells Lane,  and Samuel Stych, 13,  from Wood End. This event probably put the dampners on a saturday night out for the folk of Wednesfield.


It became clear. quite early on, that someone had made an unforgivable error. The night engine man, Thomas Fareday, had set the machinery for drawing, ( I presume that was for the water ) and to compensate for the difference in weight, removed the engine fro it's normal gearing for the drum. ( using wooden wedges, and remember, this is 1860, not 1960 ) He had however either failed to put them back, or not put them in correctly, when he handed over to the day man, William Johnson. In any case, Johnson should have, for it was his duty, tinspected the engine and drum before the day shift began. He patently did no such thing. The Coroner, faced with a cry to have the engine inspected, told the Inquest, that the County would very likely refuse to pay for the mining Inspector so Mr Whitehouse sent a telegram offering to pay all the expenses. The jury had been paying great attention during the Inquest, and, noting that there was no brake fitted, as per the regulations, before the engines inspection, bought in a charge against William Johnson, of Manslaughter. He was sent to the Magistrates Court, where he was committed to Stafford Gaol, to await the next Assizes.


With the death of seven men and boys on his head, you would have expected him to receive a very stiff sentence indeed if convicted, wouldn't you? Well he was found guilty, but I suspect, among the population, there were many who thought they should have hanged him. Instead, he was given a sentence of just Four Calender Months, and not even with a bit of hard labour. It was a tough old life way back in the regions history, but no matter how many died in the mines, there was always someone to fill the gaps, for without work and pay, they simply starved.


This item has been edited to include a name correction. ( Henry Davis, from the incorrect Henry Perry ) My thanks to member Philip Jones for the information.

--

A wonderful thing is work, I could watch it all day.  ( See my Blog entry )

October 22, 2015 at 11:42 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Alaska.
Site Owner
Posts: 1404

The name of Richard Jeavons appears in a post above, as the last recorded death at the old Ashmore Park Colliery, on the 11th December, 1894. Well, we can all be wrong at times. I had a lucky break today, and finally came across a Coroners report on his untimely death. The mine was well known for several fatal incidents,  the results of "  Fire damp ", when explosions had occurred. For this reason, only safety lamps were used, and the miners had instructions never to interfer with them,or so the management said.


Two miners, Deakin and Porter, were hewing coal at the time of the explosion, and it was said that they were working with the bottom of the safety lamps removed. There were three reasons for this bit of stupidity. The first was the lamps did not give out as much light as the old candles. the second was, that with more light, a miner could work faster, and the third was, more work, more coal, more money earned. The resulting explosion cost an innocent Richard Jeavons his life, the two miners escaped with minor burns. Both denied ever unscrewing the lamps, dispite the deputy manager, Henry Cowell, finding part of the unscrewed lamp after the blast. The Overman, William Cook, at first denied he would ever let anyone who carried out this dangerous practice stay in employment at the pit, admitted that he had on many occasions had to warn the men to put the lamps back to regulation use. Some miners were a bigger danger in a mine than the gas itself. Lax safety measures were a feature that even new safety rules failed to eradicate, dispite claims that reported explosions had dropped since their introduction. There was evidence that the explosion was caused by a naked flame from an unscrewed safety lamp, but no direct evidence, of who had actually unscrewed it, for the two miners denied any knowledge. The Jury bought in a verdict that Richard Jeavons had died as a result of this action. but no one was ever prosecuted.


Four years later, on the 27, July,1898, Joseph Prichard, 24, who lived in Alfred Street, Bloxwich, lost his life in very similar circumstances, at the same mine, Ashmore Park Colliery.  He was listed as a "Stallman " therefore he was in charge of the hewing at the time of the blast. There were even two other men injured in the blast at the coal face. I have not, as yet, located any Coroners Inquest records for this one, but I have no doubts that the reason was exactly the same as the 1894 death. " Old habits die hard ", goes the old saying, which is well iillustrated throughout the mining section, as carelessness by the men, contributed not only to their own demise, but to many others as well. You only ever make one bad mistake down a mine, and it's usually the last.

--

A wonderful thing is work, I could watch it all day.  ( See my Blog entry )

October 22, 2015 at 4:11 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Philip Jones
Member
Posts: 3

Nick moss at September 30, 2014 at 3:44 PM

I am interested why there is no "Mining in Wolverhampton" section, despite it having it's own mines, even if you disregard the townships of Wolverhampton Ancient parish of Willenhall, Wednesfield, Hilton, Featherstone, Sedgley and Bilston. Wednesfield (mostly always part of Wolverhampton parish) had its own deep mining at Ashmore Park and on the border at Hilton, and also at Wednesfield Heath Colliery and New Cross Colliery towards Heath Town.

Wolverhampton itself was a town of contrasts, with a beautiful suburban western side but an highly industrial eastern half which was pitted with the scars of disused mines after the Industrial revolution as 1900 maps of the area highlight, from Bowmans Harbour Colliery at Heath Town, to Barnfield, Old Heath and Deans collieries at Eastfield, to Chillington and Stow Heath Collieries (over 100 shafts sunk) at East Park, to Monmore Green,  Rough Hills & Cockshutts Collieries, the latter which was just opposite Wolves first ground at Wanderers Avenue, Blakenhall.



The vast Ettingshall Park, Ettingshall Lodge, Ettingshall and Parkfields Colleries straddled the Wolverhampton-Bilston-Sedgley old borders - again all originally part of Wolverhampton Parish.

Adjoining Wolverhampton town centre was the hugely industrial quarter of Horseley Fields and Monmore Green with its many foundries and steelworks employing thousands at the adjoining Swan Garden & Shrubbery Ironworks, Osier Bed Ironworks, Bridge foundry, Monmore Green Ironworks, Chillington Ironworks, Victoria Ironworks, Beaver Ironworks, & Atlas Ironworks, all with forges, puddling furnaces and blast furnaces - eastern Wolverhampton was a site to behold day and night.



For those who care to search around the website, there is a great deal of information about Wolverhampton Mining. This section was designed to highlight the Mining in Wednesfield, which hasn't been covered elsewhere.



I have been researching the accident at New Cross Colliery for some time following on from research into the Millfields Explosion.I much appreciate your item  on your site,as well as all the content. I have used the Wolverhampton Chronicle and The Engineer for sources. I have tried to trace those killed and find that six of them were buried in Wednesfield Heath Curch on 24 and 25 January 1860. The seventh man Thomas Kelly being Irish and therefore almost cerainly Catholic must be buried some where else and I have yet to find him. I have alikely man loging in Carribee Island in Wolverhampton. 

I appreciate the detail in your item and would like to ask what are your sources. I have the dead listed as:-

Deceased from New Cross Colliery Accident 24 January 1860

24/1/1860 John Cheese 41 Wednesfield Road 26/31 Heath Town.

25/1/1860 Emmanual Giles 41 Mosley Hole ,7/39 Heath Town.

25/1/1860 John Jones 12 Wolverhampton Road 33/42 Heath Town.

25/1/1860 George Jenks 12 Wood End 26/30 Heath Town.

24/1/1860 Samuel Styche 13 Bushbury Lane 34/15 Heath Town.

25/1/1860 Henry Davis 37 Wood End 26/30 Heath Town.

Thomas Kelley 26 Canal Street ?

Source 1 Wolverhampton Chronicle

Source 2 http://www.wolverhamptonhistory.org.uk/resources/indexes

 

Source 3 GBPRS-STAFF-007566576-01670

 

I have a Henry Davis, whereas you have Henry Perry. 

I don't wish to appear pedantic but I don't want to try to trace the wrong person if you have a different source that is more accurate than mine.


keep up the good work,


many thanks,


Phil

November 12, 2015 at 9:30 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Pedro
Member
Posts: 25

Philip Jones at November 12, 2015 at 9:30 AM

Nick moss at September 30, 2014 at 3:44 PM

I am interested why there is no "Mining in Wolverhampton" section, despite it having it's own mines, even if you disregard the townships of Wolverhampton Ancient parish of Willenhall, Wednesfield, Hilton, Featherstone, Sedgley and Bilston. Wednesfield (mostly always part of Wolverhampton parish) had its own deep mining at Ashmore Park and on the border at Hilton, and also at Wednesfield Heath Colliery and New Cross Colliery towards Heath Town.

Wolverhampton itself was a town of contrasts, with a beautiful suburban western side but an highly industrial eastern half which was pitted with the scars of disused mines after the Industrial revolution as 1900 maps of the area highlight, from Bowmans Harbour Colliery at Heath Town, to Barnfield, Old Heath and Deans collieries at Eastfield, to Chillington and Stow Heath Collieries (over 100 shafts sunk) at East Park, to Monmore Green,  Rough Hills & Cockshutts Collieries, the latter which was just opposite Wolves first ground at Wanderers Avenue, Blakenhall.



The vast Ettingshall Park, Ettingshall Lodge, Ettingshall and Parkfields Colleries straddled the Wolverhampton-Bilston-Sedgley old borders - again all originally part of Wolverhampton Parish.

Adjoining Wolverhampton town centre was the hugely industrial quarter of Horseley Fields and Monmore Green with its many foundries and steelworks employing thousands at the adjoining Swan Garden & Shrubbery Ironworks, Osier Bed Ironworks, Bridge foundry, Monmore Green Ironworks, Chillington Ironworks, Victoria Ironworks, Beaver Ironworks, & Atlas Ironworks, all with forges, puddling furnaces and blast furnaces - eastern Wolverhampton was a site to behold day and night.



For those who care to search around the website, there is a great deal of information about Wolverhampton Mining. This section was designed to highlight the Mining in Wednesfield, which hasn't been covered elsewhere.



I have been researching the accident at New Cross Colliery for some time following on from research into the Millfields Explosion.I much appreciate your item  on your site,as well as all the content. I have used the Wolverhampton Chronicle and The Engineer for sources. I have tried to trace those killed and find that six of them were buried in Wednesfield Heath Curch on 24 and 25 January 1860. The seventh man Thomas Kelly being Irish and therefore almost cerainly Catholic must be buried some where else and I have yet to find him. I have alikely man loging in Carribee Island in Wolverhampton. 

I appreciate the detail in your item and would like to ask what are your sources. I have the dead listed as:-

Deceased from New Cross Colliery Accident 24 January 1860

24/1/1860 John Cheese 41 Wednesfield Road 26/31 Heath Town.

25/1/1860 Emmanual Giles 41 Mosley Hole ,7/39 Heath Town.

25/1/1860 John Jones 12 Wolverhampton Road 33/42 Heath Town.

25/1/1860 George Jenks 12 Wood End 26/30 Heath Town.

24/1/1860 Samuel Styche 13 Bushbury Lane 34/15 Heath Town.

25/1/1860 Henry Davis 37 Wood End 26/30 Heath Town.

Thomas Kelley 26 Canal Street ?

Source 1 Wolverhampton Chronicle

Source 2 http://www.wolverhamptonhistory.org.uk/resources/indexes

 

Source 3 GBPRS-STAFF-007566576-01670

 

I have a Henry Davis, whereas you have Henry Perry. 

I don't wish to appear pedantic but I don't want to try to trace the wrong person if you have a different source that is more accurate than mine.


keep up the good work,


many thanks,


Phil

I think there is a genuine confusion here!

The Birmingham Daily Post also say Henry Davis, but Henry Perry is quoted in the following papers...

Berks Chronicle, Leeds Mercury, Reynolds, Maidstone Telegraph.


All the best Pedro


November 12, 2015 at 5:01 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Philip Jones
Member
Posts: 3

Thanks for that, many of the papers would be using news agencies. The Wolverhampton Chronicle reports seem to be verbatim and then sold on to others.

best wishes,


Phil

November 13, 2015 at 5:11 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Philip Jones
Member
Posts: 3

Regarding the Wednesfield and Wednesfield Heath mines, there on many websites references to mining at LE HAYESCHUTE in 1325. Have you any idea where fact  this has come from to gether with references to Bilston and Wednesfield?

We have a Hayes  name in the area, meaning and enclosed piece of land. Possibly the Le could be lea, a meadow but I am at a loss with (s)chute.


best wishes,


Phil 

April 16, 2016 at 9:48 AM Flag Quote & Reply

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