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Forum Home > Mining History. > Shuttend and Gornal mines.

Alaska.
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Posts: 1404

Not many realise that some mines actually moved. As the seams thinned out, or became exhuasted, new shafts were sunk. The Old Park Colliery site, split into two during the 1880s, when the highest pit number, ( Pit 60 ) was recorded.



Many had no other name except this number, and some deaths were simply recorded with this pit number. The maps included in this post, show a great number of old shafts and air shafts, but many others were already lost in the mists of time. It's hard to imagine, looking at a map, that Old Park was originally a simple little farm on the Earl of Dudleys vast estates. There were other Collieries nearby too, for one of the oldest was Coopers Bank Colliery, just of the Dudley to Himley road, and of course, Gornal was mentioned as a mining area in the early 17th century. The second mine I will mention, is the slightly larger Shuttend Colliery, which again, was spread over two sites, adjacent to Old Park. More well known than the latter, Shuttend had it's own private proper railway, which transported coal to the Earls wharves, and a branch of the Stourbridge Canal as well.



The whole area was full of disused and sometimes forgotten shafts, visitors had to be a bit wary where they walked. Shuttend was, in the mid 1880s, a large industrious area, producing large quantities of Iron and millions of Bricks and tiles, all thanks to the abundant riches below the ground. What was once a quiet rural backwater, soon became a melting pot of nations, as workers flooded in to find employment to feed their families. Houses suddenly appeared  all over the place, not very well built many of them, and little communities of Miners, Ironworkers, and Brickmakers sprang up in the little villages. One Colliery I mentioned in another topic on the subject, was one called The Graveyard Colliery, and there were some who doubted that this was it's name. A look at a map will soon dispel any such thoughts, for there it is, in black and white.



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

January 31, 2016 at 5:17 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Alaska.
Site Owner
Posts: 1404

It's a bit hard at times, to determine if the name given for the mine owner is actually correct, or just the name of the Leaseholder. The Earls of Dudley, having made a quick profit at the start, leased out a great many in the 1850s and 1860s. Apart from Shut End, most of the others changed hands many times in their sometimes short lives. Coopers Bank, a very old early mining site, about a mile from Gornal Wood, and just off the Himley Road, retained the the old number, being known as Pit No 7.  In 1857, it was in the hands of S.H.Blackwell, managed by Francis Cadman, and used the old fashioned pillar and stall method to extract the coal. This made  later mining operations very dangerous, for the removel of these pillars of coal, sometimes 15 feet across, weakened the strata above, leaving the mine subject to unexpected falls of rocks, earth, and coal. This is a case in point.


On the morning of the 18th May,1857, Uriah Fellows, a very experienced miner, together with Benjamin Evans, were sent to a coal face, about 160 yards from the shaft bottom, to extract the last of the coal at this location. To get at the coal, Fellows had to drive a heading, (a small tunnel ) through a large pillar of coal. Evans, was positioned some feet behind him, his job being to rake away the slack and small coal Fellows cut away with his pick. By 11.30am, Fellows had a hole large enough to work in, only his legs visable as he laboured away. An ominous creak, followed by a crash, and a weak cry for help, alerted the miners, some distance away, to a problem. About 10 tons of Earth, Rock, and Coal, had slipped from the roof, trapping Fellows by the legs, but burying Evans. It was a matter of seconds to free Fellows, but as they began to dig for Evans, there was another fall. This time it was much bigger, well over 60 tons cascaded into the area, forcing the miners back.


Miners are a tough lot, and as soon as the dust cleared, they were back at the site, digging and putting in props for supports. All day long they laboured, despite the repeated falls that impeded the by now slow progress. All through the night they worked, knowing that  they would not find Benjamin Evans alive, but reluctant to leave his body behind. At 2pm on Tuesday, they finally recovered the mangled and mutilated body, after refusing, yet again, to stop work due to more falls. A quick calculation, showed that over 100 tons of rock and coal had been removed during the rescue. Back on the surface, when the body was finally bought up, the large crowd fell silent, and, caps in hand, stood respectfully aside, as Benjamin Evans was conveyed home for the last time.


The Inquest was held at the Miners Arms, Shavers End, for thats where the dead miner had lived, together with his Wife and 3 Children. An accidental Death, a sad day, and yet another addition to a long line of miners in the local graveyards.

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

October 8, 2016 at 7:17 AM Flag Quote & Reply

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