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Alaska.
Site Owner
Posts: 1404

Willingsworth, Sedgley, Tipton, Wednesbury. James Bayley.


Willingsworth Colliery, is not a name that springs to mind when thinking of Sedgley. I can't find it on any map as yet, although I'm sure it will turn up one day. The most likely area for the mine would be just south of Hurst Hill. Possible opened about 1840, and may even be a name given to an older mine, but under new ownership. In November 1850, it was in the possession of James Bayley, a fairly well known family in the area. Mine regulations called for a Pit inspection prior to the start of each shift, and just for once, this was carried out as required. The pits " doggy " ,( foreman ) found gas in an area not far from the winding shaft, and, as also required, warned the miners to stay where they were while ventilation was increased. All standard text-book stuff so far, and then the doggy's son, for reasons best known to himself, took a lighted candle and set off for his work place. He didn't get very far. Sadly, that moment of stupidity, cost not only his life, but 4 other miners as well. It was reported, that 4 others were seriously burnt in the explosion. There are no records however in the files, just a few short lines with the bare outlines of the story. So can anyone, interested in the subject, and who may live in Sedgley, enlighten me on the matter. I would be most grateful, and of course, it will add a little more to the areas history.


And the problem was solved with a look at the old map of the area. The Parish of Sedgley was extensive, prior to the 1830s and included a large part of Tipton, and a bit each of Wednesbury and the lower part of Bilston. The Mine was located near to Gospel Oak Road and Toll End Road, Tipton. It was not just the one mine either, but there were, over the years, at least 15 different pits in the area. When James Bayley died, the complex was taken over by the partnership of Haines and Bailey, in 1900.

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

July 4, 2011 at 2:27 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Alaska.
Site Owner
Posts: 1404

Cole Farm Colliery. Hill Top, West Bromwich.


Now I may not as yet have located the Mine in the above post, but it's possible to find the site's of a great many more. Following an enquiry recently, for the location of Cole Farm Colliery, somewhere in West Bromwich, I came up with this. The location is Hill Top, West Bromwich, and it's likely start date was around 1849. It was owned by the grand sounding Cole Farm Colliery Company, which could be just a couple of old farmers, risking a few pounds sinking a shaft, on nothing more than a small holding rather than a farm. The site was close to a much older Mine at Hateley Heath which was opened around 1820, and called Millpool Colliery. There was another mine in the general vacinity as well, Wallface Colliery, which went of business in the 1880s. The Millpool mine was on the oposite side of Ryddings Lane to Cole Farm Colliery, the site of which may be very close, if not underneath,  Moorlands Primary School. It wasn't a very big affair, employing at most 15 men, and in the 1880s, were still using a horse driven " Gin ", to lower and raise men and coal to the surface. There's no mention of it beyond 1900, so in all likihood, it closed during the 1890s. Millpool on the other hand, is still shown as a going concern on the maps of 1952, although the information may have been several years out of date. Not so much a lost mine then, just forgotten in the mist's of time. Any further information on the subject will be much appreciated.


Now it's a strange thing, but the open waste land left by all this mining, was, in 1900, called " The Hilly-Piece " by the locals. It was the scene of a child murder on 26th November,1900, ( Matilda Coleyshaw, aged 9 ) and another one, this time an adult female in 1926, ( Sarah Brookes, aged 38.) Neither killer, Joseph Lowe,  or Edward Leatherhead, suffered the fate they both deservered, the former commuted to life imprisonment, the later to just 15 years. Read more, ( Black Country Murders, written by Ian M. Bott )

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

September 20, 2012 at 11:18 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Alaska.
Site Owner
Posts: 1404

Coles Farm, Jones, Withers, Morris. West Bromwich.


The original enquiry for Coles Farm Colliery, included a request for the actual owners. While the records show it listed as a company, it was in fact owned by three men, Emmanuel Jones, Withers, and Morris. I did also say it would have been a small mine, and so it proved. At it's peak, in the mid 1890s, the mine employed just 18 men underground, and 4 on the surface. So thats solved that one then.

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

September 26, 2012 at 4:22 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Alaska.
Site Owner
Posts: 1404

West Bromwich Mines. Wednesbury Mines, Millfields, Balls Hill, Millpool.


In response to another enquiry which concerns the same area, the Mine shown on some older maps as Millpool, began life in the 1840s, as the Millfields Colliery. It was owned, at least up until 1870, by Thomas Millership, in which year, at aged 71, he died. On the 1st July,1868, his son, and the then Assistant manager, was killed in a heavy fall of coal, together with another miner. He also co-owned the nearby Balls Hill Colliery, in partnership with a Mr Baker, where another miner, Joseph Morton, was killed in 1859, in an accident where a rope, under heavy strain, snapped, and hit him on the head. He owned the Hateley Heath Colliery up to 1867, prior to it being sold to The Patent Shaft and Axletree Company. Part Coal, and part Ironstone, two men, Butty Miner Enoch Severns, and Joseph Bailey, fell down the shaft in 1863. Not many of the mines, as I have already noted, ever employed more than a handful of miners, and on some sites, there were as many as three shafts, each one being labelled as a seperate mine. Two of them at least, are recorded as actually being in Wednesbury, and I would suggest a visit to the local archives, which may unearth, in which year the land was either purchased, or leased. The only one still working after the last War was the Millpool Colliery, on the site of the much older Millfields.

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

January 22, 2013 at 2:40 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Alaska.
Site Owner
Posts: 1404

Willingsworth Colliery, Toll End, Tipton. Mine Names.


A request this week, was unable to be answered, because the e-mail, address was wrong, and it came straight back. Here's the answer anyway. The earliest entry for the name you are looking for was in 1833, when Stephen Bailey, presumably in his own mine at Tipton, was blown up in an explosion. James Bailey, ( the subject of the request ) owned, between 1850, and 1868, The Willingsworth Colliery, situated in the area of Gospel Oak Road, Toll End Road, and Lea Brook Road. ( there were other mines on the site ) Tipton Meadow Colliery, was owned by one Thomas Bailey in 1863, and by 1880, was controlled by the Bailey Brothers. Most of the working Willingsworth mines were owned by Joshua and James Bayley, but following his death, the coal field was taken over by a partnership, Haines and Bailey. The site comprised, in 1900, The Shop Pit, The Boundry Pit, Busby's Garden Pit, Bailey's No. 10, The Iron Jack Pit, Powell's Pit, Hall's Pit, Baley's No.7, and Bayley's No.5 Pits, and Haines Bye Pit. Non of them employed more than 40 men, indeed, a few were worked by just a few family members. Some did not get past the industrial unrest of the early part of the new century, others never opened again after the 1913 and 1915 strikes, and all were gone by the 1920s. If any of the old Pit names ring a bell in your family, do let me know.

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

January 24, 2013 at 2:41 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Alaska.
Site Owner
Posts: 1404

It's easier to deal with both the next two requests at the same time. The mines in question were only about a mile apart. Oakham Colliery, on the top of the Rowley Hills, was, as far as the records go, opened in the early 1860s. There is a picture of what it looked like in the Gallery. There are few deaths listed for the period asked about, so lets see if any of these are helpful. J.H.Sheldon, 21, and George Harris, 37, both in 1876, and both died in falls of coal. In 1877, there were four deaths, Thomas Williams, ? Thomas Pritchard, 55, Joseph Smith, 22, and John Sorrows, 46. All were crushed after a heavy load of coal fell. Joseph Detheridge, 45, Joseph Timmins, 50, and Benjamin Bellingham, 56, all died in 1877. Bellingham was the only one not to die from a fall of coal. He was the pits Shotfirer, and he was badly injured after setting off the charge, when the roof, composed of rock, collapsed on him on 28th March. He died on the 27th June. The other Mine is The Knowle, just a bit farther down the Dudley Road near todays Springfield. It was certainly in operation before 1854, and may have been sunk in the 1830s. There is a death recorded in 1854, when it was owned by Jones and Company, and another one, in 1857, under the care of Blackwell and Company. It may have ceased production around the 1870s, only to be re-opened in the 1890s by H.S. Pitt and Company. There were four deaths up to 1899, Elijah Smith, 24, Edward Round, 41, Edward Weston, 30, and David Gething. The one that maybe of interest, regarding the request, is William Parkes, aged 44, who died on 22 December, 1913. He was listed as a master sinker, and it appeared that on the day, he, and another man, were installing at the bottom of the shaft, some conductors, which guided the winding rope.Returning to the surface, for some equipment to secure them to the new brickwork, the Engine man and the Banksman opened the steel plates that sealed the shaft, but were told by Parkes, to leave one open as they would be going back down. The Engineman was in the process of handing the parts to Parkes, when he unexpectedly climbed out of the Bowk.( bucket ) Unfortunatley, he got out on the side where the plate was still open, and he fell 300 feet down the pit shaft. No one could offer any explanation of why he should make such a stupid mistake, he was a very experienced Miner. Just for the record, back home, at 44, Spring Meadow, Old Hill, he left a wife, Emma, and three sons, to make what they could of a devastating Christmas.

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

March 24, 2013 at 5:09 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Alaska.
Site Owner
Posts: 1404

Mining on the Clee Hills.


Although this area is well beyond the Black Country, I have received a little call for help in finding out some information. Now most folk have, from time to time, visited the Clee Hills, or spent a pleasant day in the charming town of Ludlow. You can't miss the Castle, nor could you miss the quarries on the top of the hill, but you could miss the mines at the bottom of the Hill.  Knowbury Colliery, was owned in the1850s, by J. and W. Pearson, a name familar in the mining world in that area.  In answer to the question, Benjamin Preece was indeed killed in a mining accident, at this very Pit, together with George Bidlake. They both it would appear, fell out of a skip while decending to work. The shaft was about 170 feet deep. There were three other mines in the area, two of them again owned by Pearson and Company. The Clee Hill Colliery, and the Cornbrook Colliery, both of them working in the 1860s. Unusually for the time, a fourth one, The Watsall Colliery, was owned by a Mrs Botfield, and recorded, is the death of one John Warrington, aged 14. He wasn't killed in the pit though, he had the misfortune to be run over by a fully loaded coal waggon on the road to Ludlow. on 4th April, 1866. He must have been employed in some capacity by Mrs Botfield, otherwise he wouldn't be in the records, but it doesn't say what job he did. If it was as a Driver, he wasn't very good at it. Incidently, Knowbury was still in production in 1900, employing 15 men and boys, and still owned by the same family, John Pearson. So it would seem was another, but  there was a merger at some time, for Watsall, numbers 1 and 4 Collieries, were owned by The Cornbrook and Knowbury Coal and Stone Company. The combined operation employed 48 men, and would have been one of the largest employers in the area at the time. I will have to rely on someone telling me exactly when they closed, ( best guess about 1909 ) for that information isn't recorded. I hope all this helps.

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

April 10, 2013 at 3:11 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Alaska.
Site Owner
Posts: 1404

They do say that a picture is worth a thousand words, and it's true, that every one tells a tale. The one below was taken in the 1920s, and shows a loaded tub, on the way to be sorted and graded. The only problem is, which Mine is it? Well, for a start it's a posed photograph, for the mine in question is the Earl of Dudleys newly opened Baggeridge Colliery, and this picture was intended for advertisement purpose's for the Earl sold his coal directly to the public, via a series of shops and agents. Now I did send this article to the Black Country Bugle on 10th May, but sadly it's still sitting in the Editors inbox, as of 23/5/2013.



Non of the men in the picture were underground workers, Samuel Hickman, the man in the  center, was a loader, and is the only local man in the shot, having been born in Sedgley. The man on the left, Herbert Gough, was born in Yorkshire, and the third man, Charles Slack, ( not Shack ) was a colliery labourer from Darbyshire. Apart from the obvious connection of Baggeridge, all three of them had something else in common, they all served in the same section of the Army during the recent War. They were all drafted towards the end of 1915, and they all ended up in the 3/3rd, North Midland Brigade, Royal Field Artillery. This was a Territorial Army holding and training Brigade, and mainly used after early 1917, as a re-inforcement unit. So it was then, that in May, 1918, they were all sent to France, as part of the strengthening of the 59th Division. They were not popular men this lot, for they had been trained in the use of the 6 inch Newton Trench Mortar, which had an effective range of between 400 and 900 yards, elevated at 75 degrees. Close range stuff this from the front line trenches, and it attracted a lot of fire in response from the Germans. How much they endured isn't recorded, but they seem to have escaped the carnage intact. No doubt all the Army teamwork they learned, they put to good use at Baggeridge, and contributed toward the 400,000 tons of coal produced annually from the pit. The shaft, which is behind them out of shot, was about 1,800 feet deep, and was the last deep one to be sunk in the Black Country. The Mine, at the time, employed 998 men underground, and 215 surface workers, mostly from around the region, but as the War had reduced the number of skilled men, the Earl had to advertise in other mining areas for men. Today, the area around the old mine is a country park, and unless you look carefully, there isn't much sign of it's former use.

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

May 22, 2013 at 2:51 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Alaska.
Site Owner
Posts: 1404

Now I don't always have the time to search for every mine that I get asked about, and it's even harder when there are no dates handy. This one is one of those, but I think I have some useful informatiom for the questioner. John Smout, born in Cann Lane, Sedgley, in 1818, was a miner all his life. In the 1860s, he moved to Coseley, and took on the extra role of a Publican, in Ladymoor Road. At this stage he was calling himself a " Master Miner ", and listed 16 men in his employ. There is if course, no such thing as a master miner, he was in fact a " Butty Miner ",  a term you will find explained in another topic. The Mine mentioned, Ash Leasows, will almost certainly be the old Ash Meadows, owned and run by Williams and Whitehouse, up to about 1878, and situated between Meadow Lane, and Dock Meadow Drive in Coseley. It was at the end of it's productive life but John Smout is listed as the owner in 1880. It was a poor investment, for by 1883, John Smout had gone into a partnership with a Mr Porter, another Butty miner, not in this mine, but in another one nearby called the Old End Colliery. This didn't last long either, especially as a man was killed underground that year. All the pits in this small area, were closed in the 1890s. Nobody in the later years of digging coal ever got rich working old mines, as reflected in John Smout's personal fortune when he died on the 9th November,1887. He left just £2.10shillings.

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

July 28, 2013 at 11:18 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Alaska.
Site Owner
Posts: 1404

More information has appeared in my inbox since I replied to member Raymonds request. And, to cap it all, it's from another member, who also has John Smout as a relative. The difference in names, seems to arise due to the older Parish boundries, where once it was Sedgley, and then Bilston, it's now Coseley and Tipton. The mining records, back from the 1890s, are subject to a few spelling errors, as well as being misplaced in another district. It can all be very confusing, but with a few more clues from Barbara, we may have cracked it. Lets start with another name associated with mining in the area, Samuel Groucutt and Sons. Operating under this name, for many years, including 1854, they were responsible for the Coseley Colliery. John Smout, and some of his sons. were very likely to be employed at this mine. The Company also operated the Hitchins Colliery, in 1862, Moxley Colliery, ( Ironstone mine ) from 1864, The Hall Colliery, West Bromwich, from the early1860s, untill an explosion in 1866, which killed two men, put a sudden stop to activities. The Neachells Colliery, Willenhall, also ironstone, was under their control in 1869, and with access to further Coal deposits getting scarce, they may have resorted to a bit of skullduggery. More on this later. John Smout was getting on a bit in 1880 when he was listed as the owner of Ash Leasowe Colliery,  and indeed, it was diffinately Ash Leasowe. The previous listed owners went Bankrupt in 1868, and my guess is that the Receivers entered into an agreement with John Smout, who provided the workforce, to keep it going to pay off the debts. Now one of the owners, also had a Public House, in Lower Green, Tipton. This no longer exists, but it was a tiny area, at the junctions of Park Lane West, Castle Street, and Queens Road. The Colliery was also listed in the same area, and low and behold, just a short distance away, the Council built a small estate on a piece of waste land. The road names are, Leasowe Road, and Ash Road, perfectly matching the mines name, and the reason why the Council chose the names in the first place. The pit shut down and was abandoned about 1884. The man now in charge of the crew of working miners was Isaac Smout, who had taken over from his father, and was possible in charge when the closure came. He had though, an ace up his sleeve, and this was where a bit of crafty work came in.


Isaac Smout had, at some stage, leased a plot of land, near the Canal in Coseley, for " gardening " purposes. This transaction was with the Manor of Sedgely, and there were certain things that were not allowed on the land. One of them was a ban on any mining for coal, and how they got away with it for so long is anyones guess. Sinking a mine shaft is an expensive business, sinking two, as the regulations stipulated was way beyond Smout's means, so it was paid for by Messers Groucutt, and called Old End Colliery. It was sited roughly at the end of what today is called, Old End Lane, Coseley. They operated the mine, with men supplied by Smout, up to 1884 when a row broke out over the lease on the land. The mine had been discovered. Groucutt denied oporating without a licence, and withdrew, leaving Isaac Smout and his partner, Mr Porter, to face the music for operating an illegal mine. It was all repossesed in 1886, possibly leaving Isaac with a pile of debts, and damages to pay. He had, after all, together with Groucutt, stolen a conciderable quantity of the landowners coal.

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

July 29, 2013 at 3:01 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Alaska.
Site Owner
Posts: 1404

Not listed in the records, is this mine that came to light during a search for a lost relative. I haven't found another mention of it anywhere. Bull Pleck Coal Pit, was located in an area just east of Wolverhampton called Portobello, Willenhall. It was owned by one Thomas Davis, who, as it transpired, wasn't all that well educated in Colliery safety. Neither for that matter, was his mine engineer, Joseph Newill, whose almost unbelievable stupidity, cost an innocent miner his life. Needing to replace a bucket, on the pits pump, on 28th November,1860, and in full view of the two colliery butties, William Pumford and William Wilson, who said nothing, he decided to do the job in the fastest time possible. Wrapping part of the winching chain around his waist, and then attaching it to the drawing up chain, he ordered himself lowered down the shaft. It was impossibly at the time, to send down the Bowk, for working on a scaffold, repairing brickwork in the shaft was 29 year old Enoch Mason.  Newill hadn't got very far down, when his clumsy attempt at tying knots failed, and the link broke, sending him plummeting downwards. With conciderable force, he struck Enoch Mason, the impact shattered the scaffold boards, and both men procceded to the shaft bottom with the assistance of the mines winding engine. At the bottom of the shaft, William Francis, who was the lucky man that day, heard the noise of something coming down, and leapt backwards, just in time to avoid the falling bodies and scaffolding remains. Both men were of course killed on impact, torn, as they say, limb from limb. The inquest was a formality, although the question was raised, as to why the to two butties hadn't spoken out about the danger. The answer of course, was that Newill had done this before, and besides, they only supplied the labour, he was the owners employee, and outranked them.

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

June 8, 2014 at 11:58 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Pedro
Member
Posts: 25

Alaska. at July 29, 2013 at 3:01 PM

More information has appeared in my inbox since I replied to member Raymonds request. And, to cap it all, it's from another member, who also has John Smout as a relative. The difference in names, seems to arise due to the older Parish boundries, where once it was Sedgley, and then Bilston, it's now Coseley and Tipton. The mining records, back from the 1890s, are subject to a few spelling errors, as well as being misplaced in another district. It can all be very confusing, but with a few more clues from Barbara, we may have cracked it. Lets start with another name associated with mining in the area, Samuel Groucutt and Sons. Operating under this name, for many years, including 1854, they were responsible for the Coseley Colliery. John Smout, and some of his sons. were very likely to be employed at this mine. The Company also operated the Hitchins Colliery, in 1862, Moxley Colliery, ( Ironstone mine ) from 1864, The Hall Colliery, West Bromwich, from the early1860s, untill an explosion in 1866, which killed two men, put a sudden stop to activities. The Neachells Colliery, Willenhall, also ironstone, was under their control in 1869, and with access to further Coal deposits getting scarce, they may have resorted to a bit of skullduggery. More on this later. John Smout was getting on a bit in 1880 when he was listed as the owner of Ash Leasowe Colliery,  and indeed, it was diffinately Ash Leasowe. The previous listed owners went Bankrupt in 1868, and my guess is that the Receivers entered into an agreement with John Smout, who provided the workforce, to keep it going to pay off the debts. Now one of the owners, also had a Public House, in Lower Green, Tipton. This no longer exists, but it was a tiny area, at the junctions of Park Lane West, Castle Street, and Queens Road. The Colliery was also listed in the same area, and low and behold, just a short distance away, the Council built a small estate on a piece of waste land. The road names are, Leasowe Road, and Ash Road, perfectly matching the mines name, and the reason why the Council chose the names in the first place. The pit shut down and was abandoned about 1884. The man now in charge of the crew of working miners was Isaac Smout, who had taken over from his father, and was possible in charge when the closure came. He had though, an ace up his sleeve, and this was where a bit of crafty work came in.


Isaac Smout had, at some stage, leased a plot of land, near the Canal in Coseley, for " gardening " purposes. This transaction was with the Manor of Sedgely, and there were certain things that were not allowed on the land. One of them was a ban on any mining for coal, and how they got away with it for so long is anyones guess. Sinking a mine shaft is an expensive business, sinking two, as the regulations stipulated was way beyond Smout's means, so it was paid for by Messers Groucutt, and called Old End Colliery. It was sited roughly at the end of what today is called, Old End Lane, Coseley. They operated the mine, with men supplied by Smout, up to 1884 when a row broke out over the lease on the land. The mine had been discovered. Groucutt denied oporating without a licence, and withdrew, leaving Isaac Smout and his partner, Mr Porter, to face the music for operating an illegal mine. It was all repossesed in 1886, possibly leaving Isaac with a pile of debts, and damages to pay. He had, after all, together with Groucutt, stolen a conciderable quantity of the landowners coal.

"The difference in names, seems to arise due to the older Parish boundaries, where once it was Sedgley, and then Bilston,it's now Coseley and Tipton."

 

I had to smile reading this after my findings concerning the so called "Coseley Spider" see article below...

 

http://brownhillsbob.com/2015/08/26/arachnofoolya/

September 10, 2015 at 5:53 PM Flag Quote & Reply

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