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Alaska.
Site Owner
Posts: 1409

Worcestershire Mines, Bewdley, Pensax, Abberley, Rock, Mambles.


Not including the Halesowen mines, there is another small part of the County, that mostly gets overlooked. Again, it's a case of an area that was up and running, long before parts of the Black Country started. The town of Kidderminster, has long been an industrialized centre, particulary noted for it's Carpets. The early looms were powered by Water Wheels, until the age of steam power arrived. To feed the boilers though, they needed Coal, lots of it, and where better to get it from than the area just beyond Bewdley.


 A short journey along the present day A456, will bring you to a pretty little place called Rock. There were two mines in Rock, where, like other sites in the area, digging for coal started in the 17th Century. Old Hall Colliery, a collection of little mines, was just north of the later, and bigger, Rookmoor Colliery. In the 1890s, this mine employed about 40 men. Old Hall had stopped work in the early 1890s, and would be abandoned by the turn on the century. Just beyond Rock, over Clows Top, lies another pretty place, Mambles. The Mambles Colliery was composed of over 11 shafts, and had been in operation from at least 1818. It had the advantage of being very near to the Leominster Canal, indeed, although it was a difficult engineering job, the canal had been constructed just for the series of pits in the area, including the Buckets Leasow Colliery. Just a bit farther north, in the little hamlet of Bayton, were the Mill Colliery, another collection of little mines, and later, the Shakenhurst Colliery, owned in the 1890s by W.L.Viggers, and employing about 20 men. ( A family member of the the then owners, in the 1870s, Thomas Tolley, fell down the shaft at  this mine, later followed, before they sold it by one William Mole, in December,1890. ) These two mines, later on, had an advantage over the others, they had an impressive overhead ropeway which finished in the yard of Cleobury Mortimer Railway Station. This allowed them to compete with the mines on and around the Clee Hills. They finally stopped producing coal around 1944. Back tracking to Rock, and heading off towards Abberley, we come to the charming little village of Pensax. Here to we have a complex of shafts that made up the Hollins Colliery, on the site of a farm of the same name. Samuel Yarnold was the owner in the 1890s, and it probably closed sometime after 1918. On then to the larger village of Abberley, which had what appears to have been the second largest complex in the area, employing over 30 men at it's peak. One owner, James Moilliet, in 1864, found himself explaining to a jury, how one of his men was killed, working in an unsupported part of his mine. The family of Emmanuel Price had to be satisfied with a verdict of Accidently Death.  The last mine in this topic is the one at Areley Kings, which, being nearer old river bed, also produced Fire Clay. A ready market for this were the areas Brickworks. It closed in the 1870s. Unless you look very carefully today, you won't see much sign of all this activity. It left no deep old mine shafts, the average here was about 90 feet, nor any massive heaps of waste. Neither is there much sign of the rails and wagons, nor indeed, of the old Canal. The railway links disappeared during the Doctor Beeching era, and Kidderminster has long ago lost it's title of Carpet Capital. It's a nice place to live though, Wrye Forest.

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

October 8, 2012 at 4:18 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Alaska.
Site Owner
Posts: 1409

Mines, Worcestershire, Pensax, Abberley,


Already mentioned in this topic, Thomas Moilliet Esq, was fairly typical of most mine owners. He gave over the day to day running of the mine to a so called " Charter Master," one William Neath, who was, supposedly, a competant and experienced miner. This gave him a bit of distance from any blame, should accidents happen. The accident was Emanuel Price, aged 19, crushed to death beneath a few odd tons of falling coal at the Pull House Colliery, Pensax, on the 8th August 1864. He was forced to listen, at the inquest at the New Inn, Abberley, to first his Charter Master, Neath, and then a witness, miner George Aston, tell the Coroner, that it was usual to advance the roadway to new workings, anything up to 30 feet before any timber supports were put in place. Astons father, Samuel, was the mines General Manager, and did not give any evidence. The verdict, as usual, was accidental death. Other deaths around this small coalfield include 28 year old George Hopcutt, a Butty, having his entire head crushed when someone moved the engine while he was tightening a loose bolt, in 1857 at Old Hall. Benjamin Wagstaff was killed two years earlier, in the Arley Colliery, buried under a pile of rather wet fire clay. George Ashton, just turned 20, and a relative of the owner of the Glebe Colliery, ( his father ) was seriously injured in a fire damp explosion on 11th January, 1859, and died five days later. Charles Price, who may have suffered from epilepsy, fell out of the skip on the way up after his shift at the Bayton Colliery, in 1872. Well thats what the owner, Joseph Crump told the Coroner. Back at the Old Hall, William Morgan, a 40 year old pikeman, was crushed to death after the roof fell in on 19th November,1877. Benjamin Jones was sinking a new shaft at the Glebe Colliery, in January 1882, and while working at the bottom of it, was smacked on the head, by a wooden wedge, which someone had carelessly dropped, or thrown, down the shaft. He died a few hours later. Now while a lot of these mines were not all that deep, the dangers of mining are still the same, one mistake, and it's likely to be your last.

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

January 19, 2013 at 3:23 PM Flag Quote & Reply

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