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Thread: Firbeck Colliery, Notts, May 2019

  1. #1
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    Default Firbeck Colliery, Notts, May 2019


    1. The History
    The two shafts at Firbeck Main colliery were sunk between 1923 and 1925 as part of a joint venture between the Sheepbridge Company and the Doncaster Collieries Association. Mining started in 1925 on the Barnsley Bed Seam of coal. Mining had earlier started in the surrounding area around 1911 and that there may be a workable seam of coal at Langold. The two shafts were cemented for the first 120m to prevent water entering it. On reaching 410m water flooded the workings necessitating the installation of pumps. The Barnsley coal seamy was finally reached a the 757m and continued down for 26m. The headgear for the shafts was installed in1923, and 55m chimney constructed in three months. The winding engines were powered by six boilers and a Baume washer capable of washing 160 tons of coal per hour was also installed

    Access to the colliery was provided by 5 miles of temporary railway track which opened in April 1924 which was then upgraded to permanent track in October 1927. Mining back then was a physical task. Miners had to provide their own pickaxes and shovels and sharpening of a pick blade had to be paid for out of the miner's wages. Coal was transported from the coal face to the shaft in big tubs pulled along rails by ponies. No less than 200 ponies were employed in the mine and at any one time, half of them were below ground.

    Firbeck Main old 02 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    The mine produced coal for industry supplying coking coal, gas coal, manufacturing coal and steam coal. Shortly after opening, however, it was affected by the miners’ strike of 1926, but production resumed afterwards. In 1934 the Firbeck Pit Head Baths where opened which improved conditions with the opening of the pit baths in 1933. There was even a charge for these (6d per week) deducted from the miner's pay. By 1938 the colliery was owned by Firbeck Main Collieries Ltd of Chesterfield. The mine employed 1,457 underground workers and 357 surface workers.

    The winding house and headstocks, and the 55m chimney:

    Firbeck Main old 01 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    In 1940 the pit was taken over by the Doncaster Amalgamated Collieries Ltd and nationalised as part of the National Coal Board in 1947 and placed in the NCB North Eastern division, Area No 1. Production peaked in 1953 but after then problems gradually started to occur, including flooding, ventilation difficulties and geological faults. Transport of the coal to the surface was slow, as the shafts were unsuitable for the installation of mechanical skip winding. In March 1967, Firbeck was assigned to the South Yorkshire area along with Shireoaks, Steetley and Manton, before closing the following year in November 1968 due to “uneconomic production”, finally closing on 31st December 1968. Between 1970-71 both the up and downcast shafts where filled-in and the site abandoned.

    Over it’s 43 years of operation the 60 men lost their lives at Firbeck Colliery, with hundreds more suffered life changing injuries.

    2. The Explore
    Came across this place when I spotted an old report. Given the lack of recent reports I assumed that this place had long gone. Then to my surprise, while looking at GoogleMaps at the nearby Firbeck Hall, spotted the former bathhouses. A little more digging and it came to light that there was still quite a lot to see here. And so it proved. The substantial bath houses, along with the enormous winding house were very much still there along with a few other buildings. In the end it turned out to be a great little wander. There’s a lot to see in physical terms, even though it is pretty much trashed. There is the added bonus of some fantastic graffiti by Colorquix and Brayk which made things even more enjoyable. It’s also very much an easy in making me wonder why it doesn’t come up on the forums very often. Visited with non-members Dale and Ryan.

    3. The Picutres

    First up – the bath houses:

    img0685 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Firbeck 03 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    img0645 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Firbeck 10 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    img0628 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    img0631 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    img0625 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Firbeck 02 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Firbeck 09 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Firbeck 06 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Firbeck 04 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Firbeck 01 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    This apocalyptic building was next to the bathhouses:

    Firbeck 11 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    img0649 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    On to the enormous winding house:

    img0654 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Firbeck 20 by HughieDW, on Flickr



    img0655 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    img0668 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Firbeck 18 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    img0676bw by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Firbeck 13 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    img0670 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    img0667 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    img0666 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    img0661 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    There’s some great graff by Colorquix and Brayk here:

    Firbeck 19 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Firbeck 16 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Firbeck 15 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    img0675 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Slightly further away, this building played some role in the rail link;

    img0684 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    img0682 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    While the remnants of some of the rail track are here:

    img0681 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Think these red brick buildings were part of the admin side of the pit. They would have been nice back in the day but are now pretty much trashed and burned. Photogenic, nether-the-less:

    Firbeck 23 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Firbeck 25 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Firbeck 24 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Firbeck 21 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    img0700 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    img0686 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    And what it used to look like:

    Firbeck offices by HughieDW, on Flickr

  2. Thanks given by: jmcjnr, krela, Lhiannan Shee, Mikeymutt, mookster, Newage, noiseboy72, prettyvacant71, Sausage, Sidsdx1988, smiler, Terminal Decline
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  4. #2
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    Interesting history write-up and good photographs. I can only imagine the offices which had overstuffed armchairs and ornate desks.
    When the going gets tough - the tough get going.

  5. Thanks given by: HughieD
  6. #3
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    Yeah mate very good..like you say it's trashed but lots off retaining features left
    I like to go where others fear to tread.

  7. Thanks given by: HughieD
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    Thats cool mate, lots to see there still nicely done!
    What the hell am I doing, I mean really at my age!

  9. #5
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    Awesome. I do love a coal mine explore but unfortunately the places are getting rarer and rarer. I'd probably have stayed a month in there because I'm seeing small passages and interesting remnants lying about!

    Top marks for finding this and grabbing pics.
    Full of meaty goodness.

  10. Thanks given by: HughieD
  11. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hugh Jorgan View Post
    Interesting history write-up and good photographs. I can only imagine the offices which had overstuffed armchairs and ornate desks.
    Cheers Hugh. Indeed. These would have been proper offices these, back in the day.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mikeymutt View Post
    Yeah mate very good..like you say it's trashed but lots off retaining features left
    That's the SP mate. Get it on your list!

    Quote Originally Posted by BikinGlynn View Post
    Thats cool mate, lots to see there still nicely done!
    Many thanks mate.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sausage View Post
    Awesome. I do love a coal mine explore but unfortunately the places are getting rarer and rarer. I'd probably have stayed a month in there because I'm seeing small passages and interesting remnants lying about!

    Top marks for finding this and grabbing pics.
    Cheers Sausage! Yes. Scope for being here quite a bit of time. And hour-and-a-half shot past.

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