Firbeck Colliery, Notts, May 2019

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HughieD

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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.

47786785021_7b4c426d0f_b.jpgFirbeck 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:

46997501814_a5a8982268_b.jpgFirbeck 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:

47722679742_8c62303abb_b.jpgimg0685 by HughieDW, on Flickr

32838121617_26414e43bb_b.jpgFirbeck 03 by HughieDW, on Flickr

32830069867_2c0e20563f_b.jpgimg0645 by HughieDW, on Flickr

46865647105_234f755e18_b.jpgFirbeck 10 by HughieDW, on Flickr

47721601282_cf5cfca531_b.jpgimg0628 by HughieDW, on Flickr

32830249537_754128abeb_b.jpgimg0631 by HughieDW, on Flickr

32830335007_1365c27275_b.jpgimg0625 by HughieDW, on Flickr

46865304045_0a8ba29708_b.jpgFirbeck 02 by HughieDW, on Flickr

32838473047_f724659825_b.jpgFirbeck 09 by HughieDW, on Flickr

46992749964_da52707963_b.jpgFirbeck 06 by HughieDW, on Flickr

47729425022_ee54d5dce6_b.jpgFirbeck 04 by HughieDW, on Flickr

47729450532_5b3e09ef7f_b.jpgFirbeck 01 by HughieDW, on Flickr

This apocalyptic building was next to the bathhouses:

46865639405_1a3bfcee3d_b.jpgFirbeck 11 by HughieDW, on Flickr

46985639294_afb808cfee_b.jpgimg0649 by HughieDW, on Flickr

On to the enormous winding house:

33897733948_9fd2058235_b.jpgimg0654 by HughieDW, on Flickr

33905006258_daa0cff379_b.jpgFirbeck 20 by HughieDW, on Flickr

32831148117_5ab6c5a67b_b.jpgimg0655 by HughieDW, on Flickr

46858637875_6b5eb3d4ce_b.jpgimg0668 by HughieDW, on Flickr

47782036451_44375ac75b_b.jpgFirbeck 18 by HughieDW, on Flickr

46985846454_eff594a636_b.jpgimg0676bw by HughieDW, on Flickr

33905062078_3baa1b8ab4_b.jpgFirbeck 13 by HughieDW, on Flickr

40808913723_7531b8d3df_b.jpgimg0670 by HughieDW, on Flickr

47775025301_54b7bb95e4_b.jpgimg0667 by HughieDW, on Flickr

33898099788_74707cda04_b.jpgimg0666 by HughieDW, on Flickr

33898180018_d5856d3a47_b.jpgimg0661 by HughieDW, on Flickr

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

46865721025_76b1f022ce_b.jpgFirbeck 19 by HughieDW, on Flickr

47729830762_980b704fca_b.jpgFirbeck 16 by HughieDW, on Flickr

47729843612_142b116968_b.jpgFirbeck 15 by HughieDW, on Flickr

47774969861_3aa3b5a9ed_b.jpgimg0675 by HughieDW, on Flickr

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

47722693912_656e6d3416_b.jpgimg0684 by HughieDW, on Flickr

46985832804_53d7517c9d_b.jpgimg0682 by HughieDW, on Flickr

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

32833924327_eee07d74e7_b.jpgimg0681 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:

47730115592_db1c87369b_b.jpgFirbeck 23 by HughieDW, on Flickr

46993135304_243cab2621_b.jpgFirbeck 25 by HughieDW, on Flickr

46993144434_e1bee05d21_b.jpgFirbeck 24 by HughieDW, on Flickr

46993167214_1b81a74b73_b.jpgFirbeck 21 by HughieDW, on Flickr

46988365424_d3fe01ae6d_b.jpgimg0700 by HughieDW, on Flickr

47725334102_dce5d30091_b.jpgimg0686 by HughieDW, on Flickr

And what it used to look like:

32852775207_91471e87c0_o.jpgFirbeck offices by HughieDW, on Flickr
 

Mikeymutt

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Yeah mate very good..like you say it's trashed but lots off retaining features left
 

BikinGlynn

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Thats cool mate, lots to see there still nicely done!
 

Sabtr

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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.
 

HughieD

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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.

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!

Thats cool mate, lots to see there still nicely done!

Many thanks mate.

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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