Flockton Lane End Colliery/Lepton Edge Colliery, West Yorks, June 2021

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HughieD

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With some time to kill thought I’d check out two small former collieries in the Kirk Burton area of Huddersfield. Probably not enough for them to stand as reports on their own, but together they make a nice little report. Nothing spectacular but interesting from a historical perspective and the fact this is the first time they have been documented on the forum.

(A) Flockton Lane End Colliery

1. The History
Located on the Middle Coal Measures, outside Flockton in the West Riding of Yorkshire, Lane End Colliery opened at the end of the 18th century. The mine extracted coal to great depth which was transported via railway and exported throughout the country. There were four shafts in total, and one was used for pumping water using submerged electric pumps until relatively recently. It worked up to eight different seams of coal of between 15 to 33 inches in depth. In 1843 it employed 500 men and boys (employing females underground was outlawed in 1842) and, by the standards of the time, was considered a large colliery. The mine ceased operations in 1893 when the miners came out on strike as part of the Great Yorkshire, Lancashire, and Midland’s coal strike of that year. The leases on the land ran out in December of 1893 and were not renewed, thus the colliery closed. The then owners, Milnes, Stansfield & Co, went into liquidation owing creditors £56,968. After that, the coal extraction industry followed the trend of moving further eastwards in the coalfield. Part of the lower section remained in use with the National Coal Board (NCB) and its successor, British Coal, between 1955 and 1988 as a mine drainage unit/pumping station.

O/S map detail of the colliery from 1891:

Flockton Lane End by HughieDW, on Flickr

Associated with the colliery, the Flockton Tramway was a private mineral tramway built sometime between 1772-78 by the Milnes family to carry coals from their pits around Flockton, in the parish of Shitlington, West Riding, to the Calder and Hebble Navigation at Horbury Bridge, about 3 miles away. The line was worked by horses and self-acting inclines. The route included a tunnel and one of the earliest railway viaducts.

Boiler salvage workers at the colliery in 1895:

Flockton gang by HughieDW, on Flickr

Today the remains of Flockton Lane End Colliery are hidden in the woods. All that remains is the Cornish type engine-house and chimney base, which can still be found amidst the ever-increasing woodland.

2. The Explore
Relaxed mooch. Not a lot to see here and well hidden in the undergrowth. But hardly surprising given the main operations here stopped as far back as the end of the 1800s. Spent a good forty minutes hunting round the undergrowth. Would have loved to have taken a closer look at the tramway but time wasn’t on my side and didn’t fancy wading through the dew-soaked cornfield.

3. The Pictures

Site gates:

Flockton 01 by HughieDW, on Flickr

The Cornish type engine-house:

Flockton 07 by HughieDW, on Flickr

img1190 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Flockton 02 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Flockton 05 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Flockton 04 by HughieDW, on Flickr

The capped shaft:

Flockton 08 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Flockton 10 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Newer building most likely dating back to the 1950s when it was used by the NCB as a pumping station:

Flockton 09 by HughieDW, on Flickr

A hint of its former use:

Flockton 12 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Base of a former chimney:

Flockton 06 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Concrete base:

img1192 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Finally, distant view of the tramway course approaching from the north:

img1187 by HughieDW, on Flickr

(B) Lepton Edge Colliery

1. The History
Not too much on the history side here. Lepton Edge Colliery is located east of the village of the same name on Wakefield Road. It first appears on OS maps in 1892, although other sources records state the mine opening date to be 1994. The first owners were W & J Cardwell before it briefly passed to G.S. Cardwell. Latterly, it was owned by Elliott's Collieries Ltd. of Hopton until it was nationalised on the formation of the National Coal Board in 1947.

Since the mine commenced operations, employment never fell below 100 miners. At its peak in 1947, the mine had 290 employees with 245 underground workers and 45 at the surface. That year, it produced 84,000 tons of coal. The colliery was notable for mining more water than coal.

Detail of old O/S map from 1908:

Lepton OS by HughieDW, on Flickr

Lepton Edge closed in August 1964 and now all that's on the site is the old winding house. Apparently, they still pump from the shaft to keep water problems away from Caphouse museum, further down the dip.

Un-dated archive picture of the mine when the headstock was still in situ. However, it is most likely to been post the mine closing so best guess is the late 1960s :

Lepton by HughieDW, on Flickr

2. The Explore
Not too much to report here. Having negotiated the palisade fencing it was a relatively easy scramble into the winding house. Beyond that there’s not too much to tell.

3. The Pictures

The former Coal Authorities sign:

Lepton Colliery 15 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Nature taking over the now capped shaft:

Lepton Colliery 14 by HughieDW, on Flickr

And the reason we’re here. The former winding house:

Lepton Colliery 13 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Lepton Colliery 02 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Lepton Colliery 01 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Top level first:

Lepton Colliery 06 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Lepton Colliery 05 by HughieDW, on Flickr

And down to ground level:

Lepton Colliery 12 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Lepton Colliery 11 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Some passable graff:

Lepton Colliery 10 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Lepton Colliery 09 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Lepton Colliery 08 by HughieDW, on Flickr
 

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