Astley Green Colliery, Manchester



History from Wikipedia:

The Clifton and Kearsley Company's coal reserves were becoming depleted in the Irwell Valley at a time when demand for coal on the Lancashire Coalfield was at its highest and in 1907 its subsidiary company sank a 24-inch (610 mm) bore hole at Astley Green, north of the Bridgewater Canal to investigate untapped reserves of the concealed coalfield. The company acquired the mineral rights for 700 acres (280 ha) of land accessing an estimated 140 million tons of coal under Chat Moss stretching beyond the Liverpool and Manchester Railway and where the coal seams dip at 1 in 4.5 towards the south. Shaft sinking commenced in 1908 and proved difficult because of water and quicksand. The company contracted Haniel and Lueg of Düsseldorf-Düsseltal to sink the shaft. The Worsley Four Foot mine was reached in April 1910 and more water-bearing rock was anticipated before the Arley mine was reached.[4] No 1 pit was sunk to 890 yards primarily to win coal from the Trencherbone mine and No 2 pit was 833 yards deep. The shaft was 23 feet in diameter. The Crombouke and Rams mines were intersected by the sinkings. Firedamp was a problem in the new workings and ventilation was a problem. The headgear of No.1 pit survives, it is made from wrought iron lattice girders with riveted plates at the joints and one small and two large wheels mounted at the top. It is nearly 30 metres (98 ft) high and was built by Head Wrightson of Stockton-on-Tees and completed by 1912. In 1912 a twin tandem compound 3300 horsepower winding engine built by Yates and Thom of Blackburn, the largest ever used on the Lancashire Coalfield, was installed at No 1 pit. The company built a smaller cross compound winding engine for No 2 pit, installed in 1919.

In 1923 the colliery employed 1524 men underground and 436 surface workers; which increased to 1631 underground and 492 surface workers by 1933. At Nationalisation in 1947 the colliery employed 1375 below and 561 above ground. The surface workers included women, known as pit brow lasses, who sorted coal on the screens. Women were employed at Astley Green until the mid-1950s.


The pit closed in 1970 and is the only pit on the Lancashire Coalfield that has not been demolished, and as such is the only reminder that Lancashire was once a major coalmining area. The colliery is now a museum and is open to the public on Sunday's, Tuesday's and Thursday's. It's well worth a visit and the museum website is http://www.agcm.org.uk