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Tapton Collieries.

Tapton or Lockoford No1 Colliery SK 36/37 388730
Tapton (Hall) Colliery Worked out in 1799 SK 39747218
Tapton Grove Colliery SK 47/57 40557245

In September 1855 the following advert appeared in the Derbyshire Times. Wanted 20-30 steady coal miners wanted at very liberal wages and regular employment. Apply North Tapton Colliery Whittington.

The Lockoford colliery closed in September 1857 when a dinner was provided by the colliery owner Robert Stephenson (The son of George Stephenson the railway pioneer) was provided at the Hare and Hounds at Stonegravels. The closure of the colliery put 300-400 men out of work 150 of which attended the dinner. For a short time in September 1857 engine slack was for sale at 1/-per ton cash, for loading into a cart or boat on the canal.

Tapton Foundry closed after Samual Wharton went bankrupt in 1857. The Tapton Road Iron Foundry with two steam engines was put up for sale or rent in July 1857, but was later put for auction in August 1857.

New Lockoford colliery was producing best Dunston coal at 5/6d per ton ex-pit delivered in Chesterfield. Joseph Lambert and Company proprietor. Derbyshire Times 19th. March 1859.

In the 5th. January 1876 issue the following article appeared in the Derbyshire Times.

Philomen Hicks manager of Tapton colliery was charged with not having the necessary ventilation in the mine sufficient for rendering harmless the obnoxious gases in such places and for keeping them in a fit state to be worked with safety. An adjournment was requested as the colliery being under liquidation the defendant was labouring under difficulties. On the 15th. January the case was resumed but was referred to as Lockoford Colliery. Hicks was fined £10 with costs.

The Tapton Colliery Company owned Wallsend colliery and in May 1874 they informed the public that the colliery had reopened for the sale of coal. The colliery was later put up for auction in April 1876 as a result of the limited company who owned it having its affairs wound up. As it did not make a satisfactory price it was to be offered for sale by private treaty.

In May 1877 the Tapton Colliery, Coal and Coke Company. Newbold, Lockoford and Brimington Road, Chesterfield went into liquidation. The auction was held on May 7th, 8th, 9th. At Wallsend colliery and Tapton colliery.

26th December 1868.

Tapton Colliery Company.

Celebration Dinner with the Workmen.

On Monday last an interesting celebration in connection with the above works was held. The chief programme was a dinner given by the directors to the 380 men and boys employed by them. Prior to this the directors and a few friends paid a visit to the colliery and inspected the works there under the guidance of Mr. Holford the Managing Director. The first part of the works visited was the Locoford shaft and the visitors here found a great change from the former aspect of the place, we may here inform our readers who are unacquainted with the fact that the Locoford Colliery was sunk by the late celebrated engineer George Stephenson who for many years resided at Tapton House Chesterfield and was buried at Trinity Church in this town. Stephenson sunk two shafts and raised a small portion of coal in the immediate vicinity of the shafts but owing to his death and the pressure of other matters upon his son Robert who succeeded him the working of the colliery was soon relinquished and the mine rapidly filled with water. It remained closed until the year 1865 when the present company which had been previously working the Tapton (commonly called the Wallsend pit at Newbold) took to it and set themselves the by no means light task of emptying it of water and enlarging the small shafts sunk by Stephenson.

The work was most difficult owing to the immense quantity of water which it was determined to overcome by pumping without the aid of "tubbing"(i.e. without lining the shaft with iron) to keep the water back. After clearing away a large number of coke ovens which encumbered the ground at the mouth of the shaft the company laid down a pair of powerful pumping engines which have been at work ever since and keeping the pit clear of water. The immense accumulation of water meant the difficulties the company capital had to contend against may be judged from the fact that all of the pumps were at periods lifting as much as ten to twelve hundred gallons a minute the emptying of the pit and the workings took them from the autumn of 1865 until the end of the year 1867. In fact the quest the company had set themselves to do was ridiculed by some of the wise acres in the neighbourhood who eagerly declared that it was impossible to get the pit into working order.

The directors, however, had confidence in themselves and in their Managing Director Mr.Holford and the results have proved that they were right. After conquering the water, the difficulties, however, were not at an end as the old workings which had to be passed through before the workable part of the mine could be reached were full of gas. A present quantity of gas had also rushed out of the crevices of the sides of the shaft as the water receded and this was removed by the means of a Schrele's exhaust air fan manufactured by the North Moor Foundry Company. The workings next to the shaft were also cleared in the same way until ventilation could be obtained between the two shafts and was ultimately got by means of a fall of water down one side of the shaft which carried the air with it and also by reversing the action of the fan and impelling air in that way.

After arching the roof of the workings near the shaft with brickwork the side walls of which were in some places six feet thick a drift was commenced to establish a connection between the Locoford pit and the pit at Newbold. So accurately were the drifts from each pit driven that at the point of meeting there was not a difference of more than two feet to the right or left although the distance was 2000 yards.

The company were rewarded for their great expense by finding the coal seams equal to their expectations being of a first rate quality. On Monday the first part of the works inspection was the winding engines manufactured by Holford and Shepard Newton Ironworks Hyde, which appear to be of first class workmanship. We were informed that there had not been the slightest difficulty with them since the first day they were put down although the tasks they had to perform had been very heavy. Certainly their steady noiseless action being remarkable, these engines are about 90 h.p. The bank and screens were next visited and appeared to be everything that could be desired, having ample arrangements for facilitating the work of screening coal and providing for the comfort of the men engaged in the work.

The engines of the winding shaft are provided by Broadbent's safety catches in case of the rope breaking. The pumping engines were also inspected and found to be doing their work very satisfactorily and we were informed that they are working a 13 and 18-inch pump each lifting about 90 yards in length. The visitors also saw in course of erection a vertical high pressure pumping engine with a wrought iron beam below the cylinder, which is intended to pump the water from the upper measures of the rock and clear " Potter's Coal" seam which the company intend shortly to work Also lying upon the ground was a set of pumps to be connected with this engine. The working barrel of these pumps is 23 inches in diameter and weighs upwards of 3 tons. When this engine is at work it will be capable of discharging with ease 1,000 gallons of water per minute. The number three shaft was the next place visited which is at present only used for drawing the water, which the new engine will lift when completed. The framework at the mouth of No. 1 shaft is unusually good and well made. It is 56 feet in height to the centre of the pulley. The visitors then descended the shaft and having arrived at the bottom inspected the stables and workings in the immediate vicinity which they found in a remarkably clean, dry and well ventilated. Subsequently they proceeded up the main supply or engine plain being drawn part of the way by horses and the remainder in wagons drawn by a rope of steel wire worked by the engines at the Newbold pit. Here Mr. W.H. Ratclifife telegraphic engineer of Birmingham has installed an ingenious adaptation of a telegraph system. The men have adapted the system of a single wire with a return current through the earth in order to prevent any false signals or other tampering of the wires. After an interesting and pleasant journey the bottom of the Newbold shaft was reached and the wagons running smoothly upon single headed rails with fish joints laid on patent Belgian iron sleepers.

The Newbold shaft was safely ascended and the party arrived at the surface highly pleased with their journey. The advantages of the incline connecting the two pits is very great, as in future the coal got at the Newbold pit will be sent down the incline to Locoford and their at once transferred to the railway trucks in the sidings which run into the Midland Railway. Hitherto the company have had the expense of carting the coal from the Newbold pit and have had a toll bar to pay, both expenses will now be avoided and the despatch of the coal made practically unlimited.

The dinner was provided at the Market Hall the caterer being Mr. R.Wilson of the Angel Hotel who on this occasion sustained his previous reputation. Prior to the chief meal the boys who are employed at the pit were entertained to dinner and certainly did ample justice to the good food provided. After the dinner the Chairman of the Directors (James Glossop Esq.) addressed them with a very suitable speech in which he dwelt on the example set them by the late George Stephenson.

Stephenson who began life in a similar position to theirs and urged them to do their duty faithfully and endeavouring to raise themselves in the scale of intelligence. Shortly afterwards the principal dinner took place. The colliers employed at the pit filed in the room to the number of 300 and the directors and friends took their places at a table at the head of the room. The chair was occupied by Mr. F.J.Glossop Esq. of Manchester chairman of the directors and the vice chair by John Tomkins of Manchester. The other directors present were Mr. Walter Holford Esq. Managing Director, William Olive Esq. Wool-Fold near Bury and Councillor William Wyatt of Chesterfield Among other visitors were Mr. J. H. Hewitt secretary to the company, Mr. Bluett surgeon to the works, Mr. J. W. Fearn, Mr. J. Gothard, Mr. James Holford, Mr. S. Skinner (Waleswood Colliery), Mr. James Martin, Mr. Eastwood, Mr. George Heath, Superintendents Stevens and Wheeldon. Messrs Mountney and Slacks band were in attendance and played selections at intervals.

The Chairman," I rise now gentlemen with a feeling that the toast I have now to propose to you is the toast of the evening. It gives me great pleasure to meet you all tonight and no doubt the question arises why are you and 1 present on this occasion. 1 know but little of Chesterfield but on the occasion we meet I scarcely need tell you it is those who undertook the work at Tapton Colliery and have got through their main difficulties that they undertook the tough job is well understood in this district by those who have been looking on while we have been finding money. It is now nearly four years since the company was formed which undertook to clear Locoford shaft of water and got down to the coal. When they undertook it I can tell you as a secret they thought they would do it in twelve months at a cost of £10,000. But when the £10,000 had gone and the twelve months elapsed we did not seem to be much nearer the bottom of the shaft than when we began. But there was some people amongst us who had something like English pluck and did not no when they were beaten so they did not think of leaving off until they had done what they intended when they began. They said the money had gone and we must have some more, well they did so and that went to and again we had to find some more.

One crusty old gentleman said "when shall we get to the end of this it is all give and these Chesterfield people take all and do not let us have anything back again". Well said, Mr. Holford "you must persevere and there will be something that will satisfy' you". Today some of the directors myself amongst them have been to see what you have been doing and as we went along the Manager said" this is where your money has been spent and it is for you to judge what we have been doing". When we saw the beautiful seam of coal, which will work for 30 years and 1 think it will take us that period to get it all. When we saw all that had been done it certainly gave us confidence and I can tell you we came out at Newbold with a great deal more confidence than when we went down at Locoford."

In Mr. Holford's speech he said he heard one gentleman say that the drift that they were driving would come out at Foxley Oaks instead of Locoford. Mr. Holford was not in the habit of betting but if that man could get a good wager on he had better do so and he (Mr. Holford) would pay up if he lost or if they were ten yards out. What was the result? They were not ten yards only two feet and what was a great interest to him he had disappointed all the old women and croakers and had got the drift through without the loss of a single life. The two pits are something over 2,000 yards apart and he never asked a man to go where he would not go himself.

After referring to the able assistance he received from Mr. William Bellamy and John Hampson. Mr. Holford referred to the difficulties in the ventilation of the shafts at first. A large quantity of gas was coming up and he could not get the ventilation to go as he wished, he asked one wise man up the north how he should make one shaft an upcast He recommended throwing a stream of water down the other but there was plenty going down that so he went to Oldham and purchased a revolving fan and within three or four days had made it work.

The company had spent a heap of money over the pit and now they hoped to be able to get some of it back. That day they had the pleasure for the first time of riding up the ancient plane drawn by the stationary engine. They had put down an electric telegraph to aid the working of it which although not only the one in the district had only one rival and that was not worked on the same system. The chairman in appropriate language proposed the health of the over lookers and workmen of the Tapton Colliery coupling the toast with Mr. Naylor. He urged them to follow the example of George Stephenson and expressed their obligations to Mr. Naylor and the over lookers. Mr. Naylor suitably responded and expressed the obligations that they had all felt to Mr. Holford for his skill and care, he concluded by proposing a vote of thanks to the company which was seconded by Mr., John Gothard.

The chairman having replied proposed the Town and Trade of Chesterfield coupled with the health of Mr. Gothard. Mr. Gothard in an excellent speech contrasted the present prosperous conditions of the town and district with its position when he first new it and attributed the change to the bigger impart of the coal and iron trades.

Derbyshire Courier. 26th December 1868.

Reopening of the Locoford pit by the Tapton Colliery Company.

Twenty seven years ago the celebrated engineer the late George Stephenson Esq. Entered into a contract with the owners of land in the Townships of Newbold, Brimington and Tapton for the purchase of the whole of the coal there under and commenced mining on a large scale. The shaft under the name of the Locoford pit was shortly afterwards made and the coal in the vicinity worked until about fifteen years ago when operations ceased and the pit soon filled with water. Four years ago the proprietors of the Wallsend Colliery at Newbold formed a company of several spirited gentlemen residing in Manchester and different parts of the country were put upon the directory and very shortly afterwards the whole Locoford workings were leased to them. To clear the old shaft was considered by many to be almost a mad idea and any attempt to do it must bring about the ruination of those concerned in the matter. Powerful engines were erected under the instructions of Mr. Holford and the work of opening the shaft had been brought to a successful conclusion and the drift of over a mile in length has been made which communicates with the workings at Newbold. Along this distance proper tramways have been laid and the coal now got at Wallsend is sent down an incline to Locoford where it is brought to the surface in close contiguity to the Midland Railway.

Telegraphic communication has been established between the two pits providing against accidents and we are informed that the other precautions taken by the company to provide for the safety of the workmen are most excellent The opening out of the drift exposes to view a valuable bed of coal which will take many years to exhaust Monday last being the day when the drawing engines were completed, the directors visited the pit and descended the Locoford pit and examined the workings in the immediate neighbourhood after which they were drawn up the incline to Wallsend where they were brought to the surface.

In the afternoon one hundred boys employed at the colliery' sat down to an excellent meal in the assembly rooms at the Market Hall Chesterfield, and after having consumed a large amount of roast beef and plum pudding they were dismissed. The tables were then reset and at five o'clock upwards of four hundred of the workmen sat down to an excellent meal and when we say upwards of half a ton of meat besides vegetables and forty plum puddings and bread and cheese was consumed our readers can judge how far the claims of the inner man was satisfied.

(The rest of the report regarding speeches and toasts is the same as the Derbyshire Times version).

17th April 1858.

One valuable steam engine to be sold by auction.

One excellent 40hp high pressure engine with rope drum, one 18hp engine,37 yards of lift pumps 10" bore with bucket and clack. The colliery is about one mile north of Chesterfield and adjoining the Midland Railway and Chesterfield and Stockwith canal.

27th April 1861.

Tenders for the sinking of two shafts, apply to the office of Tapton New Colliery Newbold Road.

1st February 1862.

Superior Blackshale screened and picked 8/- per ton, unscreened 7/- per ton, slack 4/3d per ton. Orders to coal yard Cavendish Street.

5th March 1874.

On Tuesday last over 300 employees of the Tapton Colliery Coke & Iron Co. struck work under the following circumstances; on the 11th of February at 14 days notice was given to them to the effect that a reduction of wages equal to 15% would be made. The men replied by stating that when the advances were made in 1872 it was agreed by the Sheepbridge, Tapton, Holmewood, Whittington, Wingerworth and Brampton companies that all advances and reductions should take place simultaneously and that they were singled out whilst others have as yet received no official intimation or reduction.

5th November 1864.

Wanted a number of steady coal miners at Tapton Coal and Ironstone Co. Works, near the Chesterfield Railway Station.

15th February 1868.

Coals from Tapton Collieries at the following prices delivered in the town.

Best screened coal 8/4d per ton, Best unscreened 7/10d per ton, Nuts 6/6d per ton. R. Mountney Agent Market Place.

8th May 1869.

William Nash was charged with leaving the employment of the Tapton Colliery Co. without giving one months notice. They claimed compensation from the time the defendant went away on 10th April. He was fined with and 4/6d costs or one months imprisonment with hard labour.

15th April 1876.

Sale of Tapton Colliery.

The colliery belonged to a limited company whose affairs it is to be presumed are now being wound up. The first lot comprised of the works, engines, coke ovens etc. and the unworked coal. The bidding commenced at £7,000 and no advance upon this sum was obtained Mr.Stoker a member of a firm of London solicitors bid £5,000 making the amount £12,000. Mr.Nicholson the auctioneer failed to obtain a higher bid. He informed the bidders that miners wages would go down 20% and the position of coal would again become most profitable. He also stated that in1865 the company to which the colliery belonged started with a capital of £50,000. After opening the document which contained the reserve price he withdrew both lots and said that it would be offered for sale by private treaty.

7th March 1877.

The Tapton Colliery Coke and Iron Co. Newbold.

John Turner and Son have received instructions from the Official Liquidator to prepare for sale 5 powerful draught horses and 43 cobs and ponies.

2nd May 1877.

Tapton Colliery Coal and Coke Co. Newbold, Locoford and Brimington Road.

John Turner & Sons have received instructions from the Liquidator to sell by auction on 7th ,8th and 9th May all of the valuable and loose colliery plant etc. 500 coal trams with cast iron wheels and wrought iron axles 2 feet gauge, 8 coal and coke railway trucks, 10 conical coke pans to fuel coke ovens, 200,000 bricks,4 one horse carts,25 ton weighbridge,2 patent hydraulic lifting jacks by Tanger Bros, 3 large gig pulleys with brake rims and one new gig drum with shaft and pedestal, 500 Davey lamps, one single deck cage, one double deck cage, and a considerable amount of other engineering equipment. Also one dog cart and 50 sets of harnesses and 4 sets of sling gear. Sale to commence at 11.00a.m. at the Wallsend Colliery Newbold and the following days at the Tapton Colliery.

8th February 1879.

To be sold by tender the whole of the valuable plant and engines at the colliery. The plant is in excellent working order and will be sold subject to the purchaser taking a lease of the ground comprising the site of the works about 10 acres in extent for a term not exceeding 40 years at the nominal rent of ¦20 per annum. The purchaser will also have the option of taking a lease on 80 acres of Blackshale coal, 100 acres of Bottom Hard coal, 160 acres of Tupton and Tupton Threequarter coal.

There are good sidings running parallel to the main line of the Midland Railway running from Leeds to London and accommodation for an output of 1,000 tons of coal per day.

neil@oldminer.co.uk
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