Map: SK 47/57
ALLPITS OLD COLLIERY SK 41262 71898
ALLPITS (EXTENSION) NEW COLLIERY SK 41427 72020
To give some idea as to the size of the coal workings in Calow the following is the seam section from Calow Colliery in 1873.
Coal- 14 inches.
Dirt- 14 inches.
Coal- 27 inches.
Dirt- 14 inches.
Coal- 27 inches.
The first edition Ordnance Survey maps of the area from 1840 show several old shafts and coal pits in the village and its surrounding area. Some of these may well be dual purpose working for coal and ironstone. The seam worked was predominantly the Blackshale seam and the Yard seam on its basset from Brimington to Calow Green on the eastern edge of the Brimington anticline. Old coal pits were sited in Allpits Plantation on the side of the Trough Brook and on both sides of Blacksmith Lane, the later Second Edition Ordnance Survey maps show more old shafts and Calow Colliery on Blacksmith Lane is abandoned.
The following is an extract from the 1895 Bulmer and Company trade directory: 'The soil is various, blue and yellow clay and in some places very stony. Both coal and iron have been worked here for some time, and a blast furnace was operated here. There is reason to believe that sufficient coal remains to leave a margin of profit in working it and the experiment is now under trial by John Blair and Sons of Brampton at Allpits Colliery'. (Manager Henry Blair, Managing Director John Blair). Iron mining and smelting had taken place here at least since Roman times. It was worked by Blair and Co. Of Brampton by three shafts and an older footril, the shafts being four, twenty two and twenty five yards deep into the Blackshale seam. The workings show abandonment dates of 1857, 1897 and 1922-1923. The colliery was put up for sale in March 1900. The colliery comprised of 16 acres of coal left to work with a seam of 5 foot 6 inches.
It would appear that there were two collieries at different times working here. The later colliery working further up stream from the first venture, at the nature reserve site, previously an orchard. Coal was carted on a small railway or tramway from the old colliery site to the top of the gradient near to Lodge Farm and then away by road. The newer of the two collieries had shafts which were only six yards deep into the seam. The coal was worked between the two collieries. The abandonment dates are 1922-1923.
Initially the colliery was worked early in the 19th. Century by two shafts to the south and adits to the north in the blackshale seam and possibly the deep soft seam. The workings were never more than 40 metres from the surface and the mine only worked around the basset edge of the seam which runs in a north south direction. There are however, many more shafts and adits along this line included in the Allpits mineral take.
From the 1890's Ordnance Survey Map It would appear that this was quite an extensive operation with a tramway feeding from the further shafts and drifts and back to the 'pit head' near to Lodge farm.
It would appear that there were two collieries at different times working here. The later colliery working further up stream from the first venture, at the nature reserve site, previously an orchard. Coal was carted on a small railway or tramway from the newer colliery possibly to the new colliery site and then away by road. The newer of the two collieries had shafts which were only six yards deep into the seam. The coal was worked between the two collieries. The abandonment dates are1922-1923.
The early mineral railways used a system of wooden rails of oak with a wear strip on top usually of a hard wood such as beech that could be replaced when worn. Angular cast iron rails could also be used resting on small circular stones (allowing horses or ponies to walk between the rails), not unlike small mill stones. Holes were drilled into the stones which were plugged with lead or wood. Iron nails or pins could then be driven through the holes in the rail flange and then into the stone, thus securing the rail. One sleeper per side of rail. At the turn of the century the stone sleeper system was replaced by using wooden sleepers which supported two rails at right angles. Two such stone sleepers exist at the side of the stile across from Lodge Farm near to the site of Allpits Colliery. See photograph.
There was once a set of railway sleepers running between the old and new collieries, these followed the contours of the land but are now long gone. I remember seeing them in situ during the 1960's, there was no evidence as of November 2022.
First set of photographs are for the older colliery.
Second set are for the newer colliery.