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British Industrial History

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Ashton Moss Colliery

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in Manchester.

1875 'ASHTON MOSS COLLIERY. The first sods of the now " Stamford Pit" were cut on Weduesday,l4th inst, by the gentlemen who are associated in the undertaking. It was the intention of the Earl of Stamford, as the owner and one of the company about to work the mines, to have cut "first sod," but in consequence of the accident which his lordship has unfortunately recently sustained, this duty was performed by his agent, Mr Hall. Each of the other proprietors — viz, Mr Benjamin Whitworth, Mr Robert Whitworth, Mr Joseph Walker, Broomhurst, Eccles ; Mr John Greenwood, Bolton Lodge; and Mr H K Balston, of Mancheeter — also cut a sod. ....'[1]

We have already announced the successful “winning" of the “big mine” seam of coal which has been accomplished within the last few days by the Ashton Moss Coal Company, at their new pits now being sunk in the neighbourhood of Guide Bridge.

'The operations for opening out this mine have now been carried on for a period of six years, and to reach the seam it has been necessary to sink to a depth of 900 yards, which is the deepest shaft as yet constructed in this country, and ultimately to work the Roger Mine, which has been proved 60 yards below the big mine, it will carried to a depth of 950 yards. The successful accomplishment of this undertaking is not only of importance to a manufacturing centre like Manchester, opening out a valuable coal field in a district with regard to which doubts had previously been entertained whether coal could found at a workable depth, but as a work of mine engineering it is of interest, owing to the exceptional depth to which the shaft has been sunk. The operations have been attended with considerable difficulty, and at one period were the source of no little anxiety to the promoters, owing the character of the strata developed in the mine being so much at variance with that proved in other pits in the neighbourhood.

'The work of sinking was commenced in 1874, with the object in the first place of reaching the four-feet scam, which is at present worked in other parts of the district. This mine was come across at a depth of 450 yards, but not of sufficient thickness to be workable, and the sinking was carried on to a depth of 700 yards, with the view of reaching the Big Mine, but although numerous thin seams, varying from three inches to two feet, were met with, no workable coal was found, and it was decided to suspend further sinking operations until the mine for could be proved by boring. This was accomplished about nine months ago, at a depth of nearly 900 yards, and the company then re-commenced sinking the shaft, the result of which has been that, after going to a depth of 895 yards, the Big Mine seam has been come across at a thickness of six feet three inches, and the shaft which has been carried through the seam has been sunk to a depth of over 900 yards. Borings have also been carried to a depth of 950 yards where the Roger mine has been proved, as already stated, at a thickness of 3ft 9in. and below this there are believed to be other workable seams, such as the black mine and the cannel, both of which are got in the district, and which in course of time will be opened out by the company. The big mine seam which has just been opened out at Ashton Moss is believed to be a continuation, without any serious intervening “fault,” of the mines which are at present being worked on the east side of Manchester, the depth of the mine being pretty nearly that which would be due to inclination of the measures between the above point and Lord’s Field collieries.

'In sinking the shaft the engineers had near the surface to contend with a large quantity of running sand, and with a good deal of water. As a consequence of this the shaft, which has throughout a clear diameter of 16 feet, had near the top to be opened out to diameter of 24 feet, and to carry the shaft through the water and sand it was necessary to sink down in the centre with metal cylinders, and to gradually build round these a brick cavity wall filled in with cement until a rock foundation was reached, the remainder of the shaft being then cut through hard rocks and strong metals. The amount of water now to be dealt with in the shaft is about 12,000 gallons per hour, 9,000 gallons of which are pumped up from a depth of 220 yards, while the remainder is forced up by hydraulic lifts from depth of 440 yards. The question of temperature is always an important consideration in deep mining operations, and the records taken in the Ashton Moss shaft at a depth of 737 yards the temperature stood at 74 degrees, one hundred yards lower this it increased to 76 degrees, at 860 yards it was 78 degrees, and at the big mine coal or a depth of 895 yards, 81 degrees, the depth of the shaft, however, does not represent the full depth at which the coal will ultimately be worked The inclination of the coal measures is one in six, and of course to follow this on the “dip” will carry the workings to a considerable depth below the bottom of the shaft. The raising of the coal from so great a depth will, of course, necessitate the employment of exceptionally powerful engines and machinery, but the complete details of these have not yet been determined upon. At present, the shaft already sunk is fitted with engines capable of winding 500 tons of coal per shift of twelve hours, but a second shaft is being sunk which will be clear from pumps and other obstructions, at which the company contemplate erecting massive machinery with cylinders upwards of 40in. diameter, arranged upon the tandem principle of high and low pressure, and capable of raising 1,000 tons of coal per shift.

'The area of the coal field acquired by the company is about 2,000 acres, extending from Guide Bridge to Droylsden on the one side, and Ashton to Fairfield on the other, and the coal to be worked is of good house-fire quality, with coking properties. The company consists of the Earl of Stamford, and Messrs. B. Whitworth, M.P.; John Greenwood, Joseph Walker, of Manchester; and James Wyllie, of London ; Messrs. J. and P. Higson, of Manchester, acting as consulting engineers; Mr. John Greenwood, jun., being the resident engineer and manager.

1903 'ASHTON MOSS PIT. Coal Seam Discovered. After extensive explorations, a coal seam, which has been known to be in existence for many years, has been discovered in the Roger mine at Ashton Moss Pit, and preparations for working the "find" are now in progress. The coal is of an excellent quality, and from borings which have taken place the seam is such as will last for a considerable period, and will provide a very large output.'[3]

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. Drogheda Argus and Leinster Journal, 3 April 1875
  2. Wigan Observer and District Advertiser - Wednesday 16 March 1881
  3. Manchester Evening News - Friday 27 March 1903