Chatterley Whitfield Colliery, Staffordshire

Chatterley Whitfield Colliery and Mining Museum, Staffordshire

Chatterley Whitfield is a disused colliery near Stoke on Trent which was later used a mining museum. The museum closed in 1993.

Visited December 2017 - August 2018 Chell, Stoke on Trent, Staffordshire

History of Chatterley Whitfield Colliery

Chatterley Whitfield is a disused coal mine on the outskirts of Chell, near Stoke on Trent in Staffordshire. It is one of the most complete former collieries in Europe. As such it has been designated a Scheduled Ancient Monument and a host of buildings on the site have Listed Building status. In its heyday, Chatterley Whitfield was one of the most productive sites in the country, and in 1937 was the first colliery to produce over one million tons of coal in a year.

Chatterley Whitfield, is situated on the North Staffordshire Coalfield, where evidence suggests coal was first extracted in the fourteenth century, and the first records of mining activity date from the 1750s. By the 1800s a colliery had started to develop with a number of shafts being sank. A great deal of expansion took place during the 1850s and 1860s.

Chatterley Whitfield Colliery - Aerial view of the site including three headstocks
Chatterley Whitfield Colliery – Aerial view of the site including three headstocks

The colliery suffered badly during the recession of the late 1920s and early 1930s, but as the economy recovered in the years leading up to the Second World War, over £300,000 was invested in new plant, workshops and railway equipment, leading to record-breaking years in 1937-9. In the aftermath of the Second World War, the coal industry was nationalised, and the colliery saw significant modernisation.

In 1974 it was decided that Whitfield coal could be more easily worked from Wolstanton Colliery and an underground roadway was driven to join the two pits. Chatterley Whitfield ceased production on 25th March 1977.

Chatterley Whitfield Colliery - Hesketh, Platt and Institute headstocks
Chatterley Whitfield Colliery – Hesketh, Platt and Institute headstocks

 

The Chatterley Whitfield Mining Museum

In 1979 the site re-opened as the Chatterley Whitfield Mining Museum, with access to the underground workings via the Winstanley Shaft. Many of the surface buildings were renovated and machinery was restored in its original working condition to show in great realism the life and working conditions of local miners. At it’s peak, it attracted 70,000 visitors a year.

In May 1986, the nearby Wolstanton colliery was closed, from where water was pumped out of the workings. This lead to fears that the underground mining experience at Chatterley Whitfield would flood and there would be a build up of gas. A new experience was constructed using shallow workings and a railway cutting. This enabled underground tours to continue until the museum was put into liquidation in 1993 and subsequently closed on 9th August that year.

Chatterley Whitfield Colliery - Platt and Institute headstocks, along with the main boiler house chimney
Chatterley Whitfield Colliery – Platt and Institute headstocks, along with the main boiler house chimney
Chatterley Whitfield Colliery - Hesketh headgear, winding house and power house
Chatterley Whitfield Colliery – Hesketh headgear, winding house and power house
Chatterley Whitfield Colliery - Winstanley heapstead
Chatterley Whitfield Colliery – Winstanley heapstead

 

Hesketh Power House​

Operational from 1914, the Hesketh power house contained compressor pumps and electrical generating equipment. Air was pushed into compressed air receivers to maintain pressure before being pumped down the pit where it would be used to power the machinery such as coal cutters, boring engines, jigger picks and conveyors.

Hesketh Power House - Walker Horizontal Reciprocating Steam Compressor Engine (relocated from Sutton Manor Colliery)
Hesketh Power House – Walker Horizontal Reciprocating Steam Compressor Engine (relocated from Sutton Manor Colliery)
Hesketh Power House - Rear of the Walker compressor
Hesketh Power House – Rear of the Walker compressor
Hesketh Power House - Reciprocating steam engines such as these were the primary source of electricity during the Victorian times
Hesketh Power House – Reciprocating steam engines such as these were the primary source of electricity during the Victorian times
Hesketh Power House - A pair of British Thomson-Houston synchronous induction motors with an Alley air compressor in the centre
Hesketh Power House – A pair of British Thomson-Houston synchronous induction motors with an Alley air compressor in the centre
Hesketh Power House - British Thomson-Houston synchronous induction motor
Hesketh Power House – British Thomson-Houston synchronous induction motor
Hesketh Power House - Belliss & Morcom Vertical Cylinder Compressor, driven by the induction motors
Hesketh Power House – Belliss & Morcom Vertical Cylinder Compressor, driven by the induction motors
Hesketh Power House - One of the British Thomson-Houston synchronous induction motors
Hesketh Power House – One of the British Thomson-Houston synchronous induction motors
Hesketh Power House - Makers plate on the compressor
Hesketh Power House – Makers plate on the compressor
Hesketh Power House - Air compressor built by Alley & MacLellan of Glasgow
Hesketh Power House – Air compressor built by Alley & MacLellan of Glasgow

 

Hesketh Winding House

Adjoined to the power house, the Hesketh winding house contains a 500 horsepower steam winding engine, made by Worsley Mesnes lromnakers, Wigan in 1914.

Chatterley Whitfield - From left to right: The Hesketh headstock, winding house and power house
Chatterley Whitfield – From left to right: The Hesketh headstock, winding house and power house
Hesketh Winding House - The Worsley Mesnes steam powered winding engine
Hesketh Winding House – The Worsley Mesnes steam powered winding engine
Hesketh Winding House - The huge flywheel in the steam winder
Hesketh Winding House – The huge flywheel in the steam winder
Hesketh Winding House - The steam winding engine
Hesketh Winding House – The steam winding engine
Hesketh Winding House - One of the engine's two pistons
Hesketh Winding House – One of the engine’s two pistons
Hesketh Winding House - Steam winder with the banksman's position to the right
Hesketh Winding House – Steam winder with the banksman’s position to the right
Hesketh Winding House - Banksman's chair
Hesketh Winding House – Banksman’s chair
Hesketh Winding House - Shaft signal indicator
Hesketh Winding House – Shaft signal indicator
Hesketh Winding House - Worsley Mesnes lromnakers, Wigan 1914.
Hesketh Winding House – Worsley Mesnes lromnakers, Wigan 1914.

Down in the basement we find a few other interesting bits…

Hesketh Winding House - The stables for the pit horses were located on the ground floor of the winding house
Hesketh Winding House – The stables for the pit horses were located on the ground floor of the winding house
Hesketh Winding House - A stash of old control panels
Hesketh Winding House – A stash of old control panels
Hesketh Winding House - Control panel
Hesketh Winding House – Control panel
Hesketh Winding House - Pipework hidden away down below
Hesketh Winding House – Pipework hidden away down below
Hesketh Winding House - This old rail-mounted transformer was tucked away in the darkness
Hesketh Winding House – This old rail-mounted transformer was tucked away in the darkness
Hesketh Winding House - Underside of the winder
Hesketh Winding House – Underside of the winder

 

Locomotive Shed and Workshops​

Locomotive Shed and workshops - Exterior
Locomotive Shed and workshops – Exterior
Locomotive Shed and workshops - Railway tracks inside
Locomotive Shed and workshops – Railway tracks inside
Locomotive Shed and workshops - Some old wagons piled up
Locomotive Shed and workshops – Some old wagons piled up
Locomotive Shed and workshops - Some old wagons piled up
Locomotive Shed and workshops – Some old wagons piled up
Locomotive Shed and workshops - The workshops were still fully equipped
Locomotive Shed and workshops – The workshops were still fully equipped
Locomotive Shed and workshops - Dominion table saw
Locomotive Shed and workshops – Dominion table saw
Locomotive Shed and workshops - Saw with old signage
Locomotive Shed and workshops – Saw with old signage
Locomotive Shed and workshops - Dominion drill press
Locomotive Shed and workshops – Dominion drill press
 
Locomotive Shed and workshops - NCB Signage
Locomotive Shed and workshops – NCB Signage
Locomotive Shed and workshops - Electrical switchgear
Locomotive Shed and workshops – Electrical switchgear

 

Pit Head Baths​

Pithead baths also housed the medical centre and was built 1936-37 in a Modernist style by the Miners’ Welfare Committee

Pit Head Baths - Stairs and drinking fountains in the entrance
Pit Head Baths – Stairs and drinking fountains in the entrance
Pit Head Baths - Glass walled rooms
Pit Head Baths – Glass walled rooms
Pit Head Baths - Some of the rooms still have a few bits remaining
Pit Head Baths – Some of the rooms still have a few bits remaining
Pit Head Baths - Pastel staircase
Pit Head Baths – Pastel staircase
Pit Head Baths - Upstairs we find the shower area
Pit Head Baths – Upstairs we find the shower area
Pit Head Baths - Tiled shower cubicles
Pit Head Baths – Tiled shower cubicles
Pit Head Baths - Some of the lockers
Pit Head Baths – Some of the lockers
Pit Head Baths - Miners stored their clothes in the lockers
Pit Head Baths – Miners stored their clothes in the lockers
Pit Head Baths - Rows of lockers
Pit Head Baths – Rows of lockers

 

Canteen

The canteen was extended with a ‘feeding centre’ circa 1950

Canteen - There's a giant hard-hat in the canteen!
Canteen – There’s a giant hard-hat in the canteen!
Canteen - Hard hat in the 1950s canteen
Canteen – Hard hat in the 1950s canteen
Canteen - Murals above the serving counter
Canteen – Murals above the serving counter

 

Main Boiler House​

A bank of 10 Lancashire boilers were erected in 1937 to supply steam for the winding engines, pithead baths, canteen, compressors and to heat the offices. In 1992/93 when the liquidators moved in the boilers were sold off for scrap. The roof was removed, but before the boilers were scrapped they were saved, however the roof was not replaced which has had a big effect of the derelict state they are now in.

Boiler House - Three of the ten Lancashire boilers
Boiler House – Three of the ten Lancashire boilers
Boiler House - Trees growing through the boilers
Boiler House – Trees growing through the boilers
Boiler House - This whole building has become an absolute deathtrap!
Boiler House – This whole building has become an absolute deathtrap!
Boiler House - Some of the Lancashire boilers
Boiler House – Some of the Lancashire boilers

 

Walker Fan House and Drift​

Situated between the Institute and Platt shafts the fan extracted some 43,000 cubic metres of air per minute, which entered the mine via the Hesketh and Winstanley shafts and exited through the Evasee up the Platt and Institute shafts.

Walker Fan House - AEI Fan Motor
Walker Fan House – AEI Fan Motor
Walker Fan House - The fan drew air through the mine workings
Walker Fan House – The fan drew air through the mine workings
Walker Fan House - Top of the fan drift
Walker Fan House – Top of the fan drift

 

Institute Winding House

The Institute Winding House was installed in 1966 and was fitted with a single 270 horsepower electric drum winder. The system had one cage functioning as an upcast.

Institute Winding House - Inside the control cabin
Institute Winding House – Inside the control cabin
Institute Winding House - General view of the winding house
Institute Winding House – General view of the winding house
Institute Winding House - The winding drum
Institute Winding House – The winding drum
Institute Winding House - "Code of Shaft Signals" signage dated 1967​
Institute Winding House – “Code of Shaft Signals” signage dated 1967​

 

Lamp House​

The lamp house was added in 1922, after the older lamp house was deemed too small owing to an increase in manpower and the introduction of electric lamps.

Lamp House - General view
Lamp House – General view
Lamp House - The few remaining lamp charging stations
Lamp House – The few remaining lamp charging stations
Lamp House - Lamps and battery packs
Lamp House – Lamps and battery packs
Lamp House - Old sign and decaying rooms in the lamp house
Lamp House – Old sign and decaying rooms in the lamp house
Lamp House - Part of the lamp house had been converted into the ticket office when the colliery was a museum
Lamp House – Part of the lamp house had been converted into the ticket office when the colliery was a museum
Lamp House - Inside the museum shop
Lamp House – Inside the museum shop
Lamp House - Poster on the shop counter
Lamp House – Poster on the shop counter
Lamp House - Map of the mine workings
Lamp House – Map of the mine workings
Lamp House - This mural was at the start of the museum tour as part of an exhibition explaining "how coal was formed"
Lamp House – This mural was at the start of the museum tour as part of an exhibition explaining “how coal was formed”

And a couple more to finish off with…….

Chatterley Whitfield Wagons with the colliery behind
Chatterley Whitfield Wagons with the colliery behind
Clockwise from top left: Hesketh power house, Hesketh Headgear, Platt winding house and Headgear, Institute Headgear and winding house, chimney, boiler house, Lamp House, Locomotive shed, and the Walker fan drift in the centre.​
Clockwise from top left: Hesketh power house, Hesketh Headgear, Platt winding house and Headgear, Institute Headgear and winding house, chimney, boiler house, Lamp House, Locomotive shed, and the Walker fan drift in the centre.​

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