Pleasley Colliery


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1015641

Date first listed: 14-Mar-1997


Ordnance survey map of Pleasley Colliery
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Derbyshire

District: Bolsover (District Authority)

Parish: Pleasley

National Grid Reference: SK 49861 64354


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

Reasons for Designation

Coal has been mined in England since Roman times, and between 8,000 and 10,000 coal industry sites of all dates up to the collieries of post-war nationalisation are estimated to survive in England. Three hundred and four coal industry sites, representing approximately 3% of the estimated national archaeological resource for the industry have been identified as being of national importance. This selection, compiled and assessed through a comprehensive survey of the coal industry, is designed to represent the industry's chronological depth, technological breadth and regional diversity. The term `nucleated' is used to describe coal mines that developed as a result of increased capital investment in the 18th and 19th centuries. They are a prominent type of field monument produced by coal mining and typically consist of a range of features grouped around the shafts of a mine. The simplest examples contain merely a shaft or adit with associated spoil heap. Later examples are characterised by developed pit head arrangements that may include remains of engine houses for pumping and/or winding from shafts, boiler houses, fan houses for ventilating mine workings, offices, workshops, pithead baths, and transport systems such as railways and canals. A number of later nucleated mines also retain the remains of screens where the coal was sized and graded. Coke ovens are frequently found on or near colliery sites. Coal occurs in significant deposits throughout large parts of England and this has given rise to a variety of coalfields extending from the north of England to the Kent coast. Each region has its own history of exploitation, and characteristic sites range from the small, compact collieries of north Somerset to the large, intensive units of the north east. A sample of the better preserved sites, illustrating the regional, chronological and technological range of nucleated coal mines, together with rare individual component features are considered to merit protection.

The standing remains of Pleasley Colliery survive well and represent good examples of a pithead complex. The configuration of the structures at the site: two steam engines placed back-to-back within a single engine house between two shafts, was always rare nationally during the 19th century and Pleasley is now the only surviving example of this arrangement. The engines themselves are particularly rare examples in situ of twin cylinder steam engines; such engines dominated coal winding until the introduction of electric winders in the early 20th century. The steel girder headgear over each shaft is important in its own right, demonstrating the early use of steel girder construction. For an industrial site, an extensive range of documentary information survives relating to both the history and the development of the colliery. The history of the site has links with the Nightingale family, and Florence Nightingale is said to have performed the ceremony of `turning the first sod' of the sinking.


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.


The monument is situated on relatively high ground to the west of the village of Pleasley and includes the standing remains of Pleasley Colliery, the enginehouse, chimney and headstocks of which are Listed Grade II. In 1873 the Stanton Iron Company began the sinking of two shafts and the construction of a winding engine house at Pleasley. The winding house was located between the two shafts and was designed to house two Worsley Mesnes steam winding engines, positioned back-to-back, and each serving one shaft. These engines worked the colliery, raising and lowering men and materials, until 1922 when the decision was taken to extensively modernise the site. The Downcast winder, serving the northern shaft, was overhauled, whilst the Upcast winder was replaced by a larger, modern engine. Pleasley Colliery continued to operate steam plant until its closure in December 1983, when nearby Shirebrook Colliery took over winding duties, but the engines continued to be operated for salvage work until 1986. The Downcast shaft is situated in the northern part of the site and has been infilled since the mine's closure. The steel girder headgear which served this shaft remains in situ and was erected in 1901 to replace a rotting timber frame. Approximately 10m to the south west of the shaft is the intact winding house. Work on this building commenced in 1873 but, during the modernisation of the mine in the early 1920s, it was partly rebuilt. Following the decision to deepen the Upcast (south) shaft in 1922 it became evident that the existing winding engine serving this shaft would be incapable of working efficiently and a new winder was installed. The new engine was considerably wider than its predecessor and, as a result, the southern part of the winding house was demolished and rebuilt to house the new winder. New foundations were laid and a much taller and wider house was erected, using sandstone blocks to blend with the older part of the structure. The west and east walls of the northern part of the winding house represent the remains of the original structure; its north wall is of relatively modern construction and has been rebuilt in brick. Within this part of the winding house is a twin cylinder horizontal winder which was built by the Worsley Mesnes Iron Company of Wigan in 1874. It was modified during the 1920s to work on higher pressure steam and is included in the scheduling. The rebuilt southern part of the winding house has short transepts projecting from its west and east walls and is lit by large round-headed windows with cast iron frames. It houses a twin cylinder horizontal winder, built in 1924 by Markham's of Chesterfield, and this engine is also included in the scheduling. To the east of the winding house is a tall chimney which was originally associated with the now demolished boiler house. It is built of red brick with a square base which is capped by sandstone blocks and has a series of horizontal iron bands holding it together. Early photographs of the site show a further chimney to the east of the winding house, indicating that there were originally two boiler plants. The headgear which stands above the Upcast shaft, to the south of the winding house, is of the same design as that at the Downcast shaft but has been encased in brick and concrete. A concrete and brick airlock structure has been constructed against the southern wall of this casing and is included in the scheduling. All concrete posts are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath these features is included.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract. It includes a 5 metre boundary around the archaeological features, considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number: 21660

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Chapman, N (Derbys. Archaeological Society), Historical Significance of the Buildings at Pleasley Colliery, (1992)
English Heritage, Pleasley Colliery - Coal Industry Step 3 Report, (1994)
Gould, S, Pleasley Colliery, (1994)

End of official listing