Duke Pit fan house


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1016090

Date first listed: 06-Aug-1997


Ordnance survey map of Duke Pit fan house
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Cumbria

District: Copeland (District Authority)

National Grid Reference: NX 96972 18069


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 Duke Pit fan house together with upstanding and buried remains of its associated engine house survives well. The fan house accommodated a Guibal fan, the most common form of late 19th century mine ventilation, and the building is complete and retains important technological information associated with a large steam-driven fan. It is the best surviving example of Guibal fan house in the country.


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


The monument includes the Duke Pit fan house, a 19th century vaulted brick and sandstone structure designed to resemble a medieval castle, which was used to house a Guibal fan for ventilating the now disused Duke Pit coal mine. It is located on a hillside terrace above Whitehaven's South Harbour immediately north of the junction of Rosemary Lane and Harbour View. Upstanding and buried remains of the asssociated engine house are also included. The building is aligned north west-south east and has overall measurements of approximately 20m by 12m. The steam-driven wooden fan measured 11m in diameter by 3.1m wide and one of its metal axle mountings still survives in- situ inside the brick-lined fan compartment. Sandstone paving slabs front the fan compartment on its south west side. The south end of the building has been constructed in the style of a rectangular crenellated sandstone tower; it measures c.5m by 3m and up to 10m high, while at the building's northern end there is a sub-circular crenellated sandstone tower standing up to c.5m high. At the junction of the sub-circular tower and fan house there is stone-roofed porch with a doorway giving access into the tower. Joist-holes in the north east-facing outer wall of the fan house are associated with an engine house within which was located the steam engine which drove the fan, this building was largely demolished in 1969. However, part of one wall still survives; it is connected to the fan house by an arch and contains a blocked doorway which gave access into a passageway leading into the sub-circular tower. Two metal housings for holding machinery still remain at the southern end of the surviving wall. The location of the demolished part of the engine house is still visible as a level terrace beneath which foundations will survive. The fan house was constructed about 1862 and eventually became surrounded by other buildings associated with the mine. It was exposed to view again during demolition of the surrounding buildings in 1969 and has since been consolidated and displayed as a landscape feature. The surface of the pavement on the monument's west side, together with modern metal railings on the south west side of the fan-wheel pit, are excluded from the scheduling although the stone work to which the railings are fixed is included.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract. It includes a 2 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: 27782

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Chapman, N A, 'Industrial Archaeology Review' in Ventilation of Mines, , Vol. XV 1, (1992), 45-57
Coal Industry Step 3 Report, Cranstone, D, Duke Pit Fan House,
SMR No. 4166, Cumbria SMR, Duke Pit Fan House, Colliery, (1985)

End of official listing