Jane Pit, a 19th century coal mine adjacent to the Sports Ground, Mossbay


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1017559

Date first listed: 20-Jun-1973

Date of most recent amendment: 24-Jan-2001


Ordnance survey map of Jane Pit, a 19th century coal mine adjacent to the Sports Ground, Mossbay
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Cumbria

District: Allerdale (District Authority)

Parish: Workington

National Grid Reference: NX 99511 27786


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.

Jane Pit, a 19th century coal mine adjacent to the Sports Ground, Mossbay contains the best surviving example of the ornate castellated style of colliery architecture which was a feature of the large landowner involvement in the Cumbrian coal industry during the 19th century. Additionally the monument still retains a gin circle and a later steam engine house and is thus a rare example of a coal mine which visibly demonstrates the evolution of horse-powered winding to steam power. Despite removal of the steam engine, the winding engine house still retains important technological information.


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


The monument includes the upstanding and buried remains of Jane Pit, a 19th century undersea coal mine located on a recreation ground close to the junction of Annie Pit Lane and Mossbay Road in Workington. It includes the roofless remains of a winding engine house and two chimneys, the footings of other buildings which include a pumping engine house and a boiler house, an earthwork gin circle, the mine shaft which is now sealed, and the buried remains of ancillary buildings which are known from 19th and 20th century maps to have been located to the west of the winding engine house. The engine house and two chimneys are Listed Grade II. The precise date when mining operations began at Jane Pit is unknown, however, the horse gin which provided an early means of raising coal up the shaft still survives as a prominent circular earthwork immediately to the south of the winding engine house. It originally had a stone-lined interior and was the location for a gin arm or pole powered by two horses which rotated a winding drum to raise coal up the shaft. This method of winding was replaced in 1843 when the owner, Henry Curwen, a large landowner involved in Cumbrian mining, built the now roofless engine house to accommodate a steam-powered beam winding engine. This engine house is constructed of pink sandstone and is an elaborate three-storey, two-bay oval tower built on a rectangular plinth, and finished with a crenellated parapet. There are entrances on the south and east sides and numerous windows on the upper two storeys. Attached to the west side of the engine house is a sandstone chimney with a brick-arched stoke hall at its base and a crenellated parapet to match that of the engine house. A second chimney of similar design but standing on a square plinth is located a short distance to the north west. Between the chimneys are footings of ancillary buildings, while to the north and south west of the western chimney are footings of buildings interpreted as a boiler house and a second engine house which accommodated an engine for pumping water from the mine. The mine shaft, now sealed, is located a short distance NNE of the winding engine house, while to the west of this engine house buried remains of ancillary buildings known from 19th and 20th century maps will survive. Jane Pit operated until the mid-1870s. The mine closed in 1875 when pumping was discontinued after the sea broke into the mine entombing 100 miners.

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: 27802

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Marshall, J D, Davies-Shiell, M, The Industrial Archaeology of the Lake Counties, (1969), 268
Calvin, R, 'The Mine Explorer' in 1914 Cumberland Mines Rescue Service 1986, , Vol. IV, (1994), 4
DOE, List of Buildings of Historic & Architectural Interest,

End of official listing