Haig Colliery


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1017644

Date first listed: 29-Jan-1998


Ordnance survey map of Haig Colliery
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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 96713 17579


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 Haig Colliery survive well and represent a good example of the type of structures associated with a pithead complex. This `H' plan spatial arrangement of power station with engine houses at either side and fronted by twin pithead winding gears became common during the early 20th century and Haig Colliery, despite demolition of one of the winding gears, is a particularly good example and the only one which retains in situ steam plant. These engines are particularly rare survivals of twin cylinder horizontal single parallel drum winding engines built by Bever & Dorling, with the engine in No.4 winding house currently being the only in situ working example in the world.


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


The monument includes the upstanding remains of Haig Colliery, the last deep coal mine to have been worked in the Cumbrian coalfield. It is located in the Arrowthwaite area of Kells, a southern suburb of Whitehaven, close to the cliff edge overlooking the Irish Sea, and includes two engine houses and a power station now all housed within the same building, an assortment of in- situ machinery inside this building, and the surviving steel-framed pithead winding gear and surrounding shed. All upstanding remains and the machinery are Listed Grade II. The main building, which incorporates the two engine houses and the power station, is constructed of brick with slate roofs which have been recently mineral-felted over. It is a tall single storey structure with cellars beneath. The engine houses, which are a mirror image of each other, lie at the north and south end of the main building and are separated by the power station which was extended westwards in 1936. Access to each engine house is by an external flight of steps. No.4 engine house lies at the north end of the building; it contains an overhead crane and a working twin cylinder horizontal single parallel drum steam winding engine built by Bever Dorling & Co. Ltd, of Bradford. This winding engine was installed in 1916 and used to haul men and materials some 387m up the 5.8m diameter No.4 shaft which lay immediately outside the building and which has now been sealed and had all its pithead winding gear removed. No.5 engine house, at the south end of the building, also contains an overhead crane and a twin cylinder horizontal single parallel drum steam winding engine built by Bever Dorling & Co. Ltd. This engine was installed in about 1920 and is larger than that in No.4 engine house; it was used to haul coal up the 6.77m diameter No.5 shaft. Although the shaft has been sealed the steel pithead winding gear and surrounding shed survives intact immediately west of the engine house. The pithead winding gear is thought to date to 1917, although its component parts have been renewed over the years. The power station, located between the two engine houses, has been stripped of much of its original machinery but a steam turbine compressor still remains. Extensive cellars beneath the main building contain footings for the engines, the shaftsmen's workshop, an emergency generator twin cylinder vertical steam engine, two winches, the main steam receiver for No.4 engine, and the hydraulic power packs for the brakes on each winding engine. Haig Pit was sunk by the Whitehaven Colliery Company Ltd between 1914 and 1918. Despite being designed to incorporate the latest safety features and working practices a series of underground explosions between 1922-31 caused the deaths of 83 miners (of which 14 bodies were never recovered). Subsequent safety improvements at Haig saw many advances in the haulage and ventilation systems, the latter becoming the largest in England at the time. In 1986 Haig Colliery was closed, the shafts capped, the baths, lamproom, washery and other buildings demolished, most of the power station machinery destroyed, and the surrounding area landscaped. All fences are excluded from the scheduling although the ground beneath them is included.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.


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

Legacy System number: 27800

Legacy System: RSM


DOE, List of Buildings of Historic & Architectural Interest,
Haig Restoration Group, Haig Pit - A Brief History,

End of official listing