Bestwood Colliery engine house


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1017653

Date first listed: 14-Nov-1986

Date of most recent amendment: 29-Jan-1998


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

County: Nottinghamshire

District: Gedling (District Authority)

Parish: Bestwood St. Albans

National Grid Reference: SK 55634 47458


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 Bestwood Colliery engine house and headgear are unique in England, since the vertical winding engine is a particularly rare example of a twin cylinder steam winding engine which remains in situ; such engines dominated coal winding until the introduction of electric winding in the early 20th century. The engine provides technological information on the workings of vertical winding engines, an important component of many 19th century mines. The relationship between the machine and its purpose-built housing offers a unique source of information on the practical requirements of the engine and on shaft-head operations.


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


The monument lies 0.5km south east of Bestwood Village, within a landscaped public park. It includes the structure, machinery and buried remains of the Bestwood Colliery engine house and its winding gear. The building, which is a Grade II* Listed Building and was constructed in 1874 for the Bestwood Iron Company, is unusually ornate for a colliery building. It is a three-storey building of brick and concrete in an Italianate style. The building is notable for the early use of structural concrete, which was used externally in the moulded plinth and rusticated basement and internally for the engine bed and to support the frames of the winding drum. Concrete cladding on the headgear is of a later date, but is included in the scheduling. The engine for which the engine house was built was supplied in 1875 by the Worsley Mesnes Company of Wigan. It is a vertical twin cylinder, non-condensing steam winding engine. The cylinders extend from concrete bases on the ground floor, through openings to the first floor where the engine controls are situated. The cast iron drum, 6m in diameter, is on the second floor. Ropes from the drum leave the building via holes in the west wall and travel over latticed ironwork supports to the headgear, which stands over a shaft to the west of the engine house. The headgear is built predominantly of wrought iron latticework. By the 1960s the shaft from which the engine wound had been superseded by a drift or hillside entrance, and the engine was maintained as a standby. The colliery closed in 1967, but the engine was kept operable until 1971. Excluded from the scheduling is the track surfacing around the engine house, although the ground beneath it 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: 30958

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Thornes, R, Images of Industry Coal, (1994), 32-33
Descriptive report, RCHME, Winding Engine House and Headgear, Bestwood Colliery, (1993)
Notts 02062, Bestwood Colliery Winding Engine House,
Schedule, EH, Bestwood Colliery Vertical Winding Machine, (1986)
Title: 2nd-4th Edition Ordnance Survey 25" Maps Source Date: Author: Publisher: Surveyor: 1900, 1915, 1930

End of official listing