Birkby Colliery conical spoil tip 600m west of Rose Gill Mill


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1018071

Date first listed: 29-Apr-1998


Ordnance survey map of Birkby Colliery conical spoil tip 600m west of Rose Gill Mill
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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: Dearham

National Grid Reference: NY 07740 37604


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.

Despite removal of small amounts of material from the eastern edge of the tip, the conical spoil tip at Birkby Colliery survives reasonably well. Conical spoil tips were a major feature of the late 19th/20th century colliery landscape but this example at Birkby is now one of only six remaining nationally. It preserves evidence of a number of tub runs which enable the sequence of tipping and the subsequent development of the spoil tip to be understood, together with a rare example of in situ remains of the tub haulage system.


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


The monument includes a conical spoil tip, a series of tub runs along which the spoil was transported prior to tipping, and in situ remains of parts of the tub haulage system. It is situated on the southern bank of the River Ellen at the eastern end of the now disused 19th/20th century Birkby Colliery. The tip covers a maximum area of 200m by 125m and is approximately 40m high. Spoil was transported by rail a short distance eastwards from the mine and initial tipping occurred at the south western part of the tip; a few wooden railway sleepers indicate the course of the inclined tub run which leads to a flat area of spoil. From here five fingers of spoil spread outwards a short distance to the south and south west. The main tub run climbed steeply up the western side of the tip, its course marked by iron spikes which held the rails up which the tubs were hauled in place. At the summit a 15m length of iron base to which the rail track was fastened remains in situ. At the foot of the tip's eastern side there is an in situ iron winch which assisted hauling the tubs up this main tub run. There is another tub run visible on the northern side of the tip; the junction of this and the main tub run can be seen on the lower western slope of the tip, from here it survives as a terrace inclining up the north side of the tip from where spoil was deposited down towards the river. Birkby Colliery closed during the late 1950s. All modern field boundaries 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.


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

Legacy System number: 27813

Legacy System: RSM


To Robinson,K.D. MPPA, Mr Hobbs (site owner), Birkby Colliery, (1997)

End of official listing