Haswell Colliery engine house, 180m north west of Plough Farm


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1018229

Date first listed: 10-Nov-1969

Date of most recent amendment: 29-Sep-1998


Ordnance survey map of Haswell Colliery engine house, 180m north west of Plough Farm
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

District: County Durham (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Haswell

National Grid Reference: NZ 37383 42246


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 Haswell Colliery was typical of the large capitalistic nucleated mines of the mid-19th century where activity was concentrated on one or more main pitheads. The site provides a valuable opportunity for the study of 19th century colliery engine houses. Colliery engine houses of comparable date and design are now very rare in the North East Coalfield with only the Friars Goose engine house at Gateshead Fell surviving to a similar degree. In addition, the survival of engine mountings at the interior base of the north and south walls indicate that important technological evidence will survive beneath modern ground level, providing valuable information for the internal arrangement of the engine house.


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


The monument is situated to the east of Haswell Plough, 180m north west of Plough Farm, and includes the ruins of a 19th century colliery engine house. It is the only remaining building of a colliery which once extended over a much larger area. Coal mining at Haswell began in 1831 when the Haswell Coal Company, after failed sinkings in the area, bought the rights to a neighbouring field from the South Hetton Coal Company. Success soon followed and, with the establishment of two separate pitheads, the first coal shipments took place in 1835. In 1844, however, disaster befell the colliery when an ignition of fire-damp claimed the lives of 95 men and boys. The colliery continued to be productive throughout much of the century until closure in 1896. The surrounding colliery site has been landscaped and the monument, known locally as the Haswell Arch, stands isolated as a memorial to the 1844 disaster. The monument includes the remains of a beam pumping engine house of c.1830- 1840, a rare survival within the North East Coalfield. It is built largely of random, roughly dressed and coursed Magnesian Limestone. Three external walls remain standing, whilst the west wall will survive as a buried feature. The surviving walls have an external batter widening to a base approximately 2m thick. The east wall stands to the eaves line and has a large top floor opening through which the beam of the engine originally passed. A smaller opening, situated immediately below, is thought to have provided access to the condensing equipment. The wall includes a number of other features which provide important evidence for the design and operation of the engine house. Both the north and south walls are less complete with the west ends no longer visible above ground. They do, however, include a number of openings and joist sockets which are important indicators of internal engine house design. The south wall has openings on the lower and middle floors, whilst the north wall has a single opening in the lower floor. In addition, the lower floor of the engine house includes the remains of engine mountings at the base of the north and south sides. It is considered that further mountings and other important technological evidence will survive below modern ground level. All modern fencing and the modern monumental stone to the 1844 disaster are excluded from the monument, although the ground beneath is included.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract. It includes a 3 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: 30930

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Atkinson, F, The Industrial Archaeology of the North-East of England, (1974), 17, 33

End of official listing