Snibston Colliery


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Date of most recent amendment:
Location Description:
South side of Ashby Road approximately 500m west of the Memorial Clock Tower, Coalville
Statutory Address:
Snibston Discovery Park, Ashby Road, Coalville, LE67 3LN


Ordnance survey map of Snibston Colliery
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Statutory Address:
Snibston Discovery Park, Ashby Road, Coalville, LE67 3LN

The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Location Description:
South side of Ashby Road approximately 500m west of the Memorial Clock Tower, Coalville
North West Leicestershire (District Authority)
Non Civil Parish
National Grid Reference:


Snibston Colliery first developed in1831-1832 by George and Robert Stephenson working in partnership Joseph Sanders and Sir Joshua Warmsley. The colliery was further developed throughout the C19 and C20 until its closure in 1986. In 1992 the site became a heritage and science Discovery Park but this closed in 2015 and the site remains closed (2018).

Reasons for Designation

Snibston Colliery, developed from 1831-1832, originally by George Stephenson and his son Robert working in partnership with Joseph Sanders and Sir Joshua Warmsley, and incrementally developed throughout the C19 and the first half of the C20, is scheduled for the following principal reasons:

Period: * As a multi-phase integrated colliery complex, first developed by the celebrated engineer George Stephenson and his son Robert which is recognised as one of four such sites which best represent the coal mining industry in England from the late C19 to the period of peak production in the mid-C20. Rarity: * Not only for the unusual completeness of the colliery complex, but for the survival of individually rare structures such as a double-decker cage, tandem winding gear and creeper system which are preserved in-situ. The tandem headgear is extremely rare and is thought to be one of only two surviving in the country. Diversity: * For the range of specialist industrial building and structure types representative of evolving aspects of colliery activity at different stages of the coal mining industry's development in England. Group value: * As an integrated colliery site, with strong functional and visual group value with other colliery structures including the Grade II listed Locomotive Shed (List Entry No: 1434407), Powder Magazine (List Entry No: 1434408) and Offices, Lamp Room and Medical Centre building (List Entry No:1434410). Survival and condition: * As one of only four collieries nationally that survives in a near complete form, representing the evolving aspects of colliery activity at different stages of the coal mining industry's development in England.


Snibston Colliery was first developed in 1831-1832 by the celebrated engineer George Stephenson and his son Robert, working in partnership with Joseph Sanders and Sir Joshua Warmsley. The early colliery was operated by means of three shafts, and was further developed throughout the C19 and the first half of the C20. During the First World War a fourth shaft was sunk and equipped with a steel-framed headstocks, winding house and winding engine. This shaft was sunk to increase the output of the mine, which had been limited by the scale of its winding capacity and surface coal handling facilities. The new shaft was served by new pit top buildings and a new set of screens and, as part of the same phase of renewal, engineering and joinery workshops, a compressor house and a stable building were constructed. In 1942 the wooden headgear of the No.1 shaft was replaced with a steel-framed headstocks, and, following the nationalisation of the coal industry in 1947, further development took place in the 1950’s, including the addition of an explosives store, a power house, and, on an adjacent site, a canteen and pithead baths. A programme of modernisation in the 1960’s and 1970’s saw the replacement of the steam winding engine with electric motors and the construction of a coal preparation plant, an accompanying small-gauge rail system and new brick pithead buildings. In 1967 new service buildings were also added, including workshops, stores and a large administration block which included not only offices, but also a lamp room, time office, control room and medical centre. In 1976 a new fan and fanhouse were constructed for No 1 pit, a prototype development which provided the technological solution to the problem of excessive fan and motor noise throughout the coal mining industry.

As a result of the developments begun in 1961, Snibston became the hub of a group of four mines which were linked below ground, the coal from all four sites being handled at the Snibston coal preparation plant. The colliery continued production until its closure in 1986, and the site subsequently became the Snibston Discovery Park, opened in 1992 following the purchase of the site by Leicestershire County Council. The central core of the colliery site was first scheduled on the 19th March 1999, having been assessed as one of the four colliery sites in England which best represent the development of the coal industry in England since the 1890’s. A number of buildings were excluded from the scheduling, listing being considered to be the most appropriate form of designation for these structures. These include the Grade II listed Powder Magazine (List Entry No: 1434408), Locomotive Shed (List Entry No: 1434407) and the Offices, Lamp Room and Medical Centre (List Entry No: 1434410).

The Discovery Park closed in 2015 and the site has remained closed with much of the surrounding land developed mainly for housing (2018).


Principal elements: the scheduled area includes a multi-phased complex of buildings and structures, many retaining original fixtures, and various well-maintained mechanical components. These include tandem winding headgears two electrical winding engines, an electrical ventilator fan, double decker cage, 'creeper' or small-gauge rail system with tubs, gantry and incline plane, silent fan and a section of railway track. Specific buildings include the Compressor House, Fan House, two Winding Engine Houses, Pit Top Building, Surface Haulage building and Tippler. Also included are the below ground workings of the colliery. The site is bisected by the railway which was integral to its operations.

Description: Snibston Colliery stands on the southern side of Ashby Road, on the western edge of Coalville town centre. As the name suggests, coal mining was the key factor in the foundation and growth of the town of Coalville which became a centre of the coal-mining district of north Leicestershire.

The scheduled area (the main central area of the colliery but a relatively small area of the site as a whole) runs roughly north-west to south-east along the northern side of the colliery complex with a linear extension running to the south incorporating the incline plane and Surface Haulage building at the southern end. The area encompasses buildings and structures of various phases which represent the colliery’s evolution and operation as well as the below-ground workings of this central core of the colliery. The earliest phase, at the north-west end, is represented by parts of the No.1 Winding Engine House and the adjacent water tank which date from 1864. The next major phase of development around 1915 is represented by the No.2 Pit Top building, No.2 headstocks, part of the No.2 Winding Engine House and the Compressor House. The buildings representing this phase are located in the centre and the south-east end of the scheduled monument. The tandem headstocks were completed in 1941 and during the National Coal Board modernisation in the late 1950s the No.1 Winding Engine House was reconstructed. Following completion of the Drift in 1963, the No. 2 Pit Top and the upper level of its Pit Top Building together with the gantry, incline and Surface Haulage building were reconstructed in 1963-1964. The final phase came with the new Silent Fan which was constructed in 1976-1977.

Remains around No 1 Pit Top, include the nationally rare tandem headgear. It has a steel frame around 15m high, with two steel-clad shaft housings, each mounted with a narrow winding wheel. Between the shaft housings is a brick pithead structure of the 1960s. The headgear retains in-situ cages or shaft lifts. Also included is the No 1 Winding House and its M B Wild electrical winding engine. The winding house was built in 1864 to house a twin cylinder horizontal steam engine. Although altered in the 1960s when the electrical engine was installed, it retains technological details of the original engine and is included in the current scheduling. A decorated brick plinth built against the south wall of the winding house supports a water reservoir. South of the No 1 shaft is a silent fan house of the 1970s, retaining its concrete exhaust vent, fan drift, and electric fan used to ventilate the mine. The silent fan was a prototype development which provided the technological solution to the problem of excessive fan and motor noise throughout the coal mining industry. In addition to technological data relating to the daily operation of the mine in the 20th century, the structures and buried remains around the pit top will include information about earlier pithead arrangements including ventilation, transport and winding techniques in addition to other evidence of below ground workings. The buried remains of a boiler house of 1864, which stood to the west of the No.1 winding engine house and which was demolished in 1979, are also included. Other structures around No 1 Pit Top include a cable shop of the 1960s, a Power House of the 1890s and a storage building: these are not included in the scheduled area as they have undergone significant alteration. The No 2 Pit Top has also seen a multi-period complex of structures develop around the mine shaft. The shaft, sunk in 1914, was equipped with contemporary steel headgear and a winding house. The shaft is now closed but shaft top equipment is intact, including double-decker cages. The shaft head benefited from modernisation in the 1950s and 1960s; a concrete compressor house was built, and a winding engine by English Electric installed in No 2 winding house, with alterations to the headgear (which was further altered in the 1970s with the addition of platforms). A gantry or bridge was built over the adjacent railway and formed part of the remarkable creeper system at No 2 Pit Top; this was a narrow-gauge rail circuit on which tubs of coal could be moved from the shaft, up a ramp and across the railway on the gantry, to load into trucks at the tippler. The inclined plane extends further to the south along an embankment, terminating at the Surface Haulage building; a single storied, flat roof building, retaining the full winding gear and tracks that served the inclined plane. The creeper system and inclined plane is preserved in its entirety, with rails and tubs in-situ, and is included in the scheduled area. The 1950s and 1960s also saw the construction of distinctive buildings to the north of No 2 Pit: a Powder House in which explosives were stored, the large office block to its east which includes the former lamp room, medical centre, and a `control room' from which underground and pit top operations were supervised, each building retains original equipment. These buildings, along with the locomotive shed of the 1830s-1860s are not included in the scheduled area but are separately listed at Grade II. Workshops, storage buildings, Nissan huts and a canteen south of the railway, are also not included, although they are nonetheless integral parts of the colliery complex.

Extent of scheduling: the northern edge of the scheduled area runs along the northern edge of the No.1 Winding House (including its northern extension) south of the Powder Magazine (Listed separately at Grade II), and along the northern edge of a path north of the No.2 headstocks and No.2 Pit Top Building and the Compressor House. The line of the scheduling turns to follow the eastern edge of the Compressor House and approximately 10.5m further south before turning west to run south of the No.2 Pit Top then it turns south to include the incline, a section of the railway and, at its southern end, the Surface Haulage building. The line follows the western edge of this building before turning north. It continues along this alignment before skirting around (and including) the Tippler and continuing north before turning west again, south of the No. 2 Winding Engine House, the Silent Fan, No.1 Headstocks and No.1 Pit Top building. It then continues west beyond the water reservoir tank to include the buried remains of the boiler house of 1864 (demolished in 1979) which stood to the west of the No. 1 Winding engine house.

Exclusions: all modern path and road surfaces are excluded from the scheduling although the ground beneath all these is included.


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

Legacy System number:
Legacy System:


Books and journals
Gould, S, Snibston Colliery, (1994)
English Heritage MPP Industrial Step report, for Coal Industry Steps 1-4
Letter to G Fairclough at EH, S J Warburton, Snibston Colliery, (1996)
Photos from site visit., Bell, A J, (1997)
Snibston Colliery. Conservation Management Plan. Atkins Ltd May 2009
Title: Ordnance Survey Map Source Date: 1929 Author: Publisher: Surveyor: 25


This monument is scheduled under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 as amended as it appears to the Secretary of State to be of national importance. This entry is a copy, the original is held by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

End of official listing

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