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Snibston colliery

List Entry Summary

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 Culture, Media and Sport.

Name: Snibston colliery

List entry Number: 1018472


The monument may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Leicestershire

District: North West Leicestershire

District Type: District Authority


National Park: Not applicable to this List entry.

Grade: Not applicable to this List entry.

Date first scheduled: 19-Mar-1999

Date of most recent amendment: Not applicable to this List entry.

Legacy System Information

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

Legacy System: RSM

UID: 31764

Asset Groupings

This list entry does not comprise part of an Asset Grouping. Asset Groupings are not part of the official record but are added later for information.

List entry Description

Summary of Monument

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.

Snibston colliery is one of the best surviving examples of a mining complex dating from the British coal industry's period of peak production, and is judged to be one of four sites in England which best represent the coal mining industry since the 1890s. Rare structures such as a double-decker cage, tandem winding gear and creeper system are preserved in situ. In situ survivals of machinery include two electrical winding engines, a fan and locomotive engines. The tandem headgear is extremely rare and is thought to be one of only two surviving in the country. The colliery remains are now the focus of the Snibston Discovery Park, which is dedicated to the history of science and industry. The colliery, formerly of vital economic and cultural importance to the local community, has developed a new role in preserving mine structures and communicating their function to the public.


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


The monument lies south of the A50 road in the Snibston area of Coalville. It includes intact buildings, structures, machinery and buried remains of the former Snibston colliery, which now forms part of Snibston Discovery Park. The colliery and adjoining railway were built from 1832-4 by the engineer George Stephenson and his son Robert, at a time of great expansion in the local coal industry. A wooden tandem headgear (with two winding wheels back to back rather than side by side) and single steam engine served two shafts. Surviving 19th century structures include a locomotive shed, woodworking shop and the No 1 Winding House of 1864. The colliery continued to expand and during World War I a third shaft was sunk, now known as No 2 or Stephenson shaft. It was equipped with a steel headstock supporting steam-powered winding gear, and a new winding house for the engine. In 1942 the wooden headgear of No 1 Pit was replaced by a steel tandem structure. Nissen huts were erected for storage, which survive as distinctive rounded structures. Further buildings, including a powder store and power house, were added in the 1950s. Modernisation in the 1960s and 70s saw the steam winding engines replaced with electrical engines which remain in situ, as well as the introduction of a coal preparation plant served by a `creeper' small-gauge rail system, new brick pithead buildings, a prototype fan house for No 1 Pit (with fan still in situ), workshops, stores, a canteen and a large modern office block incorporating a lamp room and medical centre. All of these structures survive. With the decline of the British coal industry, the colliery closed in 1986 and was reopened as an industrial heritage park in 1992. Remains around No 1 Pit Top, in the west part of the monument, 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 scheduling. A decorated brick plinth built against the south wall of the winding house supports a boiler or reservoir. South of the No 1 shaft is a fan house of the 1970s, retaining its concrete exhaust vent and an electric fan used to ventilate the mine. In addition to technological data about 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. 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 scheduling because of significant alteration or deterioration in their condition. 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 60s. 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 bridge was built over the adjacent railway. The bridge was 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 to load into trucks. It is preserved in its entirety, with rails and tubs in situ, and is included in the scheduling. The 1950s and 60s also saw the construction of distinctive buildings to the north of No 2 Pit. A powder house in which explosives were stored is of typical 1950s style. The large office block to its east includes the former lamp room and medical centre, each including original equipment, and a `control room' from which underground and pit top operations were supervised. These buildings are not included in the scheduling. Workshops, storage buildings and a canteen south of the railway, and the locomotive shed of the 1830s-60s (including three well-maintained locomotive engines) are also not included, although they are nonetheless integral parts of the colliery complex. The monument includes all in situ machinery and fixtures, including winding engines, ventilator, cages, creeper rails and tubs and signage. Modern fenceposts, track surfaces, retaining walls, lamp posts, gates and railings and a lighting rig 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.

Selected Sources

Books and journals
Gould, S, Snibston Colliery, (1994)
Letter to G Fairclough at EH, S J Warburton, Snibston Colliery, (1996)
Photos from site visit., Bell, A J, (1997)
Title: Ordnance Survey Map Source Date: 1929 Author: Publisher: Surveyor: 25

National Grid Reference: SK 41882 14509


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End of official listing