Headstocks and Powerhouse at the site of the former Clipstone Colliery


Heritage Category:
Listed Building
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Date of most recent amendment:
Location Description:
Former Clipstone Colliery, Mansfield Road, Clipstone, Notts.


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

Location Description:
Former Clipstone Colliery, Mansfield Road, Clipstone, Notts.
Newark and Sherwood (District Authority)
National Grid Reference:


A mid- C20 industrial complex, comprising the headstocks, power house and heapstead structures and buildings of the former Clipstone colliery in Nottinghamshire.

Reasons for Designation

The headstocks and powerhouse at the site of the former Clipstone Colliery are listed at Grade ll for the following principal reasons:

* Historic interest: the complex was a state-of-the-art installation in the post-War development of the coal mining industry in England, at one of the country's most productive coal mines. * Architectural interest: the buildings located below the prominent headstocks are of a Modernist design, in which the winding machinery, power generating plant and shaft head equipment were accommodated in an architecturally co-ordinated complex. * Technological interest: the complex was developed to utilise the Koepe system of winding, an important technological advance not widely represented in English collieries until the post-War period, and retains the winding engines and headstock sheaves which characterise this type of winding technology. * Completeness: the headstocks and powerhouse complex is structurally complete with the remains of much of the original plant and machinery in-situ. * Landscape prominence: the headstocks, when constructed were the tallest structures of their type in England, and remain an iconic and highly visible presence in the former colliery landscape.


The Clipstone Colliery dates from the early C20 when a new excavation was begun by the Bolsover Colliery Company to exploit the 'Top Hard' coal seam in the vicinity of Clipstone village in Nottinghamshire. The sinking of the pit shaft was interrupted by the First World War, and the development of the colliery site did not resume until 1919. The new colliery was operational by 1922, and went on to become one of the most productive pits in Britain, delivering four thousand tons of coal per day by the 1940s. In the post-War period, the colliery underwent further development to access the Low Main Seam, a deeper seam of coal located almost eight hundred feet below the Top Hard seam. In order to exploit these rich new reserves of coal, a pair of new winding engines were installed to operate the coal and man shafts at the colliery. Two headstocks, linked by a central powerhouse were completed in 1953 to the designs of architects Young and Purves of Manchester. The headstocks were constructed by Head Wrightson Colliery Engineering of Thornaby-on-Tees and Sheffield, whilst the winding engines were manufactured by Markham and Company in Chesterfield.

The engines were 'Koepe' winders, a system of friction winding developed by the German mining engineer Frederick Koepe in the 1870s, and first installed at the Hannover Colliery in Westphalia in 1877. The Koepe system was particularly well-suited for use in deep mines, as it permitted winding from increasing depths as a colliery developed, as at Clipstone. Most British collieries used drum winders, designed to operate to a specific depth, and it was necessary, when using this system, to close a shaft and install a new winder drum and longer winder rope if a shaft had to be deepened. Koepe winders were installed throughout the German and Dutch coalfields from the late C19 onwards. There were a small number of late C19 and early C20 installations in England, but the Koepe system was not widely used until the post-War re-investment in and re-structuring of the mining industry after 1945. After the nationalisation of the coal industry in 1947, the advantages of the Koepe winder became more and more apparent as increased coal production needed to drive the post-War recovery became a priority. Central government funding for colliery expansion meant that sites such as Clipstone could invest in improved systems and increase production by working deeper seams more effectively.

Prior to nationalisation, the Bolsover Mining Company had become the third largest enterprise of its kind in Britain. Its Clipstone pit included one of the two deepest shafts in the country, and the new headstocks were the tallest such structures in Europe at that time. In the context of Britain's post-War mining industry, Clipstone was a state-of-the-art colliery, employing over thirteen hundred men at its peak, and produced almost a million tons of coal in 1986. The colliery ceased production in 2003 and the site has now been cleared of all the colliery structures and transportation systems with the exception of the winders, headstocks and powerhouse. This part of the colliery site had been listed, prior to closure, on the 19th April 2000 and now stands surrounded by security fencing within the recently remodelled colliery landscape. Since the pit closure, the powerhouse building and the machinery and electrical equipment it housed have been comprehensively vandalised and stripped of metals with high scrap value. The interiors of the building are heavily damaged, and there is now some evidence of localised structural failure. An application for consent to demolish the building and headstocks was made in 2003 to Newark and Sherwood District Council but has not yet been determined. English Heritage received an earlier request to de-list the building and headstocks, but this application was not taken forward as the application to demolish remains under consideration by the Local Planning Authority.


Materials. The powerhouse building is built of brick, concrete and structural steelwork . The headstocks are formed from rolled steel beams.

Plan The headstocks and powerhouse complex is an asymmetrical linear design comprised of two tall steel-framed headstocks flanking a central brick powerhouse. At the base of each headstocks is a heapstead building, also of brick. The complex was designed to operate two shafts, the No. 1 Service Shaft to the north for colliery staff and the lowering of materials, and No.2 Winding Shaft to the south, designed to raise the coal skips.

Exterior The headstock structures are the most prominent components of the site, and each is comprised of a latticework tower of steel plate and girder construction, clasped by an inclined A-shaped steel frame which rises from the side of the central powerhouse building. The upper part of each of the headstocks incorporates twin headgear sheaves - twenty-four foot diameter spoked wheels - mounted in an 'under and over' arrangement to support the winding rope. The brick structures located below and between the headstocks are functionally-detailed Modernist designs, the stepped powerhouse building with extensive areas of glazing to its upper level. The two outer heapstead or pit bank buildings enclosed the shaft heads and the surface car circuits which were linked to underground coal and dirt conveyors. When the site was first listed in April 2000, the colliery was still operational, and the component structures - buildings and headstocks - were structurally complete. Since that time they have suffered from extensive vandalism and structural deterioration.

Interior The building was designed to house large items of machinery and the electrical equipment needed to power them. The front section of the powerhouse contains two Koepe winding engines, each powered by two direct coupled electric motors linked to motor generator sets to convert the public AC supply to DC. Adjacent to each winder is a control cabin from which the winding in both shafts could be monitored. The generator sets and switch gear are located on two levels in the rear section of the powerhouse. On each side of the power house are pit bank buildings located above the shafts, into which the winding ropes extend via the headstocks. The shafts are now sealed, but much of the associated equipment including the rails on which the colliery cars ran, and the turntables which allowed them to be manoeuvred, remain in situ. Both parts of the powerhouse are equipped with travelling cranes and running beams carried on lattice metal piers which facilitated the installation and maintenance of the winders and generators.

When the site was first listed in April 2000, the machinery, fittings and fixtures housed within the building were in operational condition. Since that time they have suffered from extensive vandalism and theft, which has resulted in high levels of damage and delapidation throughout the interiors.


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

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This building is listed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 as amended for its special architectural or historic interest.

End of official listing

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