Barnsley Main Colliery engine house and pithead structures


Heritage Category:
Listed Building
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Location Description:
To the north of Oaks Lane, Hoyle Mill, Barnsley at SE 36459 06388


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

Location Description:
To the north of Oaks Lane, Hoyle Mill, Barnsley at SE 36459 06388
Barnsley (Metropolitan Authority)
Non Civil Parish
National Grid Reference:


Disused colliery winding engine house and pit head structures of circa 1900 origin, but modernised 1956. Last significant surviving structures with a historical connection to the 1866 Oaks Colliery Disaster, England's worst mining accident.

Reasons for Designation

* Industrial architecture: for the nationally rare survival of an essentially C19 arrangement of winding shaft structures modernised in the 1950s by the National Coal Board; * Degree of completeness: for the survival of a suite of winding shaft structures complete with a well preserved and extensive range of in situ equipment; * Historic interest: as the last significant standing remains of Barnsley Main Colliery with its historical association with the Oaks Colliery Disaster of 1866, England's worst mining accident; * Representative of the industry: as a poignant monument to the coal industry of the area, evidence of which has been almost totally removed from across the South Yorkshire Coalfield, formally one of the most significant industrial areas in the country.


Barnsley Main Colliery No.2 Shaft is shown on the 1892 Ordnance Survey map without any associated buildings, at that time labelled as part of Rylands Main Colliery whose pit head was immediately to the south. These workings were developed and renamed Barnsley Main Colliery: the earliest parts of the winding house and shaft top building are probably amongst the new buildings depicted on the Ordnance Survey map published in 1906. No.2 Shaft was deepened beyond the Barnsley Main Seam to reach the Fenton Seam in 1916, this seeing the introduction of machine cutting for the first time at the colliery. By 1931 Barnsley Main Colliery had expanded further, taking over Oaks Colliery (infamous for the 1866 pit disaster when 361 miners and 27 rescuers died in a series of methane gas explosions: to date, the highest death toll of any disaster in England), Oaks Colliery pit head being just to the south east, now redeveloped as an industrial estate. After the Second World War, Barnsley Main Colliery passed to the National Coal Board, resulting in the modernisation of No.2 Shaft with the installation of new headstocks and an electric winder. A simple 1956 datestone on the engine house is thought to date this modernisation, including the construction of the upper floor of the engine house and the upper part of the shaft-head building. The colliery closed and re-opened many times from 1929 until closure in 1966. In the 1970s No.2 shaft was re-used for man-riding (with the coal being brought to the surface at Barrow Colliery). Barnsley Main finally ceased production in 1991, followed by clearance of the buildings and general landscaping. No.2 Shaft with its headstocks and winding engine house was retained and passed into the ownership of the local authority. Openings were subsequently bricked up to secure the structures from unauthorised entry and vandalism.


Colliery winding engine house, headstocks and shaft head building, circa 1900 for Barnsley Main Colliery, modernised and reconstructed in 1956 for the National Coal Board.

MATERIALS: Brick with corrugated steel roof, steel headstocks. Concrete lintels and sills with steel windows: generally similar to the W20 design by Crittall.

PLAN: The engine house is three by four bays and lies to the south east of the shaft. It is detached from the smaller shaft-head building at ground floor level, but linked by a bridge at first floor level. The headstocks rise from the top of the shaft head building with its backstays rising from a buttress to the north west gable of the engine house.

EXTERIOR: Engine house: This has a tall ground floor which is mainly blind except for a wide entrance in the western gable and a doorway and pair of windows at high level on the northern side. The ground floor has a slight batter to the wall face and a high, simple plinth to the northern side. The upper floor is in a different brickwork and is of pier and panel construction with simple dog toothing to the tops of the panels. Window details are the same as those to the ground floor, most retaining their steel frames and glazing bars, and regularly spaced with four to the north, three to the south and two to the eastern gable. The date stone is central to the northern side and is a simple, small plaque reading 1956. The roof is topped by two steel ventilators.

Shaft head building: This also has a tall, mainly blind ground floor and an upper floor in later brickwork. Window openings (infilled with blockwork) are scattered and generally square. Extending upwards from the flat roof of the building is the steel enclosure for a pair of double deck cages, this being at the head of the shaft within the base of the headstocks. Above are the two pit winding wheels with a third, smaller, emergency winding wheel. The structure of the headstocks also includes maintenance gantries and walkways.

INTERIOR: Not accessible but reported to retain the electrically powered drum winder and associated equipment such as the hydraulics for the breaking system, the control cabin, and an overhead travelling gantry crane. At least one electrical control box has the maker's name "Metropolitan Vickers". The shaft retains its cages, gates and other control and maintenance equipment.




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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