Report on Hyde Lane Colliery

(aka Hyde Lane Pit)
by William Ollerenshaw in c.1889

Mr Ollerenshaw subsequently became the Manager of Denton Colliery

Hyde Lane Colliery is situated in Hyde about 6½ miles from Manchester on the main road between Hyde and Manchester. The colliery is one of the oldest in the district and has been working for many years.

The colliery consists of two shafts, the downcast and the winding shaft being 274yds in depth and the upcast 220yds in depth. The shafts were first sunk to the Black Mine, but have been since sunk through the Two Feet Mine to the Peacock Mine. The Black Mine is the most valuable mine in the district, being excellent in Gas and House coal, but until recently, and for a period of 50 years has not been worked; Messrs. Brown & Clayton being the last to work this mine (Thomas Brown was the surveyor and resident engineer of the Peak Forest Canal Company). It had been worked for many years along the level from the downcast shaft and for a distance 340yds below, and on the rise of the shaft to the outcrop. These old workings are now filled with water up to the time of the present company commencing operations. The colliery had been successfully worked by Messrs. Bradbury and the Hyde and Haughton Colliery Co. who continued to pay their attention to the Two Feet and the Peacock Mines, the latter company also working a small area of the Black Mine. The unworked area of the Black Mine had been previously overlooked or thought too deep as not within workable depth, at all events it has remained for the Hyde Lane Colliery Co. under the direction of Mr. John Higson of Manchester, the company's mining engineer to drive the necessary tunnels from the Two Feet Mine, to win the unworked area of Black Mine remaining. After leaving sufficient coal as a barrier to keep back water now standing in the old workings. The mine dips at the rate of 1 in 2½ and is 4ft 8in in thickness. The leaving of the barrier has caused all the coal now being worked to be on the (----) of the main level tunnel. Neither the Two Feet nor the Peacock Mines are being worked. The Black Mine is worked by the Longwall Method and the coal is brought to the main engine brow by endless rope haulage, it is then pulled up the main engine brow to the pit (that is, to the bottom of the winding shaft). The engine brow consists of a dip tunnel driven from the pit bottom to the Two Feet Mine (and then) to the point at which the Black Mine is at present known as the No. 3 hooking place. A dip tunnel dipping at the rate of 1 in 6, 200yds in length has been driven to the Black Mine to win a fresh area of coal below that at present being worked, the total length of the engine brow is 970yds.

The above report suggests that there were two inclined planes. The lower incline was used to remove coal from the coal face in the Black Mine and transport it to the bottom of the engine brow (inclined plane) and when the coal had been winched up this it was at the pit bottom, that is, at the bottom of the winding shaft.

Around the time that this report was made there was an explosion at Hyde Lane Pit that resulted in fatalities. The death roll was 23 men and boys. The explosion occurred on the 18 January 1889.

Longwall Method of Coal Working
With reference to the simplified plan of a coal mine, the upcast (fowl air) and downcast (fresh air) shafts (pits) are shown in the centre, marked U and D, and these are surrounded by uncut coal. The downcast shaft is also the winding shaft. Galleries radiate from the shafts and the roofs of these are supported by pit props. The grey areas have been shut (abandoned) and these are the 'gobs'†. Here, all the coal has been removed and the roof is allowed to settle down gradually. In the 19th century, each coal face or wall was about 100 yards long and this is where coal was being hewed and then carried to the surface. As the coal was removed, waste stone was used to build drystone walls that were typically from 6 to 20 feet wide and these were arranged in parallel lines at right angles to the advancing coal face or wall. The purpose of these was to support the roof after the coal had been removed. As the coal face advanced, the underground railway system for carrying coal away was constantly being rearranged and increased in length.

†Depending upon the district, the words 'gob' and 'goaf' can both refer to the same thing, namely the void left after coal has been extracted. The word 'gob' can also refer to waste material separated underground.

Longwall Method of Coal Working.

Acknowledgement
Acknowledgement and thanks are due to A Etchells.