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The History of Mapperley Colliery

(Simon Pit)

Mapperley Colliery Circa 1900

Mapperley Colliery Circa 1900 - 1910

The land around Mapperley was intensively worked over for coal and ironstone in the 18th and 19th century and at a far shallower level, for 2 or 3 centuries before that. The pits were worked mainly by local landowners like the Hunlokes at Wingerworth and West Hallam, and the Drury Lowes of Locko near Derby. Later they sometimes leased the pits to industrialists from the Black Country who founded the West Hallam Ironworks and kept the last of their shallow pits working until well into the 20th century. The output of these mines was restricted by poor drainage and by inadequate communications which confined sales to the immediate locality. The first problem was eased by using more powerful pumping engines as they became available. The second, gradually, by turnpike roads, mineral tramways which criss-crossed the trough, many of them leading to Nutbrook Canal when this was opened as an independent branch of the Erewash Canal in the 1790's, and eventually by the arrival in the 1840's of the Midland Railway Erewash Valley line, from which a branch ultimately ran direct to Mapperley Colliery.


An elevated view of the colliery looking north west towards Smalley. Opencasting is visible in the distance.
The below is taken from a newspaper article September 7th 1870
New Colliery at Mapperley. Simon Pit

Some months ago the Glendon Iron Company leased the minerals under the above estate from William Drury Lowe Esq., of Locko Park.

Preparatory work had been taken to sink two shafts for the mining of the coal and ironstone.

It was decided to cut the first sod of the sinking on Thursday last, and E K Fisher., Market Harborough, and G Checkland, Esq., Leicester, sole partners in the Glendon Iron Company, invited a few friends to the proceedings.  At two o’clock Mrs Checkland cut the first sod and announced the works formally opened.  The party then adjourned to a very elegant luncheon, served up in one of the newly erected offices, improvised for the occasion.

We believe they intend sinking two shafts each 13 feet diameter, with two engines equal to one hundred horse-power. It is expected to reach the hard coal about 200 yards deep. F C Gillet Esq., mining engineer, was the superintendent of the works, and Mr Mason, late of Stanley Colliery, is the local manager.

It is expected that the shafts would be in full working order within 12 months.

Arrangements had been made to turn 600 to 800 tons a day.

Mr George Checkland represented the Glendon Iron Company at the works.                

We understand this mineral field will turn out between eight and nine million tons of coal. A small portion of the field was worked some hundred years ago by the late Richard Drury Lowe, Esq., of Locko Park.

The directors and officials of the Midland Railway actively work to the interests of the company they represent have projected and are immediately about to carry into execution a branch line into the mineral field, thereby securing to their main line another excellent feeder.

We are informed that the Glendon Iron Company propose erecting iron furnaces in connection with these works, for the purpose of manufacturing the material on the spot.

The official opening was in 1872. The pit was situated to the west of Mapperley, to the north of West Hallam and southeast of Smalley.

The colliery was taken over by Mapperley Colliery Company in 1884 and closed in March 1965 after 93 years.

Mapperley Colliery Map


Seventy Miners Move From Mapperley
July 24th 1964

Seventy miners working at Mapperley Colliery are to move to Derby Drury Lowe and Coppice next month.

It is part of the gradual exodus of men from Mapperley to other collieries in the National Coal Board's No 8 area of East Midlands division. A spokesman for the Coal Board told The Advertiser yesterday that the National Union of Mineworkers had been in full consultation with the management at all stages of the transfer.

The 92 year old Mapperley pit is destined to close at the beginning of the New Year.

Already 150 men have been transferred to other pits in the area including Woodside and Coppice.


 The Death of a Pit (in Derbyshire Dialect)

The following is taken from the West Hallam and Mapperley Church and Community Magazine
March / April 1967

“ Ta’e thi time Sam, ta’e thi time” shouts Bill Newman.
”Ah might as well keep thi company on ah last walk hom”.
“It’s just as well, Bill” replied Sam Bonson,
“Ah thowt tha’d gone off early lad.”

The two men had worked at “Simon Pit” for the last 50 years, and had walked together (barring sickness and accident) through the fields from Heanor.

“I’nt it lovely nah, Bill?” says Sam, “after that wet morning” “It is an’ all,” replied Bill. “We s’all soon be at Daffy Dilly for t’last time nah, an ah’m tae’in some o’ them primroses an’ violets wom ta t’missis, as ah spotted this morning.”

“Ah well, tha’ wants ta thank t’Lord tha’s got one ta goo wom tow” says Sam, “Mine’s bin gone four years nah, tha knows, an ah’m dreadin’ bein’ at hom alldee, bi missen, nah that they’ve finished us!”



Go-To Bob

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