Ancient Monuments

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Brow Pit mine shaft, gin circle, spoil heap and tramway, 270m south west of Catherine Slack Farm

A Scheduled Monument in Queensbury, Bradford

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Latitude: 53.7524 / 53°45'8"N

Longitude: -1.8673 / 1°52'2"W

OS Eastings: 408849.323254

OS Northings: 428460.311588

OS Grid: SE088284

Mapcode National: GBR HTD1.JL

Mapcode Global: WHC9F.9Y26

Entry Name: Brow Pit mine shaft, gin circle, spoil heap and tramway, 270m south west of Catherine Slack Farm

Scheduled Date: 22 December 1997

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1017568

English Heritage Legacy ID: 29907

County: Bradford

Electoral Ward/Division: Queensbury

Traditional County: Yorkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): West Yorkshire

Church of England Parish: Holmfield St Andrew

Church of England Diocese: Leeds


The monument includes the earthworks and the standing and below ground remains
of Brow Pit, including a sample of an associated tramway. The site is situated
270m south west of Catherine Slack Farm on the top of a scarp overlooking
Holmfield to the west and Calderdale to the east.
The site is an early 19th-century coal pit head which served the Howcans
Pottery located at the foot of the escarpment. The pit head was physically
linked to the pottery by way of a stone-lined track or tramway which still
survives to the west of the pit head enclosure wall. The precise date of the
pit is unknown but it is documented as being disused by 1908. A date mark of
1927 is scratched into the surviving pintle stone (the stone in which the
central pin of the horse drawn engine was situated) but this is thought to
have been added after the site was abandoned.
The mine shaft appears on the ground as a deep circular depression
approximately 8.5m in diameter and 2.5m deep. Originally the shaft was sunk
110m into the ground to meet hard bed coal. The sides of the shaft have
slumped in places and on the north edge of the shaft this has exposed a cross
section of a stone-paved surface. This is part of the gin race, a paved
circular track around which a horse would be led to drive a horse engine or
`whim gin'. A whim gin had the horse circling the winding gear to one side of
the shaft, as opposed to a `cog and rung gin' where the horse went around the
shaft itself with the winding gear directly above.
The gin circle is now buried beneath the grass, although the pintle stone is
just visible in its centre. The stone is rectangular in shape and measures
approximately 0.45m by 0.55m, with a rectangular shaped socket in its centre.
The stone is almost completely covered in grass and from a distance appears as
a small rectangular shaped mound.
The area of the shaft and gin circle is enclosed by a drystone wall which
stands to almost 2m in height along the northern edge. The wall is lower
around the southern side and has suffered from stone robbing. There is an
entrance in the west wall. The enclosure wall is unusual in that it curves in
a perfect semi-circle around the gin race on the northern side. In the
south west corner of the enclosure the wall extends west to form a rectangular
shaped `compartment'. Within this is evidence of a lean-to type structure. A
low wall runs east to west across the compartment and the ground surface is
lower than the surrounding area. Further evidence of the structure comes from
the enclosing wall where, on the western side, it slopes to the south defining
the pitch of the roof of the building.
Approximately 5m to the west of the enclosure, and heading downslope to the
south, are the remains of a stone-lined track or tramway. This follows the
contours of the scarp but has in parts been terraced into the hillside. It is
bounded on both sides by low drystone walling which survives up to 0.5m in
height. The surface of this track is scattered with fragments of post-medieval
pottery, many of which originate from wasters (pottery which is discarded
immediately after firing because of cracking or distortion).
To the north west of the walled enclosure are the spoil heaps associated with
the pit. The spoil heaps will have built up during the excavation and use of
the pit shaft. The amount of debris deposited here has created a huge
artificial mound which will contain important archaeological deposits spanning
the chronological depth of the site.
All modern fencing is excluded from the scheduling, although the ground
beneath is included.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

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.

The earthworks, standing and buried remains of Brow Pit are well preserved and
will contain significant archaeological deposits relating to its use. The gin
circle and associated shaft have been identified as one of the best examples
in England. The diversity of the surviving features provide an important
insight into the layout and use of the site and into the physical, social and
economic impact the industry as a whole had on the local community and wider

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
'Transactions of the Halifax Antiquarian Society' in The Halifax Coal Field, , Vol. 1931, (1931), 73-105
Title: Ordnance Survey 25" Map
Source Date: 1908

Source: Historic England

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