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Roachburn Colliery

A Scheduled Monument in Farlam, Cumbria

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Coordinates

Latitude: 54.9314 / 54°55'52"N

Longitude: -2.6001 / 2°36'0"W

OS Eastings: 361645.807515

OS Northings: 559796.349193

OS Grid: NY616597

Mapcode National: GBR BC8F.W1

Mapcode Global: WH916.194W

Entry Name: Roachburn Colliery

Scheduled Date: 29 January 1998

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1017643

English Heritage Legacy ID: 27799

County: Cumbria

Civil Parish: Farlam

Traditional County: Cumberland

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cumbria

Church of England Parish: Farlam St Thomas a Becket

Church of England Diocese: Carlisle

Details

The monument includes the upstanding and buried remains of Cumbria's first
electrically-powered coal mine, the late 19th/early 20th century Roachburn
Colliery. It includes the upstanding but roofless electricity generating house
and pumping house, the wall surrounding three sides of the now sealed drawing
shaft, the ventilation fan compartment, and the foundations and buried remains
of a headgear pillar support. A second generating house also survives but has
been converted into a house. As it is occupied it is not included in the
scheduling. The roofless electricity generating house stands at the northern
end of the monument and is a flat-roofed two storey stone and brick
construction. It measures approximately 13m by 7m and stands to its full
height. There are windows on the west side of the building, an entrance on the
east side, and a window which has latterly been enlarged into an entrance on
the south side. On the eastern side of the building, close to the entrance, a
concrete-lined ventilation fan compartment has been sunk into the ground. The
pumping house, a short distance to the south east, accommodated a rare Bull
steam-powered beam engine for pumping water from the mine. This building is
stone-built and stands to its full two storey height. It measures
approximately 6m by 4m and surviving roof timbers indicate that is was covered
with a pitched roof. On the upper floor the west side of the building is open
but external hinges indicate that wooden shutters originally covered the
aperture. There is a window in both the north and south walls and a fireplace
on the east wall with a brick chimney protruding above the roof line. The
drawing shaft, up which the coal was hauled, lies a short distance south of
the pumping house. The shaft is surrounded on three sides by a stone wall up
to 2m high and was infilled and sealed during the 1970s. In the driveway
fronting the infilled shaft there are the brick and concrete foundations of a
headgear support pillar.
Roachburn Colliery opened in 1895. In 1908 the mineworkings breached the base
of a tarn causing the deaths of three miners and the subsequent abandonment of
the mine four years later.
The surfaces of all access driveways are excluded from the scheduling,
although the ground beneath these features is included.

MAP EXTRACT
The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.
It includes a 2 metre boundary around the archaeological features,
considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.

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.

Roachburn Colliery was the first electrically operated coal mine in Cumbria
and survives reasonably well. Despite some later modifications the electricity
generating house still survives to its full height. Additionally, the pumping
house accommodated a rare Bull steam-powered beam engine, and although this
engine has been removed since closure of the mine, the pumping house largely
remains largely in its original condition and contains many internal features
which provide a range of technological information.

Source: Historic England

Sources

Other
Coal Industry Step 3 site report, Cranstone, D, Roachburn Colliery, (1996)
SMR No. 10501, Cumbria SMR, Denton Fell subsistence feature, (1986)
To Robinson,K.D. (MPPA), Mr R Park (part-owner), Roachburn Colliery, (1997)

Source: Historic England

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