Ancient Monuments

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Haig Colliery

A Scheduled Monument in Whitehaven, Cumbria

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Latitude: 54.543 / 54°32'34"N

Longitude: -3.5979 / 3°35'52"W

OS Eastings: 296722.087519

OS Northings: 517592.938257

OS Grid: NX967175

Mapcode National: GBR 3H9X.V7

Mapcode Global: WH5Z7.P2WK

Entry Name: Haig Colliery

Scheduled Date: 29 January 1998

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1017644

English Heritage Legacy ID: 27800

County: Cumbria

Civil Parish: Whitehaven

Built-Up Area: Whitehaven

Traditional County: Cumberland

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cumbria

Church of England Parish: Kells St Peter

Church of England Diocese: Carlisle


The monument includes the upstanding remains of Haig Colliery, the last deep
coal mine to have been worked in the Cumbrian coalfield. It is located in the
Arrowthwaite area of Kells, a southern suburb of Whitehaven, close to the
cliff edge overlooking the Irish Sea, and includes two engine houses and a
power station now all housed within the same building, an assortment of in-
situ machinery inside this building, and the surviving steel-framed pithead
winding gear and surrounding shed. All upstanding remains and the machinery
are Listed Grade II.
The main building, which incorporates the two engine houses and the power
station, is constructed of brick with slate roofs which have been recently
mineral-felted over. It is a tall single storey structure with cellars
beneath. The engine houses, which are a mirror image of each other, lie at the
north and south end of the main building and are separated by the power
station which was extended westwards in 1936. Access to each engine house is
by an external flight of steps. No.4 engine house lies at the north end of the
building; it contains an overhead crane and a working twin cylinder horizontal
single parallel drum steam winding engine built by Bever Dorling & Co. Ltd, of
Bradford. This winding engine was installed in 1916 and used to haul men and
materials some 387m up the 5.8m diameter No.4 shaft which lay immediately
outside the building and which has now been sealed and had all its pithead
winding gear removed. No.5 engine house, at the south end of the building,
also contains an overhead crane and a twin cylinder horizontal single parallel
drum steam winding engine built by Bever Dorling & Co. Ltd. This engine was
installed in about 1920 and is larger than that in No.4 engine house; it was
used to haul coal up the 6.77m diameter No.5 shaft. Although the shaft has
been sealed the steel pithead winding gear and surrounding shed survives
intact immediately west of the engine house. The pithead winding gear is
thought to date to 1917, although its component parts have been renewed over
the years. The power station, located between the two engine houses, has been
stripped of much of its original machinery but a steam turbine compressor
still remains. Extensive cellars beneath the main building contain footings
for the engines, the shaftsmen's workshop, an emergency generator twin
cylinder vertical steam engine, two winches, the main steam receiver for No.4
engine, and the hydraulic power packs for the brakes on each winding engine.
Haig Pit was sunk by the Whitehaven Colliery Company Ltd between 1914 and
1918. Despite being designed to incorporate the latest safety features and
working practices a series of underground explosions between 1922-31 caused
the deaths of 83 miners (of which 14 bodies were never recovered). Subsequent
safety improvements at Haig saw many advances in the haulage and ventilation
systems, the latter becoming the largest in England at the time. In 1986 Haig
Colliery was closed, the shafts capped, the baths, lamproom, washery and other
buildings demolished, most of the power station machinery destroyed, and the
surrounding area landscaped.
All fences are excluded from the scheduling although the ground beneath them
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 standing remains of Haig Colliery survive well and represent a good
example of the type of structures associated with a pithead complex. This `H'
plan spatial arrangement of power station with engine houses at either side
and fronted by twin pithead winding gears became common during the early 20th
century and Haig Colliery, despite demolition of one of the winding gears, is
a particularly good example and the only one which retains in situ steam
plant. These engines are particularly rare survivals of twin cylinder
horizontal single parallel drum winding engines built by Bever & Dorling, with
the engine in No.4 winding house currently being the only in situ working
example in the world.

Source: Historic England


DOE, List of Buildings of Historic & Architectural Interest,
Haig Restoration Group, Haig Pit - A Brief History,

Source: Historic England

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