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Bestwood Colliery engine house

A Scheduled Monument in Bestwood St. Albans, Nottinghamshire

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Latitude: 53.0215 / 53°1'17"N

Longitude: -1.172 / 1°10'19"W

OS Eastings: 455634.063602

OS Northings: 347458.117638

OS Grid: SK556474

Mapcode National: GBR 8GR.JJC

Mapcode Global: WHDGK.Z91Z

Entry Name: Bestwood Colliery engine house

Scheduled Date: 14 November 1986

Last Amended: 29 January 1998

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1017653

English Heritage Legacy ID: 30958

County: Nottinghamshire

Civil Parish: Bestwood St. Albans

Traditional County: Nottinghamshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Nottinghamshire

Church of England Parish: Bestwood St Mark

Church of England Diocese: Southwell and Nottingham


The monument lies 0.5km south east of Bestwood Village, within a landscaped
public park. It includes the structure, machinery and buried remains of the
Bestwood Colliery engine house and its winding gear.
The building, which is a Grade II* Listed Building and was constructed in 1874
for the Bestwood Iron Company, is unusually ornate for a colliery building. It
is a three-storey building of brick and concrete in an Italianate style. The
building is notable for the early use of structural concrete, which was used
externally in the moulded plinth and rusticated basement and internally for
the engine bed and to support the frames of the winding drum. Concrete
cladding on the headgear is of a later date, but is included in the
The engine for which the engine house was built was supplied in 1875 by the
Worsley Mesnes Company of Wigan. It is a vertical twin cylinder,
non-condensing steam winding engine. The cylinders extend from concrete bases
on the ground floor, through openings to the first floor where the engine
controls are situated. The cast iron drum, 6m in diameter, is on the second
floor. Ropes from the drum leave the building via holes in the west wall and
travel over latticed ironwork supports to the headgear, which stands over a
shaft to the west of the engine house. The headgear is built predominantly of
wrought iron latticework.
By the 1960s the shaft from which the engine wound had been superseded by a
drift or hillside entrance, and the engine was maintained as a standby. The
colliery closed in 1967, but the engine was kept operable until 1971.
Excluded from the scheduling is the track surfacing around the engine house,
although the ground beneath it is included.

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.

The Bestwood Colliery engine house and headgear are unique in England, since
the vertical winding engine is a particularly rare example of a twin cylinder
steam winding engine which remains in situ; such engines dominated coal
winding until the introduction of electric winding in the early 20th century.
The engine provides technological information on the workings of vertical
winding engines, an important component of many 19th century mines. The
relationship between the machine and its purpose-built housing offers a unique
source of information on the practical requirements of the engine and on
shaft-head operations.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Thornes, R, Images of Industry Coal, (1994), 32-33
Descriptive report, RCHME, Winding Engine House and Headgear, Bestwood Colliery, (1993)
Notts 02062, Bestwood Colliery Winding Engine House,
Schedule, EH, Bestwood Colliery Vertical Winding Machine, (1986)
Title: 2nd-4th Edition Ordnance Survey 25" Maps
Source Date:
1900, 1915, 1930

Source: Historic England

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