Ancient Monuments

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Plumbley Colliery including Seldom Seen engine house, 600m north east of Roundhill Cottages

A Scheduled Monument in Eckington, Derbyshire

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Latitude: 53.315 / 53°18'53"N

Longitude: -1.3697 / 1°22'10"W

OS Eastings: 442090.779731

OS Northings: 379967.584896

OS Grid: SK420799

Mapcode National: GBR LZW3.8D

Mapcode Global: WHDDX.XYY1

Entry Name: Plumbley Colliery including Seldom Seen engine house, 600m north east of Roundhill Cottages

Scheduled Date: 19 March 1998

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1017746

English Heritage Legacy ID: 30948

County: Derbyshire

Civil Parish: Eckington

Built-Up Area: Eckington

Traditional County: Derbyshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Derbyshire

Church of England Parish: Eckington and Ridgeway

Church of England Diocese: Derby


Plumbley Colliery, which includes the Seldom Seen engine house, lies in
woodland 1km north west of Eckington. The monument includes the ruined
buildings, earthworks and buried remains of Plumbley Colliery, including
the engine house, fan house, coke ovens and conical tips.
Plumbley Colliery was operating by 1875. The colliery complex had reached its
full extent by 1897 and was disused by 1914, although small-scale independent
mining may have continued for a little while thereafter.
The Seldom Seen engine house, in the northern part of the site, stands to a
height of 12m-15m. It is built on rising ground, overlooking the small valley
of the Moss Brook to the north. The brick-built engine house is unusually
large, with walls pierced by round arched and square openings. Some roof and
floor timbers survive and timbers, one moulded and one bearing a pulley,
protrude from the south wall. Within, thick bearing walls for an indoor beam
engine survive. The engine is thought to have been used for both winding and
pumping in the shaft, and its boiler was located in a brick chamber built
against the west wall of the engine house, the ruined walls of which survive.
To the east of the engine house are a number of earthworks believed to
represent coke ovens, which will contribute towards understanding the layout
of the site.
Immediately north of the engine house is a range of spoil heaps, at least two
of which are characteristically conical in form. A brick-built adit or mine
entrance, partially visible beneath later deposits, is cut into the slope,
south of the engine house where the land rises. West of this are the ruined
remains of a Guibal fan house with parts of the stone-built opening for the
steam-powered fan still visible. Guibal fans were commonly used in the later
19th century to ventilate coal mines. South of the fan house and adit, at the
top of the slope, a broad footpath follows the east-west line of a former
railway which served the colliery, and remains of the railway are expected to
survive beneath it. To the south of the path, further earthworks and ruins
remain visible in woodland including the remains of a second engine house
with intact engine bed, large well-preserved earthworks representing
reservoirs shown on the Ordnance Survey map of 1897 and also the remains of
several shafts, some large and collapsed.
The surfaces of the tracks and footpaths and all fence posts are excluded
from the scheduling, although the ground beneath these features 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.

Plumbley Colliery survives well and its remains provide evidence for the
layout and operation of a late 19th century coal mine. It retains an
exceptional range of components, including the engine houses, fan house and
the earthworks of coking ovens. The standing and earthwork remains of the
principal mine structures are important in their own right. The Guibal fan
house and conical spoil tip, in particular, represent rare survivals

Source: Historic England

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