Ancient Monuments

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Birkby Colliery conical spoil tip 600m west of Rose Gill Mill

A Scheduled Monument in Crosscanonby, Cumbria

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Latitude: 54.7249 / 54°43'29"N

Longitude: -3.4339 / 3°26'2"W

OS Eastings: 307745.293442

OS Northings: 537604.712631

OS Grid: NY077376

Mapcode National: GBR 4FGT.C0

Mapcode Global: WH6ZH.7H1M

Entry Name: Birkby Colliery conical spoil tip 600m west of Rose Gill Mill

Scheduled Date: 29 April 1998

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1018071

English Heritage Legacy ID: 27813

County: Cumbria

Civil Parish: Crosscanonby

Traditional County: Cumberland

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cumbria

Church of England Parish: Dearham St Mungo

Church of England Diocese: Carlisle


The monument includes a conical spoil tip, a series of tub runs along which
the spoil was transported prior to tipping, and in situ remains of parts of
the tub haulage system. It is situated on the southern bank of the River Ellen
at the eastern end of the now disused 19th/20th century Birkby Colliery. The
tip covers a maximum area of 200m by 125m and is approximately 40m high. Spoil
was transported by rail a short distance eastwards from the mine and initial
tipping occurred at the south western part of the tip; a few wooden railway
sleepers indicate the course of the inclined tub run which leads to a flat
area of spoil. From here five fingers of spoil spread outwards a short
distance to the south and south west. The main tub run climbed steeply up the
western side of the tip, its course marked by iron spikes which held the rails
up which the tubs were hauled in place. At the summit a 15m length of iron
base to which the rail track was fastened remains in situ. At the foot of the
tip's eastern side there is an in situ iron winch which assisted hauling the
tubs up this main tub run. There is another tub run visible on the northern
side of the tip; the junction of this and the main tub run can be seen on the
lower western slope of the tip, from here it survives as a terrace inclining
up the north side of the tip from where spoil was deposited down towards the
river. Birkby Colliery closed during the late 1950s.
All modern field boundaries 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.

Despite removal of small amounts of material from the eastern edge of the tip,
the conical spoil tip at Birkby Colliery survives reasonably well. Conical
spoil tips were a major feature of the late 19th/20th century colliery
landscape but this example at Birkby is now one of only six remaining
nationally. It preserves evidence of a number of tub runs which enable the
sequence of tipping and the subsequent development of the spoil tip to be
understood, together with a rare example of in situ remains of the tub haulage

Source: Historic England


To Robinson,K.D. MPPA, Mr Hobbs (site owner), Birkby Colliery, (1997)

Source: Historic England

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